A huge part of promoting content is outreach – finding the right blogs, websites, and people that are willing to show your stuff.

The real purpose of content is to bring people to you by providing them with the information they need, and you want to make sure that your content and media is easy to find and navigate.

Tags are often an afterthought when sharing content on your blog, social media, and other sites.

But choosing the right tags, formatting them properly, and using them creatively can extend your reach to your customers and make them more engaged in your content.

Picking Relevant Tags

Tags are, in a way, very similar to keywords because they need to be relevant to your content, and stuffing tags into a post just to get seen is not effective anymore.

This is especially true for content websites like YouTube, where the website-based search function is used more often.

Rankings are based upon the relevancy of videos, and like Google, YouTube has changed its relevancy algorithm many times in order to give users the most relevant videos possible, and not the ones who know how to insert tons of tags.

When your content requires the user to be more attentive (e.g. a video or a presentation), having more relevant tags is extremely important, because even in brand-building efforts, the user isn’t getting the message unless they take the time to immerse themselves in it.

In other words, by using the right amount of closely-related tags, you’re improving your content rankings while knowing that your visitor numbers are not skewed as heavily by inattentive visitors.

Does Trending Matter?

There will be times when your content fits within the current public sphere, or you’re writing content to fit that sphere – tags can help bridge the connection between the two, especially on social media.

Many businesses write content about popular topics to draw in more traffic, but overlook using the popular tags as well.

Using trending tags can help you get maximum visibility for your content marketing.

Think about how users on social media create popular tags, especially on twitter – they’re often shorthand, with multiple words combined into one, like #july4, meant to imply Independence Day.

Take advantage of these types of tags when they’re relevant to your content. You won’t be found as often as other posts if you’re using the tag #independence and #day to advertise a software sale (for example) if everybody else is using #july4.

Formatting Tags for Specific Sites

The way that people search and act on certain websites varies greatly, so the length and wording on your tags need to change to reflect that.

Some websites and social media sites have an arbitrary limit of tags, and some of those are as low as five words.

Others have an unspoken limit – if you have too many tags, your content will likely be considered spam.

You can have a “master list” of tags that you want to use for a particular piece of content, but they will not be universal for all of the sites you post to, and chances are you’ll want to create some tags that are uniquely useful for only one website, like a username tag for Facebook.

Tags as Topics: The #twittereffect

Twitter has had a strong influence on how we tag our content, to the point where often, the tags are the topic, and the content is the commentary on it.

This allows you to have more freedom in your extremely short posts, because the context is provided by a short tag rather than a full title.

With the right tag and content, you can create tags that become the topics of conversation.

That way, instead of just sharing the content, users can add their own commentary and just use the tag and a shortened link as a reference back to your content. This type of user interaction is excellent for higher engagement and action on the part of the customer.

You can extend this into other sites like Tumblr and Pinterest when you have a topic that’s trending or is unique enough to easily share.

Improving your ROI with #+”_!

While the uses of tags have evolved, especially with the popularization of social media, its main purpose is to make your content easier to find.

Instead of fighting and working hands-on for every view, create ways to make it easier for your users to find you.

If you have good content, and you make that content as accessible as possible through sharing and tags, you’ll create a larger group of engaged users, not just inattentive visitors.