Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an established content marketer, you will always have to be creative about the way you promote your content.

My friend Rob Wormley and I just recently wrote an eBook 100 Days of Growth and since we had $0 marketing budget, it forced us to get very creative about promotion. Through this process I’ve learned (relearned… it’s been a while since I’ve been this hands on) first hand how to effectively promote your content and site.

With that in mind, I wanted to share my list of ways that you can promote your content without breaking the bank. It doesn’t matter what level of experience you have, these are things that you can and should be doing right now.

I hope you find it as useful as I have!

Here’s a table of contents, to help you easily navigate through this guide:

Social Sharing from Individual accounts
Promote On Bookmarketing Sites
Paid Promotion (While Avoiding Low-ROI/Expensive Options)
Outreach
Repurposing Your Content
Internal Promotion
Stock Your Tool Belt
Get Into Groups and “Niche Networks”
Be Shareable
Strategize
Leverage Social Strategies

Social Sharing From Individual Accounts

Start on a personal level.

Engage with your networks, whether through publishing, commenting or promoting. The best tool that you have is your relationships, and you’ll only form those with a personal touch. So to start, get yourself out there with your own social profiles.

And don’t just stick to one platform:

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is full of professionals and job seekers ready to gobble up everything that can about growing their personal brand.

Google+

Google+ taps into your current network and can help give you an awesome platform for publishing and promotion.

Facebook

Almost 100% of the content you see these days on Facebook is shared. Become a part of the conversation, and share some of your stuff!

Twitter

Twitter is the perfect resource for connecting with influencers, and engaging an audience that can quickly expand your reach.

Pinterest

We’re a visual generation, and Pinterest is one of the best platforms for sharing great content paired with pictures.

Tumblr

Tumblr has been around forever, but it’s certainly hitting its stride now more than ever, and is the perfect platform for connecting with a younger generation.

Instagram

Instagram looks better and better everyday, and is a great place for quick, strong-visuals and easy promotion.

Vine

With new Vine stars like the Final Cut King showing up every day, this app is brimming with promotional potential. Companies like Taco Bell are already tapping the amazing potential of what a 6-second video can do for promotion.

Snapchat

Snapchat is breaking records left and right, and now moving into innovative production like developing TV shows. Don’t underestimate the marketing potential of where Snapchat is headed.

Promote On Bookmarketing Sites

It’s hard to measure the true value of being invested in a community. But doing so enables word-of-mouth marketing on steroids.

Bookmarketing sites are aggregates of the best content geared towards a given community. The privilege the best content, and it’s all decided by the community at large.

If you become an active contributor, not only will you develop a better understanding of what works online, but you’ll also Here are some of the best for promoting content:

Reddit

Done right, you can promote your content on Reddit to an audience of millions in a single day. It’s a massive online forum with endless niche sub-forums for practically any interest—all aggregated on an upvote/downvote system.

HackerNews

Inherently Reddit-like, but designed for content marketers. HackerNews is a group of people who want to help each other out.

Inbound

Much like to HackerNews, the people on Inbound are excited to help each other out.

GrowthHackers

GrowthHackers is another great resource for finding, promoting and contributing to great content all based around site growth.

Create a Magazine on Flipboard

Creating a magazine on Flipboard gives other users the ability to share your content easily while also getting to promote others along the way.

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Paid Promotion (While Avoiding Low-ROI/Expensive Options)

Everyone wants to make money off of promoting you. But there are a handful that can do it well and cheap. By my estimation, these are the ones you should check out if you’re ready to put down dollars for promotion:

Targeted Facebook Ads

Most grandmas aren’t clicking on ads for Call of Duty. Targeted ads on Facebook can help you reach the people you actually want to.

Banner Ads on Similar Blogs

Reach out to other influencers and bloggers in your industry and see if they’d be willing to host your banner ads. They probably have the audience you’re looking for.

Promoted Tweets

Similar to Facebook ads, promoted tweets put your ads at the top of relevant users’ feeds—and Twitter can hone instant feedback to continue to refine your ad’s reach to relevant audiences.

StumbleUpon Paid Discovery

What better way for people to find you than when they’re looking for something to find! Stumbleupon’s Paid Discovery will land users right on your page as they click through interest-based randomized browsing.

Reddit Ads

Less targeted than Facebook, Reddit Ads can still appeal to specific sub-Reddits (interest-specific forums), so that you’re still hitting the right audiences.

Outbrain

Outbrain, which is a “related articles” type recommendation tool, will blast your ads far and wide, and the price tag is nominal at best nominal.

Taboola

The power of their name recognition alone is a testament to how well Taboola does ad promotion. It’s essentially another take on Outbrain. What’s more is that it’s also an easy way for you to monetize your own site.

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Outreach

There’s nothing wrong with rolling up your sleeves and doing some cold outreach.

This is the other half of relationship forming that starts with creating your personal online presence.

People are often scared of outreach, but it can be as simple as a quick reply on Twitter. The point is that you’re reaching out at all.

But don’t just blindly go putting your stuff on blast. Be personal and personable. Try a couple of these ideas to get the ball rolling:

Email Influencers When You Mention Them in a Post

It’s a way to promote your content, and they may also in turn want to share it with their audience. If they’re being talked about, they’ll probably want to use that content to promote themselves. It ends up being a win-win for everyone.

Reach Out to Other Authors of Similar Content

They may be interested in guest blogging or cross promotion. If you have similar topics, you’re going to have a shared interest in each other’s audiences.

Reach Out to Sharers of Similar Content

If someone is curating industry-specific content, they may be looking for something fresh to share. Offer to share your content, or bring some of theirs over to your site. It’s a great way to gain traction with your target audience.

Invite Guests To Blog On Similar Subjects

Guest blogging benefits everyone. It gives you fresh content, and draws traffic for both you and the author.

Tag Influencers on Facebook When You Cite Them

If you can’t email them, let influencers and their audience know when you’ve mentioned them with a simple tag.

“Mention” Your Sources on Twitter

Twitter’s answer to tagging. It’s an easy way to give influencers a shout out, and with the click of a button, they can re-tweet it to their audience.

Comment on other Influential blogs

It’s an easy outlet for links and positive discussion. If people see and like your comments, they’ll begin to recognize and trust you as a voice of expertise and authority.

Get a Quote From an Influencer

It’s an exclusive tool that makes your site all the more appealing. Now your content has inherent value, simply by providing expert advice that can’t be found on other blogs.

Message Influencers on LinkedIn

If you have a LinkedIn premium account, you can even message 3rd connections. It’s a great way to reach out if you don’t have someone’s email address, or would prefer to

Befriend a Journalist

They’re always looking for fresh subjects and stories. Find the writers who are most commonly publishing in your fields of expertise, and give them stories that you know they can write about.

Join HARO

An easier way to befriend a journalist: HARO, or Help A Reporter Out, gives you the tools to do just that. It puts journalists’ needs and questions right in front of you, so that you can provide them with exceptional answers—helping you to establish yourself as an authority.

Don’t Give Up on Earned Media

If you’re doing something great, it deserves to be written about—and those stories’ value can be hard to put into numbers.

Publish a Press Release

A press release is a practical way to spread the word about new content and promotions fast. And there are plenty of sites that will even publish yours for free.

Update Your Email Signature

If you’re sending out hundreds (or thousands) of emails a week, a simple link in your signature can go a long way in exposing you to new readers.

Engage Your Comment Section

When people comment on your stuff—encourage it. Engage in a positive discussion with those that are commenting on your post—but don’t instigate!

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Repurpose Your Content

If you’ve got valuable information in your content, then it should be able to be shared in more than one way. Repurposing your content is a great way to diversify promotion for your most popular posts, evergreen content, and some underexposed posts that you’re looking to revitalize.

Just because a post seemed to flop doesn’t mean it was a bad post. Try rebranding it in a new medium. For example:

Create an Infographic

Sites like Submitinfographics.com and visual.ly are the perfect place to share one. They’re informative, eye-catching, and can pack a lot of information into a more digestible space.

Turn content into a slide deck on Slideshare

Slideshare is a platform where people are constantly submitting this very kind of content every day. By turning your content into a slideshow, you’re able to hit major points in an appealing, shareable way—breathing life back into old posts that may have been too dense.

Create a Video

Whether it’s a short explainer or a web-series, leverage your content for 2015 media. Videos are a way to spice up a blog post, promote engagement on social media, and attract new visitors who aren’t so interested in “reading.”

Animoto / Go Animate

If you don’t want to pay for talent, try animating your blog on Animoto to spice up a video or slideshow, or Go Animate to make a complete animation of your own.

Host a “Webinar”

Not only is a webinar a great way to get traffic, it’s a huge networking tool. Check out GoToMeeting if you need a host.

Publish an Email Campaign

Whether you use Drip or just a standard email, turn your content into a mini digest—delivering fresh, daily content to interested users’ inboxes.

Make it a PDF

Nothing says sharable quite like downloadable content. Turn your study into a whitepaper to be shared and harvested. It’s a great way to make yourself even more “shareable.”

Submit to LinkedIn

LinkedIn, acting as a professional’s Facebook, has a fantastic publishing platform just waiting to be filled with your great content. Submitting a new post is as easy as publishing an update.

Submit to Medium

Medium, founded by the guys over at Twitter, is a long-form content platform, and a great place to share your article again without worrying about duplicate content.

via moz.com

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Internal Promotion

Use your own resources for everything they’ve got. Don’t waste what you’ve cultivated!

Create Internal Links on Your Other Popular Posts

If one page is getting a lot of traffic, send them to another! Internal links are a great way boost a page, and keep users on your site for longer.

Don’t Forget About SEO

It’s a valuable tool for organic results. Even if you need to refresh yourself on some of the basics, SEO is a great way to give your site a boost on major search engines. The reality is, there are a few low-hanging improvements that almost any site can make that will give your blog a welcome bump.

Make Your Post a Part of a Series

Get yourself into a style that encourages subscribers. Series can be a way to stir up excitement around what you’re publishing, or a way to remind readers that there’s fresh content on your site each week. A great example of that would be Moz’s Whiteboard Friday.

Create a Link Round-Up

If people are looking for a series of great content, give them one. Take the searching work out of the equation. By providing a link roundup, people will be looking to you as a source of “insider info,” making you more of an authority.

Improve Your Headlines

Sometimes all an article needs is a finely-tuned title. Try A/B testing a few titles on Twitter to see which garner more attention.

Increase Your Word Count

These days, Google puts its stock in 2000+ word articles. Don’t shy away from long, quality, and information-rich posts. An increased word count (not a keyword-stuffed fluff piece) is a sure way to boost your chances of exposure.

Publish a Weekly Digest

Remind your subscribers of the great work you’re putting out each week—they might not have time to discover it all themselves.

Promote Across Microsites

Use your mini-network to your advantage! If you have a lot of readers coming to one site, use those popular posts/pages to promote some of your less exposed stuff.

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Stock Your Tool Belt

There are so many great tools out there for promoting content. It’s just a matter of knowing which ones are best for your needs. These are some of what I would consider the essentials in web promotion. You may be using some already, but a new favorite could be a few paragraphs away.

Quuu

Quuu offers hand curated content suggestions for social media. You can also submit your article to be promoted by hundreds of Quu-users (currently a free option).

The best submitters can also become Quuu-rators and promote their articles free for life.

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo lets you find influencers and engage with others in your industry.

Papershare

The content distribution tool that makes full use of the cloud—Papershare makes getting the word out really easy, and helps you track who’s reading your stuff.

Snip.ly

A genius tool that turns normal sharing into promotion for your site. I would call snip.ly the realization of bit.ly; it’s a call to action packed in every link you share.

Scoop.it

Scoop.it makes it easier to find and share content, encouraging you to be and making you a more active contributor.

Flauntt

Flauntt is a simple tool designed to encourage others to promote your content through genuine online engagement. And it’s free!

BuzzBundle

BuzzBundle acts like a would-be social media manager, without the salary. It helps you find and engage in all of the conversations about your content.

Little Bird

Little Bird helps you to be smarter about connecting with influencers. You can map out influencers in different circles, and make a more targeted approach for outreach.

ISSUU

ISSUU is a free publishing platform for anything from books to magazines and more.

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Get Into Groups and “Niche Networks”

Combining outreach with a personal touch, finding groups and niche networks is a way that you can leverage communities on a small-scale level. You’re essentially creating relationships through mutual promotion. By strengthening your core circle, you’ll quickly expand your network to others eagerly looking to share.

Facebook Groups

You can start your own today based around any topic or interest—even promotion!

LinkedIn Groups

Find professionals, influencers and other marketers who are excited to share and discuss.

Circle Count – Google+

Google+ circles have untapped value for sharing, so don’t count them out!

Tailor Your Content For Various Subreddits

Subreddit communities are as niche as they get. Where one title works on one, the other community might need a different approach.

Triberr

Triberr is a platform designed specifically for marketers and influencers. More than just another social platform to publish content, it’s real influencers and talented bloggers who are excited about great new content.

New Forum Threads

Find those forums where people want to discuss your stuff. Or just start a thread of your own!

Blog Engage

Blog Engage has every topic you could imagine, making finding your niche a cinch.

BizSugar

BizSugar is another niche network of content sharing that is designed specifically for small business owners. You know, people who really get it.

Pinterest Sharing Board

Pinterest sharing boards can get you an extremely targeted following with picture-heavy curated interests. It helps others subscribe to the things that you’re interested in yourself.

Create a “Sharing Group”

Whatever platform you choose, a sharing group can bring together people with the same intentions to help pump each other pump.

Find Different Niches

Explore interests you never knew existed and tailor your promotion to them. There are a whole slew of groups out there you probably never knew existed, and they’re all looking for solid, fresh content.

Whether they’re outlets for new ideas and no content, or a great place to post some of your older blog articles, niche communities help you reach the audience you want faster. Here are just a few that give you a sample of just how broad your options are:

Quora

People have questions, your content has answers. Quora is a space where open questions can be answered at any length by you: the industry professional with already-written answers. It’s the perfect place to repost and reuse content.

Meetup

Meetups can be a great way to find like-minded folks looking for new ideas. Find a group to meet up with and you can begin brainstorm and exchange ideas about sharing and promoting each other’s content.

Care2

Care2 is a site that connects activists. It’s a passionate group of people excited about change—if your blogs fit that bill, they’ll be excited to share them.

GentleMint

GentleMint is a place to talk about “manly things.” Whether it’s about grooming products or daily habits, your testosterone-fueled content probably has a place here.

Cafemom

Probably the best-known blog site for all things mom, Cafemom is a great place to get your mommy blogs exposed to a massive targeted audience.

ThirdAge

For seniors who are ready to embrace a better way of living, ThirdAge is a great resource. It’s targeting a group that often only draws on click bait-y articles and unhelpful content. This kind of a network is a great way to reach seniors with great content.

Athlinks

For the competitive endurance athletes of this world, Athlinks is where your helpful content can find welcome company.

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Be Shareable

Sometimes it’s a matter of putting the power in your readers’ hands. If you can make sharing an irresistible, all-too-easy task, people will be glad to do it. Here are some of the tools that I use that make it impossible not to share:

Add a Call to Action Button

Remind them what their next step is. Sometimes the difference between a conversion and a missed opportunity is a clickable CTA button.

Include Social Sharing Buttons

Everyone loves a different social platform. Make sure they’re all accounted for. Make it easy to share on all the social media platforms, not just the big three.

Make Subscribing Easy

Don’t make them look for the button. Make sure your “subscribe” link is prominent and enticing. You can even A/B test for more appealing colors and styles.

“Share This”

In-text sharing links can make it all the simpler for everyone. Make sharing as easy as clicking a button.

Click To Tweet

If you know you’ve written a very quotable piece, make it easy to tweet. Click to Tweet is a tool that turns any line of text into a tweetable link.

Shareaholic

Shareaholic is a content amplification platform that helps tailor articles to readers’ interests. It boasts an ability to reach over 450 million people through native advertisements. Impressive if not enticing.

Prepare Multiple Different “Snippets” For Sharing

Don’t just blast out the same snippet over and over again. Have 20 variations ready for your social posts. Sometimes varied headlines, pictures and quotes stick out to different people and can make the same article be appealing in a whole new light.

via kissmetrics.com

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Strategize

Sometimes sharing is a matter of timing. Knowing when to post, what to post, and how to post it make all the difference. You don’t have to waste a lot of time with social media, especially if you can strategize well up front. Make sure that you’re being smart about how and when you share. These are a few things I always keep in mind:

Increase Post Frequency

For starters, post more. Be sure not to spam, but once a day may not be cutting it. People won’t go out of their way to make sure they’ve caught up on all your posts. It’s your job to put it into view.

Schedule Social Media Activity For Optimal Times

3AM is not a good time to be putting out a fresh post. It has been proven time and time again that there are optimal post times—there’s no harm in trying them out. Each audience is unique in its own way, so learn how yours operates.

Tweriod

More than just going off of studies, Tweriod helps you know when your following is online, which can help you find that balance between visibility and frequency—without going overboard on either.

Buffer

Buffer App helps you be smart about posting everywhere at once. Instead of wasting time on each individual account, Buffer brings it all together for simultaneous, efficient posting.

Sprout Social

An easy, helpful way to find new customers: Sprout Social helps you to manage and engage on your social media account, while directing you to influencers and followers that can grow your audience.

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Leverage Social Strategies

Finally, you just need to be smart about how you’re using what social media and content marketers lay before you. Just like this list, there’s optimal use and abuse any tactic. Leverage them for good, not evil.

Be Smart About Hashtags

#Nobody #Likes #Posts #Like #This. #ContentMarketingFails #sohardtoread

Post Separate Images to Facebook

Try out one picture on the blog, and a separate unlinked one on Facebook.

Include Videos/Images in Tweets

It’s proven to have a higher engagement rate. Tweets with images receive 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets.

Hold a Contest

Everyone can get excited about winning something.

Sponsor a Live Event

Some find this to be antiquated, but I think that a well-sponsored live event can return a huge boost online. If you can get people together in the context of similar interests, they’re going to want to engage beyond that stand-alone event. Strategic branding can turn that into real online engagement.

Create an Email List

Make it easy for your content to get in front of people’s faces. Have them sign up for an email list so your content comes straight to them.

Signature Links

Don’t let a single signature go to waste. It’s your space, so use it for promotion. Show off recent posts, top evergreen content, and partner sites. No one’s going to stop you!

Use BuzzStream To Find Other Influencers

There are a lot of great people out there who can use your help and who are ready to help you. BuzzStream brings them all to one place. It has link building tools as well as team-based software for growing your base.

Hold Off!

I’ll never stress this one enough—if you bring people to an empty lot, they aren’t going to wait for you to build the restaurant just so they can eat. They’ll go somewhere else.

Be smart about the way you promote, and when you promote, and you’ll find it can make all the difference for your already great content.

I spent most of April out of my comfort zone (I love being uncomfortable) doing my first ever speaking tour in beautiful Australia (Melbourne & Sydney) and then a week on vacation without internet connectivity. In total I gave 12 talks (at conferences, local events, workshops & office hours), during that time I connected with 94 people and had 4 big takeaways. 1 of which is life changing for me. I recored a short video of my key takeaways:


Shout out to Experiment Engine for the awesome t-shirt! Continue reading Recap of My First Speaking Tour

Backlinko is one of the world’s top websites for SEO tips, advice, and training.

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And the man behind it, Brian Dean, is among the very best in the business.

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This is despite being a relative latecomer to the party – he “discovered” the industry in 2010, while trying to promote a nutrition site, and only launched Backlinko in December 2012.

Since then, Brian has taught himself – and the rest of us in the industry – a hell of a lot about SEO, and more specifically, content marketing and link building.

Continue reading 10 Things You Can Learn About Content Marketing from Backlinko

Live streaming app Periscope is one of the latest social platforms to enter the scene. It’s also (if you ask me) one of the most exciting.

The concept of live streaming isn’t exactly unique. Periscope is up against competition from similar applications like Meerkat and more recently, Facebook Live.

However, what I – and I think a lot of marketers – feel gives Periscope the edge is its integration with Twitter.

Continue reading How 10 Innovative Companies are Using Periscope to Drive Engagement

Back in January, I wrote about influencer marketing – specifically, 10 strategies for getting it right.

This is because I believe that influencer marketing, when executed correctly, is a seriously powerful tool.

Working with an influencer in your industry can allow you to tap into huge, new, and relevant audiences that are more than willing to engage with your brand. This is because they trust, often implicitly, the judgment of the person recommending you.

But influencers aren’t the only people that can be entrusted to promote your brand.

Brand advocates can be pretty powerful too.

Continue reading Influencer Outreach vs. Brand Advocacy: How to Divide Your Investment

Last year I launched Content Marketer – a tool that helps to scale and automate content marketing; a project that I (more or less) dedicated my entire life to working on for the six months prior to its launch.

We’re up and running now, so you might think the hard part’s over. Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s not. Far from it, in fact..

Growing our customer base, building the brand, and getting to the point where we’re actually turning a profit… that’s where we’ll really be tested.

Thankfully, I know a little bit about marketing and growth hacking a startup, so I’m certainly not going into this with my eyes closed.

If you’re new to the game, here are a few of my best tips and ideas to help you (like me) market your startup – however small your budget may be. Continue reading 12 Tactics to Launch & Market Your Startup (with Little to No Money)

Research executed by Bizible found that only 64.2% of businesses today are using PR to drum up business, while (for the same reason) 82.1% are investing in content marketing and 79.2% in SEO.
Why? I don’t profess to be an expert in PR, but hearsay tells me the industry has been suffering from a flailing reputation for a while now.

In 2014, Think Different[ly] founder Lyndon Johnson wrote a piece for Marketing Profs in which he declared the industry “broken,” stating the problem to be a result of “excessive retainer fees, a lack of transparency, no clear value proposition, and dubious business ethics.”

Hearing that, I can understand how businesses would approach PR with caution, and I could forgive them for writing off the idea altogether.

And yet I’d still say that’s a shame.

The PR industry might have suffered its fair share of setbacks, but that doesn’t mean to say the discipline itself isn’t worth investing in.

My work has shown me that PR is going through a particularly difficult period of transition. Digital isn’t the future – it’s the here-and-now, and traditional PR agencies that want to survive need to adapt – and quickly.

They’re up against marketing channels that offer fast, measurable results. They’re fighting for coverage in media that updates not by the month, week, or day, but by the second. It’s tough, and PR agencies that don’t adapt will fail.

On the other hand, we have digital-only agencies dipping their toes into the world of online PR. SEOs and content marketers are testing the waters by using traditional PR techniques to win online coverage for their clients.

In my experience, I’ve seen few marketers that are truly skilled in both digital marketing and traditional PR, but those that are, are getting some pretty awesome results.

Let’s stick with this positive train of thought and see some examples…

Aquascutum

In 2013, UK designer brand Aquascutum was suffering the lingering effects of going into administration the previous year. Despite having been acquired by YGM Trading (who already owned the rights to the brand in Asia) only a short time after the bad news broke, Aquascutum was unable to shake the general public’s view that the brand was done for.
To help turn things around, Aquascutum enlisted the help of digital specialists Media Vision. When the two first joined forces, the search results were choked with stories about the brand entering into administration.

To remedy this, Aquascutum decided to capitalize on the launch of a new store in Great Marlborough Street, in London. Media Vision decided that the best chance of success would lie in reaching out, not to traditional journalists, but to the “journalists” of the digital age: bloggers.

Media Vision sought out fashion bloggers who had never featured the brand before and invited them to meet with Aquascutum’s designers ahead of the store’s opening. In short: it adopted a traditional PR tactic and updated it for the digital age.

It worked well. Branded searches and direct traffic began to increase along with visitors to the new store.

This gave the company the confidence to expand and begin targeting bigger online publications. It secured features in a number of men’s fashion blogs as well as localized sites such as Time Out London.

The final result was a 348% increase in visitors landing on the site via branded search terms, alongside a 1087% increase in revenue from customers who arrived on the site via the same means.

Key takeaway: Don’t just target the traditional media with your PR campaigns. You can often get far better results through speaking to industry-specific bloggers. This strategy works best when you’re able to offer them products or invite them to events that will help them get excited about your brand.

Pizza Express

In 2011, UK pizza restaurant chain Pizza Express set about changing the way diners pay for meals for good with the launch of a new mobile app. The app allows customers to book tables, view menus, and store vouchers and receipts. More importantly, the app enabled customers to pay their check directly from their phone, using PayPal.

This proved to be excellent news for diners who, frustrated with having to wait around to pay their check once they had finished their meal, downloaded the app by the thousands: it quickly became the number one downloaded lifestyle app in the UK.

Of course, Pizza Express didn’t just launch the app and wait for users to find it. They used a traditional press release and distribution strategy in order to get the media talking (with a bit of a difference).
Instead of a standard plain text release and token photo, Wolfstar PR company created a “social media news release (SMNR)” which contained news copy and images alongside a video and screenshots that showcased the app in action.

This was distributed to journalists in the tech, food, and marketing media, in addition to the UK national media.

The result included more than 50 digital articles while “Pizza Express” became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter. The release also nabbed Pizza Express and Wolfstar the Best Multimedia Press Release at the 2011 Digital Impact Awards.

Key takeaway: The mobile app market is a tough nut to crack. Make things a little easier for yourself by entering the market with an app that’s unique, innovative, and fulfils a genuine consumer need. Just make sure to publicize its launch with an engaging press release and a smart distribution strategy, too.

Coldplay

Grammy-winning rock bands probably aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think about digital PR, but truth be told, Coldplay never really fit the traditional “rock star” stereotype.

It probably shouldn’t have come as any real surprise then, when Coldplay began to get tongues wagging in anticipation of their 2014 album “Ghost Stories” with a good old traditional PR stunt.

In the lead up to the album’s release, Coldplay hid lyric sheets, written by Chris Martin himself, inside ghost story books in libraries around the world.


The band hid nine sheets in total (one from each song on the album) in libraries as far and wide as Singapore, Finland, England, and New Zealand (FYI: the England envelope also contained a “golden ticket” with a prize of a trip to see the band play in London).

Throughout the stunt, the band tweeted clues to the sheets’ whereabouts, both to help fans track them down, and to leverage the online coverage the stunt secured them that much further.

The result was an incredible amount of online coverage and an album that debuted at number one on both the UK and US charts. It also went on to become the UK’s biggest-selling album in the first half of 2014.

Key takeaway: Don’t just get the media involved in a PR stunt — getting the general public fired up about what you’re doing will spread your message further, and should naturally get the media talking, too.

BizBuySell.com

BizBuySell is where companies go to try and sell their business. Despite being the internet’s biggest “Business for Sale Marketplace” (or so they say), like most companies, BizBuySell was hungry for more publicity.

Enter Walker Sands: a forward-thinking PR company that places high value on social and search, alongside traditional media.

BizBuySell worked with Walker Sands to devise a data-led PR strategy. Like many companies, BizBuySell was sitting on heaps of unused data. This goldmine included key insights into business-for-sale transactions: specifically, the listing and sale price of small businesses from all across the US.


Rather than approach journalists with a list of facts and figures, BizBuySell and Walker Sands decided to boost the usefulness and appeal of the data, and increase its longevity, by incorporating it into a quarterly economic report called the BizBuySell.com Insight Report.

I admire this tactic because it takes a sort of “evergreen” approach to PR. Okay, so each set of data might age quickly, but where one report failed, the next may well succeed.

It’s cumulative, too. When a publication reports on a data set, there’s a good chance they will report on the next one as well. Each time a respectable publication writes up a story, odds are other publications will follow. This can cause a domino effect.

BizBuySell and Walker Sands utilized one more classic PR strategy in this campaign: exclusivity. Every publication wants to be the first to report on a story, so if you can offer a reporter exclusive rights to it, if only for a limited time, you’ll make the prospect of using the story sound much more appealing.

BizBuySell and Walker Sands did just that: they approached ACBJ business journals with data that was specifically relevant to them, and offered temporary exclusivity on its use.

The result during a one-year period was 353 online and offline placements including outlets like the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Reuters.

In the same period, traffic to its site increased by nearly 27%.

You can read the full case study here.

Key takeaway: See what data your company is already collecting that can be turned into a report and presented to the media.

Ikea

Great PR happens when a company does something completely unexpected, and I can’t think of a better example of that than Ikea’s latest business venture: weddings. Yep, you heard that right – your favourite Swedish furniture store can now host the wedding of your dreams. Theoretically, anyway. This isn’t your standard church, barn, or hotel wedding. This is a webcam wedding.

Ikea is no stranger to off-the-wall PR stunts. In December 2014, they replaced the movie seats in a theatre with beds.
In February 2015 they launched a range of emoticons designed to help prevent relationship break up in its stores.
Then in April of last year, “Wedding Online” happened. The cynics among us might assume that this was all a big hoax. They would be right, to an extent. The stunt was designed to be a bit of fun that would help to promote products and yet… it was entirely, 100% genuine. Ikea was able to marry couples over webcam and even offered Swedish citizens the necessary paperwork.

Did anyone actually get married via Wedding Online? Sadly, I can’t find anything saying that they did — a Google search just led to a story about a couple who got married in Ikea rather than by Ikea. If you know anything more, comments are below – please let me know!

And if you’re tempted by a webcam wedding, I’ve got bad news for you: according to the Wedding Online website, it’s no longer possible to book an Ikea webcam wedding. Not that Ikea will be too upset about that: the stunt secured the brand a huge amount of online coverage that included mentions and links on sites like CNET, ABCNews, Cosmopolitan, and PCMag.

Key takeaway: Don’t be afraid to try something completely off-the-wall and unexpected. Remember that big media publications are not interested in product launches or company expansions unless there’s something new or unusual about them. Unless you’re about to launch a product or company that’s (genuinely) going to change how we live or work, you might need to start thinking a little more creatively.

Design Crowd

Here’s another case study courtesy of the guys at Walker Sands (no, they’re not paying me, they just do lots of awesome work). This time, they were tasked with boosting sales and driving traffic to DesignCrowd, a crowdsourced marketplace in which businesses can submit a design brief and choose from many (often a few hundred) different designs, courtesy of the site’s freelance designers. The clincher (for the businesses, anyway) is that they get to choose and pay only for their favorite design.

Walker Sands’ strategy involved executing and promoting a series of five design competitions. DesignCrowd’s members were asked to create “topical, humorous designs to showcase their creativity.”
Walker Sands would then promote the competition to the media with the aim of reaching DesignCrowd’s target audiences: small businesses and freelance designers.

The project ran for 3 months, with the winner taking home a $2,500 prize. In the meantime, entries were collected and shortlists were made and shared with the media and target customers.

During the 3-month period, Walker Sands secured coverage for DesignCrowd in 65 online publications including Adweek, HuffPost Business, and Buzzfeed. These placements saw a total of 54,000 social shares across Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, while referral traffic to the site increased by an incredible 1,900%. More importantly, new member registrations increased by over 700%.

Key takeaway: Competitions can generate publicity, but you generally need to be asking entrants to do or create something intriguing if you want to spark the media’s interest. A substantial prize tends to help, too.

LiquiGlide

When integrated marketing agency LEWIS was enlisted by LiquiGlide to raise awareness of the brand and its innovative “make anything slippery” gel, it had a pretty tough job on its hands.
LiquiGlide was struggling to shake an image that saw the brand as more of a “science experiment” than a multipurpose product to be reckoned with. LiquiGlide wanted consumers to understand that the product could be used in a wide array of applications. It also wanted to target the B2B market, specifically manufacturers of viscous liquids who would be able to cut costs and even eliminate waste thanks to LiquiGlide.

In short: LiquiGlide was after a PR campaign that educated potential customers on the product and its uses.

The key here was to get the brand in front a very specific group of people – people who would be able to grasp the science behind how the product works.

While it might have been easy to go down the silly “look what crazy things you can do with this product” route, LEWIS and LiquiGlide knew that wouldn’t help erase the idea that the product was just a “crazy science experiment.” Rather, their goal was to help potential customers gain a deeper understanding of LiquiGlide. They wanted customers to not only understand the ‘what’ of the product, but also the ‘why.’

Their quality over quantity approach (in terms of the reporters they targeted with the campaign) worked well. Very well.

In a single year, LiquiGlide was featured in the digital media 790 times.

Its proudest achievement, however, was a feature in The New York Times. Not only did the article communicate everything LiquiGlide wanted to convey, but it also led to:

  • More than 50,000 views of LiquiGlide’s videos
  • Over 38,000 Facebook likes
  • 81,000 website views
  • More than 600 new sales inquiries

Key takeaway: Outreach isn’t necessarily a numbers game. Taking the time to carefully approach a handful of highly-qualified prospects can often gain better results than sending out emails in the hopes that if you send enough, some of them have got to stick.

Häagen-Dazs

One of Häagen-Dazs’ key selling points is its use of natural, quality ingredients. Even today, Häagen-Daz is one of the very few commercial ice cream manufacturers that doesn’t use stabilizers like carrageenan, xanthan gum, and guar gum in its products.

What it does use, however, is a lot of ingredients that are reliant on honey bees (as are one third of the foods we eat worldwide). This wouldn’t be a problem… if honey bees weren’t in crisis.

In the last five years, the U.S. has lost more than a third of its honey bee colonies, due to factors like parasites, pesticides, poor nutrition, and an unexplained phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in which honey bees desert their hive and die.

In 2008 Häagen-Dazs responded to the situation by devising its “Häagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees” campaign.
Since the campaign’s launch, Häagen-Dazs has donated more than a million dollars to honey bee research.

This included a $125,000 donation to the UC Davis Department of Entomology to help them establish “Honey Bee Haven”, a garden designed to “provide honey bees with a year-around food source, and to raise public awareness about the plight of honey bees and encourage visitors to plant bee-friendly gardens of their own.”


More recently, the brand has teamed up with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, a non-profit organization that helps to protect bees and other insects through the conservation of their habitats.

In the year following the launch of Häagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees, sales increased 5.2%. The brand also won multiple awards including a gold Cannes Lion for Corporate Responsibility and Environmental Issues and saw a 13% increase in its brand advocacy rating.

Digitally, Häagen-Dazs drove 469,798 visitors to its Help the Honey Bees site and also secured online and offline media impressions worth around $1.5 million in advertising.

Key takeaway: Charity PR is brilliant for brands and the world at large. Try to identify a link between your brand and a social or ethical issue and use this to devise a charity-led PR strategy.

Alpine Lace Swiss Cheese

A unique, fun, and interesting event with the right guests in attendance is an excellent way to get people talking about a company – a strategy that achieved awesome results for Alpine Lace, a brand of reduced-fat Swiss cheese.

The brand’s Dine, Dance and Discover event was one element of a multi-pronged PR strategy devised by Exponent PR.

A Facebook strategy was launched with the goal of aligning the brand’s values with those of its customers.


Lifestyle bloggers were asked to share personal stories about “what goes into their healthy, happy lives” and devise recipes that used Alpine Lace cheese as an ingredient.

For the Dine, Dance and Discover event, Alpine Lace invited lifestyle bloggers and media personalities from the Boston and New York areas to one of two events in which they would learn the rumba and dance with Kristi Yamaguchi (an Olympic gold medalist skater, children’s author, and entrepreneur) and try “innovative cheese pairings” alongside, naturally, plenty of wine.


Although it’s best practice and just plain polite not to ask anything in return for your invitees’ attendance, if you put on a good soiree and your guests enjoy themselves, you can expect most of them will put a positive write-up on their blog. This is exactly what happened for Alpine Lace. See the results for yourself here. This coverage drove 10.5 million impressions in total – more than 3 times the brand’s goal.

Key takeaway: An event is a great way to get people talking about your brand, but prepare to spend. Many of your guests will likely be traveling a long way and taking time away from their work and family to attend, so you need to make the event worth their effort. Cut corners and you can expect to burn bridges and reap the “rewards” of pissing off reputable bloggers and journalists.

The Tatura Hotel

When Australian pub, bistro, and hotel “The Tatura” needed to raise funds fast, it turned to a form of fundraising more commonly associated with consumer products than the service industry: crowdfunding.

Unfortunately, crowdfunding only really works if you can offer something in return for your crowdfunders’ cash. This is simple for consumer product startups, who will have something tangible they can offer to contributors.

It’s not so easy for a hotel/pub. It might be able to offer drinks, food, or hotel stays as compensation, but this limits the company to potential crowdfunders who live within the vicinity of the venue.

Those standard compensation options also lacked the creativity needed to generate something else The Tatura team was after: PR.

The plan instead was to offer contributors the chance to name parts of the pub in their honor.

This included things such as the Chicken Parma, a barstool, the men’s urinal, a car park, and a pool cue. Alternatively, a $6 contribution could even ‘buy a local a beer.’

Owner “Bugs” Ryan was used as the face of the campaign, parts of which entailed posing for photos:
And starring in videos:

The video above racked up 200,000 views in the first 24 hours of its release. It also made the front page of Reddit and secured more than 160 pieces of coverage including features in new.com.au, The London Times, and Woman’s Weekly.

A second video saw the Tatura team call on Kanye West to play a gig in the pub should it hit its fundraising target. While this generated plenty of PR for the pub, it’s still waiting to hear whether Kanye will be coming to perform.

Over five weeks, the campaign raised $32,000, but more importantly, it resulted in an unimaginable amount of publicity, considering its source – a local pub, restaurant, and hotel.

Key takeaway: Don’t be afraid to aim high. This case proves that with the right story, even a small, local business can gain international coverage.

That’s it for today… just a reminder that if anyone knows whether any couples did get married via an Ikea Webcam Wedding, please leave a note below – I’m really curious to find out! And as always, I love to hear about your experiences. Have you tried hacking traditional PR tactics to gain coverage online? Let me how it went, also in the comments below.

Free Course: Join my free content marketing course to learn how to create a content strategy that converts within two weeks.

One of the biggest objections I hear from companies when it comes to content marketing and their decision to invest in it (or not invest in it) is cost. A lot of companies believe that content marketing costs big bucks.

I can completely understand that when we have brands like Nestle reportedly spending $127,500 a day on Facebook posts alone, and posts like this stating that even the most basic content strategies (bearing in mind this is only the strategy – not the cost of actually producing the content) will cost around $5,000, with more comprehensive strategies running to $50,000 or more. Continue reading 10 Small Businesses Prove It’s Possible to Create Great Content on a Budget

So you want to grow your business. I get that. You probably wouldn’t be here if expansion wasn’t on your mind. But while strategies to help you increase your customer base and boost revenue are – on the surface – a good thing, growth alone isn’t enough to support and sustain a company if the right conditions aren’t met.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for businesses that excited about growth to accept – or even create – challenges that they’re not equipped to handle. Continue reading Growth Isn’t Everything: 7 Lessons Learned from 5 Failed Companies

Different publications, writers, and audiences do not all respond to the same type of content.

Want to get in the New York Times? You probably shouldn’t send them an infographic. Approach them with unique, topical data, however, and you might have a way in. Looking to be featured on Buzzfeed? Lengthy lists are the way to go. LinkedIn? You need to write long-form articles.

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The fact is that if you want to diversify your traffic – that is, if you want to get your brand featured in a variety of publications and want to attract a varied audience to your site — you need to mix up your content strategy.

Continue reading How to Use Multiple Content Formats to Diversify Your Traffic