Don’t you want your blog content to perform better?
Well, who doesn’t, right?
Here’s a fresh idea for you: Start marketing your content prior to publishing it.
In fact, you should integrate your future content promotion and engagement methods into your content when still writing it.
Using these pre-publishing content marketing tactics, you will be able to generate more links, rank your article higher and improve your on-page engagement. Here’s how:
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1. Identify who may link to your asset and start engaging them earlier
So you have a topic idea and you are about to start creating your content, but first comes content research. Usually, to research a topic before covering it, bloggers use Google, check what has already been written and try to do better.
I suggest adding another topic research component: Link building research.
In other words, you want to identify who is linking to top content on your chosen topic and try to replicate that tactic in your future article. So:
Step 1: Identify top-ranking articles on your topic
You can simply use Google for this task. I also use this Greasemonkey plugin that generates the list of all organic results. This makes those URLs easy to copy to research further:
This step is very simple. The only tip I’d add here: Try searching for complementing content, not just your direct competitors. For example, if I am going to create an ultimate list of content marketing tools, I’d also search for something like “Why content marketing is important”.
The idea is that you want your future content to add something to what is already written. This way one of your outreach email templates will include something like “I thought your article will be much more actionable if you add a link to mine…”
Step 2: Research backlinks of those articles
Next, use your favorite SEO tool to research backlinks of those future competitors of yours. Use a spreadsheet to take note of various types of backlinks you’d like to get as well, for example:
Curated lists of resourcesLinks from influencersLinks from peers and friendsEditorial links from huge blogs, etc.
You can dig deeper using these competitor research tactics but what you really want to focus here is identifying a person behind that link (the author of a linking article, the owner of a linking site, etc.) because you are going to start building connections with people, not sites or pages.
Note: Ignore links from scrapers. There will be plenty of those and they can really mess any data up. Focus on links from real sites with shares, comments, obvious authorship, etc.
Step 3: Start developing connections with those linking authors and editors prior to writing your article
This is very important: You want to plan your future article around those link building opportunities to get a better chance to generate those powerful links:
Link type:Possible way to plan your future article to fit this link opportunity better:Curated lists of resourcesMake sure your article fits in one of those existing categories in the listLinks from influencers / expertsReach out to those influencers and get their quote (opinion) to include in your article. Influencers are more likely to link when they are featured on that pageLinks from peers and friendsFollow those people everywhere and start interacting with them on a daily basis. Think of this as “lead nurturing” increasing your chances to create long-lasting partnerships.Editorial links from huge blogsTrack down authors and editors of those sites and start interacting with them on social media. Consider inviting them to contribute a quote to your article as well.
Here are some additional outreach tactics and tips to get you inspired.
2. Build anticipation on social media
Ever since Google had us all lined up in front of their stores waiting for the new iPhone to be out, we knew the power of audience anticipation.
If so, why are we so seldom using the tactic in content marketing?
Make it a good habit: Whenever you are working on a solid content asset, start building anticipation earlier.
This may involve:
Creating a mini “Coming soon” landing page
This page should include some key points on what you are going to cover and why this article is going to be awesome and let people opt-in to be notified when it is live. Then promote your landing page on social media and email blasts. Here’s a step-by-step guide on creating “Coming soon” pages in WordPress.
Once your article is actually live, you can redirect your “Coming soon” page URL to your actual content and save all traffic and backlinks you were able to build at the pre-publishing stage.
Another benefit of using “Coming soon” pages is an ability to re-engage people who once visited it and serve them your new URL when it is live.
This is one of the best on-page engagement tactics out there: Your returning visitors are more likely to click a link or opt in when they already saw your landing page and knew the article was coming.
You can create these re-engagement ads throughout the site using Finteza which is a web analytics suite that supports advanced personalization.
Inviting your audience to contribute their ideas and questions
Create a quick form and encourage your social media followers and email subscribers to contribute questions they want to be covered in your future article. This is a great ideation, as well as an engagement tactic.
You can use Google forms for that (which will also grab an email address of each contributor for you to reach out when your article is live)
Tip: If you time your content well, you are likely to notice people participate in your survey quite eagerly. It is a good idea to use Google Trends when planning this strategy.
Putting together surveys for your audience to complete
This is a great way to create “data-driven” content which always attracts links like crazy. Always encourage your survey takers to include their email address in case they want to know the results.
This is an incredibly effective lead generation tactic! Here are a few powerful methods to integrate surveys into your WordPress site for you to promote your own URL instead of a third-party one.
Creating a video teaser to generate buzz on social media
Native videos (i.e. those you actually upload to a platform) get lots of visibility on social media. Besides, if you do it right, you will also generate some emotional response and improve your social media engagement.
I use Renderforest to create all types of visual and video assets, including teaser videos. It is a pretty advanced, yet easy-to-use online video editor that gives you access to hundreds of templates as well as lets you create your own.
Edit an existing video template by adding your captions, images and videos. You can also brand your videos using your color palette and logo.
On top of that you can use that video on your “Coming soon” landing page making it more engaging! It is also a good idea to get your landing page advertised on social media. Again, you are investing in data at this point: When your actual article is live, you will be able to re-target your previously engaged Facebook audience. This is one of Facebook ad hacks I wish I had known years ago.
You can definitely use several or all of the pre-publishing anticipation building tactics, so no need to pick one. They all complement one another nicely and make your final content much more useful.
3. Test your headline
Don’t underestimate the power of your article headline! Your article headline will determine your page click-through and visibility on social media as well as organic search, so you better get it right!
There are quite a few tools you can use to improve your headlines but the one you need to use if you are really serious about your future content asset make sure you get some feedback before you choose a final headline.
Create a mini-survey and send out to your friends and co-workers asking them to select a headline they feel like clicking. This will only take you a day to create a survey and collect the answers, so don’t neglect this step.
Note: Make sure to randomize your answers as people tend to stick with the top-most answer.
If your usual content marketing process is only about creating content and figuring content promotion when it is live, you may be losing a huge opportunity here. Instead try baking your future content promotion tactics into your content creation process.
This will make your content marketing much more informed and hence effective. Treat each of your future articles as projects and set up a thorough pre-publishing marketing routine. Your content deserves that!