You’ve written a series of useful blog posts and done everything you’ve told to optimize that content for your most important keyword phrases. Now it’s time to post it to your social media profiles and sit back and enjoy the rush of traffic.

Several years ago this scenario may have been true, but today content marketing has become so competitive that you must include significant promotion as a core element of your editorial process.

Buffer Scheduler

Yes, of course, tweet your blog posts several times (I love using the Buffer Scheduler as you can add a tweet now, in 10 hours, in a day and in a week all at the same time.) Add Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ posts that highlight why someone might want to read your posts and then go to work on getting your posts in front of other people’s targeted audiences.

When we build content plans for our clients today we always include what we call an influencer program that over time can help us significantly increase the reach, traffic, engagement and leads from the content our clients produce.

Below are five steps we take in building an influencer program

Find Influencers

Step one, of course, is to find the Influencers we want to target. By Influencer, we loosely mean other content producers in our chosen industry who we believe to have a following in our ideal client pool.

There are a variety of tools you can employ to find such folks. Currently, I’m quite fond of BuzzSumo’s influence ranking tool but I also employ Topsy and Followerwonk to help validate and expand my list of potential partners. (Inkybee and BlogDash offer powerful paid plans as well.)


BuzzSumo shows me what kind of content Jim Connely – a small business influencer – shares so I can know what he reads and where he likes to get his information.

Segment Influencers by customer persona

Next we build a spreadsheet of influencers segmented by our client’s differing market segments or personas. Many businesses seek to gain influence with different levels of stakeholders. For example, a company might need to interact with the CFO and the purchasing agent, and we need to create profiles of influencers for both. This is true as well for businesses that serve significantly different industries of market demographics.

We add as much social information as possible to the spreadsheet as well as relevant notes. This process can be automated to some extent using a CRM with unified communications and social built in. Tools like Nimble are very powerful for this purpose.

Build relationships first

Now that have our list we go to work on building relationships. We never pitch story ideas or ask for links or tweets until we’ve established relationship based on value. One of the first things we do in most cases is to follow every member on our list by putting them in Twitter lists and Google+ Circles. We also subscribe to their blog feed using Feedly, as well as their newsletters and other forms of content. Obviously if you want to build a relationship you must take the time to get to know their content habits, behaviors, and needs.

Next we begin the practice of sharing their content with our follower, posting relevant and useful comments on their content and, where appropriate, featuring their content in our own blog posts, emails, and newsletters.

All of this effort is aimed at gaining some recognition and building a relationship based on mutual content goals. At this point, we may reach out and directly share something that we think they might find extremely relevant – hopefully something they might want to blog about or use as a data point in an upcoming post.

Add guest blogging to your editorial plan

In addition to our targeted Influencers, we also build a list of potential guest blog post opportunities. We are looking both for places that we can post and potential writers that may have great content to share on our blog. The reason this is such an important element is that we can often find blogs that won’t respond to covering some topic, but would love a well thought out blog post.

In addition, when we add guest posts to the mix of content on our own blog we often find that our content is more diverse and we start to build relationships with bloggers who wish to promote their content featured on our site. Of course, we also vigorously promote our guest posts run on other blogs.

You may find there is some cross over here from your influencer list, but we also use keyword searches on BuzzSumo and Topsy adding the term “guest post” to help build our guest post plan.

TopsySearching Topsy to turn up guest post possibilities for my chosen topic.

Expand with strategic partnerships

Finally, we look to blow up one or two significant pieces of content every so often. We’ve found that one of the best ways to do this is through collaboration and cobranding.

Our first approach is to take an eBook, tip sheet or case study and offer to let a strategic partner or Influencer cobrand the already proven content to share with their audience. This often allows us to gain introduction to large groups of prospects and is welcomed by partners who know they should be producing more content.

Another approach is to jointly create a long form post, infographic of even eBook with a strategic partner. Quite often one partner may have big data to share while another wants to showcase their killer graphic design skills and collaboration creates an impressive end product that just may get picked up by numerous blogs and influencers as you co-promote with your partner or partners.

Yes, content marketing is work, but it is the most effective way to generate leads for any business that wants to compete on expertise and authority rather than price.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • John–great post. I love actionable, well thought out advice and this article is just that.

  • So you still consider guest blogging as a vital part of strategy after what Matt Cutts had to say – do feel it is only now usefull to expand relationships and exposure rather than SEO linkbuilding?

  • cmrstudios

    So you recommend the Buffer App, it appears to be useful. But after tracking it down through the thread of your posts it seems that it is no longer available. After doing the Facebook registration and allowing all the permissions associated with that it said it was “no longer available.” Did they just scam me for my Facebook info and friends lists?

    • It’s working for me and has for over a year, maybe something weird is going on with their servers. You tried

  • Do you find it worth paying for the Buzzsumo paid service?

  • Awesome post John, I think building a relationship can be one of the longest and hardest things, but can also be the most fruitful.

  • Stephen Mayall

    Useful post John, Love the tip about adding the term “guest post” to find guest post opportunities, too often a lot of bloggers or websites don’t accept guest posts and this is a great way to find those that do.

  • Debbie Mrazek

    John thanks for the very informative and helpful post. Appreciate it!

  • Great stuff John! 🙂

  • This is great! I am very interested in the Buzzsumo service and identifying influencers is a key component for a successful marketing campaign in this day and age.

  • sergeitoom

    Promote Every Piece of Content You Create with new Mindsight from Thought Leader. Kind Regards, Sergey .

  • ChallengesToDo

    Great article John 😉 It’s very useful

  • Ragavi Roy

    Marketing is not about writing contents alone. Great points made, informative and interesting post.

    Ragavi from Bizbilla

  • These are great points! I’ve realized that you can write all you want – but if you don’t have the right people sharing and reading your content, it doesn’t matter how awesome your articles might be! You’ve got to get out there and promote, promote, promote!

  • Artem Nechaev

    Very useful article, John. Promotion surely is important for success. We are lucky that we have internet that is insanely powerful promotion tool. I also suggest using for this cause, it’s quite helpful!

  • Misbah Ullah

    good piece of writing very helpful

  • V. Sam

    Awesome post John, you have shared here. It will be very helpful for those who want to promote their business online. Today content is king. So you need to promote every piece of content you create. Promotion surely is important for success. I adore actionable, well deliberation out advice and this article is just that.

  • Michael

    hallo! How do you think how I can promote a blog where author write about online casinos like, secrets of online poker and so on? My friend asked me to help him in this and promised to pay.

  • Mithu

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  • Mithu

    Wow it’s a wonderful l lesson. We know lot of things on this article. A denim jeans is my favorite it’s too much comfortable and fashionable. Pacific denim is the largest denims company in Bangladesh and worldwide please see details about pacific denims