Content marketing—in its purest, most basic form—is the artful and strategic creation and distribution of valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a well-defined audience.
Think of it as creating content that puts the needs and interests of your target market first, and helps them solve problems that don’t necessarily involve purchasing your products right away. With a good content marketing strategy, you have the potential to build the right foundation needed for bringing in business and fostering consumer trust.
But of course you already know this.
In fact, you may have been doing content marketing for quite a while now. You’ve practically built content teams and earmarked a percentage of your marketing budget for the production of blogs, social media posts, white papers, and more. Still, for some reason, nobody seems to be interested. Which makes you wonder:
If you’re blogging regularly, making share-worthy social media posts every day, and educating your target market by writing well-researched papers, why is no one looking at your content and engaging with your brand? What is missing from your content marketing strategy?
To answer this, we may have to go back a few years to when content marketing was fairly new, and pioneers had the advantage of rising above the mediocre content that was available at the time.
Content marketing started gaining momentum in the last decade, and by 2012, the hype was really starting to build. Because of the proliferation of smartphones and the increasing time people spent online, big brands started shifting their focus on digital marketing—with traditional marketing somehow taking the backseat.
Since then, brands have continuously adapted to include content marketing in their efforts to promote their products and services, and a lot have actually done a great job at it over the years.
So many quality blogs have emerged, countless well-researched papers have been distributed, and branded websites have upped their game from being mere product catalogs to portals that actually made readers more intelligent and informed.
Just like you, brands started creating content that people actually wanted to read.
As a result, there is now an abundance of quality content online—which in itself is not a bad thing!—only that you may now have to try harder to compete for visibility.
See, it isn’t always a quality issue (although you also want to make sure your content is really up to par). Whatever form it takes, content is only valuable if your target audience can find it. And, the easier they do find it, the more leverage you have in a sea of equally valuable content.
Consider a website with excellent case studies, but really no way to generate enough traffic. Or a Facebook page with expertly curated posts, but with no means of getting more Page Likes. What good would these platforms do for your brand if they don’t reach the people they’re meant for? It’s the digital equivalent of shouting into the void.
This where conventional paid media comes in.
In his Content Marketing Masterclass held last May 29, 2018, GetCraft Co-Founder and Group CEO Patrick Searle said that successful content marketing without the boost from paid media is a lie.
If you want to benefit from the content that you produce, you also have to put significant effort into making sure that your target audience is reading it.
People don’t find content by accident, and your impeccably written blog entry won’t magically appear on the top of Google search results. Even the funniest content need that extra push to go viral. Which is why for every content plan, there has to be a complementary promotion plan that leverages conventional paid media to get the ball rolling.
Even well-established websites and branded social media accounts that perform well still make a point of promoting their content to make sure they’re getting the highest number of views possible. It takes a long time for any kind of content portal to gain loyal followers who visit their website/blog/social media every day or even a few number of times a week, so it is your job to always be pushing your content to new readers and audiences.
So, how can you leverage paid media to make your current content marketing strategy even stronger?
Don’t rely solely on organic reach! Explore paid promotional options on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other social media platforms you are currently utilizing as distribution channels.
Connect with relevant audiences that are already looking for what you have to offer. Consider targeting your audience with more precision by investing in SEO and paid search.