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Content Promotion: Strategies for Expanding Reach and Generating Leads

By Jessy SmulskiDec 4, 2015

content-promotionContent is the fastest-growing marketing channel, according to Contently. It’s also the most important to get right. But marketers today are up against what the industry is calling content shock. There’s more content than any one person can consume in a lifetime, and that means getting content to target and new audiences for lead generation requires serious strategy. This year, it’s not just about creating content—it’s about knowing how to market the content you create.

Three types of marketing media are used for content today:

  • Owned media are channels your brand creates and owns, including websites and micro websites, social media channels, blogs and email subscriber lists.
  • Paid media are outlets a brand buys to leverage a specific channel and increase reach.
  • Earned media is the online equivalent of word-of-mouth; your brand inspires audiences to willingly share your content.

Likewise, there are three ways to promote content:

  • Broadcasting, the traditional approach where information is pushed out to audiences from the original source (owned media) through different channels.
  • Distribution focuses on reaching new audiences (usually via paid media).
  • Digital PR uses outreach techniques to get third parties to share your content through their own channels (earned media).

Not long ago, brands predominantly relied on owned media and broadcasting to peddle content, organically raise brand awareness and nurture leads. But today, using owned media alone isn’t enough to push content to the right audiences to generate the volume and quality of leads brands are after. And with mounting pressure for marketers to prove ROI in as little as one quarter, lead generation strategies must gestate faster.

Owned media and broadcasting still holds an important place at the content promotion table, but the most successful marketing plans incorporate all three media and content promotion types. Here are some of the top content promotion strategies being used to overcome content shock, expand reach and generate more high-quality leads:

1. Paid Search

Google makes an estimated $44.46 billion on search ads, and for good reason. They work! Also known as pay-per-click (PPC), paid search will expand reach and drive audiences back to your website by ensuring top placement of your ads on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Using tools like Google Analytics and Google Webmaster, identify which keywords inspire the most website visits, and incorporate them into your paid search campaigns. With AdWords, you can also determine the most logical bid amounts given the traffic volume per keyword.

When a prospect uses one of your keywords in a search inquiry, you’ll be awarded temporary ad space on top of the SERPs page. If the prospect clicks on your ad, you pay the pre-agreed bid amount.

PPC isn’t easy. But when implemented correctly, it will increase visibility and (by association) brand awareness, which also bolsters click-through rates and inspires more website visits. Set budgets, and only pay when your ad gets action. With built-in ad features like review extensions, consumer ratings and seller ratings, paid search also increases brand trust.

2. Targeted Social Ads

Facebook and Twitter are projected to account for as much as 33.7 percent of the digital display ad market by 2017. What’s the push behind this trend? Organic reach on social media is nearly extinct, but social channels are still the most popular platforms for sharing content. In other words, if marketers want to tap into the nearly 1.49 billion users on Facebook, 364 million members on LinkedIn, or 304 million Twitter users, they need targeted ads.

Use Facebook’s Custom Audience feature to build specific parameters about the type of people you want to reach, and Facebook will deliver your ad seamlessly into user newsfeeds that match your criteria. This strategy has the potential to lower cost-per-click by about 14 percent, and cost-per-conversion by about 64 percent.

Facebook also offers a Lookalike Audience feature, which allows you to upload a list of existing customers and Facebook will categorize information to find other in-network users with similar characteristics.

LinkedIn is the social media channel responsible for driving more traffic to B2B blogs than all other social media channels combined. It, too, provides targeting options like LinkedIn ads, which allow you to set parameters for who sees your ad, and sponsored updates, which allows you to publish relevant content directly on the feeds of any member (not just followers).

With targeted social media ads, you’re not just creating more exposure for your brand, you’re reaching the individuals most likely to be interested in what you have to offer. This inspires higher quality traffic to your website, a greater number of qualified leads and ultimately, more conversions.

3. Programmatic Marketing and Retargeting

Programmatic marketing involves the use of a platform that brings technology, audience insight and automation together to connect you with the world’s media supply. You set specific parameters (like bid price, goals and audience attributes), integrate CRM data and, in real-time, the platform automatically adjusts based on current performance to bid on and deliver the right display ad to the right person in the right place.

Retargeting is a type of programmatic marketing that allows you to advertise to individuals who have already visited your website and shown interest. There are two types of retargeting strategies:

  • Pixel-based: places a small cookie on your website visitor’s browser and (when they leave to visit another site) targets them with a display ad based on which pages they interacted with on your website.
  • List-based: (most frequently used to retarget social media ads) involves uploading an existing email list to a retargeting campaign. The platform searches for matching contacts, and serves them with a personalized ad.

Retargeting is ideal for B2B marketing because the buyer’s journey is typically long and laden with independent research. This type of promotion enables you to stay in front of your audience’s field of vision as they move from channel to channel in search of more information.

4. Cross-promote

Identify non-competitive brands within your industry or niche with whom you could partner to cross-promote content. Ask to plug your content into their email newsletters, social media posts and other marketing campaigns to reach new audiences.

For this strategy to work, you must be willing to associate with the partner brand and vice versa. The arrangement must also be of value to both parties. In other words, while your brand gains reach, their audience must benefit in some way from the content you’re promoting.

Outreach resources like BuzzSumo will help you identify who top influencers are in your market by showing you which content pieces are most popular on a particular topic, and who helped make them hits.

5. Syndication

Syndicating your content means getting your blog, website, video or other content featured on a popular site relevant to your industry or niche, like Social Media Today, The Huffington Post, Business Insider and Entrepreneur.

One way to get featured on these sites is to utilize content recommendation platforms like Outbrain or Taboola to push your content in front of the most appropriate publishers. Most of these platforms operate on a pay-per-click basis. By exposing your brand to audiences already drawn to larger publications, you’ll increase traffic and ideally, engagement.

A final note: Get visual. Beyond the shrinking attention span of the average person, the human brain is only capable of digesting so much information at once. Studies prove that visual content can be absorbed much easier than blocks of text and about 60,000 times faster. This doesn’t mean do away with text, but it does mean you should experiment with a mixture of both.

Remember, the goal is always to create content that is visually appealing, engaging and valuable to the reader to inspire sharing and establish brand trust. But no matter how useful and alluring your content, if it doesn’t get found, it’s worthless. Tactfully incorporate content promotion strategies into your marketing plans to reach target and new audiences, generate greater, higher quality leads and drive demand for your brand.

PIVOTING YOUR PLAN with Inbound Marketing

Additional Topics: Content and Design
Jessy Smulski
The Author

Jessy Smulski

Jessy is a professional creative writer with over 8 years of experience working with businesses, marketing agencies, news papers, and magazines. Intrinsically empathetic, her talent is transforming the experiences of others into meaningful recounts that connect brands with customers, readers with stories and words with purpose. She also specializes in brand development and content marketing. When she’s not creating content, you can find her snowboarding out west, backpacking or capturing life through the lens of her camera. She takes her coffee black, her wine red and her books non-digital. Catch Jess on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter @Jsmuls.
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