The appeal of content marketing both to consumers and marketers is obvious. For consumers, content is a medium for engaging with companies and learning about new products and services – on their own terms. For marketers, content has proven itself an effective means of attracting prospects and converting them into repeat customers. We typically think of content in terms of organic campaigns, but does this have to be the case? Not necessarily.
At the intersection of content marketing and digital advertising is content advertising: creating – or repurposing – content for the purpose of paid distribution.
Advantages of content advertising
Let’s look at some of the advantages of content advertising, followed by a few practical strategies for using content to improve your advertising campaigns.
- Content advertising makes it easier to compete in a saturated environment.
According to WordPress, 80 million new blog posts are published every month – that’s almost 2.7 million posts per day. Compare that to back in 2006:
Add to that the millions of updates being posted to social media every day, and you’re up against a content behemoth.
With organic channels becoming increasingly cluttered, it takes more time and creativity to succeed with SEO and social. By using paid distribution channels, you can guarantee that your best content reaches its intended audience.
- You can create highly targeted campaigns.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of modern advertising technology is its powerful segmentation abilities. By applying a few filters, you can target a high niche audience with exactly the right content.
You can also use segmentation to achieve very specific objectives. For instance, you can focus on generating new leads, or nurture existing ones.
- Content advertising gives you a lot of control.
As an advertiser, it’s easy to adjust your budget as well as pause, tweak, and resume campaigns as needed. You know up front what you’re paying for – whether impressions, clicks or signups. Especially for newer businesses, that kind of predictability is invaluable.
- You can get immediate results.
SEO campaigns, while a valuable long-term strategy, can take months or even years to get off the ground.
Advertising, on the other hand, doesn’t depend on a strong organic or social presence to be successful, making it a reliable way to score some quick wins while you continue to build upon your organic campaigns.
- You can reuse your best content.
As a content advertiser, you have the option of taking your top-performing content from organic campaigns and repurposing it for paid distribution.
By the same token, you can repurpose content you created for paid campaigns and apply it to your organic strategy. This is a simple way to get as much mileage as possible out of your best content.
Strategies for using content to improve your advertising campaign
Now that we’ve examined the advantages of content advertising, let’s look at how to use content to improve your advertising campaign.
- Define your goals for the campaign.
Every successful marketing campaign starts with setting clear objectives. This step is even more important when using paid channels to ensure you’re not wasting money on ad spend.
A content advertising campaign can be designed to meet any of the following goals:
- Increase brand awareness
- Drive traffic
- Generate leads
- Nurture existing leads
- Raise awareness about a new product or service
- Target the right audience.
One of modern advertising’s key strengths is its granular targeting abilities. Use this to your advantage by targeting a subset of your audience with a highly customized piece of content.
When it comes time to create your ads, keep user intent in mind. Don’t bait and switch – if your content isn’t “as advertised,” you’ll risk ticking off your readers and wasting money.
- Use your best content.
To win at content advertising, you first have to capture your audience’s attention with winning ad copy and graphics – and then deliver on their expectations with outstanding content.
The best content is comprehensive, visually appealing, and usually addresses a common pain point or desire. To get a sense of what kind of content performs well in your niche, check the following sources:
- Social media (Facebook and LinkedIn groups, Twitter Search)
- Social Animal
Don’t feel like you have to reinvent the wheel. Check social and web analytics data to identify content that’s already proven to be successful, and adapt it to your advertising campaigns.
- Maximize results with a marketing funnel.
Make sure your call to action is crystal clear – whether it’s to book a consultation, sign up for a webinar, or subscribe to your newsletter – so you can continue to nurture leads when the campaign ends.
Even if you’re just focusing on brand awareness or driving traffic to an epic blog post, you can maximize your efforts by offering a content upgrade or encouraging visitors to follow you on social media.
- Split test your ads and content.
The beauty of advertising is that you can change campaign elements with ease, track results, and keep improving on your top-performing ads.
Try varying the following elements of your campaign:
- Advertising copy
- Call to action
Experiment with different content formats, or different versions of the same content format. Here are a few content types to try:
- How-to posts or ultimate guides
- White papers
Understanding how to use content in your advertising campaigns translates to a better experience for your users, while giving you the technical advantage of a modern ad campaign.