A list of tactics that you can implement today to achieve measurable success.
We’ve all been there: after you’ve sent out your automated email newsletters, posted some Facebook ads, and optimized your keywords, you’re still not seeing growth in your metrics. Whether you’re targeting increased engagement, downloads of your product, or sales of your service, you’re just not getting people into your funnel. You have a content marketing strategy, but the usual channels aren’t producing results anymore. What’s a growth marketer to do?
Before you panic, I’ve compiled some of the most overlooked and undervalued distribution channels to help jump-start your creativity and get your metrics back on track. Think about your current strategy and tactics; now brainstorm with your team how a few of these ideas might be your next big break. Keep calm, and grow on… everything’s going to be fine.
1. Repurposed Content
You’ve spent days, maybe even months, writing your eBook or white paper, but it’s just not getting traction. If only you could get more eyes onto your content and build more awareness, then you’re sure people will see the value you’ve created.
Don’t let your initial efforts go to waste. Create new bite-sized content from your original work, and distribute these digestible morsels to new channels:
· Hire an illustrator, and create an animated version of your content for YouTube.
· Channel your inner Michael Bay or Peter Jackson, and create a movie trailer for your long-form content.
· Demonstrate your credibility by answering questions on Quora, and link to your content as a real-world example.
· Design a slide deck of your content and share it on SlideShare.
· Mock-up colorful, useful infographics of your main concepts or proprietary data to share on your social sites and in other online groups.
Additionally, many companies now are turning their long-form content into several smaller blog posts, podcasts series, or guest articles in other publications. A current trend is to re-title and re-tool your content, and simply recycle/reuse ideas. The sky’s the limit: so get creative! Don’t be afraid to repurpose!
2. Interactive Content
If the age of smartphones, social media, and BuzzFeed have taught us anything, it’s that interactive content is addictive and has huge viral potential. Now, before you tell me that creating a quiz sounds click-baity and childish, hear me out! Quizzes have moved beyond finding out your dream celebrity date (Ryan Reynolds) or Game of Thrones dragon soulmate (Drogon). Quizzes can provide real value to users, and direct potential customers to your content or site by linking to landing pages in the quiz results.
Do you sell luxury, bepsoke vacation adventures? Create a quiz that allows users to find their dream destination based on their personality. On the results page, show the users an example of an actual custom-tailored adventure package your company has created (example: luxury yurts in the Gobi Desert or geodesic domes in Iceland) and then link to a landing page via a call-to-action button.
Quizzes aren’t the only interactive content ideas for you to try. Look what these users are doing to generate buzz on Instagram:
(a) hiddenheartbreak asked followers to comment their favorite illustration of hers for a chance to win it for free;
(b) pie_aerts asked his followers to tag their favorite undiscovered photography accounts for a chance to be featured in his live feed;
(c) drpimplepopper [page is nsfw or weak stomachs, sorry!] held international scavenger hunts for her branded dermatology tools, leaving picture clues in her feed of where she had hidden her products.
All of these accounts saw triple digit increases in engagement on these posts.
3. Ratings and Reviews
While reviews may not seem like a marketing tactic, studies show anything with reviews or ratings is more likely to be trusted and purchased. Creating effective ways for your users to review and rate your company, product, or service is a sure-fire way to build more awareness.
Why? Because reviews and ratings are an easy, heuristic way for people to evaluate before they buy. Reviews build social-proof of authenticity and quality, allowing users to gain trust and confidence in your brand. Create meaningful avenues for customers to rate and review your product in app stores; on Google, Yelp or TripAdvisor; within your website; or featured reviews in blogs, videos, or magazines.
Reviews are also a way to build community. When Sephora launched their internal review platform of their products, 32,000 ratings were made within the first 24 hours. The site transformed into community where make-up and beauty lovers debated products, decided on their next purchases, and shared with friends.
4. Featured Media
This is probably one of the more challenging tactics to pull off, but if accomplished, can produce BIG results. Getting your name and brand more publicity is key, and using media outlets to feature your content or product can be a successful distribution strategy.
But sending freebie tchotchkes, beta version of your newest product, or links to your long-form content to your favorite journalists at TechCrunch or HuffingtonPost can lead to disappointment and unanswered emails. Are there other ideas you can employ to get your company featured to build awareness?
*Pitch your entrepreneurial story to your favorite podcasts. Don’t write and say, “I’d love to talk about my new, amazing product.” Say, “I’d love to share my journey to success with you because I think your listeners will find true value and delight in hearing my story and lessons learned.”
*Pitch your lessons learned from launching and growing your company as a guest writer’s column in your favorite magazine or blog. Say, “I’ve learned so much from failing, pivoting, learning, and winning during my journey. I’d love to share what I’ve learned and my best practices with your readers.”
Blog aggregators are another good place to get your content featured. Do some research on which ones would best suit your industry.
5. Community Building
Building or participating in groups and online communities is a great way create visibility for and loyalty to your brand. I wrote a few weeks ago how “Participation” has become the new fifth “P” in the marketing mix framework. So, find or create participatory channels where your target customers congregate.
Remember: community isn’t a place or page; it’s a feeling.
a. Facebook Groups: Create or join a Facebook group that caters to your prospective clients. Are you a company with an app that links potential roommates together like Tinder? Join housing community groups and begin to comment on posts. Try to add legitimate value and build relationships; don’t just post advertisements for your app.
b. LinkedIn Groups: Professional groups on LinkedIn are a great way to liaise with stakeholders and potential customers of your company. Similar to Facebook groups, join these communities and become a go-to thought-leader.
c. Open Innovation: Sponsor creation of innovation and ideation by launching internal platforms or external contests for user-submitted ideas. The value of this channel is two-fold: (1) allows your company to get direct user feedback on problems and pain points they’re experiencing, and (2) fosters a community of like-minded customers to collaborate.
Take Dell Computers as an example: they launched IdeaStorm, an internal platform where users can submit product ideas or feature enhancements. Fellow community members will either upvote or downgrade the submissions, or even add comments or suggestions. Monthly, Dell sponsors “winners,” whose ideas will actually be built by the company.
I know. You don’t want to pay a 20-year-old serial entrepreneur and playboy Instagram star to hawk your product. It seems disingenuous and counter to your brand’s ethos. But influencers can take the shape of many personas beyond Snapchat make-up artists or YouTube gamers. Maybe one of these five can work for your brand:
(i) Advocate: an unaffiliated brand cheerleader, supporter, or defender who always has a kind word for the brand.
(ii) Ambassador: a semi-affiliated spokesperson who is allied with the brand to promote and publicize.
(iii) Citizen or Everyday Joe: a random person whose appeal and influence stem from their approach- and relate-ability; they are the unaffiliated girl next door or average Joe.
(iv) Professional: a thought-leader or subject-matter expert who adds clout and authority simply by being an industry titan or well-respected expert.
(v) Street Teams: an affiliated collective of people hyping the brand in the streets, at conferences, or with sponsored events; their effectiveness comes from a combination of peer pressure and customer delight.
And there you have it! Hopefully this list has given you some great ideas to help distribute your content and get new users into your funnel. Marketing channels are evolving rapidly; new ones are popping up and old ones are being reinvented all the time. A best practice of any marketing strategy is to always reassess your tactics and tools, and update/modify as appropriate. It’s an evergreen process. And remember: keep calm, and grow on!
What channels are you using that you’re seeing killer success with right now? Have you found any surprising or overlooked channels that you can’t live without recently? Let me know in the comments!
Sending love to Tradecraft and HEC Paris MBA for giving me space to learn, grow, take risks, and innovate.