5 Techniques for Promoting your Client without Content

At Distilled, we do a lot of client work which involves creating and promoting content. The promotion can include outreach, PR, paid social campaigns or even events. Our most recent piece did pretty well on the promotion front and when you have something great to promote, it makes your life a lot easier!

But what happens if you don’t have a big, flashy piece of content to promote? Not every client has the time or budget for this work and, in some cases, it may not be the right answer at a particular point in time.

In this post, I want to explore a few ways to promote your client that don’t require big pieces of content. I’m going to use a few example websites and – to be clear – the examples are not currently Distilled clients.

1. About pages

When looking for opportunities to promote clients, one of the first things I do is check the navigation menu for an “about us” type page. Not only will this lead me to learn more about the company, but it often gives me a starting point for promotion – the people.

Let’s take an example – GoPro. They are a great company with a great product; they already get tonnes of coverage including this which was pretty epic. So I explored an alternative angle and went to their about page where I saw a statement from their CEO, Nicholas Woodman. After a quick Google around I could see that he is pretty active when it comes to being public-facing which means there may not be loads of opportunities to push it further. But many of us are from an SEO / technical background and know that there are tools available such as Talkwalker which is a great alternative to Google Alerts.

We can setup an alert for “Nicholas Woodman” and when mentions come through, we can make sure that we’re following up with the bloggers / writers / journalists to build an ongoing relationship and, if relevant, offer them assets for the current content or future pieces they write.

You can offer them assets such as high quality images, quotes, video content or even direct face / phone time with the CEO. Note that I’m not suggesting you go in for the kill and ask for a link from the piece of content that already exists, you could of course do this. But a softer approach can work well to build a relationship whereby you work with them to promote the CEO and the company in the future.

2. Social channels

I really like this technique because it can be used in most niches and doesn’t require you to have a big social following yourself – although it helps! Let’s imagine that you’re working with a client like BrewDog (a brand I’d LOVE to work with!) who have a big social following on Twitter. They have over 50,000 followers (at the time of writing) so head over to Followerwonk and run the following report:

Once it has run, you’ll see the following screen. You need to click on “view all” to see the followers:

Then click on the download button in the top right corner where you can get all of the followers into a spreadsheet:

Followerwonk will give you up to 50,000 followers which may not be a complete set of followers for some accounts, but it’s a big enough sample for our purposes.

Once you’ve downloaded the spreadsheet, you’ll need to set the columns so that you can sort and filter them:

Then scroll across to the “bio” column:

Now the fun bit, select the dropdown in this column and select the following:

Now enter the following:

This will filter the entire list and show you all people who follow BrewDog and have the words “blogger” or “writer” in their bio. Hopefully you can see where I’m going with this! To clean things up even more, I’m going to remove anyone who hasn’t listed a URL on their Twitter profile:

This left me with nearly 800 Twitter accounts from a starting point of 50,000. This is good but 800 feels a bit too many right now, so I’m going to filter just by “blogger” and remove anyone who uses the word “writer”. This leaves me with just under 310 accounts which is a much easier starting point.

At this point, I could filter the list down further, perhaps by focusing on people who have the biggest follower count. However, I’m just going to import the list into BuzzStream instead using the following function where I can copy and paste the list of URLs from my spreadsheet. Alternatively, I can upload the spreadsheet as it stands and match the column headings to my attributes in BuzzStream:

From here I can start grabbing more metrics, contact details and whatever I want really! Essentially though, what I’ve now got is a list of people who I know like BrewDog as a brand (because they follow them!) and who have also identified themselves as bloggers. This is a great list of people who I should be prioritising to build relationships with; one way could be to bring some of them along to a blogger event or to a free sampling of new brews or something like that.

If you want to go a step further and double check that these bloggers are the right kind to be contacting, you can copy and paste the text from the bio column:

and put it into Wordle. In this case, the word cloud looks like this:

Looks pretty relevant to me! Obviously we’d expect ‘blogger’ to show up the most, but seeing the additions of beer and craft definitely help to reassure me that this is a good list.

3. Video

I can’t take credit for this one – our video strategist Phil Nottingham gave me this idea a while ago. If you go to a website and spot lots of YouTube videos or a very active YouTube channel then there may be an opportunity for you. Let’s take a look at Aston Martin who have a great YouTube channel.

Their videos generally do pretty well in terms of views and engagement:

Therefore, we can be pretty sure that the videos are of high enough quality for someone to embed on their own website. YouTube allow you to find out who has embedded your videos – just go to your video (after logging in) and click on analytics:

Then look for the following option:

Scroll down and look for this option:

This will then give you the playback location along with a few more stats about the video:

Once you’ve found the websites that have embedded your content, reach out to them and start to build a relationship. You can look at which websites have the most views and use this as a way of prioritising which ones to approach first. You have lots of options here for how to approach the relationship:

  • You could offer them exclusives in the future

  • You could encourage them to link to content directly on your website rather than YouTube

  • You could partner with them on future videos

  • You could bring them on board as an affiliate

  • You could offer them other types of content such as interviews or images

The bottom line is that you can find these opportunities without having to create more content.

4. Events

This, in my opinion, is a bit of an untapped area right now but looking offline could lead to some great online wins for clients. There are a few ways to approach this, so I want to walk through each one.

Organising your own events

Returning to the example above of how we used Followerwonk to find bloggers who follow BrewDog, we could further segment that data by location:

In this case, BrewDog have multiple locations in London where they could organise a blogger event. The event itself could be anything but the goal would be to build relationships with them and to look for opportunities to help them promote the brand in the future and most likely, become brand ambassadors.

Finding other events

This one is a bit trickier if you’re based in a small town, but it can work well if you’re in a city where meetup.com is used a lot. Just a quick search using the word “blogger” within five miles of central London gave me a bunch of results including these:

Getting involved in these events could be a great way to get closer to bloggers who you want to build relationships with. I’d steer clear of being too commercial, it may be something as simple as sponsoring the bar – who wouldn’t love that?!

5. Links pointing to broken URLs

This is an oldie but a goodie! I’m not claiming this to be new at all but it’s good to remind people of this cool technique. Essentially, you need to find a list of all URLs on your website that have links pointing to them, then find if any of those are sending a 404 response code which means the page is broken. If you do find some, you can reach out to the person who controls the link and ask them to realign it to a page that works.

A simple way to do this is to head to your backlink tool of choice such as Google Webmaster Tools, Majestic SEO, Open Site Explorer, AHREFs or Bing Webmaster Tools. For this example, I’m going to use Google Webmaster Tools.

Firstly, log into your account and find your way to this page:

Then go to the right and under your most linked content, click more:

Then click on download this table:

This will give you the list in a spreadsheet. You’ll need to concatenate the URLs with the root domain so that you end up with a list like this in your spreadsheet:

Now you need to copy these URLs into a txt file and open up Screaming Frog. Once you’ve got the txt file ready, go to this option in Screaming Frog:

Then upload your file and hit start:

Hit ‘OK’ when the following pops up:

The crawler will then do its magic. When it’s complete, click on the response codes tab and look for 4xx errors:

If you have any 404 errors, they will show up in the list. At this point, you can go back to Google Webmaster Tools and see who is linking to these broken URLs. Then you can reach out to them and ask them to link to a page that works. If you can’t get the links realigned, it’s probably worth adding a 301 redirect to the URL pointing towards the closest, relevant page you have. At least this means that any referral traffic finds its way to a page that works.

That’s about it! I’d love to hear your feedback or questions in the comments below.