Getting a major publication to mention or feature your business can generate traffic for your website, signups for your app, and that other thing some entrepreneurs care about--sales and revenue. The problem is that getting into a big-name online magazine can be tough. But what if there were a way to get all the benefits of that press, without having spend the time, money, or effort? What if you could generate traffic and get customers for free, or very inexpensively, with minimal effort? I’ve done it, and here’s how you can do it too.
On September 29, 2015 I published the article "How Getting Fit Saved My Life And My Business" on Forbes. Then I copied and pasted the exact same text and published it on the LinkedIn Pulse network. Only contributors can post to Forbes. Anyone can post to LinkedIn so when I’m posting there I’m nobody special. Where would you guess the post got more attention? The latest view counts are Forbes: 2,759 vs. 13,967 for Pulse. I might add there are also 221 comments on Pulse, and not a single comment on Forbes. Does this mean Pulse will always beat a major publication? No. In most cases a major publication is going to get more exposure. The point is that you can get just as many views of your content on Pulse as I did, and in some cases you’re going to be doing better on Pulse than if you got that content in a major publication. Need more proof that you can get major exposure on Pulse? In November I posted "Should Women Lean In Or Should We All Lean Back?" on Pulse, questioning the idea of whether our society needs women to work more as much as we need men to work less. That post is now at 73,769 views with 178 comments.
If you want your content to get major exposure on Pulse then it’s key to understand the algorithm LinkedIn uses to choose which posts get featured. In a post on Andy Foote’s blog LinkedInSights, Gericke Potgieter of Artifex Knowledge Engineering talks about how he analyzed 561 Top Posts featured in 48 Pulse channels. His findings show that audience engagement is key to getting featured. He recommends you focus your post on a specific channel, a specific audience, and interact with your audience as they comment on your post. Also helpful in this regard is John White’s post "How to Get Your Article Featured on LinkedIn Pulse," in which he shares how he has been able to get more than 80 of his posts featured on LinkedIn Pulse.
Unbeknownst to many, BuzzFeed has a community section where anyone can set up an account and post. When one of my agency’s clients Beardbrand rejected a blog post I had created on the grounds that it involved politicians and they stay away from anything political (probably a wise choice), I got their permission to post it as a rejected marketing idea in BuzzFeed Community and that’s how the post "What Would The 2016 U.S. Presidential Candidates Look Like With Beards?" came to be.
Like Pulse, Community posts can also be featured, but I knew due to the story behind the piece which I included, linking to our client’s website, this was unlikely to happen and so instead I spend a token amount, just a few hundred dollars, on Facebook ads. By using Facebook’s demographic targeting features I was able to craft an audience that shared the post and gave it great reach. The results? 109,000 views within the first 30 days, with a healthy amount of traffic coming through to our client’s website.
If don’t want to take the paid route to generating traffic on BuzzFeed Community, read Matthew Barby’s post "How I Made it to the Front Page of BuzzFeed Twice, and How You Can Too."
SlideShare is like YouTube for PowerPoint. Sound exciting? You might be surprised how much traffic you can generate by creating a simple slide deck and posting it on the site. Again, like Pulse and Community, the key (unless you want to pay to promote your content) is to get featured. SlideShare uses hand curation to choose which slide decks get featured, but there are no secrets--they tell exactly what they’re looking for in a slide deck, of course. But how easy is it, really? So easy my slide decks have been featured 7 times in a row, generating over 75,000 views and thousands of clicks to my website and social shares. My top performing slide deck "Media Insider Tips: Get Big Press With Minimal Time," has been viewed over 17,000 times.
What was my secret sauce? It wasn’t fancy graphics, in fact my decks are mostly black text on a white background. I didn’t spend a lot of time on each presentation. I didn’t even use a unique design each time. What I did do was the following:
- Used a very simple but attractive design that stands out.
- Made it drop dead easy based on the intro slide to know what you’re getting.
- Included interesting statistics and charts.
- Structured my content as actionable tips.
- Kept my points very brief and to the point.
- Once I finished, I shared like crazy on social media and made sure to tag SlideShare.
If the only benefits you received from your efforts were those I outlined above, that would be enough to justify the time and effort required to engage in these forms of content marketing. But producing this content will also boost your SEO efforts, lead to more marketing opportunities like speaking gigs, and can even lead to the major media coverage you’re looking for. So get started by writing a blog post today, copy it to LinkedIn Pulse (and Medium, while you’re at it), then turn it into a slide deck and post it to SlideShare. Within a few hours you can have valuable content in multiple places generating leads for you and your business.