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Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing: Content/Document Sites

When you think of content marketing, the first few things you probably think of are your company blog, the articles you share on social media, and maybe white papers. However, there’s another important content marketing tool that businesses far too often overlook: sites specifically designed for sharing documents and presentations.

While platforms like Prezi and Slideshare might not be the most obvious form of social media marketing, they are nevertheless valuable as a means of sharing previously unpublished content, spreading ideas, and getting more exposure for your business. Most content sharing sites are also free to use, so you won’t have to worry about paying fees for a “sponsored post.”

What Content/Document Sites Are All About

The “social” aspect of content sharing sites lies in the fact that users can upload documents or presentations that are visible to other site visitors, and in cases where explicit permission is given, these can even be shared or used by another organization. These sites are essentially huge virtual libraries that allow you to search for content by topic or author while also easily uploading your own content.

How Businesses Can Benefit from Content/Document Sites

Some business owners might be wondering why they should use document sharing sites when they can simply share content on their company blog. While I wouldn’t recommend abandoning your blog in favor of document sharing sites, the two platforms can be used to enhance one another. Here are a few ways document sharing sites are useful in different ways than your blog:

As a platform to test content. If you have a post that you want to publish on your blog or another prominent online publication, you can give it a test drive by sharing it on a site like Squidoo or HubPages, where readers can comment and provide feedback. That way, you’ll get a sense of the audience response and can potentially improve the post before you share it with your more targeted audience.
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As a platform to share content that doesn’t fit with your blog. Maybe you’ve written a longer essay, eBook, or some other type of content that is relevant to your industry but just doesn’t seem to fit on your blog. Document sharing sites can be great outlets for any unpublished content that you haven’t found a home for yet.

As a means to reach a target audience in a particular niche.  Because users visit content/document sites to search out articles on niche topics, posting industry-relevant content can be an effective way to reach potential customers who might not have found your website otherwise.

As a means of boosting your search engine rankings. If the content sharing site you’re using allows you to link back to your own site, this will help your site appear higher in Google’s search results – and it will encourage people who read your content to click back to your site, which will increase your page views and also boost your SEO rankings.

As an analytics tool. Many content sharing sites offer free analytics tools that allow you to learn things like how many views your documents have gotten, where those viewers are, and how many people have clicked through links to your site.

Examples of Sites in This Category

4shared allows users to share files, video, music, photos, and even full books. Users can also enter keywords to search 4shared’s database of more than 30 million files to find the content they’re looking for. You can sign up to use 4shared through Facebook, Twitter, Google, or simply by entering a valid email address.

Docstoc. Unlike many other major content sharing sites, Docstoc is aimed specifically at members of the business community. It serves as a professional document repository, and also as a resource for businesspeople who want to buy documents written by in-house professionals and lawyers. As such, it might not be the most helpful site to market a B2C, but it can help B2Bs gain exposure.

Edocr’s primary focus is helping businesses better serve their customers by establishing a database for documents like white papers, brochures, price lists, and operating guides. Anyone can browse documents in a wide range of industry categories, but businesses pay a monthly fee to post a certain number of documents.

HubPages is a free site that allows users to share articles, or “hubs,” in their area of expertise. Hub writers frequently read and comment on each other’s work, which can help you develop your writing for your target audience. When you write Hub articles, you can also link back to content on your own website when appropriate in order to drive traffic.

Prezi is kind of like Powerpoint on steroids. It’s an online app that lets you create animated presentations that you can download for use offline. However, your presentation will also be visible online, so web users can discover it when they search for the type of content you cover. Prezi presentations can also be easily embedded in your own blog, if you want to add more visual appeal.

Scribd. One of the most well-known and well-regarded sites on this list, Scribd is a database that boasts over 80 million monthly readers along with more than 300,000 books and millions of user-uploaded written works. Scribd blocks content that they see as blatant advertising, but if you produce genuinely useful content you shouldn’t have to worry about that. Self-publishing on Scribd is a great way to expand your current online audience.

Slideshare. Like Prezi, Slideshare allows users to create free presentations that they can either download or share online. It’s also a major social community with more than 60 million monthly visitors, which makes it a valuable marketing tool. Using Slideshare can help establish you as an expert in your field and drive viewers back to your site to learn more. As with Prezi, you can also embed your Slideshare presentation on your own site to enhance blog posts.

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