Whether you want to promote your own blog, website, or work at an agency and want to boost a clients web hits, there are a number of avenues you can go down.
One is some good old fashioned PR. Do something different and tell the press all about it. A tactic a number of UK companies apply is to do some research and publish the results. Headlines such as ’68% of business leaders prefer Twitter over Facebook as a marketing tool’ are bound to get a number of technology news sites publishing your content.
This is also a sure-fire way to get quality links back to your websites and improve PR rankings.
The next option is search engine optimisation, be it optimising the content you have just produced to make it Google friendly, or by promoting certain keywords up the search rankings.
Thanks to numerous Google algorithm updates, this tactic’s effectiveness has somewhat diluted over the past 12 months. Improving SEO through linkbuilding etc is still a viable option, but it is now harder to cheat the system, and takes more effort and a lot more time to get it right.
A number of studies in the past few months have shown that the content promotion trend has swapped from SEO to SMO.
Social media optimisation has become a powerful tool for webmasters across the globe to promote their content, writing ‘the top ten this’ and ‘the five worst that’ in the hope that their followers, and followers of their followers on social media networks read and share the content.
The President of BuzzFeed himself, Mr Jon Steinberg said that ‘…you have to write and produce news for the social web: it has to be novel, important and have this social imperative behind it’.
If you are in the business of producing quick results, then Twitter is the best route to go down here. A study my agency Fabric is conducting at the moment has already uncovered that 52% of respondents identify Twitter as the most powerful social network for their business (you can take part in that 60 second study here).
Here’s one way which I personally have utilised Twitter to promote my content.
Becoming a power user
Around two months ago I decided that I wanted to go down the SMO route to promote content, and aimed to gain a truck load of new followers who would be primed to read the content I shared on the micro-blogging network.
After reading a few articles online about the topic, as well as using my own personal experience, I decided to go down the power user route – the sure-fire quick way for non-celebs (me) to gain a strong social media following.
The trick to gaining followers quickly is to follow others – but picking the right people to follow is key. Following 1,000 users not likely to follow you back is a waste of time, and will more than likely result in Twitter striking you down for spamming.
How do you get loads of followers then?
To become a power user, one must follow the power users.
A power user in essence is someone who followers almost anyone back on Twitter, without much thought for who they are, what they have to offer and in some cases what language they even tweet in.
I began this process manually, finding people who followed like-minded users on Twitter. I looked at who was following the technology blogs and websites, and some of the more influential players in the field.
To identify a power user you simply look at how many followers they have in comparison to friends.
If a Twitter user has 1,000 followers but are only friends with 250 people, it is unlikely they will follow you back. This is not a power user.
The power user is someone who has 1,000 followers, but is friends with 1,250 followers. They will go through a process of following fellow power users, and waiting for them to follow back. If they don’t, they can use tools like TweetAdder to unfollow the ones who don’t follow back, and start the process all over again.
Two months ago when I started this strategy, I had around 500 followers. I now have nearly 4,000.
With the rate of followers I am gaining at the moment, I would bet a large chunk of my salary that I will have reached 4,000 by the time I finish writing this article.
You have your followers, now what?
So you have spent some time building up your followers, gaining more avenues by which you content can be shared, read and shared again.
The trick now is to hang on to those followers. A lot of guides online will suggest that if you want to gain followers without becoming a power user, you should be controversial, witty, and not be afraid to cause a débâcle.
For me, the opposite is true. If you are becoming a power user with the aim of promoting content, then try and appease your followers.
Here’s my own example. Last week the hashtag #ThankyouUnionJfor was trending – a trend about an X-Factor UK drop-out band that with the use of great hair gel and some limited vocal ability had amassed some hysterical fans.
My tweet wasn’t so in favour of the band, yet I was a little surprised to check my ‘unfollows’ the next day to see that nearly 20 former friends (all of them girls) had unfollowed me. As that was my only tweet that day, the correlation seemed almost undeniable.
Remember your objective here. As soon as you utilise your Twitter account to promote your content, start to use it like you would a businesses account. If you really want to rant and rave about the Republicans, ObamaCare or why Nick Clegg is hated by students in the UK, set up another account.
Split your tweets into three categories, and share them equally
If you want people to read your content, click on your links and retweet your articles, you need to interact with people. If someone comments on your tweet, comment back. If someone retweets, send them a message to say thanks.
What you don’t want to do is have every tweet to be a link to your blog or website. A good way to monitor the amount you are tweeting self-promoting content is to think of your tweets in thirds.
One third of your tweets should be your content – article headlines followed by a link.
The second third should be comments around that similar subject. Maybe tweet another user saying you like their article, or comment on a recent news piece. Flattery works a treat online.
The final third is to tweet about things completely unrelated to the content you are trying to promote. Retweet funny pictures, talk about current events. Even talk about how rubbish the weather is in your town. Keep it varied and your followers will be more responsive when the time comes to promote your own content.
When should I promote?
A lot of research suggests that Wednesday afternoon at 5pm is the optimum time to tweet. For me, I want to target the people who will be the most receptive to my content, and primed to read it.
For this reason I tweet in commuter hours, with the aim of catching people on buses, trams and trains as they flick through their Twitter streams in a haze of boredom, looking for any stimulation in the form of amusing or insightful content.
With this tactic, you should see a good increase in the number of views your articles get, and how many hits you receive to your website.
Happy power tweeting!