One of the biggest social media myths is the following:
Content wants to be free.
As if content were locked in a dirty cell, hands gripping the iron bars, and longingly gazing out at a field of wind-swept clover. It isn’t quite like that.
The quote is attributed to Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog. The actual quotation is “Information wants to be free.” Brand argued that technology has the capacity to liberate people rather than oppress them. That once an idea or a piece of scientific knowledge escapes from its confines it spreads.
That I agree with.
However, most online and social media content – blog posts, photographs, infographics, white papers, studies and reports, tweets – is like the shy, geeky guy at a middle school dance who the pretty girls ignore.
Most online content languishes – unread, unliked, un-retweeted, and unloved.
One of the most difficult – and least understood – aspects of social media is syndication. In other words, after you create a piece of cool and interesting content how do you get the right people to find, engage, and share it, especially in an environment that sees the creation of 200 million tweets and 24 hours of YouTube video every single day?
Syndication is tricky – and extremely difficult. It is also one of the major reasons why PR agencies are better at social media than advertising agencies. PR people are trained to pitch stories and entice audiences to content. Advertising agencies are skilled at creating creative content, but they are used to buying people’s attention.
The best way to get content noticed is to create really compelling content that provides insight and value. Once you do that here are seven ideas for getting that content noticed.
1. Content Hub: The Center of Your Social Universe
Do you have a blog or a content hub at the center of your content strategy? Think of a content hub as the heart of a content strategy. The hub should be connected to your website and have pathways to all of your social media assets. Make sure that it is enabled with RSS – to allow for subscriptions – and has an email newsletter connected to it – going out at least once a month with content highlights and links. And make sure your hub has lots of share buttons!
2. SEO It: Give Your Audiences a Pathway to Your Content
Most people still find content through search engines – although that is rapidly changing because of social networks. So make sure your content can be found organically by making sure the content is optimized for search. This means focusing on search as you are creating the content. What are the keywords and terms people use to find your products and services? Are these keywords and terms being used in your content? Are you providing hyperlinks to these keywords and terms in the content?
3. Media and Bloggers: Still the Best at Bringing Large Audiences to Your Content
Have you developed relationships with the media and bloggers in your industry? Media and bloggers are in a constant search for content, ideas and story material. Will your content help them develop a story? Does the content provide an illustration for a trend piece they are working on? Does the content break news or provide an interesting perspective that will interest journalists and influencers in your space?
4. Community Management: It’s All About Creating Relationships
Many people think that community management is solely about monitoring and engaging on a brand’s own social channels. That is definitely an important part of the job, but not the only one. Community management can also be about engaging on a brand’s behalf on other social media channels like aggregation sites such as Reddit and Digg.com. These are news and information sharing communities with robust and active participants. Do you have relationships in these communities? Will your content be of interest to them? What about forums and online communities specifically geared to your industry? Are you active there? Is your content of interest to them?
5. Business and Media Partnerships: New Opportunities Abound
Do you create a lot of content with business partners? Are they helping you distribute that content on their social networks? Have you talked to media companies that have been developing new ways to work with brands to syndicate content? For example, many newspapers and magazines now have online blogger communities. Can you get your blog into that network? Traditional media companies are also developing new products and services and want to partner with brands – such as co-sponsored topic channels and opportunities to partner at events.
6. Social Advertising: Effective and Cost-Effective
Broadcasting your content on your social channels is an excellent way to reach your existing fans and followers. But with small investments of advertising on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks you can reach larger audiences. Facebook and Twitter are doing the best at this so far. Facebook – for small investments – allows you to target your advertising to specific demographics with their sponsored stories. It works remarkably well in maximizing your engagement. Sponsored tweets are also a great way to drive content on Twitter. Advertising isn’t always an option, but social advertising brings a lot of bang for the buck.
7. Optimizing the Full Social Spectrum
Are you fully utilizing ALL of the social channels available? Does your audience listen to podcasts? Do you have an account at document sharing sites like SlideShare and Scribd? Is your audience on Pinterest or using location-based networks like Foursquare? Make sure you know the landscape of your target audience and get your content on those channels as well.
There are other ways, of course. Please feel free to share your tips on getting content noticed.
Wikipedia “Information wants to be free”