Let's say you're a cardiologist and you've spent some time and money putting together 2 to 3 posts a week to drive more traffic to your medical practice website. You're confident your latest content is well written and bursting with utility and inspiration for the patient prospect who visits your site: today they find your latest post on the relationship between oxidative stress on the heart and obstructive sleep apnea. It's a big deal and you want everybody to read it.
How disappointing it will be, later, to learn how very few people will have actually read this vital post.
This could happen for a variety of reasons; one key reason could be that you've failed to amplify your fresh content.
As much as we all like the romantic notion of The Field of Dreams—build it and they will come—the reality is that we have our work cut out for us if we are to actually make connections with patient prospects by way of our new content.
Content amplification (or distribution) doesn't have to be a full-time job, however: new tools and strategies can simplify the act of amplifying your latest content, and some of these are automated or can help you more carefully target your efforts to get the word out.
What is amplification?
This describes your efforts to let the world know you have new and valuable content at your website for others to read. Timeliness may also be crucial, as some subjects trend quickly in social arenas, which can give your content a much needed boost into viral territory.
Amplification is not the same thing as search engine optimization (SEO), which is based on alerting search engines to your fresh content so they can index it for users to find.
It's more about sending out "smoke signals" to your prospective readers to alert them about amazing new content you have to share, which might include your imperative insights about a current research study in sleep medicine and cardiology.
News about that medical study may improve certain keyword rankings in SEO even without your help, but when its results "trend" in social media like Facebook or Twitter, you will definitely want to take advantage of this momentum and amplify your perspectives while the topic's still top of mind.
Ways to amplify
There are dozens of ways to announce the arrival of new content to your blog; here are some tried and true methods. Most are pretty easy for the novice to perform, and often the cost of using these strategies and tools is nominal or even free.
Distribute to social media
This is the most obvious tactic, but also one that you should do thoughtfully. If social networking still makes you squeamish, you might want to learn more about why it's critical to your inbound medical marketing strategy.
Otherwise, for guidance:
Use automated tools to push out your content (see suggestions below).
You can't always automate everything... you will still need to engage in manual distribution in certain instances. But for most of the time, a tool that is pre-programmed to schedule out links for distribution to all of your social media channels is a huge time saver that quickly amplifies fresh content.
Only post to those channels that you use and can engage in.
Otherwise, readers who want to engage with you (which is a good thing) will be caught in an echo chamber of your making. Social media is supposed to be social, after all. Also, if a reader has questions or complaints in that channel, and you don't respond to them in a timely fashion, that's worse than not posting your link at all, because it decreases the odds you'll capture the trust of those readers... who might have initially been on a patient journey pointed in the direction of your medical practice.
Make sure the images you use can be posted for optimal appeal in their new social media homes.
Did you know that each social media channel has a preferred image size and shape? For instance, Twitter prefers images for social sharing that are 440px by 220px; however, Facebook likes 1200px by 630px, and LinkedIn, 1000px by 425px.
That beautiful cardiac illustration you posted in your blog? It may not look so great in social media because of this reality... unless you are smart enough to make optimized versions of it to share for maximum dramatic effect. Want to know the preferred image specs for all the different social channels? Check out Marketing Tech Blog's Social Media Image Sizes Cheat Sheet.
Just because you sent a link out today to your "CHF meets OSA" blog post doesn't mean you can't send it out again. Quite the opposite! Some posts have perennial or "evergreen" value, especially if they are tied in to seasons, trends, or current events.
You can repost links to timeless content at several intervals during a specific time frame now, then repeat this pattern several weeks or months later if and when that content regains relevance.
Submit for third party distribution
You can share your links to news aggregator sites. These are newsfeeds which view submissions from all sources and decide which ones to include in their feeds. It can be fairly competitive to get into the best aggregator sites, but if you have regular, high-quality content, you can and will break in if you're patient and consistent.
When aggregators include your links, they essentially validate your content as third party "vetting" operations. This kind of industry-wide, digital word of mouth is pure gold for any inbound medical marketing strategy.
Make sure you pick the most selective aggregators: some of them are designed to promote clickbait, which can include promiscuous imagery, conspiracy theory focal points, scare tactics, and content of questionable validity.
We can recommend AllTop, BizSugar, Blogarama, and Blogrific, though there are dozens of others.
Be the source
This means participating in more forum-like activities, as opposed to social media, with the goal of achieving expertise and thought leadership among those communities.
If you belong to Quora, for instance, you can look for community questions related to your fresh content, answer those questions briefly, then post a link to your blog post. Remember, the goal is always to be useful and helpful above all else. Too much self promotion is a turnoff to people seeking healthcare solutions for their troublesome, often painful, medical problems.
A regular presence in specialty forums and content communities (such as Reddit) can yield many opportunities to share your content as long as you aren't using tactics that lend the appearance of spamming. Check the posting rules to make sure you are working within their guidelines, especially in medical forums and communities, where it's paramount that all users interact respectfully.
Also, consider this: writers are always looking for content: Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a site that collects journalists and sources under one umbrella with the goal of uniting one with the other. If you connect as a source with a writer from HARO, it's a safe bet they'll include a link to your new post on sleep breathing disorders and heart failure somewhere in their article, which is great for pushing new readers your way as well as building your reputation as a thought leader. Check out rules for becoming a HARO source here.
Amplification tools and targets
As mentioned above, there are dozens of free, "freemium," and paid social media automation tools to choose from. They all vary with regard to the channels they integrate with, how they produce or display your automated links, and the unique added-value services they can offer. There's literally something for everybody out there.
Here is a short, but by no means exhaustive, list of potential tools for pushing your blog links out to the world, in alphabetical order.
*The author of this post can vouch for the value of this platform
Social media automation tools
Use what you've already got on hand
Don't forget that you might already have automation tools inside the content platform you are already using to build your blog posts! HubSpot and WordPress, for instance, both offer social media distribution. At the very minimum, put them to use.
Social media targets
It's probably impossible anymore to name every potential social media channel available. If you are new to social media, at least start with the Big 4: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
However, if you are generating more graphic, audio, or video content, you will also want to have a presence in places like InstaGram, Pinterest, and YouTube. (And kudos to you, as this is where social media is heading very quickly!)
If you're really ambitious, you can do more than push your content to these channels. You can dig a little deeper and find new and evolving ways inside these networks to improve your social presence.
Facebook groups serve highly targeted audiences where your message may resonate with more people than if it were simply floating around in the public newsfeed.
Twitter lists can help you target your tweets to specific users based on your customized and predefined interests. You could set up private lists that are aimed directly at those personas you've developed for your medical marketing strategy, which include preexisting followers of your Twitter handle who fit those descriptions.
LinkedIn groups, like Facebook groups, tend to reach a more clarified audience. As a cardiologist, you might appeal not only to all users who belong to groups focused on heart health, but also to cardiology groups and sleep medicine groups.
LinkedIn Publisher is a new service which allows you to slightly reformat your latest, freshest content into a shorter post which you can publish inside their platform. Then, you can submit your post link to their dedicated content aggregator, with the hopes of landing a cherished, high-visibility spot on their Pulse page.
Live video (Facebook, InstaGram, Periscope, SnapChat, YouTube, OneLoad for mass sharing of video) offers so many different amplifying applications that your success with them is limited only by your imagination and skill set. If you have already ventured into video, check out the different livestreaming services to see how you might be able to put one or more to good use, and often with only a minimal effort.
What about paid amplification?
If you have a budget for it, paid amplification can also shine the limelight on your latest fresh content. If you especially want your post on heart health and sleep disorders to go viral or to otherwise achieve greater exposure, using paid amplification can definitely do the trick. Paid spots don't have to be expensive and can be extremely effective when used in a well-planned content marketing strategy.
Facebook ads are fantastic for being inexpensive and targeted
Sponsored links (pay per click) can yield good results if you are savvy with keyword optimization and SEO trends
Promoted Tweets can call out special content you want to amplify in the moment
Discovery platforms like Taboola, OutBrain, and Nativo are paid services that add your content to page elements that are matched to the interests of targeted readers; they share your links as "recommended by" or "related." Discovery tools use Netflix- or Amazon-styled algorithms that suggest the familiar "if you liked X, then you'll like Y" connectivity that can lure readers to your page.
There's still so much to say about the topic of amplifying your fresh content, but if there's one main takeaway you must leave with, it's that you are not done with your inbound marketing strategy when you hit "publish" in your blog window and send your new content out in the world.
While smart SEO strategies will help you "get found" in search engines, there are endless possible ways to go directly to your ideal readers (aka patient prospects) using social media targeting, tools, paid services, third-party aggregators, forums, and much more. Don't forget to employ these powerful amplification boosters!
If you're intimidated by all the options, start with the obvious links posted to social media, then work your way out from there. That's what all businesses, big and small, do these days... and eventually the effort will pay off.
Convince & Convert
Marketing Tech Blog