Why Content Promotion is a Virtuous Necessity

Along with the debate over whether the term linkbait is good or bad for content creators and marketers, there’s also been a related debate going on. What’s more important, content or promotion?

I wish I had been bookmarking all the discussion along the way, because there have been a lot of key insights. However, I think Lee Odden summarizes the consensus quite clearly:

If you create great content and no one knows about it to link to it, you’re spinning your wheels. A combination of content as well as social networking, link networking, public relations and gaining editorial visibility as well as viral and individual link solicitations will all work together synergistically. Building a community of consumers of your content as well as relationships with the media in your industry is the distribution network necessary to gain the most link value out of creating great content.

Content or promotion? Yes to both.

It’s no secret that I’m a content guy. But I’ve always promoted my content behind the scenes to get started in a niche, and I may have been guilty of taking it for granted that everyone understood that as well. To rectify, I recently followed up my post about cornerstone content with one about getting the word out.

Creating great content makes promoting it relatively painless. In fact, creating great content and not getting it noticed is an online marketing sin.

The key to successful content promotion is to start relationships, not beg for links. Over time, you’ll find yourself part of a relevant network within your niche, and content promotion becomes a whole lot easier going forward.

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Comments

  1. You are a sage, my friend. Good observations.

  2. Does it have to be “either/or” or “which is more important?” To me, it seems like more an issue of “What comes first?” And content always has to come first in my mind. You have to have something to link to, to promote, to sell. In order for marketing to even exist, you must have a product/service/content, right?

  3. Cam, thanks!

    Cory, yep.

  4. I think these days it’s just understood to link people. I mean you don’t even have to ask whether you can link. You just do it within the story. And of course naturally online ‘friends’ do you the same favor. It’s becoming part of the etiquette now. In the end everybody’s happy, and everyone wins.

  5. There’s no chicken vs. egg question here for me; quality content comes first.

    You can skip that part and try to market sloppy junk, but then you’re just marketing a “mule in a horse harness.”

    Write really good stuff, THEN have your “BBDO/Ogilvy & Mather” moment.

  6. Brian,
    This is great advice. I’ve used this strategy for promotion and it works.

    About promoting your own content… I think people get confused between the difference between ethical self-promotion and spamming.

    To me spam is a lot like what that supreme court justice said about porn. It’s hard to clearly define. But you know it when you see it.

  7. If a bear craps in the forest and no one was there to see… did it really happen? If you save a cat from a burning tree and the TV crew is not there to interview you, you’re not going to be a local hero.
    If you create great content and no one is there to read … well, in short, I think promotion is absolutely essential to humankind :-)

  8. What’s more important, content or promotion?

    The question seems absurd to me, like “What’s more important, eating or sh!tting?” ;)

  9. You nailed it in that last two paragraphs. It could not have been explained better.

  10. That’s some good advice Brian. Great content is nothing if nobody reads it.

    I have a question though about the best way to go about promoting yourself.

    Does anyone have any advice for a new blogger about good promotion tactics?

    Granted, I am still working on my cornerstone content, which must come first before I start promoting my site. But I am interested to hear about how other bloggers do it.

    Particularly when first starting out.

  11. I write about 2-3 articles per month. Could you recommend a good place to distribute articles? Submitting it manually to many places is time consuming and I may miss out on other good places.

    Thomas

  12. Agreed. I tell folks that promotion and advertising through a great marketing strategy will bring them… and content will keep them!

  13. Thanks for drawing attention to this Brian. The missing component to most discussions about links and content is the issue of distribution. A network or community of relationships is what makes links and content meaningful. Alone, they have little value.

  14. I think the key is this debate isn’t an either or proposition. You can have the best content on the web, but if no one ever sees it what does it matter.

    Of course you can promote garbage content all you want and it’s still garbage.

    Why dp so many debates in the seo community seem to imply that you have to choose one or the other? Every aspect of your site and business needs to work together if you want to be successful.

  15. I am becoming addicted to your site. You are putting into words stuff I think about and am not sure how to articulate. Great stuff. Stick

  16. What if your niche doesn’t exist?

  17. Would you consider writing a bit more about how to build those relationships, for those of us who just aren’t all that good at that sort of thing?

  18. I have spend some time writing what I see as great content, some cornerstone or foundation articles/posts. All of which I will begin to publish on my site to see if my opinions of my writing are echoed amogst my readers.

    I will certainly re-align my style and content, and their promotion, after feedback from some readers.

    OK, enough chat. I am off to promote my content….

  19. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who dedicate most of their times to gaining visibility and promoting their articles and forget about writing something useful. This is why this content vs marketing controversy arose from the first place.