PUBCON 2014 - Content Promotion - Larry Kim, WordStream


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THIS is how to promote your content!

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  • Everyone’s jumping on the content marketing bandwagon. A noisy space is getting even noisier and noisier!
  • As a result, it’s critical that we adopt new tactics and strategies to stay ahead of the curve
  • Content Promotion matters because SEO is a terrible great tactic for brand building. By definition, you’re targeting people who know what they’re looking for but not where to get it – meaning these are people who are unfamiliar with your brand.
  • I learned this the hard way. For the last 6 years, I’ve grown my organic search traffic by over 8% / month. My blog today does nearly 600k visitors / month. I thought I was kicking butt!
  • Unfortunately, on closer inspection, I realized that things were not as great as I had thought.
  • I had very low user engagement. People would find my site and stay for around 94 seconds on average. And around 80% of the visitors would never come back!
  • Another problem was that only 3% of my organic traffic was coming from branded searches. Meaning, 97% of the time, my visitors weren’t familiar with my brand.
  • So while traffic numbers were skyrocketing, there was an issue – that the seo had gotten ahead of the brand.
  • So today I want to share with you how content promotion efforts built my brand and saved the day.
  • At WordStream, I do about one content promotion project every quarter. In my presentation today I’ll share with you the strategy and results of one such content promotion from just over a year ago – this effort generated over 10,000 press pick-ups and over 10 million unique visitors.
  • Most content promotion efforts are doomed before they even start. Great content promotion starts long before you even start creating content. At wordstream I employ a reverse funnel approach to promoting content.
  • What I mean by this is that I start with our goals first – what kinds of publications do we hope to cover this story? What kind of stories do those publications love? Basically, rather than getting news organizations to cover things I want to talk about, I produce content that is aligned with what I think they want to cover, and is therefore more easily promotable in the first place.
  • We looked at the calendar and saw that the big Facebook IPO was a month away. So our big idea was to put together a head-to-head analysis comparing ads on Facebook vs. the Google display network. We would release the just days before the big IPO and ride on the coat tails of all the Facebook IPO coverage.
  • A key to content promotion is having a strong story hook. Since there’s many different types of publications out there, it’s important that you have different hooks.I call this having a “so what” factor in your stories – as in “so what, why should someone care about this?”. You would be surprised at how many content marketing projects have no point to them. Answer these questions before you write a line of content.
  • No, the story didn’t go viral on its own. So now let’s talk about the various content promotion strategies that I used.
  • Starting with twitter. Reporters hang out on twitter. So, I just sent some messages to specific people who were covering the story, like this guy from the Guardian, who promptly wrote up the story and sent me a link back in just a few minutes.
  • Early on I pitched my colleagues, such as danny Sullivan and rand fishkin who helped me by tweeting the article and submitting it to But beyond people in our industry, there are many other super connectors on social media with huge followings that can help.For example, I once pitched Tim O’Reilly – he’s the publisher of O’Reilly Media and has over 3 million followers on Google+. Anyway, he ended up posting a link to the story on his timeline and that generated over a hundred re-shares and tens of thousands of visitors to our content.
  • To help with content promotion, we created some easily sharable visual assets. In this case, we did a full infographic, however we’ve also had great success with smaller professional looking figures and charts.
  • Since our content included visual data assets, we found that pinterest was remarkably effective for content promotion – we got over 1000 pins and all I had to do was to include the pin button.
  • I think of my content projects as campaigns, rather than individual stories. I always come up with a minimum of 3 follow-up stories ahead of time, for example, reasons to buy facebook stock, reasons to sell facebook stock at the IPO, why General Motors dumped Facebook, etc. These follow up stories all refer back to the original story and keep it alive for another news cycle.
  • You may have noticed that the organic reach for your facebook posts are going to zero.
  • In addition to organic content promotion efforts, be sure to allocate some budget towards promoting your content as promoted posts in twitter and facebook. Sure, it’s not free but neither is content creation.
  • Another critical promotion effort is to use remarketing. Remember that the point of your content marketing and promotion efforts is to build your brand. So cookie everyone who reads your content and make sure they never forget about your brand by chasing them across the google display network with your image ads.
  • On the google display network, you’ll be able to reach 84% of your visitors 10-18 days out of the month, across 5-10 different sites! That’s a huge way to build your brand.
  • It’s so amazing that of the million dollars I’m spending on search marketing year, more than half of it is being used to remarket to people who read my content.
  • It takes a lot of time and effort to create original research, so we repurpose our content. Talk to blog managers. Tell them that you did this interesting story, and ask them if they’d be open to you summarizing the findings for their audience. We also syndicate our blog content on various sites, including Yahoo Small Business, and many other publications.
  • Search marketers tend to focus on web publications, probably because they’re looking for a link. But you may not realize that TV and Radio stations, just like web publications, have journalists and editors looking for stories to cover, too. We’ve gotten covered on radio from NPR/BBC and television stations like Fox Business – these types of venues have huge audiences, often millions of listeners and this can be an incredible opportunity to build your brand and further drive press pick-ups.
  • About 50% of the over 10,000 press mentions I got were from international publications. Targeting the international media is easy. You target media outlets that translate articles from one language to another. So for example, the news networks like AP, AFP, Thompson Reuters, and Dow Jones, and IDG. Also some large companies like techcrunch and wired also internationalize their content. Once you’ve done that, local news reporters will pick up the story organically.
  • There’s a domino effect of content promotion. To make a story break though the noise, you need a certain amount of activation energy or traction to break through all the noise, and once you finally do, your efforts accelerate greatly. Make sure all of the above efforts are good all good to go at once.
  • Another tip I have here is to nurture your influential friends in the media. Don’t just pitch them your stories.
  • For example, I’m sure we all saw dan barker’s tweet that got 35k retweets.
  • What you probably didn’t know is that I drove the lions share of media coverage on that story. I was the first person to retweet the thing, and I then sent along the tweets to my friends in the media, who thanked me for the tip and wrote it up for their publication.By periodically sending along interesting stories that have nothing to do with your company, they will think of you as a helpful influential person.
  • Just a quick note on article quality vs. quantity here.
  • 4% of the articles on my site generate nearly half of the traffic on my website.
  • Furthermore 4% of my content generates 85% of the shares on social media.And 5% of my content generates 95% of the high value links.So we don’t bother with crap content. Instead we spend 80% of our time on content promotion and only 20% of our time on the creation of fewer, more awesome stories.
  • After you do this kind of content promotion efforts for a while, you end up building great relationships with influential people in the media, and they inevitably end up asking you to be a contributor to their publications.
  • I’m a columnist at nearly a dozen different publications. It’s important to understand how this works. I started out nobody, pitching writers at industry publications in hopes of getting pick-up. After a while, if I only pitch them great stuff, they come to appreciate my contributions and ask me to contribute as a columnist. At that point, I’ve come full circle. Now, I no longer have to pitch anyone since I’m a columnist there. See how that works?
  • At this point you might be thinking to yourself. Wow this seems like a lot of work. Can I really do this?
  • Well let’s see. Do you use Facebook? Do you or one of your clients advertise on Google? Could you put together a study that compares ad performance on Facebook vs. Google. Yes, you could have. Everyone here in this room could have done this. It’s mostly just a matter of coming up with the idea and executing on it.
  • To wrap this up, I wanted to talk about the impact of content promotion on my brand.
  • Remember that 80% bounce rate? Well it’s down to between 40-70% now.
  • And time on site? It’s tripled.
  • And what about direct traffic, which is sort of a proxy for brand recall since people have to directly type in a URL. That’s nearly tripled.
  • Thanks guys. Hit me up if you need help with your paid search campaigns. (you got that right, I said paid search).
  • PUBCON 2014 - Content Promotion - Larry Kim, WordStream

    1. 1. CONFIDENTIAL – DO NOT DISTRIBUTE 1 Building Your Brand With Content Promotion! Larry Kim (@larrykim) Founder/CTO, WordStream, Inc. March 18, 2014
    2. 2. Epiphany #1: SEO is Terrible for Brand Building
    3. 3. Organic Search Success? • Blog does 600k Uniques / Month, +8.4% / month. Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    4. 4. SEO Success! (Or.. not?) Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    5. 5. Problem 1: Low Visitor Engagement Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    6. 6. Problem 2: Virtually No Branded Searches Larry Kim (@larrykim)
    7. 7. So Actually … Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    8. 8. Epiphany #2: Build Your Brand with Content Promotion!
    9. 9. Content Promotion Case Study • +10,000 Press Pick-ups, +10M Pageviews • Huge Brand Exposure!! Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    10. 10. Epiphany #3: Start With The End In Mind
    11. 11. Create Methodological Plan to Succeed Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    12. 12. Our Big Idea! Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    13. 13. “So What” Factor (Your Hook) Type of Publication Example Publications Hook / Angle Business WSJ, Motley Fool, Etc. Do FB Ads Work? Technology Wired, TheNextWeb, Techcrunch, etc. Who Actually Clicks on FB Ads? Small Business Small Biz Trends, Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur Are FB Ads Effective Grow My Small Business? Marketing Search Engine Land, Marketing Profs, etc. How FB ads Compare to GOOG Display ads? Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    14. 14. Epiphany #4: Promote Your Content! (It’s more work than you think)
    15. 15. Use Twitter for Pitching Media Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    16. 16. Pitch Influencers, Too. Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    17. 17. Include Visual Assets Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    18. 18. Pinterest Pretty Effective! Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    19. 19. Follow Up Stories! Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    20. 20. Pay Up! Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    21. 21. Promoted Posts on Twitter & Facebook Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    22. 22. Use Remarketing on Google Display Network 92% reach across millions of sites, videos and devices Sites Games VideoFeeds MobileSocial media Adsense publisher network • 204M visitors/month • 92% of U.S. internet users • 317B impressions/month • Hundreds of comScore 1000 sites Doubleclick ad exchange • Hundreds of premium publishers, with hundreds of millions of ad placements available every day Google O&O properties YouTube • 1B+ video views/day • 2nd largest search engine • 5% of all online time spent Google sites • Finance • Blogger 8.1M Display Network Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    23. 23. Typical Reach of Remarketing… 1. Reach 2. Frequency 3. DiversityOn various pagesReach more users Reach them frequently Of the typical remarketing audience, find Reach them on between As they visit 20 or more pages on a typical day across 84% …within a month 10-18 days … or more out of the month 5-10 sites … of which all pages and sites have ad space available to Google Display Network buyers Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    24. 24. Seriously, Use Remarketing. • 43 Million Ad Impressions in a typical month • Display Ads = 50% of PPC Spend Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    25. 25. Repurpose & Syndicate Content Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    26. 26. Don’t Forget Television and Radio! Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    27. 27. Target International Press! Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    28. 28. Domino Effect of Content Promotion Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    29. 29. Epiphany #4: Build Relationships with Influential People
    30. 30. Dan Barker’s Tweet Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    31. 31. I Drove The Press Coverage of That Tweet Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    32. 32. Epiphany #5 A Note on Article Quality vs. Quantity
    33. 33. Quality Articles Win By a Landslide 4% of My Articles Generate Nearly Half the Page Views. How? Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    34. 34. Article Quality vs. Quantity. 1. 4% of content gets 85% of the social shares. 2. 5% of content get +95% of the high value links 3. So … Don’t Bother with all the Crap Content. Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    35. 35. Epiphany #6 Be The Expert
    36. 36. Become a Columnist • #1 Columnist at Search Engine Land in 2013 • Over 400 articles on Search Marketing in 2013 Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    37. 37. Epiphany #7 A Note on Effort & Skill Required. Is This Really Possible?
    38. 38. You Can Do It! Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    39. 39. Epiphany #8 What’s the Benefit of all this Content Promotion Work?!
    40. 40. Impact on Repeat User Rate • New Visitor Rate Fell From 79.8% to 66.63% • (Meaning, Visitors are Now Returning) Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    41. 41. Impact on User Engagement • Time on Site Increased from 1:33 to 4:35 (TRIPLED!!) Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    42. 42. Direct Traffic Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon • TRIPLED!!!
    43. 43. Content Promotion: Light Our Darkest Hour!! Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon
    44. 44. Your Questions Thank You PUBCON! Benchmark your AdWords account today! Larry Kim Larry Kim (@larrykim) #wordstream #pubcon