Without doubt the hardest part of content marketing for many entrepreneurs is not actually creating your content. Not that there aren’t challenges inherent to the creation process, there certainly are, but there are simple (albeit time-consuming or pricey) solutions to those challenges. You either learn new skills, or pay someone else to create your content for you. It takes time, patience, and tenacity to get really good, but it’s nothing that can’t be done with enough persistence, or outsourced completely with enough cash.
And this is the part where so many people (my own clients and at times even myself included!) fall down. I always encourage people to promote their content as much as they possibly can. It is, in fact, one of the three prongs of the golden trident of blogging: the hustle.
I can create as much content as you could wish for, but if you’re not actively promoting it, and effectively monetising it, the return you get on that investment is going to disappoint you.
It’s not enough to create it, you need to tell people it exists. You need to make it as easy as possible for your ideal clients to find your content, absorb your content, and eagerly seek out even more of your content. To do that, you need to understand exactly how your ideal clients interact with content. My whole approach to content marketing is firmly rooted in people and how they think.
What makes them tick.
I’ve developed a whole content marketing strategy around the psychological makeup of readers, allowing you to tailor the content you create so it speaks to your ideal clients in the deepest and most meaningful way possible. To do this, I use psychological archetypes, but Divine Blogging is all about creating content.
What about using psychology for better content promotion?
There are skills you can learn to help you with content promotion. Tricks, hacks, social media marketing, paid advertising, but honestly the biggest hurdle is truly understanding the relationship between people and content.
What makes people read content?
What are the things that make content completely irresistible to people?
What can compel people to read your content, and what can instantly put them off?
And once they’re reading your content, how can you ensure they get hooked on you like a six year old that just discovered sugar?
The funny thing about people is that, while they’re all completely individual they are also inherently predictable in certain ways. Whether due to social mores or our own natural impulses, the vast majority of people can be relied upon to follow certain patterns of behaviour.
Understand these patterns, and you can exploit them. To that end, here are five super weird habits I’ve observed in readers that you can totally exploit for better content promotion…
#1 The Sheep Mentality Of Your Audience
Nobody likes to be first.
It really is that simple.
If your content (be it blog, vlog, podcast, social media post, whatever) has a low view count people are far more likely to click away from it than to read, watch, or listen to it.
Because there is a natural impulse to assume that if something is worth our time, other people must surely have already found it.
Newness is off-putting in the world of online marketing, while social proof reigns supreme.
If your content hasn’t been found and socially approved by at least a few people, there is a subconscious (often even fully conscious) thought that goes: ‘Well, it can’t possibly be any good.’
Exactly what the social threshold is that allows people to cross from ‘can’t be any good’ to ‘this must be awesome’ isn’t clear. Certainly it varies depending upon the medium and the platform. And it’s a bizarre phenomenon. A single Like on a Facebook post, or one retweet on Tweet is often the difference between other people dismissing your post as inconsequential, and jumping on to read, like, and share.
And often, even if someone reads your post and likes it, they won’t actually hit that like button unless they see other people have already done so. If nobody has given it a like or share, many people will refrain, no matter how much they loved it.
And yet, if there are a few likes on there, or a few retweets, their enjoyment of your content immediately spikes.
Seeing that other people like your stuff will not only allow people to feel comfortable enough to give it a like or share themselves, it will actually make them like your stuff even more.
This is a form of mild social anxiety.
A lot of people are nervous of publicly admitting to liking something unless someone else has already done so, for fear they are accidentally liking something that is socially unacceptable.
The more engagement your content has, the more engagement it will get.
So if you’re planning on advertising anything, it’s important to spend some time getting it attention before you start to pay, so that your content promotion efforts are as impactful as possible. Beyond that there are ways to use this to help your organic promotion, like social media and SEO,
It may seem totally backwards to put so much effort into promoting before you pay to promote something. Surely the reason you pay for adverts is to boost your engagement? Well, yes, you’re totally right about that. And any paid advertising (if done well) should definitely boost engagement. But promoting content (both using paid and organic means) will be far more effective if you are promoting stuff that already has a reasonable amount of engagement to begin with.
If there’s a view count on your blog post, make sure it’s well into the double digits (ideally triple).
When you have social share buttons that show how many times it’s been shared on various platforms, make sure they all show a respectable number.
YouTube videos need to have existing views, shares and (ideally) a comment or two.
Podcasts need downloads.
You don’t need massive numbers, but you definitely need more than zero, and ideally you should have a healthy level. If you don’t, do everything you can to minimise the extent to which people are aware of this – remove the view counts on everything you can until those numbers are working in your favour.
Whether you’re paying to promote your content or not, getting an engagement buddy will help you take advantage of this top tip. Find a fellow entrepreneur/blogger who is also trying to boost their content promotion, and make a pact: every time they share new content you’re going to like it, you’re going to share it, you’re going to lavish it with hearts, let the video play a few times while you’re doing the dishes, and generally do everything possible to make damn sure there is social proof on that piece of content.
They’re going to do the same for you in return. The result is that there will always be at least one person liking, sharing, commenting on, loving, watching or listening to your content.
And where one goes, more will follow, it’s the sheep mentality.
Nobody wants to be first.
#2 The Abandonment Issues And Skepticism Of Your Tribe
Another fundamental aspect of human nature is that we don’t like to feel abandoned.
It’s one of our greatest fears and a perfectly natural thing to wish to avoid. There’s nothing more annoying than falling in love with a new TV show or book series, only to find it’s cancelled or the publishing contract was dropped before the author completed the story.
It’s infuriating and it sparks that awful feeling of abandonment.
Like we’ve been personally let down by the TV network, publisher, writers or authors.
People are much the same with brands. They don’t like to invest time and energy into a brand unless they are confident that brand has Staying Power. For many people, A fresh and unfamiliar brand is an exciting thing that will work in your favour. But for other people it’s a huge flashing warning light.
If you’re brand new, you’re a risk.
You might fail.
Worse still, you might simply give up and vanish without warning. They could be investing their precious time in your content only to find it’s finite and there will never be any more.
Then they would feel cheated. Like they’d wasted their time.
People will give new brands a little grace period to find their feet, a while during which they will be forgiven the occasional inconsistencies, missed weeks, and general absence. But once you settle into a regular, predictable content schedule, you’re no longer perceived as ‘new’.
The people who were hesitant are convinced you’re going to stick around and are now on board, and the people who have been with you from the start are fully invested.
Remember, the purpose of your content is ultimately to sell stuff.
If your content isn’t going to eventually land you a sale, it’s not doing its job (at least, not from a content marketing perspective – if you’re a hobby blogger it’s a different matter). So you need to make people as likely as possible to respond to your content and actually make a purchase.
By now you’ve heard me say a thousand times that in order to do this, you need to build the Know, Like and Trust factor. Part of that is having a proven record.
Social proof and the sheep mentality is a part of this, but it’s not just about proving people like your stuff. It’s about proving that your stuff can be relied upon. That you’re not just a flash in the pan. You’re going to be here next week, and the week after, and the week after that.
Creating that kind of track record takes time.
You can create the illusion of a proven track record to some extent by batching a load of content to upload before you go live, so you’re not starting out with a solitary blog post, vlog, or podcast episode. And in fact, I highly recommend doing that if you’re launching a new platform – don’t go live until you have a decent amount of content already up and running.
But your potential tribe isn’t dumb.
They can read dates and times.
They know when things were published.
And even if you backdate content to previous days and weeks to create the illusion of consistency and staying power, if your tribe are following you then they will know when new content comes out, and they will remember that nothing new has appeared for weeks.
The fact that a load of stuff suddenly appears out of the blue isn’t going to fool them.
If you abandon them, they notice.
Conversely, if you consistently publish content week in, week out, without fail, they notice that too.
They’re really just synonyms for reliability.
Promoting your content when there’s not much of it is risky, because people will naturally want to see how long you’ve been at this blogging/vlogging/podcasting/social lark.
The post they just read might be amazing, but if they go looking for more and find nothing they’re far more likely to assume it was a fluke that led to the epicness of the post, and not your innate genius.
If, on the other hand, they see you’re regularly putting out content of reasonably equal value, they will take it as a clear sign that you genuinely are a genius. They’ll stick around.
That backlog of posts is a greater testament to your expertise than a handful of piece can ever be, no matter how good they are.
Expertise requires more than one or two good days when you happened to write some halfway decent stuff.
It requires dedication to your craft, your niche, your particular Zone of Genius.
The only true way to demonstrate the reliability of your brand and the extent of your expertise is through consistent content creation over a prolonged period of time.
It’s reassuring, comforting, and demonstrates that you’re worthy of their faith, and the time and effort required to absorb your content.
If you want to overcome the skepticism and abandonment issues, you need to do two things:
- Launch any new platform with a good stock of evergreen content – it’s never too late to create this, even if you’ve been up and running for years!
- Continue to regularly release fresh, high-quality content on a predictable schedule.
This actually happened to me recently after some health issues made it very difficult for me to keep up my regular content schedule. So much time in and out of hospital and running back and forth to doctors appointments has meant it is (at the time of publishing this) months since I posted a vlog, and several weeks when my regular Tuesday blog post didn’t go out either. The knock-on effect in my marketing has been dramatic, and I didn’t sign a single new client from January to May of 2018. I’ve picked up my regular schedule again now, but the momentum I spent 18 months building after launching TWCG has dwindled. I’m not starting from scratch, but I have a log of ground to make up.
So in the event something catastrophic happens and you genuinely cannot maintain your regular content schedule for a few weeks, or even a few months, remember:
- You can hire people to handle it for you.
- And if that isn’t an option you can get your momentum back, just be prepared for the fact you’re not going to pick up where you left off.
All the momentum you built will be gone, you’re going to have to start over.
#3 There Is No ‘Enough’ For Bingers
Some people just like to binge.
Be it junk food, booze, fags, or the latest series to drop on Netflix, everything in moderation means nothing to a modern digital audience.
I say this as a self-confessed binger. I’ve watched 5+ seasons of one show in a matter of days. When I was a smoker, I chain smoked. And when I find a new YouTube channel I love I watch every episode they’ve ever put out, and then obsessively hit refresh and try not to scream when I finally run out and have to wait a few days or *gasp* a week for their next video.
When you produce amazing content there is, for some people, never enough of it.
It doesn’t matter how many blogs, or videos, or podcasts, or Tweets your favourite guru posts, you can’t get enough of them.
You’re a sink with an open drain; there is no enough!
This applies to all content but it is particularly essential for YouTube. When I first stumbled upon Denise Duffield Thomas (anyone who regularly follows me knows how much I adore DTT), I watched every single video in her catalogue in a single day.
Work ground to a halt.
I did nothing else that day.
I was enraptured.
By the end of the day I’d bought both her books, signed up for all her free courses and downloads, and made ‘Join Lucky Bitch Money Bootcamp’ my #1 priority for training.
Granted, I still haven’t actually bought it, because I’ve been on a ‘no training’ limbargo since launching TWCG and got the hang of the whole ‘paying for a house and everything that comes with it on my own’ thing, but it’s top of the list. The next time I buy any kind of training or invest in my development, I’ll be buying DDT’s Money Bootcamp and I have her third book on pre-order..
In marketing we say it takes anywhere from six to fifteen ‘touches’ to make a sale, a ‘touch’ being a point of contact. That I would buy that could has never even been a question for me because I was sold on it from day one. Denise’s content was exquisite and in an extremely short space of time she’d ‘touched’ me more times than was strictly decent.
Totally my fault, Denise is a classy lady, she’d never touch anyone up on purpose.
But because I have a binge mentality I wasn’t satisfied with watching one video, or two, or even ten. I had to watch them all. And I immediately converted, buying not one but two books from her without question. I couldn’t get enough of her content and if I had to pay for more of it, then fine. I’d do it.
I’d do it, to satisfy that craving. If I wasn’t on such a tight ‘no unnecessary expenditure’ kick I’d have bought her course on that very day, no further marketing necessary. I gorged myself on Denise’s YouTube channel. And I’ve eagerly devoured every video she’s released since, on the day of its release.
The email telling me it’s there is unnecessary – I know when she releases them, I go looking, and YouTube knows I watch them religiously so they are always there, right at the top of my list of recommendations. She’s slowed down considerably this year as she has another baby on the way, and I’ve rewatched everything at least once to make up for it.
This is the kind of obsessive behaviour you want to elicit in your viewers.
You’re desperate to grow your channel and promoting it seems like the way to go, but if you’re planning on running a paid advertising campaign for your YouTube channel don’t do it straight away.
This is an extension of the abandonment issue, in that it’s partly about not letting your audience feel let down. It goes beyond that though, because the power of a true binge session is that you can convert new viewers in a single day.
You don’t have to wait for 6-15 weeks for your weekly video to come out and ‘touch’ them for them to convert.
If you have a choice between running an ad campaign for a channel that has the power to instantly convert all the bingers right then and there, and running the same campaign on a channel that doesn’t have enough content to satisfy the binge mentality, you’re going to see a much higher return on the former than the latter.
And I know, you only have five subscribers and it’s, like, the worst thing to ever. Your views are only in double (sometimes single!) digits. It’s literally the most humiliating thing ever. And there’s this voice in your head telling you that recording all this content is such a huge effort, such a massive investment, you need to advertise right away so it’s worth it.
Except…you really don’t.
In fact, if you’re worried about getting the best return on your investment, you really need to hold fire.
Do everything you can to promote the organic reach of your videos and get more subscribers on your channel. Cross post them to Facebook and other social media channels that will host them (always upload them natively, don’t just share links!), and pimp the hell out of your YouTube channel on social media.
But don’t pay for any adverts.
‘But why?’ I hear you scream!
Pipe down. It’s really very simple. The more videos you have on your channel when you advertise, the more successful your ad campaign will be, for three reasons:
- Your videos will have racked up at least some views and hopefully a few comments. This means the people you’re paying for aren’t immediately clicking away because of their Sheep Mentality.
- People will see at a glance that you have staying power and are serious about your channel, alleviating their fear of abandonment.
- You will have a decent collection of videos available to indulge the bingers.
To make the most of the binge mentality make sure you have playlists on your YouTube channel for specific topics, as well as an uber list of every single main video you’ve ever released. Play to the binger mentality as much as humanly possible by creating playlists for your core topics on your YouTube channel. Once you have them there, use them – embed them directly into your website so that people can easily navigate to category pages and watch every video in that category one after the other.
If you’re not sure what I mean check out my own category pages on:
You’ll notice that some of these playlists don’t currently have a lot of videos in them, and that’s why I’ve not paid to advertise my own YouTube channel yet – I don’t have enough content! I’m holding fire until I have a really healthy stock of highly bingeable playlists…
#4 Sneakers And Munchers
Sneaky readers are the people who can’t stand around doing nothing while they wait, or eat. You know the ones…
You’re standing in line at Costa and the woman behind you whips out a tablet and power reads while she’s waiting. Her order’s up and you watch in silent awe as she somehow manages to juggle her handbag and tray, navigate to a table, sit down and start nibbling on her raspberry and white chocolate muffin, all without once relinquishing the tablet.
That woman is me.
I’m a sneaker.
Sneakers are the people who are either very bad at having nothing to occupy their brains, or so busy that the only time they have to check out the latest updates on their favourite blogs is while waiting for the bus, or train, or grabbing a coffee. Often they’re both (I’m definitely both). They’re the people who sit in restaurants unaccompanied, but by no means alone, because they’re dining with their favourite author.
Closely related to the sneaky readers are the book munchers – readers who utterly devour books every available second of the day.
They do everything sneaky readers does but take it to even greater extremes by continuing to read even when walking around and doing other things that usually require a person’s full attention. And they also (generally) exclusively read books at such times. Every electronic device they own has the Kindle app on it, and no matter where they are or what they’re doing, if their full attention isn’t required by something else, they’re reading a book.
Not a blog, or a magazine, or a zine, but a book.
These people can navigate through Manchester city centre without ever bumping in a soul. While they’re walking and reading they are still fully capable of doing all the everyday things you’d expect. They never fail to purchase a Big Issue, or neglect to toss a coin in the waiting cap of a busker, yet all while their nose is firmly entrenched within the pages of their current read, or an inch away from a Kindle screen.
The thing that unites the sneakers and the munchers is a need for content in a format they can read on the go, namely, whatever is required by their eReader, tablet, or phone.
We’re talking Kindle or PDF formats for maximum impact here.
How many times do you see a blog that looks interesting, and bookmark it to read later?
How often do you actually get back to it?
There’s a really simple solution for this. Package up all the content within a post (written, video, audio, whatever) and convert it to text in PDF and Kindle formats. Then, make it freely downloadable directly from your post. Check out my post, SEO Hero: The Ultimate Guide To Attracting Easy, Epic Blog Traffic for an example of this.
When you promote your content – whether it’s organically or through paid advertising – not everyone seeing it will click through. Of those who do, not everyone landing on the post will actually take the time to read/watch/listen to it.
But you’ve already paid for that click (either literally if it’s a PPC ad, or in the time and resources that went into organically promoting it).
If people click away without reading your post, thinking they’ll read it later, the odds are they’ll never come back to it.
That’s money/time/resources wasted.
If, however, they see a handy button right at the top of the post that lets them directly download a version they can load on their Kindle or tablet and read on the go, that’s a no brainer for them.
Sneakers and munchers are hardwired to constantly want more content on their devices, because they get through so much of it.
Like Bingers, where the SMunchers are concerned, there is no enough.
If you really want to take this to the next level, make your Kindle and PDF versions available without email signup – simply have a clickable button and/or eye-catching graphic that automatically downloads both versions, no signup required.
Your audience will have weird habits of their own, that are totally unique to your niche. The best way to take advantage of their reading habits is to learn more about them. While you’re busy promoting all that fabulous content on social media, take the time to mine your audience’s habits. Every now and then, create a post posing a simple and direct question:
- What are you reading on right now?
- Where are you reading right now?
- What’s your favourite device to read on?
- Where’s your favourite place to read?
- What are your favourite blogs/magazines/vlogs/podcasts/books/authors?
Look for commonalities in their answers. Think of a few different ways you can take advantage of their habits and create some polls offering your tribe options to choose from.
And if you’re looking for even more advice and tips on using psychology and the bizarre quirks of people to make your content marketing more effective, you can download the first chapter of my book, Divine Blogging for below for free…