In last week’s live training we tackled the biggest issue marketers have today: How to distribute content.
It’s no longer enough to just create good content, if you’re not distributing it in the right places, no one will notice you.
This was hands-down one of the best trainings we’ve ever had thanks to Ross Simmonds who killed it!
Here are the biggest takeaways you don’t want to miss:
- Why your brand is struggling to stand out (and how Google and Facebook are making it even harder) — 08:00
- The most important piece missing from your content plan — 16:05
- How to uncover new audiences for your business using Facebook Audience Insights — 18:20
- How to use Facebook groups to target your audience (yes, B2B too) — 26:44
- How to use Facebook Graveyard Pages to grow your audience — 31:46
- How to use StackExchange, Quora, Medium, Slack and Reddit the right way — 40:28
Watch the replay below:
Transcript and screenshots:
Thank you very much for having me on. So as Talia mentioned, I’m a digital marketing strategist. I run a content marketing agency that works with B2B brands and startups all over the world. We help companies kinda develop their content marketing plans, but also we assist with the actual distribution and creation of content. I’m also the co-founder of a company called Crate which is a content curation software that helps people manage their social media. So, while we go through this webinar, I’ll be tweeting a few times and that’s all done through Crate. It searches the web to find content that you should be sharing and then helps you put your Twitter account, LinkedIn account on autopilot by tweeting your content that your audience would find relevant and interesting. In addition to that I run a coffee company called Hustle and Grind targeted towards entrepreneurs.
So, what we’re gonna be talking about today is content distribution and this is a topic that I hold very close and near to my heart. And this is something that I care about because it’s something that I struggled with a lot early on. When I first got into content marketing, I often struggled with the process of getting engagement with my content, getting people to comment on my content, to get shares, to get likes, to get any type of the engagement at all that signaled some form of life on earth with my content. I typically had two people engaging with my content. One was my mom and the other was my then friend and now, wife. And that was all that I was getting in terms of engagement. There was not a lot of engagement at all with my content. And through all of this I realize that this challenge that I was having of breaking through the knots, standing out in a crowded sea of content, of tweets, of blog posts was something that a lot of organizations were struggling with. And for years, our industry and myself included have [inaudible 00:03:18] at the top of our lungs content is king. We’ve told organizations that you need to create more content and as a result the world has listened and we’ve fallen into a trap. And that’s why today I wanna talk about how we can get out of that, how we can really understand the ways that we can create content that actually get read and converted.
I want to talk to you about a problem I have.
It’s something that made my time in university challenging, it’s something that has influenced my career, relationships, and it’s influenced even when I go to marketing events and I connect with other professionals. You see, the reality is as much as I love going to marketing events, as much as I love going to the after parties, the networking portions, I typically struggle with one simple element. I’m a wanderer and when I say wanderer I’m not just talking about that one time when I was five years old and I got lost at the local fair, and I grabbed the hand of a complete stranger. I was gone missing for 30 minutes. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about wandering as it relates to information. You see, a few months back I was at a marketing event and me and this other gentleman, we were having a deep discussion around video. And we were talking about how habits have change and how vertical video on things like Snapchat, Instagram stories, and because of the rise of mobile phones have changed and influenced the way that we expect video content to be consumed and seen online. And while I love marketing and while I love talking about these habits, and these shifts in our behaviors because of technology, as much as I love that, after a few minutes my brain starts to wander. And in this conversation my brain wandered to a conversation that was happening feet away from me. This gentleman was standing inches from my face, but my brain completely wandered into a discussion about butter. I was no longer able to hear what he was saying. He was talking to me about video and he was passionate about it, but it was like Charlie Brown. All I could hear was wa-wa-wa-wa. Like, it wasn’t sinking in. I was enthralled by a discussion about whether or not you should keep the butter in the fridge or if you should put the butter on the counter. It’s not that exciting, right? Like, it’s not riveting, but he caught my attention and my mind wandered to focus solely on this discussion. I was so enthralled, so enthralled with this discussion that when my partner, my wife came back who happen to be with me at the event I introduced her as my butter half. Now, this was embarrassing, right?
Why your brand is struggling to stand out
So, I decided to google what in the world was going on with my brain that allowed me to go so far and so deep into this discussion with people who weren’t even talking to me about butter, but for my mind to just shift, and my attention to focus on that. And it turns out that this ability to focus on something, to filter out all noises, to focus on a single conversation, a single flow of sound amongst chaos is something that scientists have been studying for quite some time. It’s something that happens to all of us and we’ve all probably encountered it at some point. If you’ve ever been to a party or if you’ve ever been to a bar, if you’ve never been to a pub, if you’ve never been to a dance, and the music is extremely loud, louder than any voice in the room, but you’re still able to focus on a specific sound or a specific conversation, exactly what happened to me with the butter is what happens to you in those circumstances. It’s what the scientists call the cocktail party effect. And while the actual neurological breakdown of what’s happening in our brains that allows us to kind of filter through a bunch of noise to be laser focused on a conversation that we deem important or that we deem that we want to actually listen to isn’t truly understood. It’s something that all of us have. It’s somewhat of a super power.
So, over the course of the week, over the course of the month just be aware of it and you’ll find that it’s often that we’re all…we’ve all been there. All right. You’ll find yourself in those situations whether you’re at a networking vent, you’re at a wedding, you’re at a cocktail party, and you’re able to focus on a conversation with someone or eavesdrop on a conversation happening feet away from you while blocking out noises that are right in front of your face. Now, when this happened to me it kind of like just clued in, “Okay. This is what’s happening, this is interesting.”
But then I applied that same idea to marketing and something clicked for me. What clicked was that today, we are living in a time where the internet is the loudest cocktail party ever and what makes it worse is that it’s not just sound. So, when you’re having a conversation it’s just sound, but when it comes to the internet it’s all about attention, it’s the notifications, it’s the e-mails, it’s the tweets, it’s the blog posts, it’s the dings and the dongs, all of them coming our way. It’s becoming more challenging to standout than ever before because there’s so many things fighting for our attention. Whether it’s a push notification from an app telling you that there’s a rare Pokemon outside, to an e-mail that’s telling you that you need to download this PDF right away, or it’s a blog post that somebody just wrote or a white paper. It is a constant stream of noise coming our way and I believe if you’re a marketer, if you’re somebody who has the job of marketing in your organization or if you have been somebody who has created content in the past I have to say like, it’s all of our fault, like, it’s our fault.
We created this mess. We created this mess where the world is so noisy because for years we’ve been preaching at the top of our lungs, “Content is king.” We’ve been running around telling the world to create more content, write more content, build more tweets, send more blog posts, send more e-mails. We’ve been screaming it at the top of our lungs that content is king and the world has listened. The world has taken those stories, has taken that ideas, and they’ve acted on it. There’s more blog posts than ever before, there’s more tweets than ever before, there’s more Facebook posts, more pins on Pinterest, more e-mails. It’s easy to feel like you’re drinking out of a fire hydrant when you open your phone because of the stream. A blog post rants, cat photos. It’s overwhelming and I blame us, I blame marketers because a lot of us have fallen into a trap and that trap is the fact that we’ve believed that content is king. We’ve fallen into this trap that Wu-Tang would call C.R.E.A.M., like content rules everything around me. That is the idea that we have believed and that is the idea that we have embraced for so long. We’ve embraced this idea and as someone who runs a content marketing agency, someone who runs a content software company that again is focused around creating content it might seem insane for me to say this, but this is the reality. The world is kind of like, the writing is on the wall for us, folks. We need to change our thinking. Don’t get me wrong. I still believe that content marketing and content still needs to be at the foundation of your marketing approach. I think it’s still an important part of your marketing mix.
But what I’m saying is that the things that you have done for the past 5 years, 10 years, 2 years even aren’t going to be what is going to help you get where you need to be in the next 10 or 15. Things are changing quickly and I believe that because of Google and because of Facebook, and some of the latest changes that they’re making, it’s going to become even more difficult to be a marketer in this landscape. Here’s a little bit of insight into why I’m saying this, check this out. So, Google is now showing side by side product comparisons directly in the search. So if you go to Google and you’re looking for two different cameras, Google is going to show them directly in the search. They’re scraping the content from a website and then placing them right in there. So, you’re no longer getting this traffic to your website, you’re able to get the answers to your question as a consumer right here on Google. So you see this and you’re like, “Okay. That’s interesting. But how’s that going to impact me, how is that gonna impact me?” If you’ve ever created a comparison page between you and a competitor, Google now has the ability to take that content, place it in the search results, and you not get that traffic. And because you’re no longer getting that traffic, you no longer have the ability to tell the story in the way that you want, you no longer have the ability to have that call to action saying, “Get in touch” at the bottom. And I believe this is just the beginning.
You look at books, right? Like, let’s say you created a blog post all about the best books that you should read if you’re interested in marketing for 2018. Google is scraping that too. They’re placing the books above the fold. You might be thinking, “Okay. But, Ross, what if I create rich content? What if I’m going in, I’m creating some content that is in depth?” Guess what, Google is scraping that too and they’re putting it directly in the search results and they’re not sending traffic to your site. So, if I’m trying to find out what foods are going to improve my memory, I do the Google search, I read them, and then I go to the grocery store and I start buying avocados, blueberries, beets, bone broth, and coconut oil. I call it a day like, Right? Like, that’s the end of the experience. I never visit your website, I don’t learn about your book, I don’t get any gated content that you’re gonna serve up. I see the answer and that’s it. And it continues, you add a few images to your content, Google is doing the same thing here, right? Like, if I type in foods to improve skin health, tomatoes, salmon, water, green tea, garlic, food. So sure, the robots don’t need to understand the English language a little bit, but they’re scraping all of this information and providing it to you in the search results. And it transitions over into even more things.
So you have a job listing page, guess what, Google has taken that too. They have created a job listings section directly in the search where now, when you do a search for jobs the results are gonna show up directly in Google. So again, you’re not gonna get the traffic to your site, your job listing no longer is going to generate traffic for you. People are going to go to Google to actually find the jobs, see your competitors, and that’s where they’re gonna find out whether or not they should apply for your job. It’s happening to every industry even if you look at Kombucha, right? Typically to kinda demonstrate the idea of us usually basing our approach and our strategy on creating content on old metrics, we used to look at this and we’d be like, “Okay. We have a high page authority, we have a high domain authority, we’ve got a whole bunch of links. Why aren’t we ranking number one?” As you can see here it’s all out of whack, all of the metrics are all out of whack.
Google is no longer relying on the same things that we would have once assumed and if you think for a second that Google cares more about your domain authority, your page authority than they do for shareholder value, I have news for you, they don’t. They care more about generating revenue, they care more about providing a consumer experience that is easy for them. So they’re scraping content. They’re making it more challenging for us to rank, and as a result we have to change our thinking. But Facebook is playing the same game. I just saw this tweet yesterday where The Oatmeal, a famous comic. If you haven’t checked it out, check it out. It’s hilarious. They have millions of followers. They have 4.2 million followers on Facebook or something like that. When they put up a post they’re only reaching a small fraction of it. So, for years Oatmeal was able to benefit from Facebook. They will put up a post and they’d reached all of their followers and now, just to reach 490,000 of them. Just, I know that’s a significant amount, but to reach 490,000 of the people who already said, “I love The Oatmeal. I wanna follow your content. I wanna see your content.” This account would have to spend $2,000 to actually reach them. It’s becoming more and more challenging to win at the game of content marketing than ever before.
Like I said, Google cares more about shareholder value than they care about you getting a back link from a domain authority 60. If you are thinking about from a Facebook perspective, Facebook is the same way. They care more about shareholder value and being able to sell ads than they care about the 10,000 likes that you got 2018 or 2009, and you believe in that you have the right to still access them. This is why I am saying content is no longer king. It has a role, but content has become common. For many, content has become a commodity and if you’re investing in great content, great. Right? Like, you’re just like thousands of other companies. I still believe that that is important, but you have to recognize that there is a new king in town and that’s distribution.
The most important piece missing from your content plan
I’m standing here today that it’s time for our entire industry to start shifting their thinking, shifting the approach, and walk away from the idea that content is solely king and embrace this new idea. Like, Oatmeal creates great content that’s why they have four million followers, but they can’t reach all of their audience. They can no longer reach them because algorithms, because of paid metrics, because Facebook and Google are changing the way that they actually serve up content to people which is why I say we have to walk away from “CREAM” where we believe content rules everything around me, and instead embrace the “DREAM” where distribution rules everything around me. This philosophy really came home from me when I was reading “The New York Times” innovation report. I don’t know how it got out, but it got leaked. And in that study they found that all of their competitors focus on distribution and were able to kinda surpass them in rankings and in traffic because that’s where they focused. For a lot of companies they didn’t look at it this way. The CTO at “Huffington Post” had this quote and it’s gold, it essentially says, “Far too often writers and editors the story was done when you press publish.” But for “Huffington Post” when they press publish that was when the life of the article begin.
Think about this, how much time do you typically spend creating your content? Maybe an hour or two to create one asset, maybe four, maybe a few days. Okay. But how much time do you spend promoting it and distributing that content to get it in front of the right people? Now, most people call it a day once they press publish. They’ll send out a few tweets, they might use Buffer or Hootsuite and schedule some content to be shared over the course of the next few weeks, but that’s when they call it an end. That’s the wrong mentality. That’s the wrong approach. You need to recognize that we have to break through the noise. We have to break through all the cat photos that are being shared, we have to break through the BuzzFeed list of quotes, we have to break through all of the noise that is happening on Twitter. When you look at stats like this, where it’s saying every two days we’re creating as much content as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003, you can only think to yourself how do you stand out in all of this noise. And that’s what I wanna show you today. I wanna show you how you can stand out amongst all the noise and I wanna show you two key things. I wanna show you how to discover your audience, how to discover new channels, and then I wanna show you how to distribute your content effectively in these different channels.
Now, like I said, some gurus will tell you to tweet your links, put a post on LinkedIn, tag a few people, and call it in day. Not me. My hope here today is to take you back to step one and understanding who your audience is, what content they’re interested in, what magazines do they read, what newsletters do they subscribe to, what forms are they browsing. And from there my hope is that I can also share with you some different channel opportunities that I’ve leveraged and hopefully give you some inspiration to truly understand what you can do to kind of not only validate the value of distribution, but also gain some insight into how to discover new channels that the rest of your industry, the rest of your competition may be ignoring. And all of these questions I hope will be answered to you.
Advanced Ways to Use Facebook to Distribute Your Content
Facebook audience insights
For one of these things when it comes to distribution, when it comes to kind of figuring out where your audience is spending time, one of my favorite tools is Facebook Audience Insights. Now, Facebook Audience Insights isn’t a tool that has been around for years. It isn’t a tool that is brand new. It has been around for a very long time, but I think that it’s a section in Facebook where you have the ability to gain insights into your audience’s behavior, your audience’s interests, their demographics, their psychographics. And you can dig deep into uncovering everything from the specific Facebook pages that they follow to whether or not they’re interested in a specific type of lifestyle. Audience Insights will show you the location of your fans, they’ll show you where they live, they’ll show you their age, their gender, they’ll show you tons of information.
As an example, let’s say I was interested in targeting fathers, right. So you go into Facebook Audience Insights and you can select, “I’m looking to target men above the age of 30 who identify as fathers,” and then you’re fed back with a bunch of information. So if you’re a brand and you’re targeting dads, you can use this to say, okay, from a retail perspective they focus on Amazon. So, I should probably list my products on Amazon. You see from a sports perspective they’re interested in NFL and UFC. If you don’t have a big budget maybe you start going after some NFL and UFC bloggers who are not necessarily working at these companies, but run small sites that you could partner with or a podcast that you could partner with to connect with these people. You see that fathers like Bud Light and Dos Equis beer. So you can realize from that I guess dads don’t like good beer. So that’s interesting, right? Kidding, kind of, if you like those beers it’s okay. But then from there you can also see there’s something interesting here in the science section. So in that science section there’s a page, I f—ing love science, that’s interesting. It’s a regular Facebook page, but the intent here would be for me to reach out to them and see if there’s an opportunity for some content distribution, like, that’s not a big brand, that’s not an NFL, that’s not a UFC. There’s probably an individual person behind it, and what I would find is that that page has millions of followers. So maybe I can write a guest blog post on their site, maybe they have a podcast that I should be on, maybe I can sponsor their podcast or maybe I can reach out and just ask them, “Look, if you share my content, I’ll share yours.” Either way. There could be a co-branding opportunity here that you could capitalize on and then allow your story be told in a more unique and interesting way.
Let’s say for example, you’re trying to target people in Boston. You can even go as niched to a specific location. You can type in the location, you can type in their age, and they’re gonna provide you with localized results around what people around that location are interested in. So if you aren’t actually in Boston, but you want to learn about that place, you can see what the local TV stations are. You can learn what popular pop culture, like athletes and stuff like that are. You can figure out who it is that Bostonians are interested in, you can see the top media publishing sites. So, I can see that Tasty, Boston 25 News, boston.com. These are some sites that people over the age of 25 in Boston are interested in. So there’s an opportunity here for me to reach out to. That’s an opportunity, that’s where you can find gold in Facebook Audience Insights.
Here’s another one. So let’s say I’m looking to target fashionable mothers. Now, when I did this I’ve seen a handful again of media sites. One of these media sites was a site called Neya.Now, if there’s any fashionable mothers on the on the webinar maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe you’ve seen it before, but this is a brand new brand for me. I’ve never heard of Neya before and I look closer and it seems that they have 12.5 million likes, 12.5 million likes. That’s insane, that’s significant. So, for me again that’s an opportunity. Some of these pages you would never uncover unless you use Facebook Audience Insights. So you can reach out to this page and you can say, “I know that fashionable mothers are following your page. Here’s some content that I think they would find interesting. Let’s figure out a way that we can have a relationship.” You can start to build your mailing list based off of it. And what’s great about Facebook Audience Insights, you can also upload your mailing list to gain insights around who it is that has already subscribed to your content. When it comes to targeting, when it comes to creating content that is tailored towards a specific niche or specific user, there’s not many tools that can be as laser focused as Facebook which is why I love it and it’s a great piece of my marketing toolkit. I think it’s something that everyone should kinda have in their toolkit.
Take a look at this ad one of my friends sent me a few weeks ago. So he sent me a text message and it had this ad of The Rock, Dwayne Johnson wearing this T-shirt. And it just so happens that my friend is a Miami Dolphins fan who also happens to be a WWE fan. So he gets this text, he sees this ad, he sends me a screenshot. He’s like, “Ross, look at this. This is amazing. How did they know that I love The Rock and that I’m a Dolphins fan? This is insane.” I just, like, to me it makes sense. His set of interests is Dwayne Johnson, The Rock, WWE, additional interest Miami Dolphins, also interested in the NFL. And they show ads to the person and they’re gonna see an ad that’s relevant, that’s targeted. Of course when he seen this he bought it immediately. Now, I’m not telling you that you should go out and start creating these shirts because I’m pretty sure you can’t, like, legally take a famous person and put a shirt on them. But my point here is the value of relevance. If you can tell a story to someone that is relevant, you can ensure that it’s directly targeted to them… Let’s say in the B2B space, you created a resource that’s targeting a certain company. Let’s say you created a blog post, five things that I learned studying company a, b, c. You create that resource, you then target people who work at company a, b, c. They’ll see that content, they’ll download it because it’s relevant to them. They wanna learn what you know about them, what you’ve learned about their industry, their competitors, whatever that may be. Everyone is gonna click that. Everyone loves personalization. We love relevant content. While it might be a little bit creepy it’s still something that we resonate with as humans.
Just check this one out. So as an example, Snoop Dogg was shown this ad on Instagram and he took a screenshot, and then he reposted it on his own page. Now, Snoop Dogg happens to have a birthday in October. He takes a screenshot of this, Ice Cube and him. They were like hip hop legends for years. So he puts up this post and he’s just like shout out to Ice Cube for, like, showing that legends are born in October. He saved it, puts it up, but this isn’t the best part, like, it’s not just meant to show you that everybody loves relevancy. The best part is the fact Ice Cube’s birthday is in June, like, it just goes to show you that people love relevance, people love personalization. Snoop doesn’t even know when Ice Cube’s birthday is, but he’s seen this post and because his birthday is in October he wanted to share it. People love relevant content. So, Facebook Audience Insights and getting niche, and uploading your lists, and learning about who it is that actually follows your content is so important because it can help you discover who your audience is, what channels they’re spending time on, and what type of stories would actually be relevant to them.
A few months ago I was on Facebook on my phone and I took this screenshot. So, I’m glad I caught it because I can share it with you today and I caught this screenshot. Facebook is AB testing whether or not at the bottom of their Facebook app they should install the Groups icon. Facebook Groups is one of the fastest growing sections on Facebook. For the first time, a billion people, last year at the end of 2017, a billion people use Groups in a single month. That number is continuing to rise and if Facebook rolls this out, if they rollout the idea of actually placing the Facebook Groups icon directly on your home screen for Facebook app, I think it’s gonna be a game changer. I think that Facebook is going to completely see a spike in Facebook Groups and it makes sense. The mantra at Facebook is to make the world more open. They want people to connect with people who aren’t necessarily their best friends, the people they went to high school with, the people in their local community, they want the world to be more open and Facebook Groups is truly one of the only ways that that can happen. Because in these groups people are having deep conversations about things they care about. And a lot of people think that Facebook is just B2C and that you don’t need to worry about it.
But these groups that I’m showing you here as an example, the first one has more than 4,000 people in it and they’re talking about SaaS growth hacks. So, it’s people who work in software organizations talking about marketing there’s a SaaS annual, there’s a SaaS marketing month, like these are groups where people are talking about business, where people are building business relationships. And you can find them by simply doing a quick Facebook search by typing in SaaS, clicking Groups, and then seeing it. And I think you can do this in many industries. If you’re interested in cryptocurrency, if you’re interested in learning how to be a better presenter, if you’re trying to learn about food, arts, culture, health, you name it, you can find a group that is tailored to you. And as a marker these groups become not only places where you can build relationships, but also places where you can seed your content. So if you’re targeting SaaS founders, you can now share your blog posts in these groups. You can also run ads targeting these groups and the people in these groups are going to be more likely to see your ads. There’s a huge opportunity here when it comes to Facebook Groups and I think they were only at their early stages of seeing the full potential of this channel.
Facebook also allows you to use tags. So you can use tags in Facebook now. If you go to the group section and you select on “discover” you can actually start to find groups that are interesting to your audience. You can dive into this by looking through the various categories like local, you can go into funny, food, you name it. You can find groups that are relevant to you and as you join these groups, you’ll have the ability to like I said, share content with them that is ultimately gonna drive traffic back to your site. If Facebook has stopped your page from being able to reach its full following, why not go into a group where that situation is no longer the case. If you go into a group and it has 40,000 people, you put up a post, more than likely you’re still going to reach more people from that group post than you would from a post that would be made on your page. So, there’s an opportunity here and I think that if you’re going to capitalize on it now is the time to do it. And if you can’t find a group, create your own. Create your own Facebook group that is targeted towards your audience. If you’re trying to connect with Shopify, people who run a Shopify store, create a Shopify group. If you wanna connect with people who love cars, create a car group. If you wanna connect with Etsy sellers, create an Etsy selling group. If you wanna connect with people who love butter, create a butter group, like, invest the time in building a channel where you can actually connect with your audience and tell people, “Join my Facebook group, engage with the content that we’re sharing here, and add value in it.” And one of the best parts of this that is kind of a spin-off result is that journalists are starting to join groups as well.
So, when you talk about getting press and generating back links from these top sites, Facebook Groups offer potential opportunity there as well. In this example, I discovered that a lot of my audience, tech entrepreneurs, people who are in the B2B space were getting interested in bots. So, I saw somebody asking questions about the future of bots and it just so happened that I was working with a chatbot company and I decided that this is an opportunity where I could give it some love. So, I wrote a response to their question on Quora in then I shared it in this this Facebook group. Within a couple of weeks I was contacted by somebody who ran a site called “Chatbot Magazine.” Yes, that exists and then a journalist from Venture Group, they both wanted to republish my answer because they saw it in this group. It goes back to a simple concept, discover your audience and distribute your content. I knew my audience was in this community. It happened to be journalists there as well and when they saw it, they resonated with it, and then as a result they picked it up, and they distributed that content on other sites. On a side note if you haven’t seen the movie “Ex Machina,” it’s really good. I’m gonna definitely recommend that you check it out.
Facebook graveyard pages
Another opportunity on Facebook is graveyard pages. Now, a graveyard page is a page that is no longer getting a lot of love. So, let me take you back in the time for a little bit. Facebook Pages have been around since 2007. Now, in the early days of Facebook it was very easy to create a massive following. When you had a Facebook page you would reach your entire audience with one post like consistently, you always did. The algorithm didn’t exist. If you had a page you would reach thousands sometimes millions of people. It was very easy, but a lot of these pages are no longer actively being managed by the person who created it back in 2008, 2009, 2010. As a result many of these pages have not been updated for months. That’s why I call them graveyard page. It’s an account that has engaged audience interested in a specific topic, but they have no active manager. Maybe the person got busy with life, maybe they stopped being interested in engineering, maybe they had a kid and they no longer are interested in marketing, whatsoever. All of these pages, a lot of these pages still exist today. And you can reach out to them and you can ask them, “Hey, what would it take for me to take over this? I’m passionate about engineering. What would it take for me to take over your page?” And if you run a company that’s targeting engineers, you take ownership of it. You change it to be something aligned with your brand story and then you have a new media asset that you can acquire, and then tell your story through.
Here’s an example of a dialogue that took place between me and a page that I acquired that had 30,000 very highly engaged audience. So, I sent them message just says, “Hi. I noticed this page hasn’t been active since 2015. Any interest in passing it along through someone else for management?” They write me back, “I sell it for $5,000.” Then from there we got into a discussion. I ask them for their Facebook referral traffic, I wanted to see… It turned out that their Facebook page also came with a website, they had an AdSense account, they had an e-mail list, they had books, they had a bunch of different resources. So, I ask them again, “Okay. This is great information. Thank you so much. What’s your thoughts on a lower price?” I didn’t even ask for like, I didn’t say 4,000. I just said, “What’s your thoughts on a lower price?” And they said, “The best I can do is 3,000.” That’s like 10,000…10 cents a like. That’s insane and he dropped it by 10k. Ching-ching, I’ll take it. Like, that’s easy. So of course, I’m gonna take an opportunity like that and now, I have 30,000 people at my fingertips that I can engage with for the rest of eternity. As long as Facebook Pages are around, I can engage with that audience, I can connect with them, I can add value to their life. And ultimately be able to kind of allow this page to pay for itself which it did it in two weeks because I put up a few posts and drove them to an e-commerce page, and they were able to sell.
Facebook B2B Statistics
So, for the last little bit you’ve had your cocktail party effect in full effect because you are sleeping on Facebook, because you’re in B2B and you think, “Ross, you’re talking a lot about Facebook and I don’t care about Facebook.” And you’ve been playing with your phone. I want you to pay attention to this section particularly. I want you to just put your phone away, just look at this. When it comes to B2B marketing and it comes to like how much time people are spending on Facebook, when you look at B2B, when comScore asked B2B decision makers where they spent their most time, Facebook was the winner without any real competition. More than 700 minutes each week are being spent on Facebook by B2B decision makers in comparison to Google, 74 with CNN, and 28 with LinkedIn. That’s insane, right? Like, I know, I get that. You might be wondering that doesn’t make any sense, where is this from. So comScore shared at a recent conference and the reality is this, whether I’m a C-suite executive, whether I run a marketing team, I run an engineering team, I run a technology team, whatever I do from 9:00 to 5:00 that doesn’t matter. Because at the end of the day the person on the other end of your computer is a human, and humans have kids who they take photos of that they put on Facebook that they wanna share with their friends and family. They have friends that they went to high school with if they wanna connect with on the weekends and over the course of their evenings, they don’t wanna spend time doing business. So, they’re unplugging by going to Facebook. They might subscribe to a few videos on Facebook that they wanna watch.
People are people. So, whether you’re in B2B or B2C, no matter who it is that you are talking to at this end of the day these people are spending time online. And sure, LinkedIn is quickly making a lot of strides and make their platform more engaging. But if you’re in B2B and you’re sleeping on Facebook it’s time to wake up. I truly believe that Facebook is one of the most underrated tools for B2B marketers today. And one of the great opportunities with Facebook when it comes to B2B is using e-mail to kind of retarget your audience. You can take an e-mail list and then click look-alike audience which means you want to target people who look like your audience, who do things like your audience, and it will show ads to those people. And you upload a list of e-mails from your LinkedIn or from your customer list to Facebook customer audience so you can run ads that are targeted directly to those people.
Using Facebook Ads to Target Your Email List
An example of this and how, like, the best example that I’ve seen and one of the funniest examples I’ve seen is this guy out of New York and he had a roommate who was a sword swallower. And as a roommate you tend to learn a lot about one another. He learned that his roomie actually had issues swallowing pills, but he had no issues swallowing swords. So he’s like, “This is interesting. This is weird.” But he created a Facebook custom audiences and he uploaded just his roommates e-mail. He then crafted this ad and he let it run. When he ran this ad this ad his following his roommate everywhere he went on Facebook, he was seeing this ad, “Trouble swallowing pills?” And then his roommate sent him, the guy who created the ad, a text message. It said, “I was just exposed to the most targeting ad in the history of the ad targeting here on Facebook.” It said, “Find it ironic that swallowing swords is easy, but you choke on taking little pills?” Talk about niche, right? So he’s freaking out, he’s getting this ad that’s so tailored and then he decides, “All right.” His friend is starting to panic, he’s thinking that this is too creepy, maybe Facebook is listening to their voice, like maybe they’re listening to conversation, what’s going on. Then he decided he was gonna run one more ad and he said, “Ever feel like your roommate is creating Facebook ads targeting to just you.” And then he clued in of course. Since then, Facebook has changed the rules to make it so you have to upload a sample size of 1,000 people to your custom audience. No longer can you just target one person. But those days you could have had some amazing pranks. But the point here is still the relevancy, right? Like, you can create ads that are so targeted, so focused that it’s an opportunity. With LinkedIn, if you go to LinkedIn export contacts, you can actually export your LinkedIn contacts and you can upload that e-mail list and can say in your ad, “Hey, we’re connected on LinkedIn, let’s connect on Facebook,” things like that as well.
Now, well, you may not consider Facebook and I’m talking a lot about Facebook, this is the last one, I promise. To be a part of the search marketer’s toolkit, I believe it’s something that might be up on deck. I’m a believer that very soon it could be an important part. If you go to Facebook later today and you do a search for something that you would find interesting, so let’s say you’re interested in the benefits of bananas and you just type that in the search bar on Facebook, you might be surprised by the results. The results aren’t that bad, they’re actually pretty good. You might be relying on Google for all your searches today, but I believe that as people start and continue to plan their trips through Instagram and using Facebook to get recommendations, I believe that Facebook is building up a lot of intelligence around what people want, how to deliver it to people, and I think that Facebook as a search tool might be something to keep your eye on.
How to Use Niche Communities to Distribute Your Content
The next thing I want to talk about is niche communities. So niche communities are like forums. A lot of people think forums are dead, but in reality they are very much alive. Millions of people all over the world are visiting online communities to have conversations with their peers whether it’s in a healthcare form, a marketing form, whether you are going to a site like Quora or a niche community like growthhackers.com, Product Hunt. People are going to these communities to have a discussion about things that they’re passionate about and there’s even a search benefit. A few years ago, Rand Fishkin from Moz put up this slide and it blew my mind, it blew my mind. Nearly 23% of all the traffic from Google was going to these sites, right? Look at the three that I highlighted. Stack Overflow, Reddit, Quora, those are all community based websites. You can find communities in all three of these sites talking about things that are relevant to your brand, associated with your company, appropriate to your industry, and ultimately give you an opportunity to generate traffic and visits to your content.
On Stack Exchange there’s more than 100 million monthly visitors and people are on this site talking about biology, they’re talking about information security, they’re talking about food, they’re talking about technology, they’re talking about tons of different topics. And there’s an opportunity for you to jump into these communities and engage. Reddit and Quora, two of my favorite sites, again these are areas where you can go to our entrepreneur, connect with entrepreneur. You can go into Quora, type in startups, and you can find people asking questions about startups. These are again opportunities for you to discover your audience and provide value. So in a world where it’s so noisy these are areas where you can start to spread your content that go outside of just a tweet. You can start to find questions. So, let’s say you’re a CRM company, you type in the word CRM into Quora, you’re gonna find a handful of different questions that people are asking about CRM, then you go into this and you start to answer those questions. You start to provide people with value by answering them.
Promoting Content on Quora
One of the best examples that I’ve seen is this gentleman, Jason Lemkin. He goes into all the questions about sales and about SaaS products, and he answers these questions. But when he does he links back to blog posts and assets that he’s developed. What I want to point out here is the focus is on value, right? Like, somebody’s asking what are some easy ways to increase sales and he doesn’t just jump in and say, “Here, read my blog post about it.” He’s actually writing, “Here are my seven top tips gives.” He gives those seven tips and he only has two references to content that is on his website. So he’s referencing other content on the site, driving traffic to them while plugging in, and adding value directly in his answer. If you look at the bottom there you can see it had 63,000 views on that answer, 63,000 views and all he did was answer a question about how to increase sales while also adding a few links to his site.
Now, the opportunity here is truly magnificent like, when you look at numbers like this it’s pretty eye-opening. The top four writers in sales as a whole has more than 45,000 views on their content for all time, like, that’s not bad. But this is just one way to distribute your content through Quora by answering questions. You can also run the ads now on Quora where you target different topics based off of their interests. You can also target people now based off of the questions that are being asked and specific keywords. So this is something that is still pretty new. I ran a few tests, the cost per click is relatively cheap in comparison to things like LinkedIn and Facebook. So. I would say like, consider it, like, think about this as an opportunity for yourself. Reddit is another channel. Good ol’ Reddit, right? Like, this is a channel that gives a lot of marketers fear just when they hear it. But I’m a huge believer in Reddit and it has helped me, help clients take their brands to their front page many times. Like, I’ve been able to help clients generate hundreds of thousands of visits solely from Reddit marketing and I think that there’s an opportunity there. The opportunity and the trick to understanding Reddit and how to do it is to ensure that you’re not going in here marketing first. You don’t want to go to Reddit and just submit a bunch of links. That’s a one-way street to getting banned. What you wanna do is you wanna understand the communities that you’re about to go into. And what you can do on Reddit is you can sort content in a niche community by the top post and then reverse engineer what content went to the top.
How to do Reddit Marketing the Right Way
So, if you go into our technology which is a sub-Reddit all about technology and you sort it by the most popular content, start to study what the top 10 posts have in common. You might find that they all are talking about a specific type of technology, you might find that they’re all taking a specific type of lens or they’re written in a certain way. Replicate that and use it to your advantage to ensure that when you distribute your content there, you’re not getting banned, you’re actually adding value to the community, and people vote you up rather than vote you down. You can also run ads now on Reddit. So you can target specifically that I’m trying to talk to freelancers, freelance writers, startups, startups. Like, you can target people solely who are interested in these topics and ensure that the content that they’ve been getting is relevant to them. So, I would recommend that as well similar to Quora, lower cost per click than I’m seeing on other channels.
How to Use Slack to Distribute Your Content
Now, one of the channels that a lot of people typically think is a little better out there is Slack. Now, if you’re not familiar with Slack it’s typically created for internal communications where teams communicate with one another. And what’s happened over the last few years is that people have actually started creating Slack communities for people of a similar interest. So, you’ll see now that there are Slack communities for iOS developers, for gamers, for introverts, for people who are interested in startups, who are focused on traveling in Asia. There’s Slack groups targeted towards certain things that are solely focused around a certain type of audience, a certain type of demographic, and people are passionate about it. If you go to this site Slack List, you can actually find some relevant Slack tales, and you might find one that is relevant to your audience. And I believe that Slack, similar to all these online communities, is a great place for you to build relationships. And in some of them you’ll actually see, like, real relationships start to flourish where you can build connections with folks. In short, don’t get me wrong, when you start to join all these different Slack channels it can become overwhelming, I’m in like 20 of them, but I found this great hack. You can actually set up alerts, you can set up alerts for Slack channels where no longer get a message every time that something you said, you can get a notification solely when a certain keyword is stated. So similar to Google alerts, when you get a notification when somebody writes about your website or your brand, you can use Slack to do something similar where you can say, “I wanna be notified if somebody mentions content marketing, digital marketing, artificial intelligence, iOS,” whatever that maybe. You can set a few highlighted keywords directly in Slack and you’ll be notified when those things are said.
How to Get More Out of Medium
The last channel that I wanna talk about is medium.com. Now, medium.com is what I believe an opportunity to kinda take on the new guest blogging role. A lot of people think that you should host your blog on Medium. I would never recommend that. I think you host your blog on your own site and you view Medium as a distribution. Medium is a new place to kind of use as guest blogging and it’s not just about a SEO, it’s about reach. So you’re going to leverage Medium as a place where you can discover different publications. A publication is kind of like a website that lives on Medium where people are able to contribute their own content. So you find these different publications, you ask for access as it relates to being able to submit a story, and then from there when you submit your story you’ll reach their thousands sometimes millions of sub followers who follow their Medium content. There’s this site toppub.xyz that has a list of all the most popular publications and I would recommend you leverage that as well.
Now, we talked about a lot and you might be thinking to yourself, “Whoa, Ross, that’s a lot of work, Reddit, Facebook Groups, Quora, Medium, Stack Exchange, Slack, all of the stuff. What in the world is right for me?” Look, I get it. That’s why I suggest you go back to right away where we did at the beginning. Facebook Audience Insights, starts by doubling down on your audience. You don’t start by joining a bunch of different Slack channels, you don’t start by creating your own Facebook groups. No, calm down, start at the beginning. You start by knowing who your audience is. You start by understanding their habits, by understanding their behaviors, knowing where they’re actually spending time. And then from there you start to distribute your content in a way that is worth sharing because the competition right now is exponential, right? Like, there’s tons of competition out there. There are tons of brands that are being rolled out and you have no choice but to start laying the bricks today that you’re gonna need tomorrow. But don’t stress, don’t stress. I’ve actually put together a list of distribution items that you can take, that you can run with all on your own. Like, you’re not just competing with the other people on this podcast, you’re competing with the world.
So when it comes to content distribution, I’m offering you guys for free through this podcast a distribution checklist. It highlights 85 different content distribution tips that is a cheat sheet for spreading your content and getting it into the right channels and how to do it effectively from Facebook to Reddit to niche communities to Instagram to Twitter, you name it. This checklist is in depth and it highlights everything you need to know for how to take your content to the next level and how to prioritize the way that you do it. I’ve also included a Trello cheat sheet for how to keep track of what channels you’ve actually distributed on and you can check out this URL, and you can get it for absolutely free.
So at the end of the day when you’re looking at all these channels, when you’re thinking about what channel should you use, you might be thinking this is too much. But I promise you, if you take the steps today and start investing in the time and energy you need to really start distributing your content the way that you should be, and you stop focusing on solely creating content, but also shift your attention to actually distributing it and you look back, and you do this for the next few months, when you look back at all this hard work, when you look back at taking the time to actually do this, and you say, “Was it worth it?” I think truly from the bottom of my heart you’re gonna say, “You butter believe it.” Thank you all for listening. I really appreciated it. I know we have some time for questions. We’re getting close to the end, but if you have any questions, please let me know.
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