6 Marketing Strategies You Cannot Afford to Ignore

Give this post a solid 5 minute read and I promise you will have a killer brand in a matter of days, not months. This is not the type of post you should skim. I’ve distilled down 6 crucial tactics and included and included a step by step execution plan for each one.

If you don’t focus on these strategies now… you will hate yourself later. Think of marketing like compound interest; the earlier you start, the bigger payout you’ll see down the road.

1. Content Amplification

People think that the lifespan of a blog post ends when you hit the publish button. In reality, the exponential returns happen after the article is live, but they don’t happen automatically. If you follow the strategy below, you will get articles promoted on the biggest news websites and blogs on the internet, get them shared by industry leaders, and see a sharp increase in conversions.

Outbrain Content Marketing
Pictured above: Promoted articles on CNN using Outbrain

Strategy in a nutshell:

  • Write a blog post
  • Pay for syndication using Outbrain, Taboola, Content.ad. (Outbrain is my favorite)
  • Determine which article has the biggest viral potential (as in which article is getting the most shares and driving the most conversions)
  • Keep paying for syndication on that article, cut the budget from the others.
  • Optimize the headlines on the top articles for CTR, which in turn, lowers your overall cost per click.
  • Once you’ve found the best article, ask thought leaders to share it. Since it’s getting good reception, it is more likely to go viral amongst the target niche.
  • After you do this a few times, make a note of what type of articles work the best, and write more of those. After a while, you won’t have to pay for syndication anymore.

Common mistakes: Not testing an article on Outbrain before asking a thought leader to share it, paying for syndication for too long, dumping money into poorly performing content, not split testing headlines.

Tools I Recommend For Syndication: Outbrain, Gravity, nRelate, Taboola

Outcome: Your blog posts will be virtually guaranteed to go viral.

2. Thought Leadership and Guest Blogging

venture-beat-guest-post

Imagine if you were a journalist and you were allowed to promote your own company. Turns out, this is very possible. Big brands do this, but small companies don’t even realize it’s possible.

News publications are short on writers. They rely on experts to help offset the workload of writing articles. Getting a guest author role is very easy. Here’s how: journalists LOVE exclusive coverage of something and access to information they can’t get themselves. If you have data or a piece of content that you’re willing to publish only with them, they’ll chomp at the bit to get you writing for them.

Strategy in a nutshell:

  • Identify 20 target publications that you want to be a guest author on.
  • Put together a personal brand package. This is very simple, basically a list of content that you’ve written, bullets on why you are an expert, and what exclusive piece of content you have to offer. Keep it short.
  • Track down the E-mail addresses of the editor, or use their online form.
  • Wait for responses.
  • Keep an excel spreadsheet of all your interactions. Set reminders to follow up.

Outcome: You’ll gain the ability to post infinite articles posted on sites like Huffington Post, NYT Bits Blog, etc.

3. sponsored Content

Red areas highlight where viewers looked the most; blue depicts the least-viewed regions of the page; while gray didn't attract any attention. The green boxes highlight advertisements.
Red areas highlight where viewers looked the most; blue depicts the least-viewed regions of the page; while gray didn’t attract any attention. The green boxes highlight advertisements.

Look at the above image.

Advertisement’s attract only a tiny portion of user attention. What’s worse? The actions that they do attract are often low quality users and accidental clicks. Sponsored content, on the other hand, attracts the same attention as regularly consumed content.

3 million blog posts are written daily. The Internet is experiencing a huge influx of content and traditional channels for content discovery are getting flooded. Even channels like Outbrain are no longer extremely cost effective.

Strategy in a nutshell:

  • Identify top bloggers and influencers that offer sponsored posts. Tools like BuzzSumo can help you find them. Otherwise, just reach out to blogs you like.
  • Strategize with the blogger about the best way to position your content.
  • Negotiate a fair price, be sure to investigate the metrics of the blogger or influencer. Many blogs look good on the surface, but fail to deliver traffic. It will take some time to figure out how much to pay.
  • Repeat this process for as many bloggers as necessary.
  • Often times, only 1 out of 5 bloggers or influencers delivers an ROI, so you should work with at least 20 bloggers before giving up.
  • Maintain a spreadsheet of your relationships. Keep a log of the price each blogger charges, their contact information, and the posts performance metrics.

Outcome: You’ll get extremely highly converting clicks and traffic for a fraction of the cost

Note: You will quickly learn that sponsored content from bloggers and influencers is in the infancy stages. The pricing doesn’t seem to have rhyme or reason, it’s hard to coordinate posts, and paying these influencers can be troublesome. For these reasons, I built NeoReach, a platform for sponsored content that automates the above steps.

4. Social Listening & Responses

I got approximately 10,000 people to view a post that I wrote on Reddit. The post also gained over 75 comments. As a first time poster in that particular subreddit, these results were quite promising. How did I do it? I realized that a TON of people r/startups were convinced the only way to be successful was to raise venture capital. Naturally, when I wrote a post explaining that you don’t have to raise VC dollars to be successful, the post was a huge hit. (See post here)

Strategy in a nutshell:

  • Sign up for a service like Mention.co
  • Wait for someone to ask a question about something relating to your brand or industry.
  • Write a response to their question, this will generally be on a Forum or Quora.
  • Interact with people directly by asking new questions on Reddit and Quora.
  • Directly target questions that are getting thousands of views, but no answers.

5. Video Syndication

Video’s get significantly more views than written content. This stat holds true in virtually every niche. Let me give you some context:

In takes an average of 1800 blog posts to pull the same number of views and impact as one minute of video, according to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research. Do you have the time and energy to write 1800 blog posts? (nearly 2,000,000 words)

It would take an average content writing team approximately 150 days of writing to achieve the impact of just one minute of video. In short: video marketing is possibly the single best use of your time.

Strategy in a nutshell:

  • Make a couple, easy to consume, videos about your brand or niche. This tends to be easier for B2B companies, since you can make informative videos.
  • Syndicate online.
  • Reverse engineer where the other videos got their traffic from and post in the same places. You can use tools like Majestic.com or OpenSiteExplorer for this. Some places (like Vimeo) will clearly show where the traffic comes from.

Tools for finding where traffic comes from: Majestic.com, OpenSiteExplorer.com, Pasting Link into Google

Tools for syndication: Taboola

Outcome: Your videos will gain an initial seeding that allows them to spread virally within your relevant community. You, in turn, get significant credit as a thought leader.

6. Pinpointed Press Outreach

NY-times-building

Many people blindly reach out to the press and get a terribly low response rate. The most valuable aspect to lean PR is reaching out to the RIGHT journalist and handing them a story on a silver platter. If you make their job easy… they’ll work with you.

Strategy in a nutshell:

  • Identify 20 journalists that talk about student founders, startups, etc
  • Craft a compelling story. Maybe some data you collected, maybe some piece of insight that only you would know about out.
  • Tell the journalist you’ll give them an exclusive, but in return, you want more control over the content and language.
  • Basically write the story in bullet form for them. Let them turn into paragraphs. (It will come out exactly like you wrote it)
  • Repeat the same process with bloggers

Other strategies to consider:

  • SEO
  • Retargeting
  • Pay per click
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Whitepaper distribution
  • Webinars
  • Infographics
  • Drip E-mail Marketing

The six strategies above area all content based strategies, which most companies are ignoring. There is also a whole other realm, which is programmatic ad buying and SEO.

Then… of course… there is branding.

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