Businesses continue to invest in content marketing. In a 2018 report from CMI, 37 percent of organizations expected to increase their content marketing budget going forward.

However, as brands rush to create more and more content, organic reach via search engines is falling. To generate more traffic and leads, many brands are now paying to promote their content.

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Paid content promotion is a great way to increase the visibility of your content online, but you need a clear strategy to guarantee a good return on your investment.

The Benefits of Paid Content Promotion

There are various organic routes to content promotion, including search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and influencer marketing. But these are long-term, slow-burn strategies, and require significant commitment.

Promoted content is a faster way to grow your audience and see a financial return.

This is because when you publish new content, you’re often only reaching your existing audience. When you actively promote new content, you’re able to reach a wider audience and therefore bring in new leads.

Paid content promotion is also more targeted. Because it is displayed on pages that consumers are already interested in, your content is more likely to be trusted.

There’s another bonus: promoting content has an impact on search engine rankings. As more people will see, share, and link to your promoted content, your organic rankings will naturally increase. And this, in turn, will raise the profile of your content in organic search listings.

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Following is an overview of various paid content promotion opportunities marketers should consider. While search engine and social media ads are popular choices, there are other routes you can take. The platforms you choose will depend on your industry, marketing goals, and a particular audience.

Native Advertising

This technique allows brands to display their content on relevant third-party sites. There are various forms of native advertising, but it typically appears on news sites or social media platforms, blending into the other site content. They appear in-line with other articles or below posts, and are usually labeled “promoted” or “sponsored.”

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and Google all display promoted content, with various promotional options to choose from. For example, you could boost a single piece of content on one particular platform, or segment campaigns across a network of third-party sites and social channels. They all offer excellent targeting capabilities, so your content has more potential to reach more qualified prospects.

On all of these platforms, you pay a fee – either on a pay-per-click (PPC) or a cost-per-impression (PPM) basis – to boost the reach of your content. You set the budget and targeting details.

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Recommended Content and Content Syndication

Recommended content is similar to an in-feed ad that you would see on social media channels, but it’s presented slightly differently. Usually, these content recommendations are based on the reader’s preferences or the topic they’re currently reading.

Content syndication is when your content appears on third-party sites, either as a full article, a snippet, or a link. The following content distribution platforms all help connect marketers to their target audience through content recommendations and syndicated content:

  • Outbrain: recommends your content on other websites and media properties such as CNN, People, and ESPN.
  • Taboola: promotes your content on MSN, NBC, USA Today, Tribune, and more.
  • SimpleReach: promotes your content on Forbes, TIME, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and more.
  • StumbleUpon: allows you to promote your content on the StumbleUpon content discovery platform to different audience segments.

We’ve already talked about Google’s display ads, which promote your content on other websites and apps, including Gmail. But one of the most common ways marketers promote their content is with Google’s search ads, formerly known as AdWords. This strategy – often referred to as search engine marketing (SEM) – allows marketers to promote their content alongside organic search results. Similar tools are available on Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines.

Google Ads appear at the top of search engine results pages, are based on search terms you bid on, and run on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis.

Because the ads that appear are based on search queries from Google users, it’s a great way to get your content in front of the right audience. And with around 75 percent of users never scrolling past the first page of results pages, it can dramatically increase the visibility of your content.

Paying to Promote Your Content: Is It Worth It?

In 2016, spending on native digital display advertising in the United States amounted to 16.7 billion dollars and this figure is expected to reach 41.1 billion by the end of 2019.

As this statistic shows, an increasing number of businesses are using promoted content as part of their content marketing strategy. But this doesn’t mean that it will always work. Using paid methods to generate leads will only work if your content is valuable and you plan your promotion strategies carefully.

How can you make sure you’re not wasting money? The best approach is to start small and scale up as you learn. Remember that the ultimate goal is to drive people to your website or landing page, where they can learn more about your business and move closer to a conversion.

To increase the chances of this happening, use these tips:

  • Start by promoting website content that already performs well organically.
  • Wait until you have something of real value to offer, whether that is outstanding content or a great new product or service.
  • Promote your content on the platforms that you know your potential customers are using.
  • Know exactly what you want readers to do after reading your content. Include a clear call-to-action within the content that encourages readers to take a specific action.
  • Optimize your landing pages for conversions.
  • Have analytics tools ready, so you can measure the impact of your paid content over time.
  • Make sure you have the time to fine-tune your ads and overall strategy.
  • Don’t spend more than you can afford to lose.

It could take weeks or months before your paid campaigns become profitable, so you need to be prepared to lose money initially. If you’re simply spending money and hoping for the best, you may never see a positive ROI.

Most importantly, make sure your content is relevant, engaging, useful, and shareable.

A Long-Term Investment

Content marketing is one of the most effective strategies for promoting your business online. But with the right paid promotion plan, you can gain a competitive advantage and amplify your success.

Reaching your audience on search engines and social media using organic methods is getting harder every day. If you’re struggling to grow your business, it’s time to consider incorporating paid promotion into your content marketing strategy. It’s a long-term investment if you want the best results, but making sure your content reaches a highly-targeted audience should pay off in the end.

Use these tips and tweak them to suit your unique business. If you’re unsure, start small and learn from your mistakes. Eventually, you’ll succeed.

Looking to hire talented content writers to create content for your campaigns? We can help.