I’ve been promoting a lot of stuff online lately. Not that I’m a consultant or anything. I guess I just like promoting stuff that catches my attention. Most of the stuff I’m promoting is either stuff created by friends or stuff that catches my eye. I really like good content or ideas and these days it’s hard to get noticed.
With this post I thought I’d share some really basic and common sense tips on getting your content noticed.
Get an Expert to do it for You
Unfortunately, when you set out to promote something the greater emotional and personal stake you have in it the more likely you’ll come across as:
- Over enthusiastic: People can practically see you frothing at the mouth and waving your hands wildly just by reading your email. Stop it.
- A spammer: Unless they’re playing by numbers (in the 0.000001% chance they’ll succeed), real spammers are more sophisticated. What’s funny is that otherwise respectable people come off as a spammer when they need to promote their stuff out of ignorance or lack of experience. Don’t start emails like, “Say friend (you actually don’t know each other), I’ve got some good info to share…”
- Just incoherent or boring: In avoiding all the other pitfalls you don’t assert yourself enough and thus get ignored. Trust me, when you promote stuff not everyone’s going to be polite to you. If you stay professional while being assertive, it wont get nasty. You’ll just be ignored. The golden rule: if ignored accept it in silence, don’t follow up.
You especially need to watch out immediately after wrapping up a long session of development and get ready to promote your stuff. If you’re relatively unknown and the project is in stealth mode just get some sleep and come back to it.
Creating a convincing sales letter or line. Maybe some words you have ready to avoid writing the same stuff all over again. Be sure to have ready a long, medium and ultra short (like three lines) version. If you’re stumped on the short version take a nap or get more sleep. Either you don’t have a clear idea of what it’s about or your excitement is getting frothy again.
Chances are, if you can’t create a punchy blurb in so many words, you’ll have trouble grabbing people’s attention as well.
So, now that you have this material, what do you do?
First, you can blog about it or turn it into a press release. Maybe even send it out to some understanding friends. You can also submit it to social media (but only if you know what you’re doing or don’t care to get the word out on the front page—you can actually “seed” a bit of excitement even with unsuccessful submissions).
The Secret Weapon
The secret weapon is email. Yes, plain and boring emails.
By emailing the biggest blogs in your targeted market, you can get your story out quicker than you think.
Anybody that’s been writing a blog knows one thing: good stories are hard to come by. What you don’t know is that the bigger a blog is the harder it is because they are constantly posting 3-5 stories a day. Professional bloggers have to not only keep their output up but also feed their audience enough stories to keep them and the advertisers happy.
Even for something that’s really small news, if it’s a “scoop” then you’re likely to get a mention even if it’s a couple words in a long “what’s happening in the industry” post.
As long as it’s not blatantly self-seeking, spammish or really low-quality the major blogs will pick it up if it matches their target audience and there’s not much competing news (stay away when there’s something like the iPhone breaking).
That’s why having a short blurb ready is crucial. It’ll help the author make a story with minimal effort. Finding out which blogs and sites are dominant in the sector you want to target should be easy provided you do the research.
What kind of emails can get the word out:
- Professional but friendly: Don’t pretend like your a long-lost friend but don’t sound like an automated message either.
- Brief and to the point: If they have to sift through a long introductory paragraph it’s going straight to the trash
- Infrequent: Don’t email the same people every couple of days with minor updates, especially if they were kind enough to you once (it comes off as taking advantage of their kindness). Just send them big news every now and then if you need to.
- Be quick and responsive: If they hit you back with an email, get your response out as soon as you can.
Although you can go straight to the source and try getting the story out on a social media site, you must be aware that there are risks involved, particularly turning the social media’s community against you.
Like I said, the main message is let the pros handle it whether they be marketers or major bloggers. If you’re going to do your own promotion be humble, calm but assertive.