The Secret to Effective Content Promotion

Long Tail Dead Bodies
Nobody’s going to read your blog unless there’s something in it for them.
– Seth Godin

Nobody’s going to link to your blog unless there’s something in for them.
– Hugh MacLeod

Hugh published the above as The Two Immutable Laws of Blogging back in January of 2006. I tried to be a bit more specific with The 5 Immutable Laws of Persuasive Blogging in February of this year.

At the core, Hugh was dead on. My five immutable laws focused more on creating content that has something in it for the reader. This post is focused on creating a promotion that has something in it for the linkerati who you hope will promote your content.

Rather than a “how to” post, I’m going to give you a concrete illustration. Copyblogger reader Chris Mitchell wrote me to share his story of how he successfully promoted a post he wrote. It’s an excellent example of the mindset that’s required to get influential blogs and websites to link to you.

I’ll let Chris tell it in his own words:

I recently posted Seven Tips for Taking a Laptop Traveling on my blog. I thought it worked well as both a tech and a travel piece, so was worth submitting to big AOL travel blog and big lifehacks site

I am shameless about submitting my own content if I know, deep down, that it’s one of my better written pieces with a good headline and no waffle in the prose. And also because, frankly, no one else is going to submit it for me.

Just before I sent the tip, I found a good post taking the opposite view of mine on the TravMonkey travel blog, arguing you shouldn’t bother taking a laptop traveling.

A light bulb went on. If I sent both article links to Gadling and Lifehack, showcasing the opposing views, then it would make it a much more interesting tip for those blogs to post about.

Turns out I was right. We both got blogged on Gadling and Lifehack and have enjoyed a whole bunch of new visitors as a result.

Savvy PR pros know that the way to get clients featured in the news is to do as much of the reporter’s job as possible. The same is true for influential bloggers. They need content, and the better you are at providing them with a compelling and complete post, the better your odds are.

The secret to effective content promotion is putting together a pitch that has something in it for them. Chris understood that simply sending over your link—no matter how good the post might be—is often not enough. You need to provide a feature, a story, an item. Something that makes the blogger’s life easier and best serves their audience, not just your desire for a link.

And guess what? That’s how this post came about as well. Chris is on a roll.

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Reader Comments (30)

  1. says

    In this instance, the “item” is collaboration.

    As irony would have it, Chris is having TravMonkey, someone who had the direct opposite viewpoint, guest blog for him.

    It’s strange how the world spins sometimes.


  2. says

    It’s great to hear practical examples of promotion beyond “linking to other sites” and “comment on as many blogs as possible.”

    This is good insight and something to keep in mind for those of us wanting to build traffic.

  3. says

    This is fantastic advice. I worked in communications before getting into SEO Copy and I don’t know why I didn’t make the connection about providing bloggers with a story or an item. (much like preparing a story for a reporter through a press release, down to writing in journalistic style).

  4. says

    I’m wondering if this has more relevance to tech blogs than to a political writer’s blog. I can’t seem to find blogs that would link to political pieces or writing posts.

  5. says

    Hey, great post! Thanks!

    I actually never thought of submitting my posts to other bloggers/websites. Usually I just leave it up to others to link back to my blog…with little success. But after reading this post, I’ll give it a try!!!

  6. Dennis says

    This post shows the advantages of taking a proactive approach to building traffic.

    Personally I have usually taken the “build it and they will come” approach.

    But, as you point out, they won’t — not unless you tell them about what you’ve built.


  7. says

    Your competition can often be your best sales affiliate.

    ‘Nuff said.

    Not ’nuff ? Okay, go find the highest ranking site(s) for your topic and find a way to help them serve their customers.

  8. says

    A very nice post on how to promote blog contents in a slightly different way, Brian. A unique insight.

    Your competition can often be your best sales affiliate.

    Couldn’t agree more.

  9. says

    “Savvy PR pros know that the way to get clients featured in the news is to do as much of the reporter’s job as possible.”

    Exactly. But you need to tell a reporter not just the facts of the story, but why it’s important.

  10. says

    It seems easy enough to grasp, but finding that balance…finding what you want to convey, and getting it right. If I could put the pieces together, it would help!

  11. says

    I was just hoping that after a few months of writing quality content, links would just naturally happen. Maybe I should be a little more aggressive…

  12. says

    I going to have to say that I think Bobrink might be on to something..I think it’s fair to say that when you first start blogging and don’t have ‘high profile’ friends helping push your content to the masses you do need to get a little bit more aggressive when it come to promoting you blog.

    As much as I’ve seen Seth Godin referred to here, I still don’t see reference to Squidoo nearly as much as I would like.

    For a blogger trying to get noticed as a resource, Squidoo is a great tool for capturing long tail keywords and introducing your ideas to a captive audience…Anyway that’s just my two sense and we wouldn’t want you to go listening to a retard…lol

  13. says

    To target your blog you should know your audience and make sure the content is 100% what your visitor is looking for.

    To many times blogs are up on the net with no purpose or no reason.

  14. says

    It’s great to see a concrete example to emulate. Yes, I’m going to be ‘inspired’ by this way of promoting my site/blog.

  15. says

    content rocks, if there is anything that your reader thinks is worthy of visiting your blog again, you get a lot of return visitors.

  16. says

    This is a fantastic idea. You could also flip it – if you’re a blogger and you have no idea what to write for your next article, look for opposing viewpoints on something you care about and blog about it! A good example, link building using directories. You could find bloggers who say this is 100% useful and they highly recommend it, and find others who think it’s a waste of time and you should find natural ways of gaining link bait. (I’m in the latter of the two camps.) Then write a blog summing both stories up with your own experience.

    Oh, then submit it to somebody else to feature! Hehehe!

    The possibilities are endless!

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