OK, so let’s say you are managing a website. It could be as simple as a blog written by one person on one general topic or something complicated that weaves massive amounts of content into an eCommerce matrix. Either way, it’s a large interconnected web of content—your content ecosystem.
Bottom line: your content already rocks, but it’s not bringing in the readership and without the readership, you are failing to deliver what you promised the CTO (sales leads, widget sold, butts in seats, whatever metric you are beholden to) when you were given control of the site.
So now what? How do you spread the word? How do you evangelize for your content without being obnoxious?
New school versus joins old school
This is going to require a blitz that’s at once comprehensive and low key. It’s going to require the latest social media savvy as well as traditional marketing tactics.
Navigating social media
Do you have a Facebook page? Are you still using MySpace? Who’s tweeting about you? Have you snagged the obvious domain names and Gmail accounts for your brand? (For a mighty herd of social media marketing tools, go here, or for a counterpoint on the value of social media for business, go here.)
Facebook is growing explosively and has recently accelerated past MySpace in several key user metrics. Continue to ignore Facebook at your peril. This is not to say that Facebook in three years won’t be in the same tailspin that MySpace is currently experiencing, but you can’t afford to give those years away to your competitors.
Content promotion tactic: Establish a Facebook page. Do not let anyone who doesn’t have a personal Facebook page operate it. Give the operator free reign to update the page with the appropriate multimedia content and use the status update as an additional outlet to promote new content on your main site.
Twitter is something that makes no intuitive sense to many people before they start to use it. Once they do, however, its utility as an instantly updated and instantly responsive news and information kiosk becomes abundantly clear. How is your brand being talked about on Twitter? Are you tweeting, or has some impostor hijacked your brand for nefarious purposes? If your brand has yet to be sucked into a Twitterstorm, consider yourself lucky and be prepared.
Content promotion tactic: Establish a Twitter identity for your brand. The person in charge of your Twitter account should already be a Twitter user as they will know the etiquette as well as the advantages and disadvantages of the medium. Encourage them to start tweeting, but more than anything, encourage them to listen, monitoring what is being said about your brand and using Twitter to respond to customer relations issues. A little good will is going to go a long way. Then start using Twitter to promote your content.
Search engines are just one gateway to online information. While SEO is important for now (but is likely to be made irrelevant by semantic search very soon) there are ways to avoid the deep dark pit of the Google algorithm and promote content through other types of search. Social aggregation sites like Digg, Mixx, StumbleUpon and Delicious all offer some variation on the theme of sharing stories.
Content promotion tactic: Post a story to Digg and get some colleagues to Digg it. If it’s good content, it will gain its own traction and move up the list. Don’t overdo this. Same deal with StumbleUpon and some of the others. Be selective and use your best content.
Yes, you still need to be writing SEO friendly copy, entering appropriate and comprehensive metadata for each piece of content, sending out email newsletters, blogging, posting videos to YouTube, posting photos to Flickr and more. No one said all this free promotion wasn’t going to be time consuming.
Happy curating. Your content ecosystem will be all the healthier with a little care and feeding.
Photo by baxterclaws