Crafting and distributing quality content is vital for building a successful online business in the 21st century. However, there is obviously a lot more to start-up success than great content alone. Today, the internet is an incredibly crowded place. What good is it to have superior content if nobody sees it? From a business point of view, not much! In this article, we discuss your options for promoting yourself via different digital channels.
Today's crowded mass communication channels
The web is an increasingly crowded place. Every minute of the day:
- 571 websites are launched
- 350,000 tweets are tweeted
- 48 hours of YouTube videos are uploaded
(Source: Relevance Marketing)
The numbers are truly mind-boggling. Every day, over 2.3million blog posts are written! That's a hell of a lot of content! How can you stand out from the rest?
Market saturation? Don't worry about it
There are still plenty of markets where businesses are not following proper content strategies. Even if you have a lot of competition, there is almost always a way to create a successful product that tackles a market solution in a different way. There is always space for innovation.
Look at the changing face of newspapers and bloggers over the last ten years as an example. In the US, the Huffington Post and Breitbart have launched successful challenges to the established newspapers. Why is this? Because reader needs are met more effectively by these more targeted media outlets. This offers hope to new start-ups who want to challenge the status quo.
What if my market really is saturated?
There is always space for innovative ideas that meet consumer needs. However, for the sake of this article, let's assume that your target market is already completely saturated.
Should you just give up? Of course not! You should never let competition deter you (link to Is There a Market for your Plan? article). Engage in an effective promotional strategy that allows your content to get seen by your target audience.
Getting your voice heard in a noisy room
High-quality content is vital. However, promotion is becoming increasingly essential.
We’re not advocating a return to old school advertising where you simply throw money at campaigns to buy people's attention. We have already established that this doesn't work anymore (link to The Business Model article).
Today's internet users are banner weary. They are sick of being sold to 24x7. Paid promotion does have a part to play, but only as one piece of a more nuanced promotional jigsaw.
The promotional process
First off, you need to create and publish unique, high-quality content on your platform that addresses user needs and solves their problems.
- Share via owned media
Share the content via owned media. That is, media that you are in total control of - your website(s), mailing list and social media accounts.
- Target earned media
Then look to third-party outlets, or earned media, open to your message - online news sites, industry blogs or popular YouTube channels. Research your audience and find out where they congregate. Once you know where your target users are spending their time, you can look to target earned media.
The main advantage of earned media naturally resides in its increased reach for your brand. This is because these sources attract more traffic than your platform, at least initially. Third-party outlets also add credibility to your message as they are seen to be relatively neutral.
So how can you target earned media? It all goes back to human relationships. Reach out to industry influencers and media outlets with your story. Offer value first and you shall receive later. Go to networking events. You could even have a chat with your competitors! It all adds up.
- Utilise Paid media
There is still room for financial outlay in your promotional strategy, with many possibilities for paid media, including targeted keyword advertising (e.g. Google Adwords, Bing), Social Media ads (Facebook, Twitter etc), sponsored blog content and content discovery platforms such as StumbleUpon. The main advantage of paid media lies in its ability to be extremely targeted. It also offers a guaranteed audience for your brand.
Promotion – it's an ongoing feedback process
As we have seen, it's still possible to find your place within crowded marketplaces and promote yourself effectively. However, promotion is not a one-off event. It's an ongoing feedback process.
Do your research, create great content and promote it via the available channels at your disposal. Then, review the results and tweak for improvements before repeating the process again and again. This ongoing feedback loop will allow you to achieve increasing success in your promotional strategy and generate more revenue.