If I write a killer blog post, and you write a killer blog post on the exact same topic, who wins?
Site-wide factors notwithstanding, it could come down to who shares it more.
That is to say, sometimes a rockstar effort isn’t enough; in fact, it’s what happens after you create content that can define how many eyes and ears your content receives.
Content amplification is the process of publishing, promoting and distributing content for greater reach.
It means turning your content strategy up to 11.
How content amplification sets the stage for higher organic rankings
While content amplification as a practice is not a direct or stated organic ranking factor, its byproducts very much are.
By promoting and sharing your content, you increase its exposure, leading to higher probabilities of earning backlinks. And link-worthy content is often high-quality content that’s rooted in proprietary findings, breaking industry research and ultra-relevant information.
Lucky for us marketers, links and content are the two most important ranking factors Google uses to index web pages.
So by amplifying your content you’re accomplishing several things:
- Optimizing for Google’s No. 1 ranking factor.
- Optimizing for Google’s No. 2 ranking factor.
- Incentivizing strong user behavior and social engagement authority signals.
- Promoting brand awareness and social lift.
- Generating guest-posting and content syndication potential.
- Increasing organic brand mentions and linkless backlink signals.
These direct and indirect benefits speak volumes to the importance of content amplification. By reaching your target audience on as many platforms as possible, you increase the life span of every asset you create, offering greater per-asset ROI potential.
Amplification through paid, owned and earned media
So how do you actually amplify your content? What steps do you take?
Let’s start with distinguishing between paid, owned and earned media, as amplification has enormous use in all three forms of marketing. The goal should be to coordinate content amplification efforts across each media format to produce stronger results, which, collectively, should be:
- More traffic.
- More links.
- More shares.
- More engagement.
- More conversions.
- More leads.
- More sales.
Paid media amplification
Paid media is any form of advertising you directly pay for, such as Facebook ads, PPC or retargeting.
To amplify your content through paid means, you can use:
- Promoted tweets.
- Sponsored LinkedIn content.
- Boosted Facebook posts.
- Instagram ads.
- PPC through AdWords.
- Paid influencer marketing.
Owned media amplification
Owned media refers to the media properties directly under your control, such as your blog, your website or your social channels. You create them, you oversee them and you dictate the user experience.
Amplification in an owned-media model looks like:
- Consistent publishing and sharing of company blogs.
- Email marketing.
- Guest-posting and free content syndication.
Earned media amplification
Earned media is the free publicity, sharing and advertising you receive.
Amplification may take the form of:
- User-generated content.
- Free influencer marketing.
- Press coverage from industry events.
Because earned media is inherently more out of your control than paid or owned media, there’s much more nuance to consider. And, in fact, it’s up to others to amplify for you.
Here’s a crash course in all things earned media for additional info.
Getting the most out of your content
The overarching goal of content amplification is to push your content into the farthest (but most targeted) regions of the web. To measure the effectiveness of your approach, there are a number of key performance indicators to track, including:
- Brand mentions.
- Click-through rate.
- Unique email open rate.
- Unique sessions.
- Direct web traffic.
- Return visitors.
- Domain and Page Authority.
- Email forwards.
Depending upon where in the sales funnel your prospects may lie, you can customize your amplification efforts to appropriately nurture leads. Content Marketing Institute illustrates this approach below:
By amplifying your content across the channels that serve your goals (based on your audience), you bring your message directly to their doorstep.
For a prospect that is a phone call or two away from signing a deal with your company, a well-timed email that doubles down on your value, your service offerings and your pricing model can spur a purchasing decision.
Similarly, running a paid display ad on a branded keyword can be an effective tool for targeting a prospect that is still at the Awareness or Consideration stages of the customer journey. Even if a searcher doesn’t know much about your company or its products, they will visually see your ad first in SERPs, above all your competitors in both paid and organic listings.
It’s also important to understand that if a blog post you wrote was instrumental in leading to a sale, or a paid ad helped drive traffic to a high-conversion landing page, both of these examples are highly variable and narrow in scope (but still, awesome job!). Yes, you amplified your content to achieve a desired effect, but the goal was hyper-specific and not completely transferrable to every piece of content you create.
Amplification is more fundamentally about generating links and shares, two goals that are easier to track, easier to attribute success to and easier to replicate across all pieces of content.
Amplify for links and shares
To amplify is, by definition, to make louder and more intense.
We shouldn’t think of amplification as solely about volume or noise, however. After all, the sheer enormity of content being produced and shared each day is mind-numbing, and even as I write this post, I know that, by some measurements, I am contributing to said noise. No, I’m not sad; you’re sad.
Worldometers has a running tracker of the number of blogs written each day, and, yes, it’s a lot:
Once those blogs (and any content) are created, then it’s on to the social sphere. Here’s how much social “noise” we’re dealing with:
- Roughly half of the global population has internet access, and about 87 percent of those online users have social media accounts.
- A new social media user comes online every 15 seconds (Facebook, specifically, adds a new profile every six seconds).
- There are 8 billion daily views of Facebook videos and another 8 billion daily views of Snapchat videos.
- More than 6,000 tweets are sent every second.
- Every minute, 300 cumulative hours of video are uploaded to YouTube.
- Per day, 4.2 billion Instagram posts are liked.
- LinkedIn SlideShares produce 70 million unique monthly visitors.
Surprisingly, or not, LinkedIn is responsible for 80 percent of B2B leads (hint hint, B2B brands).
Additionally, Pew Research found that there is strong reciprocity across social media platforms. The median American uses three different social platforms, and younger Americans are likelier to use four or more.
These figures may seem like a minefield of competition. But targeted amplification can be much more effective than a simple “post anything and everything on every social and distribution channel.” A one-size-fits-all strategy may generate “exposure” in the sense that your content appears in more places, but such a strategy can actually reduce your per-asset click-through rates and conversion rates.
The time spent blowing up every social channel with every post could have been better spent sharing a fixed number of assets on just one or two channels. Your target audience doesn’t engage with brands on every channel; it’s often just one. That should be one of your primary amplification channels.
And as we have shown before, one of the top B2B marketing trends in 2018 is allocating social media investments toward single, proven platforms. If, for instance, business leads are located on LinkedIn, that’s where you should invest, rather than splintering your social budget into several unproven channels.
Increasing your brand reach and search quality signals (actionable, measurable amplification goals) comes down to solid link-building tactics and leveraging social media in a way that adds to industry conversations.
And there are several other practices which we’ll explore in more detail below:
Content amplification strategies that work (and tools to use)
By pairing the best in SEO content creation with strong amplification techniques, your digital podium becomes larger, your message more targeted and your voice more clearly understood.
Get started with:
The number and authority of referral domains (backlinks) is the top Google ranking factor, so it makes sense to think of content creation as the first step toward optimizing for more links. In addition to high-quality, search-friendly content, you should also focus more explicitly on cornerstone content.
This type of asset is superbly researched, data-heavy and extremely shareable. Think “100 social media stats you need to know in 2018” or “35 ways healthcare marketers are using the cloud for efficiency.”
Building campaigns around these comprehensive mega-posts and internally linking back to them funnels your readers to individual pages. And as other marketers leverage your invaluable resource for their own purposes you obtain the dual advantage of strong external link signals as well as a smart internal link structure.
Tools: SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz Open Site Explorer
Establishing a productive relationship with relevant publishers allows you to post your content on other domains. Including internal links to your site within those posts sends search signals back to your site, which, over time, can increase your Domain and Page Authority, improve your search presence and position your brand as a go-to resource.
Tools: Buzzsumo, Alltop, Marketingprofs
Similar to guest posting, content syndication distributes your marketing collateral across a number of specific platforms. By republishing your content on third-party sites, you penetrate larger audiences, gain link equity and increase your chances of brand mentions.
This approach also allows you to utilize curated content that’s relevant to a subset of a niche community within your industry, if that sort of resource isn’t already available among the professionals in your field.
Tools: Medium, LinkedIn Pulse, Quora
Putting your content into the hands of authoritative industry influencers vastly expands your social media presence and opens opportunities for compounding social sharing and engagement. For every $1 you spend on influencer marketing, on average, $6.50 is returned.
Influencer networks solicit the type of social following and social lift your content needs to succeed.
Tools: Buzzsumo, UTM parameters
Hate pop-ups? So does Google. The search giant penalizes intrusive ads like full-page interstitials, overly large banners and other types of on-page disruptions that are not easily dismissed, especially those on smaller mobile screens.
That’s why native advertising has grown into its own practice. By serving ads directly within content and formatting so it appears as naturally and orderly as possible, you can generate clicks without ruining user experience.
Native advertising allows you to promote your content in front of targeted users based on their search behavior. This level of specificity is likely what has prompted researchers to report that by 2021, 74 percent of all ad revenue will come from native ads, and $21 billion will be spent on native ads this year alone.
Tools: YouTube, DoubleClick, Programmatic
Email marketing is no secret. It’s the must-have complement to content marketing, and it’s one of the most effective ways to communicate with customers, passive subscribers and prospects alike.
Roughly 77 percent of B2B marketers use email newsletters to amplify their content and connect with large databases of leads. Even better, personalized emails generate 10 percent more conversions than generic ones.
Tools: Pardot, Constant Contact, MailChimp
While organic social marketing has its own benefits, it often relies on a strong existing relationship between brand and followers. Paid social strategies like sponsored content, promoted tweets or Instagram stories ads allow you to put content in front of high-intent social users who may not specifically be acquainted with your brand.
By personalizing ads to audience segments and buyer personas, you can target (for a price) a virtually infinite number of social media users that your organic amplification efforts may not be capable of reaching.
Tools: Hootsuite, Facebook Ads Manager, Campaign Manager (LinkedIn)
By homing in on specific high-intent users, you’re able to devote spend toward those who may actually convert rather than attempting to cast a wide net over a broad swath of general site visitors.
In terms of amplification, you’re breathing new life into your content.
Tools: AdWords, MailChimp, AdRoll
Content amplification is the natural next step in your marketing evolution. If you’ve invested in content creation teams and are capable of providing a range of marketing assets, you should be equally focused the sharing, promotion and distribution of your work.
Don’t leave money on the table.
And don’t be afraid to use a .gif every once in a while.