Here’s the truth: Most content is not worth paying to promote. But when you pinpoint those few gems that are and utilize low-cost promotion options to get the content in front of a wider audience, the boost in brand awareness, online authority and customer trust is leaps and bounds ahead of your average, run-of-the-mill content promotion strategy and marketing tactics.
Find your best content
The key to effective content marketing? Only put money toward the content that will get the most traction. Start by reviewing your Google Analytics, then test promote the top contenders on social media until you find one to two pieces that are worth paying to promote.
- Set the time period you want to review.
- Open the Behavior Section, click Site Content and select All Pages.
- Choose the top 3 to 5 pieces of content with the most page views.
Social media testing
- Promote the top content on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and/or Pinterest, depending on the social media platforms you’re most active on. Make the promotional posts and tweets pop by creating an image to share; play with different copy and headlines; and, use quotes from the content to convince people to click.
- Repromote the content every few days over a one- to two-week period.
- Select the one to two posts with the most engagement, factoring in likes, shares and impressions.
Refine and tweak it
This stage of content marketing is so frequently skipped, yet so very important. If you have the time and inclination, refine and update the three to five most popular posts before you start test promoting them. However, many small businesses have difficulty finding time to create content in the first place, let alone work through up to five already-created pieces to refresh them before test promoting.
Whether you do this before the testing phase or wait to focus on a tight list of content after testing, go over everything with a fine-tooth comb. Make sure that your one to two most popular pieces are current, with updated statistics and information, and if at all possible, include quotes or shoutouts to influencers and/or brands in your niche. Pull a quote that relates to the content from an interview or a social media post they’ve made; or, reach out to the influencer or brand directly and ask for their input on the piece. Then, update the content to include those mentions. BuzzStream is a fantastic tool for finding influencers in your niche.
Pay to promote
There are multiple paid promotion options for your content, but there’s no one-size-fits-all tactic. Review your choices thoroughly, pinpoint which option is most likely to be seen by the demographics you’re targeting (Google Analytics shows you referral information for each page of content, and it’s a good place to start) and go from there. Some of the most cost-effective and far-reaching options are included below.
Perhaps the most popular option, Facebook Ads is cost effective, easy to use and offers an endless array of ways to target your ad to the people you most want to reach. The Boost a Post option makes promotion even easier; instead of creating an entire campaign, just go to the test promotion post that has the most engagement and click “Boost this Post” on the bottom right corner. Choose who you want to target, how much you want to pay and your ad is live.
Promoted Tweets—one of Twitter’s three advertising options—cause the tweets you add to your campaign to show up in anyone’s timeline, even if they don’t follow you. You pay for specific actions, including clicks, new followers, engagement, app installs, leads or video views, and then target your promoted tweet(s) based on interests, accounts followed, keywords or user behavior.
A solid choice for content promotion, Google PPC ads target your content to people searching for specific keywords. It also allows you to further target your ads based on the device the person is using, location and language. Keep in mind that this will only work efficiently if the content you’re pushing relates to highly-searched keywords; otherwise, it can cost much more, and produce less traffic, than other forms of advertising.
If you’re running a business-to-business company, LinkedIn is a fantastic promotion tool. You can choose from Sponsored Updates, Text and Image Ads and Sponsored InMail, and target your chosen ad based on location, the company someone works for, industry, company size, job title, skills and even how long someone has been at their job.
Allowing you to target ads based on user interest, subreddits subscribed to and location, reddit Ads gets your content in front of a huge portion of the population. You pay as low as $1.50 per every 1,000 impressions, with the most expensive option being targeting by U.S. city (at $5.00 per every 1,000 ad impressions).
Other paid promotion options include:
- StumbleUpon’s paid discovery turns your content into a full-page ad (here’s an overview).
- Outbrain Amplify provides native in-feed and in-article promotion on top sites like CNN and ESPN.
- Taboola is similar to Outbrain, providing native in-feed and in-article promotion for your content on the company’s network of sites, including TMZ, Time and the Weather Channel.
Spread the word
As your promoted content expands in views and engagement, make sure you strike while the iron is hot and work to get the content posted or shared by brands and influencers with a larger audience than yours. Because you put the legwork into finding your best content, testing to determine the cream of the crop, polishing the piece up and paying to promote it, you’re giving other companies, sites and personalities even more incentive to jump on board.
Influencer marketing provides brands with unbelievable reach without the hefty price tags associated with traditional advertising options. If you added a shoutout to experts in your content, influencers or brands and want it mentioned to their wider audiences, consider tweeting or posting a promo for the content and tagging the influencer or brand you’ve included. Sometimes, the kind mention is enough to encourage the other party to click the share or retweet button. However, you can also reach out to the influencer’s management or via private message to set up a one-time promotion deal. When you manage to secure a direct quote, let the influencer know the content is posted and ask that they share it on social media. Because you’ve already connected to discuss the content, most will be happy to oblige.
Although influencer marketing is highly effective, it may not work for all demographics; and, depending on your industry, you may be hard-pressed to find someone to work with. Syndication and guest posting for others are worthwhile, effective alternatives. Start by finding credible content sites that are complementary to your brand and getting involved in their online communities, whether it’s joining a Facebook Group, interacting in the comment section on a blog or leaving thoughtful posts on the brand’s social medial accounts. From there, pitch your high-value piece to the site. One single guest post on a larger site not only increases your online authority, but opens you up to thousands of new potential customers.
Promoting your top content in a targeted manner is the best way to see the big results you’re often promised with content marketing. And remember, you can get even more traction out of one piece of popular content by recycling, repurposing and repromoting it.