Every marketer wants their content to reach as many eyeballs as possible. But with an almost unfathomable amount of content created every minute of every day, how can you make this happen? If your content marketing strategy consists of nothing more than creating the content, applying SEO best practices and hoping for the best, you’re not doing enough. To make your content go truly viral, you need to re-think how you’re promoting and distributing your content.

What’s that you say? You’re not actually promoting and distributing your content? You’ve come to the right place. Below, I’ve outlined an easy five-step plan to get you started.

Step 1: Diversify your platforms.

When most marketers think of content, things like blog posts and white papers typically come to mind. But not everyone in your target market wants to read blog posts and white papers. Some might prefer something fun and visual like infographics or videos. Others might only read content on their mobile devices when they’re waiting in line or sitting on the train, meaning they want content that’s easily downloadable and readable on a small screen.

If your content is too focused on one format, get to work slicing and dicing what you already have to add options for your readers. For example, recycling a recent webinar into a Slideshare presentation might be perfect for readers on the go.

Step 2: Make it shareable.

Use the social media trinity—Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter—to share your content with the masses. But explore other outlets, like Tumblr or Instagram, too, to reach more niche communities. Include social sharing buttons on everything you create, and don’t be shy about sending links to colleagues, clients and friends who might be interested in what you’ve written.

Even better: Direct your post to an industry thought leader and give him/her a reason to want to share your content with his/her audience. The more direct and specialized your target, the more likely your content will be appreciated and circulated.

Step 3: Guest post & syndicate.

You probably already read a blog or two that’s related to your industry or target market. You may even read content from a website that uses curated, syndicated content. These blogs and websites are like hungry beasts that need to be fed a steady stream of outstanding content. If your area of expertise means you can provide value for the blog or website’s readers, that webmaster wants to talk to you.

Guest posting and syndicating your content can help you access an established audience and give you more bang for your content creation buck.

Step 4: Pay to be heard.

It can be tempting to pay to promote your content on top social media sites, but know your objective before shelling out an investment.

For instance, if you’re trying to connect with a top influencer on LinkedIn, networking your way to the connection might be more effective than paying to promote your content. If you’re trying to build brand awareness, Facebook domain ads might be smart, whereas if you’re trying to grow your audience, Sponsored Stories might be more appropriate. Or, a service like Outbrain might make sense, which promotes your content on publisher websites that are already engaging your target audience.

Test out different ad and paid promotion methods to see what works best for your content and your market.

Step 5: Follow up.

Once your content promotion and distribution strategies are underway, it’s important to keep tabs on how your efforts have paid off so that you can continually tweak your approach for continually better results.

Also, think about paying it forward. Re-tweet influencers’ articles, invite writers to guest blog on your site, and participate in your industry’s community as a reader. Be conscious of how you find the content you’re looking for, and promote and distribute your own content accordingly.

After you’ve followed these steps, the only thing left to do will be to sit back, put your feet up and watch your page views soar.

Looking for more ways to make your content go viral and position yourself as a thought leader? Download our Content Marketing PR Guide now!