A good content only serves half its purpose — and can’t be called good — if it’s viewed and shared by your intended audience.
That is why it is important to promote this content at certain channels in hopes that whoever sees such content will share it to others, thereby expanding its reach and benefiting not only the article, but also you, as the content creator.
There are many ways to promote content across a targeted stream of audience. Facebook fan page is one. But just as explained, if you don’t have enough audience (fans or likers as more appropriate labels) to view your content, it’s less likely going to get viral UNLESS a) article has great wow effect, such as infographics, that easily attract attention or b) your audience are power users that even the simplest of posts get shared unto their own timelines. That means you need to exert effort to attract people to like the page, and most likely paying Facebook ads achieves this objective fairly quickly.
Beyond Facebook, there are other channels we can use to promote content. Google Plus is another prime example of a growing social media tool that not only helps share content but also push it on search engine results by way of social signals. Outbrain is another tool, albeit paid, to help promote articles into the web as they get inserted at the bottom of news and article content on popular websites like Time, Rolling Stone and CNN. (A few Outbrain alternatives are outlined here.)
Yet, another one is StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery tool.
StumbleUpon has been helping good quality content (images, videos, articles) get promoted for free over the years. But as expected, premium services as part of its business model is aimed at helping articles get higher traction on certain topics through better ranking than typical submissions.
Creating a StumbleUpon Paid Discovery account:
- Create Paid Discovery account on StumbleUpon. It only consists of your email address and login password (not the password you use to access that email address). You’ll then be asked to verify account application by clicking on a link on a confirmation email to the e-mail address you entered.
- Enter a campaign URL, basically the URL of the web page you wish to promote. StumbleUpon provides analytics of the campaign but It would be nice to add Google’s tracking code if you wish to compare its performance against other campaigns (maybe you’ll also do Facebook, AdWords or Outbrain so you know which among these channels work best).
- Enter your desired budget, or intended number of visitors you’d like to view your page each day. Each visit costs approximately US$0.1 (HK$0.75) so you’ll know approximately how much traffic you are getting for each dollar you commit to invest.
- Create a name of the campaign.
- Edit targeting information based on interests (food, family, politics, sports, etc) so target audience with similar interests are likely to see the promoted page, demographics (gender, age, location) so if your content is only for Hong Kong market, you don’t waste your budget on other locations. You can also target audience based on devices they use. There is an option for serving priority which I think is similar to bidding for paid ads and basically asks you to pay more so your promoted content gets better prominence. You can set your daily budget so you have peace of mind that you don’t get charged extra beyond your intended spending budget.
Once our campaign gets approved (unless I violate the terms I “read” during signup, I see no reason why it gets disapproved), we should start to see data displayed across the dashboard. I have signed up and promoted an article. I’ll update this post once I have enough data gathered from this campaign.