July 24, 2014: We’ve all heard it: “If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around, does it still make a sound?” While you may be thinking to yourself, “Yeah, I have. Why is this the leading sentence in a marketing blog?” think of it this way: “If a content marketer writes an outstanding piece but fails to consider promotion and their target audience, does anybody notice?”
Due to the nature of today’s digital landscape, the answer to this question, unlike the tree falling in the woods, is probably a “No.” While a quality piece of content should always be the end goal, successfully identifying an audience and a promotional strategy before, during, and after content creation is essential. Without doing these things, chances are, your hard work will be drowned in the content sea.
Thankfully, there are numerous social media tools available to simplify this process and allow content marketers to craft a well-thought-out and targeted approach to audience identification and social promotion. Let’s take a look at some of the tools (and steps) we find valuable to this process:
Finding Influencers by Topic
FollowerWonk is a product developed by Moz that allows users to search Twitter profiles or bios to help identify influencers by a specific keyword or keyword phrase. When entering a search query such as “b2b marketing” (see image below), the tool returns individual profile results that can be filtered via number of tweets, number of people the user follows, followers, social authority, and more.
Searching for keywords on FollowerWonk presents users with a quick-and-easy way to become familiar with social users within a specific niche. Additionally, it provides users with an opportunity to dig deeper into Twitter analytics, not only identifying followers, but other details like location and when they most commonly tweet.
BuzzSumo is also a very helpful tool when searching for both influencers and content by topic. The neat thing about BuzzSumo’s keyword search is that it displays users with top blogs for a specific phrase, along with who shared that post.
By simply clicking the “View Sharers” button next to a specific post, the tool shows a complete list of social profiles that shared the content. Let’s just say users are only looking for infographic results, the filter option allows them to do so by simply checking off the boxes by content type (articles, infographics, guest posts, giveaways, interviews, and videos).
Keyhole is a paid tool, but those looking to avoid spend can still leverage some of its very valuable “basic,” free-of-charge functions. Users can enter a keyword or hashtag in the query box and it’ll return a breakdown of influencers (based on retweets).
Aside from real-time campaign measurement (seen in the image below), Keyhole’s value to content promotion comes with its display of influential users speaking about the search query. Using this information can be a great strategy in identifying a specific audience based on their interest within that niche.
The free version of Twitalyzer provides users with an excellent one-stop-shop for analyzing the metrics surrounding a specific Twitter profile. The tool combines basic Twitter measures with demographic data, Klout metrics, and more.
When diving into a profile’s analysis, Twitalyzer’s interface shares some topics the profile commonly tweets about, hashtags they use, and a snapshot of the most recently shared content. Simple, and easy to use, Twitalyzer is an effective tool when evaluating a Twitter profile’s relevance to a user’s needs.
Identifying appropriate hashtags before Twitter promotion of content is extremely valuable. Effective hashtag usage will likely place content in front of the eyes of those most interested, increasing the likelihood of sharing. When searching a topic or phrase on Hashtagify, the user is presented with a web of hashtags (searched phrase in the center), which provides the most popular hashtags, the top influencers using those hashtags, and trends in usage at a given period in time.
This tool is excellent to use in the discovery phase of labeling content with appropriate hashtags. Make all 140 characters count!
Finding & Evaluating Specific Audiences
Chances are, if you’re a social media user, you’re familiar with Klout and its popular “Klout score.” Aside from that score, Klout is also a valuable people discovery platform. Much like some of the tools mentioned above, users can search Klout by topic and gain access to a list of influencers, but its real value (in my opinion) comes once you’ve identified a particular individual you’d like to target through social media.
In the example above, I’ve identified Casie as a user I want to target. Along with displaying some of her recent activity, Klout provides social buttons that link directly to networks where she is active, allowing users to quickly access the desired network to begin communication.
When attempting to get content to appear on the first page of Google’s search results, it’s important to understand what types of content Google is displaying around the targeted keyword. Do they display product pages? Informational blog posts? Whitepapers? This same strategy should be used when trying to get the attention of a specific influencer on social media.
BuzzSumo’s “Links Shared” option is a great place to start. By simply searching for an individual’s profile, the tool presents links they’ve shared in the past, allowing users to identify their favorite topics and compare them to other users. BuzzSumo also just released functionality that allows users to enter up to 10 profiles at a time to identify common posts they’ve shared.
Identifying sites to place content (and hopefully landing content on those sites) is a great way to increase visibility, gain a link, and drive additional traffic to content. While identification of sites is important, content won’t get far if it isn’t placed in front of the right eyes. That’s where BuzzStream comes in.
BuzzStream’s email research tool lets users enter some basic information and it will attempt to identify that person’s contact information by presenting a variety of results to sort through.
Identifying Shares by Content
For those that are active on Google+, Google Ripples is an effective tool to see who shared specific pieces of content. With a similar visual presentation to Hashtagify, Ripples highlights a specific piece of content (at the center of the web) and creates individual spokes to the profiles of users that shared it.
Note: AJ Kohn has created a Ripples bookmarklet that will let you see Ripples for any page at the click of a button.
As you can probably tell by now, BuzzSumo is one of our new favorite tools. Similar to its other functionality, BuzzSumo also provides users with the opportunity to enter a specific URL into the search query box, returning results on who shared that piece of content along with some of that individuals specific profile details.
Understanding who has shared your content and taking note of their authority can lead to future interactions and social shares.
Partnering quality content creation with well-thought-out audience targeting and social promotion strategies gives content a better chance of making a splash. While this list is by no means exhaustive, we hope it provided some valuable insight on the tools available to help streamline the promotional side of content marketing. Feel free to share some of your favorite tools in the comments section!