How to Believe in Magic: 3 Tips for Promoting Your Content
Many years ago, I found myself on the floor of my friend’s apartment talking about a music release party I was planning. I was living out my dreams of moonlighting as a singer-songwriter. I had an accompanist (a guitarist) who I rehearsed with regularly and I asked a friend in Malaysia to make a super lo-fi music video which would be premiered at the party. I found a small event space in SoHo that even provided catering. It took a lot of planning and I was doing it all on my own. But a month or so out, I was still nervous about how it would turn out and it reflected in how I promoted the event.
“So are you excited?!” my friend asked.
I shrugged. “I guess. I’m just worried people won’t come.”
He frowned and went on to explain the following: the only way people would come is if I got them excited about the event, and the only way to get them excited was to be excited about it myself. Even though I went through extreme lengths to put this event together, I had given up on the idea of having people come and see me perform. I was easily discouraged because turnout from past events were low. But I hadn’t done a good job at all of getting people excited. And no one was going to be excited about it if I wasn’t excited.
So I changed my tune. I created a bunch of fliers. I told people: they did NOT want to miss this! I pitched my story to a newspaper in Malaysia which ended up writing about my music video. I created teaser content to support the single I was dropping and promoted it frequently on social media. I even created a cute recipe to promote it. I told people about the world premiere of the music video followed by a live performance set and the catered goodies. Best of all, it was free to anyone who wanted to come, and there were CDs for sale! As a result of all this work and my constant updates, close to 30 people showed up to see me perform in this tiny space. And I gave one of my best live performances ever.
The moral of the story is this: with marketing you have to repeat yourself and moreover, you have to believe that what you’re creating is valuable to someone.
You have to find out how to align your message with the person you’re trying to reach. You’re not talking at them, you’re talking to them. And you have to believe in what you’re sharing, because people pick up on it if you don’t. And if you don’t believe in it, you probably won’t share much of it anyway.
So if you’re struggling to promote your content? Start by believing in your work. Believe that it has value, believe that someone will find it useful, believe that you’ll get it in front of the people who want or need to see it.
Here are three tactics to help you promote your content:
Repeat yourself. Sometimes we timidly post once or twice because we don't want to come across as spammy or "annoying" but the truth is this: in marketing you have to repeat yourself over and over and over. Why? Because someone may have missed your message the first or second time. Or maybe you didn't expand on the key takeaways. Or maybe you didn't give them enough reason to click on the link and look at your content. In a world of real-time news feeds, we need to repeat ourselves to ensure our message reaches our audience wherever they are.
Make them care. Why should anyone care about your content? That is the question you should always try to answer. You have to give people a reason to click. Ask yourself questions like: "What problems does this solve?" "What will my audience be able to do or learn?" "What about this would someone find interesting?" Use the responses to those questions to promote your content — add them to your social media posts! This is how you make your content more about your audience and less about yourself.
Experiment with new approaches. If you tried something once and it didn't work, try it again but tweak it. Did you publish to social media at 11PM on a Wednesday and didn't get any views? Try again at 10AM. Was your tweet vague? Send another tweet with more details. Always experiment and try new things. Think of every promotional activity as an opportunity to gather data and insights. Approach it from a position of learning and use it to motivate you.
When we start to believe in ourselves, we're willing to try and we stay motivated even when our attempts don't yield the desired outcome. Stay consistent and over time, you'll uncover exactly what works for you and your audience. If you're afraid of publishing new content, here are some tips for managing fear and self-doubt in the writing and publishing phases.
Looking for more practical guidance around creating and promoting content? Purchase The Developer's Guide to Content Creation for content-related tips, exercises, and templates.