Did you know that 91% of content gets zero organic traffic from Google?
With increasing website traffic being a huge challenge for content marketers, we wanted to find out what other channels and tactics marketers are using in order to drive traffic to their content.
So, we asked 32 experts to share their workaround.
Online communities came out as the promotion method they’d pick first–above organic and paid social media, email, and influencer partnerships:
Why bother with online communities for promotion?
Wondering why online communities have been ranked the most effective way to promote your content?
The answer is simple: It’s because content communities are groups of people with shared interests. They’re people most likely to be gripped by your content.
Webizz‘s Isabella Federico explains: “Online content communities can be a powerful exposure space for our messages.”
“People familiar with a certain topic get engaged around relevant content connected to that topic in a public space. This can involve different levels of experience and expertise and can create a valuable opportunity for our target audience to learn and share views, opinion and further content,” Federico adds.
It’s no wonder why online communities account for a huge volume of overall site traffic for the experts we interviewed:
But choosing an online community to use for content promotion isn’t straightforward, as Federico adds: “Before choosing the right one we must keep in mind who our audience – where they are, where they look for content, where they share their content; the kind of message we want to share (is it a technical message?) and the particular format of that message (video, pictures, article…).”
The best communities for content promotion
There’s no doubt that online communities are great sources for content promotion.
…But how do you find which groups your audience are hanging out in?
We asked experts exactly that.
In this guide, we’ll share some of the best communities to promote your content that our experts recommended, including:
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When promoting your content, Khris Steven of Khrisdigital recommends using industry-related Facebook Groups “because it helps in positioning you as an expert and at the same time driving targeted traffic to your website.”
In fact, Facebook Groups have been voted the most-used community for promoting content:
However, Steven adds: “Posting a link that addresses or solves a particular situation is the rule here and not just dropping links that are uncalled for. This also helps to boost social signal and build brand identity.”
Wealthy Nickel‘s Andrew Herrig also votes for this community: “A lot of people say Facebook groups are dying, but I have found a lot of success with finding niche-specific groups (particularly in blogging circles) that will help promote each other’s content.”
“If you reciprocate and become involved in the community, you can have great success finding a wider audience,” Herrig writes.
Elise Ingram’s team at HireWriters add that Facebook Groups are “well-regulated, active and a goldmine for marketers in many ways.”
“As the members of good Facebook groups are very loyal and remain in the group for a long time, you get to build connections you would not have otherwise. If you’ve shown genuine interest, have earned their trust and interest, you can easily promote your content.”
Ingram continues: “They will be your ambassadors, your source for new topics and feedback. I’ve learned so much from being in these groups, no survey could have accomplished that!”
So, which Facebook Groups can you use for content promotion?
Jolly Content‘s Gregory Heilers recommends The Content Marketing Lounge because “there is a specific day of the week in which you’re allowed to share content (Thursdays). That being said, you’re not going to net a lot of traffic by posting a link in the comments of a thread most people only pounce on to drop *their* link.”
or marketers that are looking to promote their content, get more engagement and visibility I would recommend LinkedIn Groups,” says Veronica De Borba of OnPoint Internet Marketing.
“LinkedIn Groups are great to promote your content and build your professional branding. Join a group on LinkedIn or create one and share value, help others, answer questions and ask some questions as well. This is all about building relationships.”
De Borba continues: “Once you provided some value to the group, start sharing content on the group or share content on your LinkedIn profile and link your post in your group. This way, the group members will engage with your content.”
“More engagement means more views from different people around the world which will help make you promote your content and be seen for hundreds of people,” De Borba adds.
One Week Website‘s Danny Peavey also recommends “getting your content out on LinkedIn communities […] because LinkedIn is not totally saturated and we feel the audience is truly there to “listen”.”
Morgan Lathaen says thumbprint‘s team “are currently part of a group on Twitter called PromoChat. Every Wednesday a group of Promotional Product Suppliers and Distributors come together to discuss the in and outs of the promo industry.”
“Through this content community, we are able to remove the conventional notion of a brand as a distinct entity separate from its customers. Additionally, a content community adds value to your brand because it improves brand visibility,” Lathaen adds.
Wondering whether Twitter is a good option for you? Benjamin Smith of BestCompany.com says: “Yes, it is a fast-moving social platform, but the number of people that use Twitter on a daily basis is truly outstanding.”
Smith explains: “One of the great advantages of Twitter is the ability to retweet your own tweets after some time has passed. Others are also likely to retweet your tweet if they find it interesting and it will continue to circulate over and over again until it loses traction.”
Matthew Ross of The Slumber Yard thinks “Pinterest is an underrated community because it’s fairly easy to grab the attention of viewers. Really you just need to design an attractive and eye-catching feature image or thumbnail.”
“Plus, I like that others can add their own content to your board. This usually results in more traffic and thus more eyeballs in and around your own posts,” Ross adds.
“Quora is definitely a great way to share your content online. Just find relevant questions in your industry. Answer the question with an insightful and detailed answer. In your answer, link to your content as well as other relevant resources,” writes Growth Hackers‘ Jonathan Aufray.
Jeremy Cross’ team at Team Building Texas also recommend this community because “Quora users are smart, engaged and write insightful answers which often lead to greater discussions about a topic.”
“If you can get the right content in front of this group, for example, an article or opinion that challenges their ideologies then it can quickly become a large and visible discussion,” Cross notes.
Ready to start using Quora for content promotion? Dot Com Infoway‘s Venkatesh C.R shares five tips to get started:
“Build an authoritative profile
Find the best questions to answer in the niche
Try to re-answer questions you’ve answered in your blog
Provide links to content that need to be promoted
Repurpose the website blog content by starting a Quora blog”
“Reddit is one of the most popular websites in the world, garnering in well over 200 million in monthly organic search traffic, making it one of the most lucrative marketing sites,” says Maple Holistics‘ Nate Masterson.
“Sites like Reddit can be utilized to post promotions, write content, collect data, and answer questions. If marketers offer their content on the right relevant niches, they can be providing useful information to interested parties.”
Pandog Media‘s Luke Davies also recommends Reddit because “its reputation has improved a lot over the years and for bespoke subreddits like SEO and PPC, it’s perfect for finding informational and commercial-based content ideas.”
However, Ross Simmonds of Foundation Marketing says: “Reddit is a great channel to promote content but you have to do it right. A lot of marketers assume that they can just submit links to every and any subreddit they come across and unlock success. That’s the wrong way of thinking.”
“In fact, this is the most common mistake marketers and Reddit newbies make. They come across a study like the Foundation Reddit Marketing Report and assume that because Redditor’s like links that they need to kick it into overdrive and submit every and any post they can find.”
Simmonds continues: “That’s a huge mistake. Reddit watches your behavior and will look for trends. If you’re submitting the same content source over and over again it’s not hidden. Everyone can see it and you will likely be banned eventually for spamming the site.”
“The best approach is to engage in the comments, submit content from other sources, build 1-1 connections and be human,” Simmonds adds.
Jeromy Sonne of Moonshine Marketing also notes that “the community can be a bit hostile to blatant self-promotion, but if your content is on point and you copy-paste it into a text post with a short link to your blog at the end it can be very well received.”
Your Money Geek‘s Michael Dinich summarizes: “The only way you can be successful is to become an active and engaged member. If you invest the time into answering questions, commenting, and participating, Reddit can drive more traffic than Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.”
“Medium is hands down my favorite and most recommended community for promoting content,” says Sam White of Del Mar Jiu Jitsu Club.
“It’s an amazing collection of thinkers, feelers, and doers. They are great about making the process of submitting content to the site as easy as possible.”
Plus, White adds that Medium “is a high DA site so it can be difficult to get some initial traction but if you come with well thought out, well-written articles, this is the place!”
According to Rochelle Burnside of BestCompany.com, “marketers should see if they can gain any traction on Medium.”
Why? Because “users on Medium don’t see posts in chronological order or in order of popularity; they see curated content that Medium editors believe are the highest quality articles related to a reader’s indicated interests. That means, if what you’re writing is good, you’ll get more engaged pairs of eyes on it.”
8. Slack Groups
Slack is designed to be a workplace collaboration tool. But with over two million people using their software every day, it’s a hidden opportunity for content promotion
In fact, GetVoIP‘s Georgi Todorov recommends the Growth Slack community created by Sujan Patel: “There they have a channel called “Promotion-help”. You post your content, and other members share, re-tweet, leave comments or at least like it. It’s perfect for marketers as most of the audience is marketing specialists.”
9. Growth Hackers
CrazyCall‘s Jakub Kliszczak thinks Growth Hackers “is a great community that loves to share and upvote quality content on digital marketing- and business-related topics.”
Plus, Kliszczak adds that this community “is great for getting early traffic which is crucial when it comes to making your content rank properly. Personally, whenever I post a piece that suits Growth Hackers’ tags, I make sure to share it there.”
But while Edward Dennis of Core dna adds that “the initial traffic spike is OK – not awesome,” the platform “still sends you traffic months after you publish/promote your content there.”
“Plus, the content tends to get picked up by other sites, which means free backlinks with little to no effort,” Dennis says.
Robbie Richards also notes Growth Hackers as his favorite community because “if your article sticks to the top of the feed for a day or so, it has a great chance of getting featured in the Growth Hackers email digest. I’ve received a lot of referral traffic, email subscribers, and a couple of clients from this community in the past.”
HackerEarth‘s Rajnish Kumar votes for HackerNews because “there is no such algorithm like LinkedIn or Facebook where you need to build your presence to get your content ahead to the users. Anybody’s content can go viral. It has nothing to do with how old your account is or how active you are in the community. Just make sure that your content is adding value to the community.”
In fact, when Kumar’s team submitted this post, they received “5 upvotes [with] somewhere around 100+ visits, which is not at bad.”
11. Biz Sugar
“BizSugar is a content community that I highly recommend,” says BoardActive‘s Cierra Flythe. “It establishes our content as a source in thought-leadership discussions, provides multiple backlinks, and develops branding in our industry space.”
David Leonhardt of THGM Ghostwriting Services loves the platform “specifically to reach a small business audience. I am active there, as it helps my content reach an interested audience, but also because I get content creation ideas and I get the chance to network a bit with like-minded bloggers.”
However, Leonhardt also adds that “BizSugar is also a networking platform through the Mastermind community. This is a place for free-wheeling discussions, and there are frequent guests invited for “Ask Me Anything” sessions. I’ve asked a few questions and learned quite a bit through this process.”
“Longreads is the YouTube of long-form content and interesting articles,” writes Search Optimism‘s Corrinn McCauley.
“Their audience is firmly dedicated to keeping well-informed, interesting, and engaging content alive; so you don’t need to worry about people losing interest in the articles or content you submit. This is made clear with slogans like, “Never Pivoting to Video” and “We <3 Fact-Checkers.””
McCauley continues: “When you submit your piece to Longreads and it’s picked by the curators, it’s categorized to help interested readers find your work with ease. Articles are either listed as “highlights” or “features.”
“Features provide the full story on Longreads’ website, but highlights link back to the original source. When you click on a highlight, it will preview the first few paragraphs and display a “read the story” button underneath. That button acts as a link to the full article on your website.”
Summarizing, McCauley says: “Longreads is an extremely credible and authoritative outlet, and the stories they publish meet their exacting standards.”
“Zest is an extension that replaces your Google Chrome browser’s home screen with a content stream. It provides users with a possibility to suggest new content,” Albacross‘ Oksana Chyketa explains.
“The Zest platform helps content marketers to find useful, innovative and actionable data they need to stay on top of their industry. And if your target audience includes online marketers, this is where your content needs to be.”
demandDrive‘s AJ Alonzo thinks Zest is one of the best communities for content marketers because “they do a great job of collecting suggested content, vetting it for quality, and distributing it to their network.”
“As a member, you can set-up tags to get specific content delivered to you on a daily basis, and that means I know the content I’m submitting is being put in front of the people I want to see it,” Alonzo adds.
14. Create your own community
“Creating your own community is the best way to get your content in front of the right people,” says G2‘s Lauren Pope.
“The first rule of content distribution is making sure you’re targeting the right audience. There are a couple of ways people do that but in an age where everyone is making content, everyone is buying targeted ads, and everyone has an email list, it’s never been more important to create a community around yourself.”
Pope thinks that “social media is the way to do this. Get yourself online and start building your brand.”
“When you work at a specific company and you rely on their networks to get your content read, you lose those resources when you switch jobs. It’s like starting over every time. But if you create your own social network (or have each of your employees create their own social networks) you can reach new people through the connections people make,” Pope summarizes.
Are you ready to start using online communities to promote your content?
The forums and groups we’ve mentioned here are a great starting point. Use them to start building your website traffic, and make relationships with other people in your industry.
Once you’ve mastered the etiquette of a big group, Ilia Markov of ChartMogul recommends to “find a community in your niche that isn’t noisy. There might be fewer people, but investing in engaging people and building relationships will repay you manyfold in terms of promoting your content and your brand.”
About the author
Elise Dopson Elise Dopson is a freelance B2B writer for SaaS and marketing companies. With a focus on data-driven ideas that truly provide value, she helps brands to get noticed online--and drive targeted website visitors that transform into raving fans.
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