Is this you?
- You've been putting out content for some time now but haven't seen the explosive growth that you know you are capable of.
- You spend hours crafting an article, only to have it lose traction within a week.
- You want a better way to network and distribute your content that will reap recurring rewards for your efforts.
You don't even have to change much of what you've been doing to realize these goals and more; you're already doing the hardest part: creating content.
But that's the thing...
So many people are creating content that it's difficult to separate your quality, original content from inferior posts and spam.
What am I getting at?
Content marketing is an increasingly important segment of an overall marketing strategy. With ever-improving search engine algorithms and millions of posts created daily, it is imperative that your business has quality, targeted content and a content distribution strategy to match.
The following 14 sites can help your SaaS, Ecommerce, or online business drive the inbound traffic that it needs to build up its reputation and get the most from your content marketing.
The sites are listed with the following information:
- Alexa Rank – A measure of site popularity based on average daily visitors and page views (the lower the better… example: Google is #1)
- Audience – What type of reader will frequent these sites?
- Goal(s) – What would define successful use of this site / some example tasks to accomplish.
- Why – The reason you should shoot for these goals.
- What to post – Some guidelines for the types of content that will result in the best ROI.
Numbering is for reference only; they are not ranked in any particular order, as the utility of each for your business is subjective.
1. Hacker News
Alexa Rank: 3,328
Audience: Tech Enthusiasts, Programmers, and Entrepreneurs
A production of seed accelerator YCombinator, Hacker News features content on a range of high-tech topics. The stream is reminiscent of Reddit and likewise, articles are voted up or down by the community. Tech enthusiasts are the typical guests on Hacker News and the community is brimming with knowledgeable individuals that have an inherent interest in conversing on Internet technology.
One notable feature of Hacker News is that they have such a conversant and tight-knit community. The comments on posts will add a unique perspective that will often result in a related link, topic, and direction. Hacker News is valuable for finding breaking tech news and stories that might not yet have hit mainstream media. Plus, it's even more useful for expert dissections of those same stories once they do hit the mainstream channels.
- Make it on the Front Page of Hacker News (the top 30 posts)
- Regularly upload content links
Since it’s a feed, and one that's imported via RSS, readers typically add it to their aggregated news apps. This means that often the posts are interspersed with other linked feeds, pushing even top 10 pieces down to potentially the 20 th or 30th spot in an app like Flipboard or Feedly. Even on the site itself rather than in a reader, it’s likely that users will take a quick glance at the top posts and then come back the next day for a refreshed leaderboard. If you are regularly posting, you have a far better chance of finding your way to the front page.
What to post on Hacker News
- Pieces relevant to current tech trends
- Hard news – breaking updates or analysis of current tech
- New technology or apps
Alexa Rank: 8,719
Audience: Inbound and Content Marketers, Bloggers, and Industry Enthusiasts
Inbound.org is another link-based stream where you will find expert-level content from inbound marketing leaders. The website was developed by Rand Fishkin (CEO of Moz) and Dharmesh Shah (CTO of Hubspot) as a place for bloggers, marketers, and other marketing experts to connect and share content and ideas with one another. Inbound is focused primarily on organic, non-paid traffic so it's a great place to find information on content marketing.
Inbound is unique in the sense that it focuses mainly on marketing techniques that do not involve a PPC campaign (while this isn't a rule). This means that the community focus is on generating legitimate, high-quality, engaging, and informative content. Inbound is a solid place to find and post articles that appeal to or inform other aspiring marketers, business owners, and executives.
- Get your content included in their daily or weekly “Hot Submissions” digests
- Build your network and reputation by commenting on and posting quality content
While perhaps not the highest in organic traffic, the power of Inbound is in its network. This is a community of influencers who all strive to share the best and most informative content. When you are included in the daily and weekly digests, your content is deemed worthy to be shared with their thousands of members (most of whom are content publishers themselves) who are likely to read, re-share, and make reference to your work.
What to post on Inbound
- Use cases – how your company achieved X goal using Y technique or trick
- Marketing, SEO, and Conversion Optimization articles, tips, and software
- How to and strategy pieces
Alexa Rank: 8,498
Audience: Content Marketers, Startups, Entrepreneurs, and Business Owners
Growth Hackers, a production of Qualaroo, is a place to discuss sustainable customer acquisition and growth. If the term “Growth Hacking” is unfamiliar, it is because Sean Ellis (of Qualaroo) defined it in 2010 to reference the agile approach that startups have taken towards customer acquisition. It is this agile, ethical, and highly effective methodology used to drive the rapid, sustainable growth that you see so often with viral startups. Growth Hackers is full of entrepreneurs and marketing experts alike who are seeking advice on how to apply these tenets to their business strategies.
Growth Hackers is unique because it is the largest community of "growth hackers" on the Internet. The emphasis on ethical marketing and sustainable techniques, rather than spam and other short-sighted “black hat” methods, is what sets them apart from traditional marketers.
- Become a “Trending” topic
- Build your network and reputation by commenting on and posting quality content
As with other inbound marketing feeds, Growth Hackers’ strength is not in it’s organic traffic but rather it’s community of recurring visitors and sharers. Trending topics on Growth Hackers are those that generate up-votes based on their relevance, quality, and the interest. When your content is ranked higher, as with similar feeds, you will see more traffic to your site as a significant portion of the members are consumers, rather than producers.
What to post on Growth Hackers
- Actionable Content – anything that people can use to make SEO, social media, or marketing decisions
- Use cases, test results, How to, and strategy pieces
- Expert Advice (quotes, interviews with, or guest articles written by experts)
Alexa Rank: Unavailable
Audience: Investors, Industry Experts
USV, or Union Square Ventures, is a group of venture capitalists primarily based in New York City. They frequently write about investments that are based on, as they describe it, the “Internet world”. The content on their website features some of the best new social media and internet-related investment opportunities. The community at Union Square Ventures is primarily those interested in investment and entrepreneurship.
One of the distinguishing features of Union Square Ventures is the sheer level of expertise on display. The writers are typically investors or industry experts, who are involved in numerous seed and Series A investment rounds on a regular basis. In addition to submitting your content, a great use of USV is for an expert-level investment perspective, and can be used to give you a more in-depth understanding of how to craft content that appeals to someone in that position.
- Spark conversation, respond to comments, and generate valuable back links
- Become a reputed source for information in your field
While traffic volume may not be USV’s main weapon, the caliber of the network’s traffic is higher than some other feeds. What’s more, you are putting your content in the line of sight of venture capital, strategic thinkers, and experts in Internet business operations. While you may not see huge traffic bumps immediately through this channel, you are playing the long game (building your brand and networking) with a chance for short-term payouts (high-profile publisher picking up and redistributing).
What to post on USV
- Informative and statistic-laden articles about disruptive technology trends
- Deep analysis of a tech topic
- Anything with an industry expert opinion tied to it
Alexa Rank: 7,667
Audience: SMB Owners, Managers, and Entrepreneurs
BizSugar is a place for business owners and entrepreneurs to share and comment on their own and others' blog posts. Bolster your reputation as a thought leader in your industry or topic and build a network of like-minded business owners.
The content focuses on businesses of 0 – 100 employees, so you know that the advice and articles posted are likely relevant to your current situation. The community is generous and encourages its members to take the ideas that are shared and use them in their own businesses. Like similar sites, BizSugar has a voting system that allows the best content to rise to the top of the lists.
- Pick one or two categories and get on their front pages daily
- Become a valuable resource in your category
While the main page BizSugar has the “top” articles from the day, week, or month, you don’t see them running away with all of the up-votes in the same way that trending articles on Hacker News or Reddit do. The reason for this is that BizSugar allows for users to follow segmented RSS feeds, rather than one aggregated feed so people will follow only a few tags that appeal to them. The feeds are divided into 35 categories, with the majority of “sugars” coming from shares within their subsections. So as opposed to going for broad appeal, aim for your target market, produce high-quality content, and make sure that it resonates with the category you place it in.
What to post on BizSugar
- Marketing, Finance, Management, Technology, and Startup news for small businesses
- A piece that address the concerns of a SMB owner who manages, runs, or is looking to refine a business
- Actionable posts – these are do-ers, they are looking to take action.
6. Blog Engage
Alexa Rank: 14,959
Audience: Bloggers, Content Creators, News Aggregators, and Marketers
Blog Engage (B.E) is a paid ($9.99 to $199 / month) distribution and syndication service for expanding your content marketing through other bloggers and B.E's own marketing channels. Blog Engage is a community of content creators, curators, and syndicators that vote on community-submitted articles.
Only members can submit and vote on content, but if your piece generates enough votes, it is posted on the home page and, with higher paid plans, is distributed to other groups, pages, and channels as well. With monthly plans, your posts are automatically submitted via RSS feed, so you don’t actually have to promote or pay attention to it at all if you are confident in your titling and content quality.
The categories of content submitted to Blog Engage is all over the place, but seem to polarize towards the business and technology sections. One advantage to the numerous categories is that you have more flexibility in the genres of content that you can submit, though you should always target your niche. Regardless of category, articles that receive many up-votes, and the subsequent syndication of the Blog Engage community, can bring you a great deal of traffic and back links which will affect your SERP rankings and authority.
- Have your content syndicated and shared by other bloggers.
- Automate and simplify your content marketing campaigns
Your website’s authority is the sum of many parts. You won’t magically appear on the front page of SERPs without the help of back linking and 3rd-party distribution. With the aid of a back link checker, you may notice that your influence is comprised of tens or hundreds of differing sources.
Blog Engage allows your content to be exposed to individuals that are likely to share, link to, and syndicate your content; generating the link juice that you’re craving. With their higher-priced plans, they offer a full gambit of Twitter, Facebook, email digest, and other marketing services that will give your own efforts an extra push.
What to post on Blog Engage
- Sticky, shareable content – few are likely to share bland and uninteresting articles
- Trending topics that are likely to be picked up or submitted to news aggregation sites
Alexa Rank: 3,910
Audience: Bloggers, Content Curators
Triberr is another place where bloggers can share their content with one another for exposure and back linking. The content posted on Triberr is varied, though they allow for narrowing through 25 different category tags. The community is founded on bringing bloggers success and the service is focused on distribution, content, and revenue.
Triberr is fairly unique in the way that it is laid out. The content itself is posted in a news feed similar to Facebook or Twitter, and there is a live conversation widget next to the news feed where the community can chat and comment in real time. If you are looking to boost certain products or content, you can also run campaigns where you bid to have influencers write content and endorse your product over a 30-day period. This option provides legitimate content that generates social proof and back links to your campaign assets on your site.
- Build a network of influencers and bloggers that will share your posts
- Generate shares automatically from relevant influencers
If you have missed the theme so far, networking and distribution are two of the key pieces to content marketing. Triberr makes it exceptionally easy for other bloggers and content creators to share your content.
What’s more, it places your feed automatically in front of the groups that you are a part of. When your network of tribes grows, your distribution channels multiply, leading to increased shares and back links.
What to post on Triberr
- Quality, quality, and quality – these are fellow bloggers with reputations to manage. If you want your content to be shared, it needs to make them look good as well
- Posts that reference or highlight your tribe members’ blogs and resources
Alexa Rank: 336
Audience: Everyone (Typically Looking to Learn)
Quora is a community-generated Q&A platform. Once users have created an account, they can answer or post questions on the website, which are then answered by others. Users can also create a customized feed on specific topics or based on users (typically experts) that they want to follow. Quora is written and read by industry experts and enthusiasts across a wide range of categories and the people who answer are often exemplary representatives of the field in question.
The best way to use Quora is to build a reputation by answering questions you are knowledgeable about, then asking questions (for example, about internet marketing) that you need help with. Quora is also a great place to build exposure for your business, so long as you create a positive reputation early on.
- Complete your profile
- Answer as many questions as you can within your industry with quality answers
- Build your reputation and a following dedicated to seeing your answers
With Quora’s open-ended model, credibility and sincerity play large rolls in whether your answer is up-voted. Having a full profile with relevant positions and experience will make your word carry far more than an anonymous response.
Additionally, the quality of your answers can build a reputation that will entice readers to check your profile, website, and other answers.
What to post on Quora
- Answers to questions in your industry
- Questions related to your industry that promote engagement from your audience (when you ask about their issues) and from experts (when asking about an issue that you have)
Alexa Rank: 160
Audience: Everyone (Typically Looking to Discover)
StumbleUpon is essentially random content linker and is one of the most heavily used services on this list. Users select their categories to “Stumble” and click to have a piece of random content shown. Users can up or down-vote each website so Stumble Upon learns what to show you next and what users of those categories find valuable. It’s a no-maintenance way for users who may not have known about your web content to find you and potentially bookmark your site.
StumbleUpon is one of the most unique services on the Internet and is an incredible way to get your images, blog posts, and services in front of viewers who are looking for your type of content specifically. With their paid campaigns, you can improve the chance that your content is shown to users stumbling your categories, garnering even more traffic.
- Share your homepage and all of your best consumable content through the service, within your most specific categories
- Create paid campaigns with your most compelling landing / product pages
Only those pages that are submitted are crawl-able by StumbleUpon, thus if your content isn’t on the service, you are missing out on all of that potential traffic. Do some research on the type of content that falls within the categories that you consider to reflect your content to see what types of sites get the most up-votes. This way, you can place your content marketing pieces within the areas that they have the best chance of success.
Paying for your pieces of content to be shown more often doesn’t hurt either and generates far more traffic compared with organic discovery.
What to post on StumbleUpon
- Eye-catching content (images, titles, animations, etc) – Your post will be seen amidst a flurry of stumbles, you have a limited window to catch and retain attention.
- Content relevant to the topic you place it within – If it’s irrelevant, the will “Stumble” along
Alexa Rank: 1,386
Audience: Everyone (Typically Tech-Savvy)
Delicious is a website that is designed to help you find and save links. The community tends to be fairly tech-savvy, however, there are plenty of different types of users. Delicious is primarily read and used by people who have a lot of links they want to bookmark, remember, or share.
Delicious is unique because it makes it incredibly easy for users to save and organize a large number of links, which can then be searched to find exactly that piece of content they read once and forgot about. There are a few ways to use Delicious for content marketing but one that is particularly useful is to link your twitter accounts, which allows shared links and tags to be imported.
This gives you a categorized list of links that you have previously shared, which is then publicly available to Delicious users. You can also then re-post, buffer, or share them without having to dig through your previous posts to find them. See some great ways to use Delicious on Social Media Examiner.
- Upload, organize, and tag your content
- Save links that you want to reference in future content marketing
After uploading and tagging your content, you have it at your fingertips for future distribution through any channel. It’s also now searchable by the Delicious community, giving you hands-off exposure.
Do you run across content that you want to reference in the future? Saw a piece of content from an influencer in your target market that you want to reference? Save these links with appropriate tags to create your own wealth of resources to search through and call upon when looking to draw information and subsequent attention from others within your industry.
What to post on Delicious
- Your own content links with tags and descriptions
- Content that you want to reference in the future
- Resources that you find useful
Alexa Rank: 7,384
Audience: Everyone (Defined by Your Audience)
RebelMouse is a social aggregator that unifies feeds into one custom platform. You can set it up so that when you upload content (on Facebook, Twitter, etc.) it will show up in your RebelMouse Pages based on each page’s settings and filters. You can use these pages as collections of specific tags, places to discover content to share, or standalone sites to supplement a campaign or product.
The target audience is really based on your readership and you won’t see much organic traffic to your page until you promote it and have it shared by others. You can drive traffic to your RebelMouse pages (as their own entity) or embed a RebelMouse widget so that you can show curated content that will add to or highlight the content on your website. There are also built-in analytics and other useful functionality that will make your content marketing easier.
Create 3 types of RebelMouse pages:
- Your content - for all content or create multiple for different tags
- Influencer content – to help you curate others’ content to share
- Specific tags – to keep a pulse on and draw from trending topics
If the idea of creating micro and macro pages of your content automatically isn’t appealing enough, consider that a social dashboard for your content may be easier to use by your users than your blog feed. Being able to see your content at a glance can also help you organize and gain a high-level overview of recent posts.
When you share influencers' content, you are not only putting yourself on their radar, you are showing potential followers that you are knowledgeable but that others’ opinions are valuable.
In addition to following influencer content, you should add a page that focuses on tags within your industry as a way do discover what’s trending and to help supplement your original content with appropriated articles.
What to post on RebelMouse
- Usually nothing – it’s fairly automatic, but the feeds and tagging should be reflective of your business
- Posts that may not be ready for prime time on your main page but that still deserve exposure.
12. Warrior Forum
Alexa Rank: 268
Audience: Business Owners, Internet Marketers, and Entrepreneurs
Warrior Forum is a hub for business owners and Internet marketing professionals and is designed like a traditional forum, with sub-forums for specific categories and user profiles / reputations. The Warrior community tends to be fairly experienced and you will see threads gravitating around key users and subjects. It can be a little bit confusing for newcomers to learn the social structure and how to find answers to their questions, but you are able to dive incredibly deep and get very specific with just a few advanced searches.
In a similar approach to how you would use Quora, Warrior is about networking, reputation, and discovery. If you have expertise in one area, you can build a name for yourself and gain the attention of either professionals looking to collaborate or prospective customers. It’s also a valuable place to make connections with like-minded businesspeople and develop your brand identity within your communities.
- Complete your profile
- Find popular threads that you are knowledgeable on and follow them
- Ask a few questions that you want answered
As with any space where you interact directly with the community, credibility is king. You may be new, but posting with a full profile makes you seem far more legitimate and will increase the odds that people will respond to and post on your threads.
Build your reputation by answering questions and providing links to resources (your own if applicable) and engage on topics that are of interest to you but that correlate with your business. You will be surprised by how open, honest, and insightful people can be in a closed community such as this; if you ask decent questions, expect answers.
What to post on Warrior Forum
- Answers to questions in your industry
- Resources (content and links) on threads that ask for them
- Questions related to your industry that promote engagement from your audience (when you want to promote yourself) and from experts (when you want to know something)
Alexa Rank: 4,301
Audience: Everyone (Specific Interests / Respond to Trending Articles)
AllTop is a news aggregator designed to function as a personal magazine for its users. They also aim to provide results of users’ search terms by gathering a representation of the top pieces of content from across the web.
What makes AllTop so useful for content marketing is that if your blog is accepted, you are then listed and available to be added to anyone's custom AllTop magazine. While this is a huge step and a great source of touch-free traffic, until your posts are included in the “Most Popular Stories” section of your category, you won’t see many heavy influxes of traffic. Either way, it’s another distribution channel that is fairly heavily frequented and one that can drive extra readership.
- Submit your feed and have it approved
- Promote your feed’s presence on AllTop
Another theme here: Get your content out there! There’s everything to lose by not having your content distributed to as many outlets as possible, especially if you are in a niche market. If your feed is approved this is a sign that both your site is quality and your content has been deemed shareable to their users.
After it’s on AllTop, promote your feed’s availability so that readers who may want to subscribe through AllTop can easily save and access your posts.
What to post on AllTop
- Quality feeds – the AllTop staff handpicks what’s included
- Post to your main category – you can add to others after only if your feed is approved
Alexa Rank: 131
Audience: Everyone (Visually-Oriented / Wants Just the Key Points)
Slideshare is a place for amateurs, experts, and knowledgeable professionals alike to share basic through professional-grade, engaging content. Slideshare is the place to go for webinars, presentations, infographics, and more and is one of the best ways to repurpose your content and add some variety to your offerings.
Consider that sales deck you put together a while back: with some tweaking it could be a valuable asset to an aspiring business owner. Do you have a tutorial on how to use your product? Create a slideshow and link to it from the product page. The draw of Slideshare is its accessibility and engaging nature. It is a wonderful way to show your experience and expertise in a quick, visual manner.
- Repurpose and reuse old content by converting it to a slideshow
- Generate new types of content for your audience
That blog post you put out a few months ago is not getting the same attention it once was. If you grab the key points from your content marketing pieces and create a slideshow from them, you have doubled the value of that single piece.
In addition to creating value in the slideshow itself, you are also reinforcing the original article. You have now created 4 ways for people to engage that same content (direct to article, direct to Slideshare, from Slideshare to article, and from article to Slideshare). Plus, you are giving audiences who may have missed your articles another channel through which to consume your content marketing.
What to post on Slideshare
- Slideshows of your content’s key points
- Interactive, short bits of dynamic text content
- How-Tos and Tutorials
- Product Overviews
As a reward for reaching the bottom of this post, here’s a quick reference guide.
|#||Site Name||Audience||Why It’s Valuable|
|1||Hacker News||Techies, Programmers, Enthusiasts||Getting traction will mean a HUGE traffic spike|
|2||Inbound||Inbound / Content Marketers, Bloggers, Industry Experts||Large community of experts, quality content, mailer drives traffic|
|3||Growth Hackers||Inbound / Content Marketers, Bloggers, Entrepreneurs, Business Owners||Community of content marketers, better chance of being shared through their networks|
|4||USV||Investors, Industry Experts||Quality networking, potential shares by investors and industry experts.|
|5||BizSugar||SMB Owners, Managers, Entrepreneurs||User base is likely to fully engage with your post if it resonates with them|
|6||Blog Engage||Bloggers, Content Creators, News Aggregators, Marketers||Syndicate your content for expanded reach, automatic distribution|
|7||Triberr||Bloggers, Content Curators||Create a community of content producers to share your content and draw content from|
|8||Quora||Everyone (Looking to Learn)||Build reputation and brand awareness, promote engagement within your market and with your brand|
|9||StumbleUpon||Everyone (Looking to Discover)||No upkeep, allows traffic to find your pages organically, can pay for more exposure|
|10||Delicious||Everyone (Tech-Savvy)||Automatically retrieve old posts, tag links for easy distribution, allow links to be discovered organically|
|11||RebelMouse||Everyone (Defined by Your Audience)||Campaign-specific content dashboards, content tagging and aggregation, content curation|
|12||Warrior Forum||Business Owners, Internet Marketers, Entrepreneurs||Active community, build reputation and brand awareness, network for collaboration, learn|
|13||AllTop||Everyone (Specific Interests / Respond to Trending Articles)||Organic discovery, possibility to get in the trending section, no upkeep|
|14||Slideshare||Everyone (Visually-Oriented / Wants Just the Key Points)||Give life to old content, have more engaging content, create multiple ways to engage with information|
Did you find this content valuable? Have you seen content marketing success with any of these sites? Share your thoughts and experience with the community in the comments section below!
Questions, comments, or corrections related to the content of this post should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.