First and foremost let's look at the type of content we're talking about here...
Surveys and poll results
Certainly not an exhaustive list of content types, but you get the idea.
So you've created some great content that can be used for natural link-building, but what if you want to give it an extra push? (And if you're an SEO, you're more than likely inclined to want to.)
Here are four simple tips for promoting your content...
1. Target the right audience
It goes without saying that the more engaging and interesting your content, the more links you'll receive.
But you also need to think about your audience. Yes, you want something attention-grabbing and relevant, but you also want to create content that will interest as wide an audience as possible within your target market. And it goes without saying that the broader the interest, the more links you can create. And if you're content's relevant to your website, those are likely to be good quality links.
A real-world example: TeamSport Go Karting wanted to publish an infographic on its site. Now I'll be the first to admit that go karting is interesting, but are there lots of new links that could be generated from a karting infographic? Well, a few, but if you compare its potential to that of Formula 1, it pales in comparison. (For our US counterparts, I should probably mention that F1 is huge in European and Asian countries). So, because karting is a gateway to F1, creating an F1 infographic would result in a better opportunity for TS to target a good volume of quality websites (general news, F1, Motorsport).
On the flip side, quality not quantity is the biggest measure of SEO these days, so your strategy might be to get a link on a big domain site like Mashable or the BBC. Why not spend your time researching their current content and what they publish and tailor your content specifically to them (oh, and don't forget to double-check that your target link does have a good ROI). So, yes, this strategy is more risky than the "lets get loads of good links" strategy, but it can also pay off really well.
2. Publish it properly
Ensure you give your content the best start in life by publishing it in the right place. Getting people who are already visiting and engaged with your website to share your content is one of the easiest opportunities.
The three main options for publishing your content on your own site:
- Via your Blog. Make sure it doesn't get buried, and try to link to it from other sections of your site.
- Via an existing page the SEO performance of which you want to improve. Now you have to be careful here; it's often tricky to integrate content into existing product pages without having it look out of place. You really need to think about the context.
- Via a new page created specifically for it.
When publishing your content, don't forget to include an embed code with an appropriate call to action. Doing so will make it easier for others to publish it correctly on their website or blog. Plus, by setting up it up correctly—with a hyperlink citing your site as the source—you also ensure you receive a link back to your site.
Including social functionality on your content page is also an easy win, as it will increase the number of natural social shares.
3. Use social media
Social media is the obvious choice for actively promoting your content. Make sure you post and promote through all obvious channels: Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn. And don't forget to reinvent your media: For example, are there different headlines you can use to try grab another audience's attention? Doing so will keep your links fresh and relevant while enabling you to reach a wider audience.
Engaging people is also key. Try to open up a conversation or debate relating to your content. It's beneficial to think about this before creating your content. For example, in the following infographic, you can see Walton Robinson (an accommodation provider for students in the UK) created an infographic around the newsworthy subject of graduate employment rates. That is a topic relevant to the student community—thus increasing the likelihood of catching people's attention and being shared.
4. Reach out to influencers
Influencer outreach ties in with social media. Don't be afraid to reach out. Identify who's influential in your subject area (usually those with lots of followers and friends) and get in touch. If they share your content, you'll be able to reach a much wider net of people.
And don't forget... influencer outreach isn't just aimed at the social gurus. Break out from the social arena. Spend a bit of time researching your community and take advantage of the Fresh Web Explorer tool from SEOmoz (now Moz) to see which sites are talking about your subject. Getting directly involved in your community is also a great way of identifying new content opportunities.
So, once you've identified your targets, spend a bit of time investigating who's who in terms of the editorial staff and fire off a quick, informal email bigging-up your fancy new content (along with a link to the page it's originally published on). I should point, though, that the informal/formal nature of your email depends on whom you're contacting and what content you're promoting. If your gut tells you it needs to be more formal, go with it, even dust off those press release skills if you think that's necessary.