It’s no surprise that content marketers are planning to invest more on visual content. A recent survey by MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute suggests that 51% of B2B marketers intend to increase their visual content efforts.
While the general marketing consensus tends to agree that visual content is more eye-catching and engaging, the problem is that it can be difficult and expensive to create. Additionally, the challenge of promoting your visual content investment can add stress to your daily routine.
Learn how to get the most out of your visual content strategy by using these scrappy ways to promote content in 2017.
Promote To Industry Professionals
Getting industry professionals to share your content with their networks can be a highly effective tactic for boosting your content’s performance; however, targeting professionals strictly for your own promotional purposes can be a delicate proposition.
You’ll first want to identify professionals that should be engaging with your content. This could be industry leaders, aligned brands, guest bloggers, writers, customers, etc. Be sure to base your selections on more than just audience size, because even smaller networks can have a large impact on your content promotion.
Next, start building strong two-way relationships with your network—comment on insights through social, ask for expertise, schedule phone introductions, share content, and even invite local professionals for a face-to-face meeting over coffee.
Be sure to focus on listening. Ask about current projects, challenges, and successes. When (and if) your content can provide value to their interests, share it with them.
Here are some common scenarios that follow:
They ignored you, your content doesn’t resonate, or they had negative feedback: This could indicate that your content isn’t aligned appropriately or you are connecting with the wrong audience. Either way, this information can help inform your next interactions.
They enjoyed your content, shared with their network, or had positive feedback: Great, you’ve identified the right professionals and your content speaks to them. In this scenario, they may naturally share with their networks and improve your reach—if they don’t share, you can ask them why and what needs to change to fulfill their expectations.
Since visual content is designed to be understood quickly, you’re not typically asking for a significant time investment from an industry professional, colleague, or friend when they review your content. This can increase the likelihood of earning feedback or social shares.
Experiment with Social Advertising Campaigns
Investing in paid advertising, particularly on new channels, can be a challenging topic of conversation for many marketers and their managers. Between justifying your reason for advertising to finalizing a budget and proving campaign ROI, it’s probably not process that you want duplicate often.
In reality, experimenting with a variety of paid campaigns can be accomplished relatively quickly, be budget-friendly, and can take the performance of your visual content to the next level by unlocking previously untapped audiences.
First identify 3-5 social networks for testing—preferably networks where your brand is already active.
Next, create multiple ad variations on each network that showcases your visual content. The creation process and best practices for ads that stand out vary between platforms, so be sure to brush up on the latest techniques when necessary.
After creating your ads, you’ll select your target audience, length of your promotion, and budgeting requirements for each campaign. When testing, it’s best to keep your ad spend relatively low for the first 5-10 days. This minimizes your financial risk while you determine which ads perform best; scale your spend when appropriate.
By using multivariate testing through different social channels for your visual content promotion, you can better identify which networks are most effective—this means finding where conversions costs are lowest, where the most engagement is generated, and overall how to get the most bang for your buck.
Develop Syndication Relationships
Getting your visual content shared or referenced with large publishers can quickly increase your impressions, hit new audiences, and add the benefit of third party recognition that only a major publisher can provide.
Building syndication relationships is a widely misunderstood strategy, but it can be accomplished in a similar manner to reaching out to industry professionals. Success ultimately comes down to creating excellent content, consistently meeting the publisher expectations, and connecting with the right professionals.
Start by identifying professionals that frequently write content that aligns with the subject matter that you are interested in promoting. You can typically find them by searching for your industry keywords on major publisher sites e.g, Forbes, The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, etc.
Next, you guessed it, begin networking. Share their content, interact through the comments section on articles, and connect on LinkedIn. Remember not to be too pushy with your agenda; if your content aligns with their interests, they’ll likely share naturally.
While there is no definite timetable, overtime you can begin to earn introductions to other writers, columnists, and editors who handle syndication relationships. Be wary of any content contributor that guarantees your content will be published for a price; this is usually unethical. Publishers accept payment for sponsored content or for advertisements.
Additionally, many of the major publications have a section on their site where you can apply to contribute content. To increase your chances of being accepted, prepare your best portfolio and create content ideas that are actionable, resourceful, and can provide value to both your network and their audience—you’re catering to the needs of each editor, so put yourself in their shoes.
In spite of the increasing challenges and competition that hamper visual content campaigns, the savvy, strategic, and the scrappy marketing professionals should be more than equipped to adapt and reach their business goals in 2017 and beyond.