The first five articles in this series have made the case for some important concepts: treating content as an asset, seeing your posts as tools for meeting your (and of course your readers’ goals), and so on (see the full content series here).
The natural corollary to all this is the notion that while your blog is a content product, it’s just one of a number of channels through which you can put your content tools into action to promote the product itself. The best recommendation for your blog is your blog content, and your voice. How can you use it to reach more people?
You have content — and lots of it. Use it wisely and not only will you enjoy an improved return on your content investment, which we talked about when we discussed content strategy, but you can expand your promotional efforts without a whole lot of extra work.
The idea is to take content you’ve already written, or small segments of it repurposed as required, and distribute them across other channels. This approach provides various opportunities to leverage your previous hard work, but also your headspace: if you’ve just written a post for your own blog, you might be in a good position to turn out related items — snippets, tips, or updates — for other channels, while the creative fires are still aflame. These channels include the following.
While I’m no fan of the incomplete-teaser-as-tweet style of social network update that many major newspapers seem to champion, I do like to use a crafted version of my opening sentence, the post’s headline, or its key point as a brief, catchy announcement on social media.
We’ve discussed guest blogging as a way to expand your readership (and, on your blog, to offer variety, meet your goals, and reduce the pressure on you). You may not be able, or willing, to republish a post from your blog directly on another, but you may be able to reframe it, expand on a specific point it makes, or tackle the same topic from an alternative angle, very easily and quickly.
This variations-on-a-theme approach leverages your existing content and knowledge while providing in-post cross-link opportunities if they’re allowed by the blog on which you’re a guest. In any case, a reader who comes from your guest post on another blog to find a similar post that builds on that information on your own blog is likely to get the impression that you’re passionate and informed on your topic of interest.
Presenting a key quote or idea from your blog as a comment on another author’s work on a website whose readership you’d like to attract is another possibility for content redistribution. You can use the same tactic in forums on the topics your blog addresses. Choose your topics, blogs, and posts wisely and you may find that a short paragraph from your latest post makes the perfect contribution to a larger conversation on the topic elsewhere online.
Earlier in this series, we talked about republishing your content in other formats, like print periodicals. While these kinds of opportunities may not be thick on the ground, they are out there, and they can make a good way to extend your content’s lifecycle and make the most of what you’ve written. Perhaps you could pull the key elements from a number of your posts and synthesize them into an authoritative piece on a given sub-topic?
These are just some of the ways you can reuse your existing body of work to promote your blog through different channels. Tell us about your experiences with content-as-promotional-tool.
Continue reading this series of articles on questions surrounding blog content.
About the Author: Georgina has more than ten years’ experience writing and editing for web, print and voice. She now blogs for WebWorkerDaily and SitePoint, and consults on content to a range of other clients.