The two pillars of social media marketing are delivering excellent content to your intended audience and building great relationships. A crucial aspect of building upon these pillars is how you share your content with others. An effective content strategy has to include a well-thought-out bookmarking strategy to propagate your content.
1. It Is All About Them
Focus on your target audience. Joe Pulizzi, CEO of Junta42, a content vendor and project matching service preaches that delivering consistent editorial-quality content means that you must think less like a marketer and more like a publisher. This means your content should not be a thinly-veiled company brochure but must be consistent editorial-quality content that addresses your audience’s needs, offers value, and helps begin a relationship that may eventually make them customers and friends.
2. Quality over Quantity
There are hundreds of bookmarking sites, such as Delicious, Digg, Diigo, Mixx, Propeller, Technorati, Newsvine and Twine, that reach broad audiences. However, bookmarking sites like Smallbusinessbrief, Sphinn, Kirtsy and Slashdot are tailored to more specialized audiences. Research and choose bookmarking sites that are relevant to your audience. A specialized bookmarking site with a smaller audience that is interested in your content may have more value than a mega-site where your content may not be as easily found or read. In most cases, six well-chosen bookmarking sites will generate more engagement than 24 randomly chosen ones.
3. Content Propagation Means Sharing
Social media content propagation is more than just submitting your content to a variety of bookmarking sites. Effective content propagation requires being social. When you sign up for a bookmarking website, complete your profile, add friends that may already be members, and participate so that you build a network within the site. Most important, submit and vote up other people’s content that you find meaningful, interesting or funny. Don’t confine your participation to promoting only your content. Comment on articles, tweet and micro-blog about the content contributed by others.
4. Bookmark What Is Meaningful
Be sure the content you submit is relevant to the community within the bookmarking site. Submitting “How to Toilet Train Your Cat” may be wildly popular in an animal or pet community within Digg, but it might get you deactivated in a SEO bookmarking website like SlashDot. Some bookmarking sites like Newsvine will deactivate you in a heartbeat if your content contains any self-promotion or advertising. Learn the boundaries of the bookmarking websites and stay within them.
5. Don’t Be a Manipulative Cad
The objective of any good bookmarking website is to create communities that share valuable content organically. The more an article is read, commented on, voted, forwarded, emailed and shared, the more authority that content acquires. Sharing, voting and commenting are good. Setting up multiple profiles so that you can vote up your submissions is a black hat tactic and will get you deactivated.
6. Anything Worth Doing…Is Worth Doing Well
Content propagation is time consuming. As long as you are generating high quality content, the results will justify your time. While automated bookmarking software can speed up the process, I have not yet found a program that works well on all platforms or allows for sharing, commenting or any of the other aspects of being…social. Investing the time to participate the old-fashioned way yields the best results. That is not to say that you should not use the tools that are at hand. Using the bookmarking or share widget found on many blog sites helps build authority for the author of the article. Helping others gain authority on great content is another powerful way to build relationships on the web.
7. Tag…You’re It
Be sure to tag your articles when submitting to bookmarking websites. Tags are keywords that help your audience find your content when they conduct a search within the bookmarking website. Tags need to be keywords your audience uses, not your company’s jargon. Think like a member of your intended audience and use tags that will help them find your content.
8. Patience Is a Virtue…but Devising a System Can Speed Up the Process
We work with many clients on their social media strategy and our browsers are often opened to dozens of URLs. Too often my browser does not automatically log me in when using the share widget feature within various blog sites. Setting up a separate login on your computer startup for your bookmarking project can save you time and simplify propagating your content. Set up your browser’s automatic login feature and only use the additional computer login for bookmarking. This small step will cut the time you spend bookmarking content.
9. Measure Results
Which articles resonate with your readers? Track your content, visitor traffic, traffic sources, content reach, clicks, sentiment and voice through Google Analytics as well as other marketing software systems, such as HubSpot and ScoutLabs. Discover which content has the most value to your audience and refine your content strategy accordingly.
10. Knowledge Is an Ongoing Learning Experience
Every bookmarking website has its own social network, rules and procedures. Learn the strengths and idiosyncrasies of each one. And do not be afraid to make mistakes…it will eventually improve your bookmarking results. If you get deactivated from a bookmarking website, find out why, reread the rules and contact the website to get re-instated. And, of course, don’t do the same thing again!
Developing and taking the time to effectively implement a content propagation strategy that broadens your footprint on the web takes time but the results are well worth the investment.