Content promotion is pretty much the core of B2B PR and media relations. While digital marketing and content marketing tools are getting better, the reality is that there is no substitute for analog content promotion. Graphics firm Venngage recently wrote a terrific post about how it earned 200,000 email sign-ups within a three-month time period for its cloud-based infographic creation tool. The lessons it learned about content promotion are must reading for anyone in B2B media relations and marketing.
Venngage started out great by developing a piece of on-brand anchor content specifically designed to capture its target market’s attention. Naturally, it was an infographic. It was well-done, clever, and funny.
But then what happened? They tried posting it on some social sharing sites, tweeted it out, and … crickets. As the post says:
“It turns out you have to put in some effort to find your target audience. The shotgun posting or tweeting approach rarely works. There is no free lunch. You have to find the readers who would be receptive to your content,” writes Eugene Woo, the company’s founder.
No matter how great your content marketing tool is, the reality is that content does not promote itself. You have to find your audience and figure out how to reach them. Venngage built its list using modern tools, but following old-fashioned processes: it researched numerous sources, including Google searches, to find the influencers who could help them take this content to their target audience.
One of their bigger insights includes a message that HMS always shares with our clients: it’s smart to flip the influencer pyramid. Rather than pitching to the large circulation sites (everyone wants to get into the Wall Street Journal, amirite?), Venngage started promoting content to the smaller sites. This is a crucial distinction of B2B media relations and marketing: focused, niche influencers have more, well, influence on the people you’re trying to reach. As Woo writes,
“Many niche blogs have small but loyal followings. Start there first … Contrary to popular belie[f], most stories actually travel up the influencer pyramid, from the small/niche bloggers to the big media sites, and not the other way around.”
Venngage then personalized its message — remember, no free lunch — and the coverage started to take off. In addition to earned media credibility, Venngage built a strong user base.
But the company didn’t just call it a day after that one success — it continues to reach out to influencers with more news and insights. PR is not a project — it’s a process.
Let’s recap the lessons learned about content promotion:
- Content doesn’t promote itself.
- Finding your influencers is a time consuming, but crucial step in the content promotion process.
- Think small — your influencers may not reach millions of readers, but they are reaching the RIGHT readers for you.
- Take the time to make it personal. It makes a difference.
- Keep it going. They call it “news” for a reason — if you want to stay top of mind, you need to keep it fresh.