Jan 19, 2011

Use your social networks to boost content visibility

Something happened this week that made me realize that many organizations may be leaving important exposure “on the table,” not taking full advantage of the many channels, networks and tools available today that can help an organization amplify their message.

It was pretty simple – we caught wind of a blog post written by an agency that had hosted a presentation by one of PR Newswire’s experts late last year.  It was a great review of the presentation, and was, by anyone’s measure, a solid piece of content.

But it’s mid-January!  At a certain point, the water is not only under the dam, but far downstream.  Content is social currency, sure, but the currency of the content is also important.   Simply put, the agency in question should have done a little PR for their own content – and they missed out on visibility as a result.  Had we known about the post as it happened, we would have put it on our Facebook page, and tweeted it out

So here are some simple steps to ensure you don’t leave content underexposed:

  • The power of association cannot be overlooked.  If your blog post, article or presentation quotes or references an expert, by all means, use that to your advantage.  Let the person know you’re mentioning them.
  • If they are active on Twitter, tweet the piece, using their handle, and if possible zeroing in on their take, e.g. “Don’t leave exposure on the table. Do PR for your own content says @sarahskerik.”  The influencer will appreciate the mention, and may even re-tweet it to his or her followers.

A conversation between me and a fellow I quoted in an earlier post.

  • If  the person is active on Facebook, and they’re either your friend or a fan of your organization, tag them in a related post.   You have to be connected on Facebook for this to work, but it’s simple.  Just type @ in front of the person’s name, and Facebook will create a tag on their name.  Your post will appear on their wall – providing extra visibility for your message.

The Ottawa-Gatineau chapter of the Canadian Public Relations Society tagged PR Newswire in a post to their wall...and it also shows up on ours, adding to the exposure of their message.

  • Any other relevant pieces of content – an associated photo, videos, a presentation deck – can also be similarly leveraged on networks like Flickr, YouTube and SlideShare.
  • Be generous, and give credit. I’ve seen more than one instance of a blog post or article that lifts ideas (almost verbatim!) and doesn’t credit the author.  In addition to being poor form (and, possibly, plagiarism) failing to mention the other person by name can reduce the visibility of your message.
    • If you’re quoting a well known expert, and you use their name, in effect you’re using a search engine keyword that has traction, and you’re using it in a relevant way.  People looking for information from that expert, related to the topic of your article, are likely to see your content, too.  This is a qualified audience.
    • In addition to mentioning the person’s name, be generous and include links to their Twitter handle, blog or their preferred online profile.  They may return the favor, linking back to your blog post, which will help generate traffic, enhance your credibility and improve visibility in search engines.

Publishing content to a blog or elsewhere is a key aspect of any digital PR, content marketing or social media program.  However, publishing the content is not enough.  Give your content visibility a boost by capitalizing on the people referenced in the piece.  Don’t leave great exposure on the table!

Authored by Sarah Skerik, VP social media, PR Newswire

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