How many times have you or your team created an awesome piece of content, posted it to your site, and sat back in complete confidence, only to see a few weeks later that only a handful of visitors even saw your content?
You may have asked yourself,
- Why did nobody share it?
- Did we target the right keywords?
- Was the content good enough?
- Are we producing the right kind of content?
If you are one of the 86% of marketers who use content marketing today, there is a 93% chance that you DO NOT consider your content marketing efforts “very effective”. There are many ways to fail at content marketing, but one of the most common ways is by starting and ending with content creation.
Doing that is the equivalent of producing the greatest TV commercial of all time and then only airing it for 1 day, between 2am and 5am, to the local news station in a town of 10,000. You, and the rest of your team who had a hand in creating the commercial, may stay up and watch it live but you can be pretty certain that almost nobody else in the world will ever see it.
So how do you skyrocket your content to reach more of your audience so you can actually create those relationships that turn prospects into loyal customers? How can you show your boss that content marketing is really worth it?
Enter: Paid Content Promotion
Like any holistic content marketing effort, strategy is critical to driving a successful paid content promotion campaign, especially one focused on providing measureable results. A good content promotion plan can be simplified into four major sections:
- Setting Goals
- Understanding Your Audience
- Producing the Right Content
- Targeting and Optimizing Ads
Setting goals is a critical first step and should be openly discussed and understood by all parties involved, prior to kicking off work. Setting and communicating goals helps align expectations, focus efforts, and drive optimization.
Goals should be:
ROI-driven does not mean that direct sales need to be measured from day 1, though this would be a long-term goal. Because content marketing often times reaches prospects in the very early stages of their decision making process, capturing email addresses or other contact information is a common goal.
Determining the value of an email subscriber can be a bit more difficult, depending on what email provider you use and how well you are tracking your current email campaigns. Keep in mind that someone who completes your “Contact Us” form likely has a very different value than someone who opts-in to your newsletter, and should be treated differently.
How to calculate (roughly) the value of an email subscriber:
- Calculate number of active subscribers
- Calculate revenue attributed to email over X months (Timeline will likely be different depending on sales cycle. If email subscribers typically purchase within one week, a shorter time period will be needed than if email subscribers typically purchase after three months)
- Divide Revenue/Subscribers
If it is determined that an email subscriber is valued at $15, you will need to determine what your ROI goal is and ultimately your cost-per-email subscriber.
Understanding Your Audience
In this context, understanding your audience means more than just demographics and purchase behavior. Those are important and will be helpful later, but at this point what you really want to know is:
What are your audience’s pain points?
More specifically, what are your audience’s pain points that are so painful that they would be willing to provide you with their email address (or whatever info you’re looking for) in exchange for the answer?
Common audience pain points are:
- Confusing product/service
- Too many options
- Limited knowledge
This deep understanding of customers will help you not only determine what content makes the most sense to promote, but also what language and tone should be used on the landing page in order to maximize conversion rate.
Producing the Right Content
Depending on your goals, not all content makes sense to promote. Especially with increasing web security concerns, users are placing higher and higher value on their email addresses. Along with higher value comes higher expectations.
If you want to turn prospects into customers, it’s critical to surprise and delight with your initial content and never underwhelm. A 600-word PDF that doesn’t provide much unique value probably shouldn’t be gated behind an email form.
If you want to capture an email address the following must be true:
Perceived Content Value > Value of NOT Joining Your Email List
Your audience is smart and knows very well that an email sign-up means joining a marketing list. Although the content may be free, the barrier of email privacy must be overcome with content that is so tempting it cannot be turned down. When this correctly executed and perceived content value is greater than the value of NOT joining your email list, conversion rates can exceed 20%.
Every situation is unique, but some of the content types that we have seen the best results with are (and are my personal favorites):
- Case Studies
- Buying Guides
- “How-To” Videos
Adding value through an initial content piece and then building upon that relationship with a well-thought-out lead nurturing process is what will ultimately lead to content marketing success.
Platforms for Promotion
Let’s now discuss the specific platforms you can use to promote your content online. We usually move to this step when we see that a piece of content starts to gain some traction from either an organic or a pilot promotion program – or both.
A few years ago, you could cost effectively rely on key influencers to help your content get some attention online. Today, it has become more cost effective to use paid promotions. Below I cover various platforms for you to consider using in order to get your content the visibility you were hoping for when you created it.
As ad networks have become more sophisticated, audience targeting has improved dramatically. The ability to granularly target your exact audience is critical to ensure your content’s promotional budget is not spent targeting the wrong people. The key is knowing your audience, understanding their behavior, and promoting your content where they are, not where you hope they will be.
Though we will explore Google remarketing, Google display, and Facebook in more detail as they tend to work well for the majority of advertisers, some of the most popular networks for promoting content are:
The conversion rate for most sites typically falls somewhere between 1%-10%, meaning that a whopping 90-99% of your website visitors don’t convert.