The steep path to success.
A guest contribution from Jon Westnedge, Managing Director DACH, Taboola.
2008. The path to content marketing success—in an abbreviated form—goes something like this:
● Identify a relevant topic.
● Write and publish a decent article.
● Share the content via social media.
Fast forward to 2018. Follow the same formula and, uh, good luck.
I was intrigued by a recent post on the Contently blog titled, Content Marketing Isn’t a Marathon—It’s a Relay Race—great stuff, from editor in chief Joe Lazauskas.
“Great content marketing can absolutely deliver compounding returns over time, building loyal audiences likely to buy more from a brand. But even if a CMO agrees with this idea, she may not be inclined to implement it. Why? Because marketing leaders have little incentive to play the long game.”
I recommend you read the article, but I’ll summarize it for you here because I suspect you’d first like to read this article. Lazauskas points out:
The tenure of the CMO is usually brief (average = 42 months).
In the interest of keeping their jobs, many CMOs shy away from the long-term content marketing play and place their chips instead on lead-generation tactics that deliver more predictable (but often mediocre) results.
Joe offers a trio of ideas to help content marketers keep the faith:
- Start small—Focus is the idea here. Focus on a line of business. Focus on a specific persona. Establish KPIs and track them regularly.
- Sell it—Create a content marketing culture by getting buy-in across the company including the executives and other departments.
- Market the content—Commit to a budget for distributing and promoting content on platforms social media platforms, search, and content discovery networks like Taboola.
Five ways to promote your content with advertising
Here’s Joe Lazauskas once again:
“A strange thing happens when brands invest in content marketing—people forget the marketing part. Content programs still require marketing fundamentals—like using paid media to get content in front of your target audience.”
As an ambassador of native advertising, it was Joe’s point above that inspired me to write this article. I’ll share with you now ideas for increasing the reach of your content with paid distribution tactics.
Discovery and native advertising
Native advertising—where ads follow the form and function of website on which it runs—takes a number of forms.
The most prevalent use is a content discovery platform such as Taboola, which gives brands access to more than one billion users. Your ads appear at the conclusion of published articles across a large network of publishers. Readers discover your content on the publishers’ sites, but their reading experience is not disrupted in the way it would be with traditional display ads.
A growing number of brands forge relationships directly with publishers to create native campaigns. They usually require a hefty investment from the advertiser, however brands capable of delivering high quality content can reap a positive ROI.
Pay-per-click (PPC) search ads, including Google’s long-established AdWords program, is a staple of paid promotion. While, of course, brands promote their products and services with this form of search engine marketing, it also lends itself to content promotion. Search ads require you to determine specific keywords that will invoke the presentation of your ads. Marketers pay a given amount each time their ad is clicked.
Social media advertising
As organic reach via popular social media channels cools off, interest and investments in social media advertising continue to gain momentum. At the risk of going down the sensitive “privacy path,” I want to mention social media networks collect ample information about their users and are therefore able to execute advertising programs with a good deal of targeting capabilities.
Banner ads are on life support. This is to say, they remain alive. However the combination of ad blocking and the reader’s “banner blindness” doesn’t bode well for this form of advertising that first took hold in the mid 90s, but has suffered badly in the current decade. That said, banner ads still have a faint pulse and you may consider using them on strategically placed sites to promote your content.
Where should you invest your advertising budget?
Espousing advice about digital advertising is no easy task. Like most things in the digital marketing realm, experimentation is your best bet. What works for one business, may or may not work for another.
Consider the following:
Begin by clarifying the targeting options that matter most to you.
- Are you aiming for demographic targeting, interest-based targeting, or both?
- Are you marketing to a B2B market or directly to consumers?
- How can potential ad networks help you reach your target audience?
How do you want to connect with your audience?
- Native ads offer varying degrees of targeting. Taboola enables advertisers to target via demographics, firmographics, and shopper intent.
- Search ads reach consumers based on the keywords they’ve used.
- Facebook displays ads drive awareness about new businesses, services, and products.
- LinkedIn ads target professionals by interest or job titles.
The big question: do the ad formats inspire action? Logical questions to follow include: Can you tell your story in a clear and compelling way? Do the available ad formats align with the needs of your campaign?
Think short and long-term
Yes, the slope’s become steeper. Content marketing success doesn’t generally come quickly or cheaply.
But if you must play to win in the short-term, you have the option to promote your content with advertising. Online advertising can be highly effective in driving short-term traffic. Start small then test and refine your efforts.
However, if you can build a company wide content marketing culture you can see results over the long haul as well.
Guest contribution from Jon Westnedge, Managing Director DACH, Taboola.
For more information about Taboola, see www.taboola.com/