As content marketing continues to grow in popularity, more and more content is competing for users’ attention, decreasing engagement. It’s not enough to publish content—even the highest-quality content—and hope that people will find it.
The internet is becoming increasingly crowded with content, and users are getting more demanding and have shorter attention spans. Content amplification, and specifically paid amplification, is essential to getting your target audience to see and interact with your content.
Content marketing is an effective and important marketing strategy, but it’s made strongest when you set a budget to promote your content on the right platforms to the right audience. Paid amplification allows you to choose when, where and how frequently your content is seen by your target audiences. It can be highly targeted, it’s dependable since you pay for and control it, and it produces immediate results. Here are some tips for where and how to promote your content:
Research your target audiences
If you’re spending money to get your content in front of more eyes, then you want to make sure you get it in front of the right people at the right time! This is where understanding your target audience is so important. Conduct thorough research to develop buyer personas to understand who your target audiences is, what their interests are, what kinds of content they like to consume, and what channels they regularly use. Remember that prospective customers are not your only audience –it’s important to target your current clients and people at every stage of the client journey.
Implement paid social media posts
Because of the ways social media platform algorithms have changed, as well as just the amount of content posted every day, a paid social strategy is becoming a necessity if you want people to see your content. Paid social allows you to display advertisements on social platforms or to promote your own social content so that it reaches more people, targeting the demographics you’d like to reach. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter all have opportunities for you to reach a larger audience, including new audiences, through their different advertising and promotion options.
- Facebook’s Boosted Posts allow marketers to promote their own Facebook content so that it reaches more people in their news feeds. You can select a specific audience to target based on demographics (location, age, etc.), interests (anything from construction to tax saving strategies) and behavior (e.g. searching for a job or planning a trip). Boosted posts are pay per click (PPC) and you can set however big or small of a budget you’d like over a set time frame. You can also create and run ads that will appear in users’ feeds and specify target audiences for these, too. The ads can be photos, videos, carousels or website links, and they’re labeled as “sponsored” to users. Facebook also provides an avenue for retargeting with Custom Audiences. You can create a custom audience by uploading your customer files or files of people who have visited and engaged with your website, and then retarget them with your Facebook ads. Advances in AI are creating more opportunities for Facebook ad targeting through Facebook Lookalike Audiences, where you can reach users who are similar to those in your Custom Audiences, and Facebook’s Budget Optimizer, which will distribute your budget across your various ads based on real-time performance.
- Instagram is owned by Facebook with similar advertising features, and you can even push boosted Facebook posts directly to Instagram to run as ads there, too. Creating ads on Instagram can be as easy as promoting posts you’ve already shared by selecting the blue “Promote” button you see under the post. Instagram Stories are a popular place to advertise, as 500 million Instagram accounts use Instagram Stories every day, and 1/3 of the most-viewed stories are from businesses. As video continues to grow in power and popularity, Instagram Stories as well as in-feed carousels or video posts are examples of where companies can promote video content. Instagram TV (IGTV) is a newer platform that doesn’t currently have advertising opportunities, but likely will in the future as it becomes more popular.
- LinkedIn’s Sponsored Content allows for content to be posted to a target user’s home page and news feed as a native advertisement. Additionally, marketers can pay for Text Ads, which are simple ads served on the right or top of a user’s feed, or Sponsored InMail, which lets you deliver personalized messages through LinkedIn Messenger. Set a total or daily budget and decide if you want to pay for clicks or impressions, and then specify your target audience. You can include audiences similar to those you’ve already selected through LinkedIn’s Audience Expansion feature, and pursue account-based marketing using Matched Audiences. LinkedIn is an especially powerful platform for B2B marketing, as it’s a business-oriented social network. This means you can target your content based on a user’s job, industry, experience, etc. Many businesspeople look to LinkedIn for educational and authoritative content about their field, so LinkedIn is prime real estate for promoting your thought leadership content.
- Twitter’s Promoted Tweets give marketers the opportunity to reach more users or increase engagement from current followers by getting their content to the top of users’ feeds. You can also use Promoted Trends to pay for a custom trend or hashtag to appear at the top of users’ “Trends for you” section. This could be relevant to marketers who are promoting a conference or event. Lastly, Twitter Followers campaigns allow you to choose Tweets you want users to see, and they’ll display in their timelines with the option to follow you and labeled as “Promoted.” With these campaigns, you set a budget to “pay per follow,” as the goal is to gain more followers. Like Facebook, marketers can target specific audiences with their Twitter advertisements and upload lists of existing customers or prospects through Twitter’s Tailored Audiences feature.
Paid social is becoming a necessary part of a social media marketing strategy, although your organic content and your role in interacting with and listening to your audience is still important. Some of the benefits of social media amplification are that you can spend as much or as little as you want, and you can reach a lot of different people. It’s a solid strategy, but only one part of a strong content amplification strategy.
Try a content recommendation platform
If you’re trying to target a select group, you need to advertise in spaces that are most relevant to your clients and brand, and there are other platforms apart from social media that you will want to consider. Content recommendation platforms specialize in getting your content onto esteemed news sites and into a placement that complements your message. Two of the most popular platforms are Outbrain and Taboola. They place your content in native ads that therefore may be more attractive to users already reading and engaging with articles on the news site. Like with social media, you can set a daily PPC budget and segment your audience. These platforms can help your content reach a targeted and engaged audience to help you get more qualified leads.
Consider paid search
Search remains an important part of online marketing. People are coming to search engines to educate themselves on something, and you can help answer their questions. A strong SEO strategy is highly important in order for your website to organically appear at the top of results pages, but paid search ads are very effective. You pay for your website to be displayed in the top results when users search for your services or for keywords or questions related to your industry and offerings. It’s effective because it’s based on your audience’s needs and questions. Most search engines have their own advertising platforms, with Google Ads being the world’s leading provider of search ads. The search engine will determine where it places your ad based on how much you pay and the search engine’s page rank formula, which takes relevancy and expected impact of the link into account.
Set a Budget
Paid amplification can get expensive. It also marks the end of an era where social media marketing was considered “free.” With paid amplification, you can set a budget for your PPC campaign and optimize it through targeting. However, to get your content onto top sites, you’ll need a good-sized budget, so plan ahead.
Don’t dive in without a strategy
Remember that every post or ad you sponsor should have a purpose and a target audience. Otherwise you are wasting your efforts. And keep in mind that you can’t promote everything, as promoting all of your content will defeat the purpose of amplification. Strategically choose which content to promote, picking your best content and what you most want your target audience to see. As you develop your paid media strategy, balance your efforts with your earned, owned and shared strategies too, because much of paid amplification’s success will come from how it’s paired with the rest.