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05 Aug 2014

Content Promotion: Who Took the Marketing Out of Content Marketing?

Does this sound familiar?

You’ve spent a tremendous amount of time and resources generating awesome content but you just can’t seem to generate enough traffic, social media engagement, or leads/sales as a result of your efforts.

You’re not alone.

While the popularity of content marketing has skyrocketed…

content marketing google trends

Hand-in-hand with Google

google stock trend

We, as marketers, seem to be less and less interested in marketing

marketing google trends

And advertising

advertising google trends

And have failed to notice, that…

one does not simply content market

If you’re looking to generate more traffic, engagement, leads, and revenue with your content it’s time to put the marketing back in content marketing.

There is no question that to succeed in content marketing you must start with great content. Building great content is no simple task which is why of our 8 step process, 3 steps are directly dedicated to the task.

There are many ways to fail at content marketing, one of the most common being starting and ending with content.

It’s 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.

That is the untold, and true, metaphorical story of a disturbingly large percentage of content being created today.

Let’s look at some data from a recent study:

  • 86% of marketers use content marketing
  • 62% of marketers most often use web traffic to measure content marketing (also, the most used metric)
  • 28% of B2C and 33% of B2B marketing budgets are allocated to content marketing
  • 32% of B2C and 36% of B2B marketers believe they are “effective” or “very effective” at content marketing

That stinks!

If we extrapolate some data from the survey results above, this means that ~2/3 of content marketers believe that their business is ineffective at content marketing. Given that ~2/3 of content marketers measure their results based on web traffic, a bit of math tells us that no less than 50% of those who believe their content marketing is ineffective also measure success with web traffic. It’s time to fix this traffic problem once and for all, and understand content marketers self diagnosed #2 biggest challenge of “producing enough content,” may not be the biggest problem.

The most likely place someone will discover your content is on someone else’s website.

This is true regardless of how big or well known your website may be. Take BuzzFeed, for example, who has grown into the dominant content generator in the industry. While they now command a significant volume of direct traffic, a massive portion of their monthly traffic still comes from Facebook and other social media outlets.

While your entire business may not be built on creating viral content like BuzzFeed’s, the concept is the same for any business:

  1. Generate awesome, useful content
  2. Distribute/promote said content where your audience is
  3. Measure and optimize new content to improve on previous efforts

The struggle that many brands have is getting in front of their audience. For some brands like BuzzFeed, just posting to their Facebook page is sufficient. Their immediate following of 3+ million Facebook users who like their page is enough to distribute their content like wildfire across the web. Here’s the problem:

You’re not BuzzFeed.

Just posting your latest blog article to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn isn’t generating enough traffic, social media engagement, or leads/sales. The issue is that your content likely isn’t reaching your audience. While it’d be nice to reach this audience free of charge, in most cases that just isn’t possible, at least not in scale. Instead of allocating 100% of your content marketing budget to content creation, it’s critical to remember that without content promotion nobody will see your awesome content.

Content Promotion

As ad networks have become more sophisticated, audience targeting has improved dramatically. The ability to granularly target your exact audience is critical to ensure promotion budget is not spent targeting the wrong people. Some of the most common content promotion networks are Google’s Display Network, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn… though one-size certainly doesn’t fit all. The key is knowing your audience, understanding their behavior, and promoting your content where they are.

Let’s take Facebook, for example:

Most marketers know that you can target by:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Education level
  • Relationship status

But, did you know it’s possible to target audiences on Facebook based on:

  • Charitable donations (and to what causes)
  • Whether they are a recent homebuyer
  • The car they drive and when they purchased it
  • Whether they take cruises or use timeshares
  • If they hold travel credit cards or high-end department store credit cards

This doesn’t even begin to crack the surface of the advanced targeting options available on Facebook but should provide some insight into what is possible with advanced behavioral targeting.

With well-crafted targeting and copy, a cost-per-click below $.10 is very attainable. Considering that content creation may have cost you thousands, $.10 to reach your audience sounds like a great investment.

The results of your sponsored content, regardless of what network you choose to reach them on, will only be as good as the content you create and the audience you reach. This begins with truly understanding every single detail about your customers.