Lesson One: Understanding Promotion
Welcome to Module 4 and this first lesson on Understanding SEO promotion.
Knowing how to effectively promote your small business website is key to gaining greater visibility online and ultimately more customers.
However there are many misconceptions when it comes to promotion. What can you do? What can’t you do? In this lesson we explain how you can do great SEO promotion for your business website.
Watch the next lesson: Lesson Two: Content Amplification
Hello and welcome to lesson one of module four.
This module is entirely focused around promotion and I wanted to spend just a few minutes explaining what promotion is and how you can do this effectively without it costing you a fortune, taking a huge amount of time, or requiring loads of paid marketing tools and programmes.
Now the term promotion is a fairly broad brush, so what exactly does it mean? Well, link building is the most obvious form of promotion when we’re talking about SEO. Often when people refer to promotion they mean link building and nothing else. You may be wondering what link building is. Well, it is the acquiring of links from other websites on the Internet to your website. It is a very important ranking factor within Google and as such many businesses, and marketers, place a huge amount of their time, effort, and budget on building links.
Now there are two big problems with this. Firstly, promotion isn’t just about link building, or building links, despite popular belief. Secondly, the vast majority of people go about acquiring, or building, links in entirely the wrong way. Let me explain.
When I say promotion I am in part talking about link building, or link earning, as I call it. And you’ll see why I call it that later in this module. But promotion is about much more than simply building links. It’s about brand amplification, content promotion, and building brand awareness. You’d be amazed just how many people forget all about that and focus purely on building as many links as they can, as fast as they can.
Not only do most people focus all of their promotional time and energy on links, but they actually go about acquiring those links in entirely the wrong way and on the wrong types of websites. Then they wonder why they don’t get the results that they’re looking for.
Right now I want to dispel one of the most common mistakes that I see businesses of all sizes making, and have been making for years, and that is around link building. Or as I call it, link begging. As that perfectly describes what most businesses, and marketers for that matter, go about doing. They think they need to do a promotional campaign and build some links. Whether that be guest blogging, or email outreach, social interactions, whatever the case may be they put a script together and then they send it out and they effectively just beg for a link. You’ve probably been a recipient of this and received emails where someone is trying to promote something or they’re just trying to ultimately get you to link to their content or their website. It comes across as very needy and I call it link begging.
Tell me, if you received an email that one way or another was begging for a link, how likely would you be to add their link and then reply back to their email? No? Me neither. The problem with link begging is that it just makes the recipient uncomfortable. You’re not adding any value. You’re not showing yourself, or your business, in a positive light and so you’re just making a really bad first impression.
Something that’s so obvious to me, and yet many people don’t seem to get it, is that when you contact a website owner, a blogger, or someone on social media, you’re making contact with a real person and often that will be your first interaction with them. Yet despite this, many businesses seem to think that it’s perfectly acceptable to make such minimal effort in that first communication and request something from the very start without providing any value or reasoning why that person should show an interest, or even reply to your email.
The equivalent would be like walking up to someone on the street saying, “Hello” and then asking them to give you a fiver. You just wouldn’t do it, so you don’t do it online.
Okay, so how do you do promotion properly? Well, I’ve got a wealth of awesome ways coming up throughout the rest of this module. But first it’s important to understand the philosophy to successful promotion. There are two key elements to understand. Trust me if you get your head around what I’m about to tell you, you’ll be way ahead of your competition before you’ve even sent your first outreach email. So here it goes.
Firstly, it goes back to the fundamentals about deserving to rank. To be successful in your promotion, you need to give people a reason to link to you, to mention you, to champion your brand or recommend you. And you accomplished this with great content on your website.
Simply put, you shouldn’t start your promotional campaign until you have a content marketing strategy on your website so that you deserve to rank. Now, depending on your business type, that may be a local campaign or it may be an authority content marketing campaign. You need this on your site, so if you haven’t already got it go back to module three, work through the lessons and get your website deserving to rank. Only then can we be really successful with your promotion.
Having a content marketing strategy on your website is the only sure fire way that you know you have something of value to offer when doing your promotion. This provides a whole wealth of great opportunities for gaining links and brand awareness. If you don’t have anything of value on your website, and you can find no reason why someone should link to you, or mention you, or recommend your business then you’re running the risk of link begging and we don’t want that.
Secondly, the influencer in your industry is often more important than your target customer. People often think that the content they create for their website must be entirely focused towards, and aimed at, just their target customer. It doesn’t. Likewise with the promotion, very rarely will your promotion be aimed directly at your target customer. It’s not. We need to aim the promotion at the influencers within your industry.
Let me explain. In most cases, it’s highly unlikely that your target customer are going to own, or run a website, within your industry. So from a direct promotional standpoint they are of very little use to you. Instead, when doing our promotion, we’re going to be contacting the website owners, the bloggers, and those who run the online resources within your industry. These are the influencers. So all the promotion we’re doing, and therefore the content we’re going to create, needs to reflect their interests and what they are talking about, and what they engaged with. Because they are the people that can help amplify your brand, link to your business, and grow your online visibility.
I’m going to give you an example of what I mean. Say I run a pest control business. My target customer are going to be those with pest problems, either at home or at work. But those people are never going to link to me, or help me when it comes to promoting my business. Instead, I need to be thinking about those who run pest control blogs, have pest control related websites or online resources. Those are my influencers and those are the people that I’m going to be contacting and amplifying my content marketing strategy towards.
Does that make sense? It’s a very important distinction to make, and be mindful of, when doing your promotion. The content you’re promoting, right through from the email you send or the phone call you make, should reflect this understanding and you should be championing why your content is of value and of interest to that blogger, or that website owner, and crucially, their audience. And always back this point up with reasons why.
This is what I mean by an influencer. These bloggers and website owners can link to, and mention, your content, your business and your brand and get you seen by their audience who, if you’re doing this right, are going to be your target customers.
It’s a two hop process, as often we cannot get your content directly in front of your ideal target customer outside of Google search. So we use the influencers. We find them, we get them on side with your great content, and then we market your business and your brand to their audience. This has the dual benefit of other related websites linking to you, mentioning your business, and highlights in your content. Which is a massive thumbs up as far as Google is concerned, as it shows that you’re a credible business and the others in your industry, and related industries, are linking into your business.
Over the next few lessons of module four I’m going to share with you a bunch of my favourite, and most lucrative, promotion and link building, or link earning, methods that are entirely possible for you to do yourself at very little cost, without it taking a huge amount of time, or requiring a load of very expensive marketing tools.
Specifically, in lesson two I’m going to teach you content amplification. Which is hugely powerful when combined with a content marketing strategy.
In lesson three I’m going to talk to you about link and resource page acquisition, which is a favourite promotional technique of mine.
Then finally, in lesson four I’m going to teach you a technique that will actually work without a content marketing strategy, but it will be much more effective alongside one, and that is guest blogging. I’m going to teach you what this is, and how to do it very effectively.
Right, that just about covers everything. I hope you have a much better understanding of promotion. If you haven’t already got a content marketing strategy in place, go back and watch module three. If you have, I’ll see you on lesson two.