Simply creating valuable content for targeted audiences and being visible in search results isn’t enough for a successful content marketing strategy. Your content needs to be promoted in the right marketing channels.
In this post, I’ll discuss how to build a plan to promote your content, where some great opportunities to promote your content across the three main media perspectives lie — owned, earned, and paid — and offer suggestions to help you to grab the attention of audiences who are important to your business.
Discovering which channels work – and how well they work - is a process of inbound marketing. One of the first steps in this process is building an implementation map like the example below. Then, it’s helpful to identify and document the channels of each media type. Once you have a plan, you can promote your content across the web to pull in audience members from other networks in a systematic and sustainable way.
Owned Media Distribution
The first place to start is with your owned media channels. Owned media channels include branded digital marketing channels that you completely control like your website, blog, microsites, newsletters, videos, email marketing and the brand presence on social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
The audience in your owned media channels is where your repeat buyers and brand evangelists are most often listening. However, a brand can’t rely on this channel alone for a number of varied reasons – the audience may be too small, there is likely a lot of churn in readership and this “build it and they will come” approach won’t achieve the business goals related to content marketing.
As a result, owned media is a good start and a central part of a digital marketing strategy but, on its own, it’s not enough. Once your owned media channel is optimized, it’s time to move on to other channels to increase your reach.
Paid Media Distribution
Paid media is often the next logical step in a successful promotion strategy. Paid media includes search advertising, sponsored content and content discovery networks. Search advertising (PPC) still represents the bulk of digital marketing spending, according to Forrester Research, because it is easily measured. However, Search advertising is just one of the many types of paid media. Paid media can also include banners, display advertising, sponsorships and other forms of advertising where a media buy is necessary.
Paid media can be used to promote content offers in the form of display ads shown on websites that targeted audiences frequent. You could also use content discovery networks, like Taboola and Outbrain, to promote articles from your blog to new audiences.
Content discovery networks, like Taboola and Outbrain, are growing in use by digital marketers because they are a cost-effective way to reach new audience members using existing content. Here you can see both Forbes and Amtrak using Taboola to reach readers of The Atlantic magazine website.
By adding campaign-tracking code to the URLs for paid ads, you can track which sites deliver the best traffic and sales leads in your analytics.
Earned Media Distribution
Earned media is most challenging and difficult because it requires developing and maintaining relationships with industry and social influencers while delivering valuable and timely content to influencers for media coverage.
This is where a PR professional can add a lot of value to a marketing team. However, if you don’t have a PR professional, you can still do this yourself using the following ideas for inspiration.
- Use a social media analytics tool like FollowerWonk to identify influencers who are already in your network. Then, build a list in twitter to start building relationships with these people. Share interesting content they post and find ways to interact with naturally. For instance, you could thank them for a particularly interesting post.
- Find influencers for content promotion by networking with other bloggers via Triberr. Triberr is a social network for bloggers where you can network to build mutually beneficial relationships and influence. Bloggers share each other’s content, building their respective audiences.
- Write guest articles or blogs. Opportunities range from industry-specific article sites to websites like Forbes.com.
Implementing These Channels to Promote Content
If you're new to content marketing or struggling to grow your readership, we suggest focusing on optimizing your owned media channels first. Then, branch out into other media channels to grow your reach. Without first optimizing your owned media, you’ll miss out on opportunities to monetize your audience and control your costs. Before starting, identify metrics to measure that are important to the business (KPIs) and measure as you go. This will ensure you’re spending in the right channels and maximize your digital marketing dollars.
Diona is a managing partner at Knowmad. Her areas of expertise include digital marketing strategy, project management, brand management, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising, inbound marketing, content marketing, conversion rate optimization, social media marketing and website design.