The 3 Untapped Frontiers For Content Marketing

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I have good news and I have bad news, and it’s the same news: the web is saturated with content. There’s more stuff to do than ever before, and attention is at a premium. This is bad in that it makes your life a bit more difficult, the high degree of competition demands additional creativity. But it’s also good, because the additional skills necessary for success now separate the good content providers from the great ones.

The modern age of content marketing and distribution requires intelligence, creativity, and a willingness to walk on the wild side from time to time. While many places are “mined out,” there remain a few untapped frontiers open to exploration and opportunity for content marketers. Here are three alternatives for the savvy marketer looking for an inventive way to find or distribute excellent content.

1. To distribute exceptional content use Torrents- The white collar black market

If you follow the news around intellectual property much, you’ve probably heard about torrents. The most common association with them is the illegal downloading of copyrighted property, usually music, movies, books, and other creative content. Torrents get a bad rap from this, and are often viewed as a “black market” where information of all kinds can be acquired virtually for free. But if you’re willing to brave the unknown, torrents can be a unique and powerful way to distribute your material and promote your core business.

pirate bay 2

Ominous, but effective

You may have heard of Tim Ferriss, best-selling author of 4-hour Work Week, among others. His latest book 4-hour Chef was published last November, and was promoted extensively on BitTorrent by offering free content for download. The result? 300,000 downloads in the first week, another best-selling book, and coverage in the New York Times, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal.

Let’s get this out of the way early: when we talk about using torrents, we’re talking about distributing your product for free. It’s an investment in your visibility and future business that I strongly suggest you consider making if your content has yet to receive the attention you feel it deserves.

There are a number of different torrent sites, with some of the most well known being The Pirate Bay, BitTorrent, and IPTorrent. Each of these has upsides and downsides, but they all focus on the same core idea of allowing businesses and users to share, download, and distribute content for free. Many of the top sites are invite-only, and require an invitation from a current user to access. The user base predominantly consists of younger, technology-minded men who are typically highly engaged with the content that they access. These individuals can often become core users and advocates online, a powerful force for any content provider.

Before engaging with torrents, it’s important to understand some of the risks. Torrents are somewhat misunderstood, and are often mentally connected with illegal content distribution. The Pirate Bay was the subject of a lawsuit that resulted in its founders receiving significant jail time. It’s also somewhat difficult to promote your torrented content, as many people don’t understand how to use the sites or access your content once it’s there. Finally, it’s somewhat risky to promote those torrents on your website or through social media due to their somewhat negative associations.

But here’s the good news: If you upload your product to a few torrent sites and do some light promotion online people will download your product. Content that is released solely through the file sharing networks is often among the most downloaded, so the viral potential of your content increases dramatically.

Any content can potentially leverage the reach of torrent sites, but there are certain characteristics that play particularly well to that audience. As always, keep your demographics in mind. Content appealing to young, tech-savvy individuals will be most appealing. Entertaining content, whether print, video, or audio, has historically done very well when torrented. In general, focus on very high quality, lengthy content. Ebooks, white papers, and other long-form content that targets specific, niche markets are good candidates.

Getting Started:

utorrent

Go to www.utorrent.com and download by clicking the “Get uTorrent” prominently displayed in the center of the page.

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Next click on create new torrent.

find file to upload

A pop out will display your options. Click “Add File” to convert your media (documents, video, pictures, etc) into torrents.

start seeding

Make sure the “Start Seeding” button is clicked and the “Piece Size” is set to auto detect. Your torrent is now ready for distribution to the site of your choosing.

 

2. When you’re ready to write an undercover promotion- Quora- the new colony

Imagine a magical place where it seems like most everyone is educated and has an intelligent opinion. One where you can pose any question and receive a well-thought answer, often from someone intimately associated with the business in question. Or, even better, you can provide the answer that blows people away, boosts your credibility, and provides instant awareness of you and your business. Congratulations, you’ve found Quora.

quora2

All Q&A, all the time

Quora is at its heart a question and answer site. Users pose questions and look for interesting answers to them; the best answers are upvoted and rise to the top of the page where they can gain massive visibility. All answers include the name, picture, and title of the person who provided them, so popular answers also serve as powerful tools of promotion. The community is a cross between the best parts of LinkedIn and Facebook, and combines LinkedIn’s inquisitive nature and interest in business with Facebook’s focus on community dialogue and unpretentious presentation.

When writing for Quora the typical rules of content writing don’t always apply. Here are some of the secrets to writing answers that will get you noticed:

  • Captivate, Then Answer: Most posters put their answer up front, and then follow with the justification for it. This can quickly provide some value, but it fails to captivate and entertain your audience. Instead, lead with a hook and then provide detail as the piece goes on. The best way to fight short attention spans is to pull readers into your world and keep them interested while slowly providing more and more information. Think about your piece as a seduction, and the ultimate answer as the big payoff.
  • Be Entertaining: The most popular answers are ones that entertain as they inform. There are two metrics that Quora uses to promote answers: how many up-votes they have and how quickly they gained those up-votes. Both will be helped immeasurably by the creativity and sense of humor displayed by your post. Don’t write a post as if your company board was going to read it, write as if you were talking to a good friend in a casual setting. Pictures and other visuals are a must. The first picture in your piece will also be the thumbnail for your answer so choose wisely.
  • Don’t Sell: Quora is a powerful tool for building authority and credibility, and allows knowledgeable individuals to promote themselves simply by providing great content. Overt up-selling of services or answers that look like giant promotional pieces will not be received well by the community. Add value and make sure that your business can be found from your Quora page, and rewards will follow.
  • Understand the Technical Aspects: There are a number of little technical tricks you can use to increase your visibility on Quora, as well as the visibility of your posts. If the question you’re responding to is wordy or phrased poorly feel free to edit it, hard to understand questions don’t get as much attention. Tag the question to the appropriate subject areas so users who follow that tag will be made aware of your great answer. Finally, promote your answer through Quora. Quora has a promotion system that requires “credits” to promote your answer. Promoted answers typically receive much greater visibility. Credits can be gained for free by providing great answers to other questions.

quora promote

 

The “Follow” and “Promote” buttons are in the top right corner

  • Go Big or Go Home: Quora emphasizes quality over quantity. The goal is to create singularly excellent posts that build massive momentum and go viral, rather than answering many questions that each individually receive low visibility. Write the best possible answer to a question, or don’t bother answering it at all. This will ultimately be a much more efficient usage of your time.

3. When you need brilliant new ideas- Reddit- the dark continent

Even if you’re not a tech geek, meme lover, or closet anarchist it’s possible that you’ve heard of the “front page of the Internet,” as Reddit has received significant mainstream attention recently and is becoming increasingly popular. If not, fasten your seatbelt and prepare to enter one of the most dynamic, bizarre, and powerful sites on the web.

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This little guy would just love to share some cat pictures with you!

Reddit.com is a social sharing site where users anonymously share links and converse on the topics of the day. The site is incredibly minimalistic in terms of its design aesthetic and presentation. Users are identified by an invented username alone, there are no real “profiles” to speak of except for a running log of your posts and the “karma” that you’ve received for them. Reddit relies on a simple upvote/downvote system, every user can either upvote (approve of) or downvote (disapprove of) a post. Popular posts rise to the “front page” of Reddit, the most visible part of the site. The more upvotes a user receives, the more “karma” they gain.

Reddit has a unique culture unlike virtually anywhere else on the Internet. It’s grown in popularity, and is currently one of the 50 most trafficked sites in the United States at over 35 million unique visitors a month, but has maintained the “us against the world” mentality that was a hallmark of its earlier years. Users of Reddit (or “redditors” as they’re known on the site) are notoriously sarcastic, questioning, and independent. They are cynical, opposed to authority of any kind, and fiercely loyal to the things that they love. Reddit’s demographics lean towards educated men in their 20s and early 30s.

The Reddit community can be extremely fickle, and will undermine any attempt at obvious promotion. That said, gaining the support of the Reddit “hivemind” as it’s sometimes called is possibly the fastest track to viral content on the web. As a regular Redditor, here are a few suggestions for navigating its tricky currents:

  • Understand Their Pet Topics: For all of its diversity, there are a few topics that the Reddit community is particularly passionate about. Some of these include maintaining personal privacy and security, atheism and opposition to authority, and political liberalism. The site has a very large underpinning in the technology community, and responds well to humor and sarcasm.
  • Learn to Speak Their Language: Reddit is not for the faint of heart. The anonymity of the site leads to an incredibly informal and often vulgar style of writing, but also allows users to speak their mind with great honesty. This makes it an incredible place to conduct customer research and learn what people really think about a given product. If you’re interested in getting into the minds of your potential customers, consider conducting a search for terms related to your industry to immediately get the whole truth straight from the horse’s mouth. Before posting, browse through the site a little to get a feel for the general style of writing, and adopt it as your own.
  • Leverage Subreddits: Reddit is built like a rabbit warren, with layer upon layer of sub-sites hiding underneath the most visible front page. These mini-sites are known as “subreddits,” and focus on particular topics. There are massively popular subreddits like “technology” and much more obscure ones that range from worshiping Nicolas Cage to discussing the finer points of 1890s era woodworking. By indentifying subreddits that apply to your unique services it’s possible to find a highly concentrated group of individuals that represent your exact target market.

nic cage subreddit

Yes, I was serious about the Nicholas Cage subreddit

  • DO NOT Be Promotional: If there’s one thing Redditors hate above all else it’s attempts to co-opt their site for corporate gain. Most instances of virility on Reddit originate from entirely organic responses to topics posted by the community, as opposed to clever attempts at marketing from savvy content promoters. The users of the site are simply too sensitive for that to work.

The trick is the refrain of all great content marketers: add value. If you respond to a topic with a great post it’s sometimes possible to add a small piece of promotion, but bury that promotion in an avalanche of value. Reddit is best for product or site promotions rather than personal promotions. Think like a consumer, and only post when you’re able to position your site as a clear value add that’s 100% on topic. Reddit responds the best to improvements on existing technology or helpful services that save time and make their lives easier. Some sites that have done well in the past are simple technology services like mp3 converters, content aggregators, and free service providers.

 

Torrent sites, Quora, and Reddit are all places you can leverage to deliver targeted content in a way that is likely to generate buzz and produce results for your business. If you’re generating high quality material but aren’t receiving the visibility you deserve, then consider going a bit outside your comfort zone and experimenting with a more unusual platform for content distribution!

 

These methods are still new. Would love your feedback if you’ve used these sites before.

 

Read about additional tips on your website content writer can tackle startup content marketing here.

 

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About Kaitlynn Russo

Kaitlynn is the Marketing Automation Manager at Ebyline, a platform that connects companies with freelancers to create exclusive, high-quality content. Find her on Twitter. Ebyline Freelancer.

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