How to Promote Existing Content (or Failed Linkbaits)

29 Mar

Any link builder has experienced it at least a few times. You’ve carefully crafted an amazing piece of content. The graphics and the text are top-notch, you’ve compiled a list with highly relevant targets to contact and you’ve dusted off your old Digg profile, since Reddit no longer likes SEOs.

As soon as you’ve hit the launch-button, you hold tight to your chair and hope for hundreds or thousands of links to appear out of nowhere, but in stead… **crickets**

Ouch.

If linkbait fails in a forest, and no one is around to hear it...


Now there’s two things you can do. You can either curl up into a corner and start crying, or you can man yourself, try to find out what went wrong, and give it another try. After all, if your campaign didn’t succeed the first time, no one will know you’re fishing with old bait the second time.

Obviously, this also works for existing content on your website that wasn’t intended as linkbait (or was more succesful), such as white papers, evergreen content, great images or extensive resource lists.

Advertising

There, I said it. The a-word. The word that lots of SEOs and link builders hate, as paying for traffic is not in their vocabulary. But it can be *very* fruitful, even when it comes to link building.

One of my favorite advertising platforms to promote linkbaity content is StumbleUpon. A succesful StumbleUpon campaign is the gift that keeps on giving. You can buy Stumbles for $0,05 each, and if the people who get to see your content like it enough, you get rewarded with more (free) stumbles. And since Stumblers usually don’t pay attention to post dates, you can use if for old content as well.

I got another reminder of how wonderful StumbleUpon Paid Discovery (what their ad platform is called) works only recently, when a campaign resulted in around 100.000 stumbles, and counting. The costs: a mere $100.

Now everyone knows that StumbleUpon traffic isn’t the best in the world. However, although the 100.000 earlier mentioned Stumblers had a bounce rate of ~95%, they also attributed for a few thousand Facebook likes, a couple of hundred Tweets and a few dozen links. Not bad for $100, if you ask me.

When the traffic seems to be dying off, you simply pour in a bit of extra paid stumbles to get it going again. A regular refill can make sure that your link profile grows steadily as well.

Create a new boost in traffic (and social attention) with some extra ad budget.


Obviously, StumbleUpon isn’t the only ad platform you can try. Use AdWords or Facebook ads, but also advertorials, promoted Tweets, Reddit ads or whatever you think can convert to social votes or links.

Also, think about relevant journalists or bloggers writing an article that’s relevant to your content, and make sure to show up during their research. Give them the content they’re looking for and (hopefully) earn a link.

Alerts

In theory, Google Alerts are amazingly useful. According to Google, you receive “updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic”.

So when someone publishes an article that’s relevant to your website, you instantly receive an email with a link to it. You can then go check it out, and -when applicable- contact the owner to suggest adding a link to a page with further reading material. Again, in theory, as creating a Google Alert usually means that you receive notifications of your own blog posts or two-week-old Tweets in your mailbox…

Bing discontinued their alert service, but Yahoo! still offers it, as well as lots of individual news websites. Services like Trackle, SocialMention and Tweetbeep (for Twitter) can also be quite useful.

Another solution would be to create your own alerts service, for example via Yahoo! Pipes. Pipes has lots of options, which examples like this and this show, but creating your own would allow you to include sources of your choice as well.

Future (guest) content

Do you have some blog posts, guest content or interviews planned for the next few weeks? Make sure to include a link to the content page you’re trying to (re)promote.

Chances are that people have missed that page in the first place. With guest content or interviews you can deliver it to a whole new audience, which is yet another chance of your page getting picked up by others.

Make sure to take a look at your most popular pages as well, and include a link to your had-to-be-popular page here too – if it’s relevant and adds value, of course.

Al these options are great ways to get some good anchor text links to the page, which hopefully increases its search engine visibility. This in turn increases the chance of content researchers finding your piece and mentioning it in theirs. Chances of this happening are very small, but you simply never know. Sometimes it’s just a tiny snowflake that creates an avalanche.

Newsletters

Sending out newsletters regularly? Don’t forget to include to add links that are relevant to the main subject of your mailing or eZine.

Not everyone is in a shopping mood, so make sure to include some reading material for the people who just want to be entertained. If your mailing list is of a somewhat respectable size, you just might have some influential linkerati amongst your subscribers.

Make linking easy

Now this should be a no-brainer, but apparently some companies still have difficulties with this. Facepalm indeed.

Making linking easy goes further than this, though. Encourage your users to link to you, for example by providing embed codes next to your images or infographics, or by creating ‘Our company in the media’ pages – which are basically reciprocal 2.0 pages.

Link building

Now if all of the above fails, you can always revert to good ol’ link building. Contact relevant resource pages, link pages or any other website you deem appropriate, and kindly ask if they’d consider adding a link to your page.

Agreed, it’s not the most fun part of the job, but since most of your competitors probably think the same (and therefore don’t do it), not neglecting this part can actually lead to an advantage.

However, if you’ve made it to this part of your list with promotion options, chances are that your content wasn’t as good as you thought it was. Try to find out what was wrong with it, and fix it for the next time, so you don’t have to run through this list again.

Do you have other ways to promote your existing content (or failed linkbait campaigns) to share?

21 Responses to “How to Promote Existing Content (or Failed Linkbaits)”

  1. Richard March 29, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

    Just shared this with my team. Subject line: awesomeness.

  2. KIERAN FLANAGAN March 29, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    Couldn’t agree more with the paid advertising RE: Stumble, Facebook, worth it for a little extra push.

  3. Blake Waddill March 30, 2011 at 12:10 am #

    Even though I work for an SEO firm and have raved about SEO and guest posting since I started into all this nonsense, I have learned the value of paid promotion.

    Sadly, many new bloggers think they’ll be the next big thing because their amazing content. Paid traffic is by far the easiest way to start generating traffic to a brand new site (guest posts are also great, but not always easy to secure on an solid site).

  4. Moosa Hemani March 30, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    I don’t think anyone can deny the fact that paid visitors are valuable but in my opinion, traffic from stumble upon is not really a good idea because of the high bounce rate and I see very rear retweets and Facebook ‘likes’ as compare to the money I was spending (maybe I was doing it the wrong way but that’s my experience).

    The idea to add a link in your future post, Interview is good and logically it should work out…

    Overall a Great Read!

  5. Elja Trum March 30, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    Never thought of trying advertisment for my blogs, but your example with StumpleUpon is convincing! I’ve just created a paid discovery account and started a first campagne. Worth a try!

    Thx!

  6. Wiep March 31, 2011 at 9:36 am #

    @Richard – That’s a great subject line :)

    @Moosa – SU traffic usually has a bounce rate of 95% or higher, but if you can convert some of the remaining traffic into Likes, Tweets or links (or +1s), you’re golden.

    I’ve seen examples where 7 or 8% of the SU traffic Liked the content they visited, but this all depends on the quality of your content and the relevance of the category your content was submitted to.

    @Elja – It’s a bit more difficult for Dutch content, but pages with lots of photos (like yours, probably?) can work quite well.

  7. Elja Trum March 31, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    @Wiep; Since the start of this year I’ve got an English version of Photofacts too. So I am promoting those pages.

    So far, I’m not getting any ‘free’ stumbles. Only paid. I’ve promoted two of my articles; a page with tips for beginner photographers (scores 79%) and one about the iPad 2 for photographers (newer campaign, no good score yet).

    Perhaps the free stumbles are yet to come, but if you have any more tips on running these StumbleUpon Paid Discovery campaigns that would be appreciated! :)

    I’ve ‘invested’ 50 dollars in the campaign (36 euro). Perhaps there is a tipping point? Or perhaps my content just isn’t good enough for this kind of traffic.

  8. ViqiFrench April 1, 2011 at 5:23 am #

    Excellent post! I’ll definitely include a link back to this from my own blog (content marketing & seo copywriting).

  9. Wiep April 2, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

    @Elja – SU campaigns work best for funny pages and/ or visually attractive content that’s submitted to the most relevant category.

    You have to be a bit lucky with it, though. Getting one or more reviews (not just thumbs up) can really boost a campaign.

    Try submitting something like a ’42 Stunning B&W Photos’ post, and I’m sure you’ll get quite some traffic.

  10. Buddy Scalera April 3, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    I wish I’d seen your post before I used Paid Discovery for bringing in new traffic. Sure, it brings in a lot of traffic, but it mostly seemed to bounce. The flat rate is nice and the setup is easy, but the controls are very limited, especially on the basic account. You have to step up to the next level to get access to their reporting.

  11. Elja Trum April 4, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    Sounds logical, promoting a more visual post. Great tip! I’d never used StumbleUpon myself. Now that I have I can understand the more visual post getting more attention. Pressing the ‘Stumle’-button again is done within seconds.

    I’ll try a new campaign on exactly the topic you’ve suggested. :) I’ll add visually attractive and funny images in the post to attract all kinds of viewers.

    Any other usefull tips? Perhaps on how to get more people to leave a review?

  12. EG April 4, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    Actually, we tried the same thing with one of our websites. We used StumbleUpon, Facebook Ads, AdWords. StumbleUpon was the cheapest and the best ROI while AdWords was the best engagement and Facebook Ads was the worst (High PPC but TBH their traffic was great as well and had the lowest boucne rate).

  13. Francis April 5, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    This is a great content! We just shifted to social media campaign still trying to explore what the benefits would be like as regards to the brand of our business.

    You wrote on paid advertising ‘StumbleUpon Paid Discovery’.I just glanced the web page and it seems to worth a try.

    Social media SEO through paid advertising and banner placement, i think, would help our campaign.

    Keep the posting up.

    Many thanks.

    Francis

  14. Jordan April 6, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    Good article. never knew that StumbleUpon could rake in that high a traffic but the keyword is still building FREE links as compared to paying for traffic which most of us are still trying to adjust to. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Joel April 18, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

    Really interested in your recommendations regarding Stumbleupon. It’s admittedly something I’m not using well at this point and you’ve convinced me to spend the time really checking it out.

  16. Mike May 22, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    Wonder what the return-on-investment is with paid advertising or paid linking?
    Has anyone found any useful research on it?

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