They rely on it.
They survive because of it.
It’s the kind of content that you can publish today that will be relevant and useful to those who will find it tomorrow, next month or next year.
It’s the kind of content that will continually build your brand and work for you to generate more traffic, more subscribers, more customers and more earnings - passively over time.
Evergreen content and pillar posts are the Internet’s version of “planting seeds”, which is what motivates me to invest upwards of 15 to 20 hours of my time to craft a single tutorial or resource. In the right conditions, that seed can grow into something extremely fruitful.
Today, I have many trees as a result of the seeds that I have planted in the past, some several years ago.
Evergreen content, in my opinion, should make up the bulk of a website’s content. The search engine rankings, the share-ability and the simple fact that someone in the future might find that content useful will increase the credibility and authority of your brand like nothing else.
Evergreen content is not everything, and often times a real-time, time-sensitive piece (or pieces) of content can be more lucrative than an entire website’s history of pillar, evergreen content put together.
Whether it’s a launch for a product, a contest of some kind or maybe a deadline that’s coming up – what the content is about doesn’t matter as much as how that content is actively promoted. You want as many eyes on that promotion as possible, and now.
Instead of planting seeds and waiting for them to grow, it’s like handing out flyers and trying to get as many people to come to the party as possible.
The party could be awesome, but if nobody knows about it it’s not going to be much of a party at all.
The trick is to hand out these “flyers” in location where people exist, to people who care and to people who will take action.
Let’s get into it…
I like to think of time-sensitive, promotional material as announcements, such as ones you would actually see on a flyer.
Announcements are there to be heard by many, they are there to provide information and they are there, typically, to get people to do something soon before time expires or a specific event happens.
Successful announcements are heard not just in one place, but in several. To some, a specific announcement may not seem too important until it just seems to show up in several different places at the same time.
Online, there are many ways to announce things – to “hand out flyers”. Some methods are obvious, but there are some lesser-known ways to announce stuff and take advantage of things you may already have handy ,but are not using to your full advantage.
Let’s cover these methods, starting with the most obvious stuff first…
On Your Website
If you have something to share, a blog post or an article on your website is the most obvious way to share it. Subscribers will get notified and those who come across your homepage will see the announcement too.
Unfortunately, many people will forget about those who come to the site for the first time and land on an internal page – not the homepage.
On SmartPassiveIncome.com, more people first visit the site on an internal page (53%) compared to the homepage (47%).
On GreenExamAcademy.com, with about a million unique visitors to the site, it’s 55% internal and 45% homepage.
And on SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com, it’s a whopping 65% internal and 35% homepage.
Don’t just rely on your homepage for promotion!
Ideally, you want every page people land on to take notice of your timely announcement.
The sidebar of your site, if you have one, is ideal because it’s easy to setup (at least on WordPress websites) and it’s generally shown on every single post people will read. A simple widget with a banner or a button to learn more about the promotion can take just minutes to setup. However, many readers don’t pay attention to the sidebar or have learned to just block out that “distraction” while reading the content they actually came to read.
This is why utilizing the main content area of your site for time-sensitive promotion is important too. An action area above and/or below your blog posts can do the trick. A lot of bloggers use this area within a post to promote on-going, non-time sensitive products (see the end of any Problogger or Copyblogger article), but you can and should use this area if you have a special announcement to make too.
Your email list can be one of your business’s most important assets because of your ability to send messages directly to each subsciber’s personal inbox.
I’ve talked a lot about email lists here on the blog before (see SPI Podcast Sessions #44 & #45), and although I take a slightly different approach and use my email list moreso as a relationship builder than a hardcore promotional outlet, I still agree that “the money is in the list” and there’s no more apparent time this is true than during a launch.
I’ve heard of people sending broadcasts to their lists and earning upwards of six-figures in a single day, which is crazy but definitely possible given the right sized list, a champion open-rate and the right copy and offer.
Outside of your website, the most obvious place to announce stuff is on your existing social media platforms. I won’t get into too much detail here, but here are a few important things to consider whenever you promote anything on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus:
- Consciously craft your copy for maximum click-throughs. It’s easy to say something like “hey check this out” and then include a link to your website because that’s what we would say to our friends (and hopefully you’re treating your fans and followers like your friends), but if you want a higher click-through rate you’re going to have to do a little something extra. Derek Halpern’s analysis of the power of curiosity is spot on, and although it’s primarily about writing blog posts, the content about the Information Gap Theory can easily be applied to social media. Arouse curiosity and people will be more likely to click through.
- Nobody likes to be sold to, especially on social media. Try indirect, social marketing techniques instead. Ask questions or reveal something interesting about your offer. For example, if you’re announcing a new book that you just wrote, ask your followers what they think about the new cover design or talk about how much time it took you to write the book or who influenced and helped you along the way, and link accordingly. Your followers will end up in the same place but will be less likely to think they are just being sold to.
- Follow up with people and thank them!
Whether you have an audience already or not, you can never go wrong with paid advertising for increasing awareness to anything. Of course, this comes with a price and it’s not as easy as clicking a button and sending targeted traffic your way – there’s finesse and choreography that goes into a successful paid media campaign, but this is one way to easily go beyond the foundation you’ve spent time building already.
I’ve done minimal paid advertising, primarily on Facebook, but I still have a lot to learn. Check out my buddy Rick Mulready for some great information on paid advertising techniques.
There is nothing more powerful than someone else spreading the word for you to their tribe of followers who already trust them. This is why it’s incredibly important to build relationships with other people in your industry right from the start.
Not only do these relationships allow individual bloggers and business owners to grow together much faster than they could ever do by themselves (see Glen Allsop’s article about fast blog growth here), but when it’s time to announce something, each of those relationships (affiliate or not) could exponentially increase the number of people who catch wind of your announcement.
What’s my advice to those looking to broadcast their announcement beyond their own audience and onto the audience of others?
Provide something unique and of value related to your announcement or promotion to each individual tribe leader and their followers. It’s not really about you, it’s about what you can potentially do for them instead.
All of the above items are pretty standard when it comes to announcing something time-sensitive, but below you’ll find some lesser known and brand new ways one could potentially use to promote something.
The Current Event Redirect Link
The issue with publishing stuff now that could potentially work for you later is that if you ever wanted to add something down the road to help promote something current, it’s going to be a major hassle.
Maybe not so much the written content that you publish on your own site because you can always go back and edit a post later if you needed to, or simply edit a PHP file or install a plugin that will add something to each and every post you have already published on your site. But – when it comes to things like audio, video and publications made outside of your own blog (e.g. guest posts), it’s nearly impossible to easily utilize those materials for current events happening in your business, unless you utilized a current event redirect link.
Imagine a single link that at any time you could change the destination to. The link will always remain the same, but you can control where the user ends up.
It doesn’t matter if people are reading a post that you published on someone else’s site a year ago, a current event redirect link included in the author box could be used to drive traffic from that older post to your most current promotion.
The idea for this came when I mentioned The 8th Annual Podcast Awards in SPI Podcast Session #48. I asked my listeners to nominate the SPI Podcast for an award if they felt it was well-deserved (and a HUGE thank you to those who nominated the show!) by going through a special link that took them to the nomination page.
Nominations, of course, are not an on-going thing. After nominations are over (and they just ended two days ago) there’s a voting period, then awards and then nothing until next year. So the trick is to have my listeners go through the same link that I mentioned on the show, but serve them a page that will still be relevant to them no matter when they listen to the show.
On the show I mention that you can nominate me by going through an easy to remember link (which I created using one of my favorite wordpress plugins, Pretty Link) and that if the nomination period is over you can either vote for me or see the results and a little thank you video from me on a page on my own blog by going through that link. Again, no matter when people listen to that episode, they’ll go through a link that will always be up to date because I’ll change where that link points to when I need to. During next year’s awards, I’ll point it back to the nomination page.
There are unlimited uses for this type of “re-URL-ing” strategy, but here’s one that comes to mind:
When writing a guest post, somewhere in the post link back to your website using a special link you create with Pretty Link. If you’re not running a promotion at that time you can just have it redirect to your homepage (or better yet, a landing page specifically for that website’s readers), but when it’s time for a promotion you can go back into Pretty Link and edit where that link points to, re-URL-ing the link to a landing page that is specifically about your time-sensitive promotion.
The nice thing is that Pretty Link will keep track of how many people click on that link. You could create one universal link for all of your current event redirect links, but for guest posts I’d actually create a separate promotional/current event link for each property that you post on so you can keep track.
How do you keep track of all the links you use for promotion and current events? Luckily, Pretty Link has an option to create groups of links. Group all of your promotional links together and you have one easy spot to go to and change the destination URL for each when the time is right.
Have a new product coming out? Change the URLs for each of those links and you’ll have traffic going exactly where it needs to go.
YouTube InVideo Programming
YouTube just recently (and quietly) rolled out a new feature which YouTube expert Gideon Shalwick calls a game-changer, and I completely agree. Gideon was kind enough to share this feature with me the other day – thanks Gideon!
The feature is called InVideo Programming and it allows you to select any one of your public videos and feature it by placing a thumbnail for that video in each and every other video that you have in your channel.
So for example, I currently have 62 videos on the Smart Passive Income YouTube Channel that are each viewed every single day – some more than others, of course.
If I was launching a new product, all I would have to do is create a short promo video for that launch, publish it on YouTube and select it as my feature “InVideo” and it would appear in each of my existing 62 videos (like in the example below), plus any new videos that I publish until I change the video or turn the feature off.
Sign into YouTube, go to your Video Manager and then Settings. The InVideo Programming feature will be under Channel settings on the left hand side. There are various options for the thumbnail location in your videos (one of the corners) and also when it appears.
That’s search engine traffic (on YouTube and Google), embedded views (on my own site and other sites that have embedded my videos) and related video views that are all going to get pushed that promotional video. Unfortunately, mobile phones and tablets don’t show the thumbnails yet.
I’m not sure if everyone has this feature enabled on their YouTube accounts already, but my non-partner, personal YouTube account, separate from my SmartPassiveIncome account, does have the InVideo Programming feature enabled, so it’s not just for official partners. If you don’t have it yet, it should be rolled out to you shortly.
There’s also an option to add a branded logo to one of the corners of all of your videos in the InVideo Programming settings too, which is pretty neat, but the feature video option is just amazing. I can’t wait to use it and test it out myself – it’s so new that I haven’t even had the chance to try it yet for a specific promotion.
Your Autoresponder Emails
We’ve talked about using email broadcasts to share announcements earlier in this post – but that’s almost a given. But, did you know you can announce real-time information in your pre-written autoresponder emails?
Why would you want to do this?
Well, at least for me, I have about 35 emails in my autoresponder series that get sent to subscribers sequentially every week (sometimes every two weeks) after they subscribe. These emails go out every single day to different subscribers on my list because different people sign up randomly throughout the week, but they are all scheduled to receive my pre-written emails. This is automated, expected, permission-based contact with your subscribers that you can totally use to your promotional advantage during a launch, or to announce anything really.
With a little planning and some careful ninja-like moves you can take advantage of these emails that are already going out to your audience.
There are a couple of ways to do this, and again this strategy is so new (to me, at least), that I’m still in the middle of properly setting it up so when I do have a promotion to announce these automated emails will serve double purpose and more eyes will see my promotion. I may go into more detail about this specific strategy in a later post. Let me know if it’s something that interests you in the comments.
Method 1: Use an Email Template
Using a template for your autoresponder emails can save you time by including text in new emails that you create that you would normally include anyway.
That’s smart. I mean, why write the same thing down every time you write an email when you can use a template and just do it once?
For me, I always include additional information about my email list at the bottom of each email so that subscribers remember where the email was coming from and why they subscribed.
But the added benefit with a template is that you can change things in one spot, and it gets updated everywhere else, automatically.
If I ran my emails through a template (which I’m currently shifting to. I’m just using a blank template in Aweber because I don’t include any fancy graphics or backgrounds in my emails), when I run a promotion I could simply update the template to include some text about that promotion at the top and/or bottom of the email. Then, every email that gets sent out to people via my autoresponder would include that text, whether they just subscribed today or whether they’re on the 35th email in the sequence. Once the promotion is over, or a new one comes about, I can just change it in the template and all future emails would correspond.
Of course, this method doesn’t update emails that have already been sent out, only emails that will be sent after the template will change, but taking the time to prepare your emails this way and investing just 5 minutes of time during a promotion can potentially make a huge difference.
Method 2: Image Filename Overwrite
Similar to the current event redirect link strategy above, you can include some html code in each of your autoresponder emails to load a specific image, and during times of promotion you can simply update that image by overwriting the previous image with a new one with the same filename.
Maybe it’s a header at the top of your email, or maybe it’s an adsense-like banner on the side or at bottom of your emails. It’s up to you.
You could also combine this strategy with Method 1 so that you can just include this image file in a template so you don’t have to worry about it each time you create a new email. The added benefit, however, is that emails that were previously sent out that request this image file will get the current image at the time of request, I believe.
And of course, you should always have this image be clickable, so using a Pretty Link redirect link as the URL that you can edit later will guarantee that you will always be in control of where people end up after clicking on that image.
Although I’m really heavy on evergreen content (such as this post, hehe), I am looking towards the future and thinking about real-time promotional strategies as my book nears completion and other products enter the horizon.
What else am I missing? Have you tried any of these new strategies and if so, how did they work out for you?
I know there are many of you out there who have done launches and real-time promotions before, so please feel free to add your thoughts, opinions and expertise to this post if you wish.
Cheers, and all the best to you!