The ever-increasing competition on the web has forced business and marketers to be creative than even in their content marketing endeavors. No wonder, a large section of marketers today create content of unprecedented quantity and quality.
But, marketers across the globe are faced with the challenge of getting their brand’s content in front of their target audiences. In fact, even the best of content marketing efforts are rendered ineffective without a strategic content distribution strategy. No matter how much time, efforts and resources you invest in creating a high-quality, engaging and though-provoking content, without proper distribution, it’s in dead water.
But content distribution isn’t as simple as it sounds. It’s more of a science than a typical business practice. It’s about getting the perfect balance of your brand message, content type, and audience targeting in order to grab maximum eyeballs for your content.
Given that content distribution is no mean feat and it takes time to grab eyeballs for your content, how will you ensure that your content becomes a hit with your target audiences right from the get-go? Thanks to the ever-increasing number of paid media, with the right distribution strategy, you can reach more consumers than ever before.
Paid content distribution strategies can spur engagements right from the outset, even before your content starts receiving traction. It’s also an amazing way to lease a new life and give an extra push to your existing, evergreen content target audiences.
In the first installment of this two-part series, we covered the benefits of Facebook’s ‘Boost a Post’ feature and Twitter Ad campaigns.
In this second and the last installment of the series, we’ll dive into:
- LinkedIn Direct Sponsored Content
- Outbrain Content Discovery
- StumbleUpon Paid Discovery
So, without further ado, let’s explore how you can effectively harness the power of these three popular content distribution strategies and get your content reach audiences everywhere, boost brand awareness, promote thought leadership, and drive leads.
Strategy #1: LinkedIn Direct Sponsored ContentWith over 400 million users, LinkedIn is by far the best business-oriented social networks. According to reports by Content Marketing Institute, LinkedIn reigns supreme business world and drives more social traffic than all the other social networks combined. No wonder, 94% B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content, more than any other social media network.
LinkedIn features community of professionals and readers who are ready, willing, and eager to consume high-quality and business-oriented content. In fact, 91% of such readers use LinkedIn weekly for professionally relevant content and 2 new members sign-up for LinkedIn, every second.
With these stats, it’s easy to understand the number of content consumers is only set to grow in the times to come. But you’ll be surprised to know that a typical post on LinkedIn reaches just 20% of your followers. So how can you get more eyes for your content at LinkedIn? This is where Direct Sponsored Content comes to your rescue.
Direct Sponsored Content can help you reach a more niche audience that extends beyond just your company page’s followers. It can make your content more relevant by sending personalized messages to specific audiences.
Here’s how you can set up a Direct Sponsored Content campaign on LinkedIn.
Log in to Campaign Manager. You can access Campaign Manager by moving your cursor over Business Services in the lower right corner of your profile and clicking on Advertise.
Click Create campaign. You can create Direct Sponsored Content when creating a new campaign or viewing an existing campaign.
Navigate to your existing campaign and click Create New Sponsored Content.
Enter a title for the new Direct Sponsored Content and create your update. Paste in the URL for the content you want to sponsor.
Click Save. You can preview your update prior to saving. After saving your new content, select the new and existing content you want to promote within the campaign and click Sponsor. Click Next.
Then you’ll get down to targeting. But before you get down to targeting it’s important to remember that you’ll have the potential to reach 60% of your audience if you create 20 updates a month.
Targeting – Finding the right target audience for your campaign is easy and convenient. All you need to do is decide who you’d like to engage. Carefully select your target audience based on location, gender, age, LinkedIn groups and skills.
You may also target right audience based on company name, category, and industry size, as well as by job title and seniority. For example, if you’re looking to target Digital Marketing Managers, you can promote content relevant to marketers’ interests and target directly.
Budget – Just like targeting, selecting a budget for LinkedIn Direct Sponsored Content is simple! You can set a total campaign budget, daily maximum spend, and the duration for which you want your campaign will run. LinkedIn offers the options of pay per click or pay per impression. Carefully select one of these as per your requirement and enter a bid for the amount you wish to spend on completion of your campaign.
Measure – You can see how many impressions, clicks, and social interactions your Direct Sponsored Content is getting in the Direct Sponsored Content tab on your Company Page.
Here are some best practices to help guide you as you build your LinkedIn Direct Sponsored Content campaigns.
- To keep your content short and snappy: Keep intro text under 150 characters.
- Keep it mobile friendly.
- To keep your content accurate, interesting and engaging.
- To ensure personalization in your content. Offer productivity tips and thought leadership advice.
- To use first-person language and include calls to action.
Strategy #2: Outbrain Content DiscoveryIf you have been living under the rocks for past 12 months, let us tell you that Outbrain is content discovery platform that partnered with publishers in over 55 countries. It’s an affordable way to effectively promote your content. Location3.com says that paid content amplification tool like Outbrain are 70% of top ten search ranking factors.
The headline of the content and sometimes the image appears in the “you may also like” section of news sites such as like Hearst and Condé Nast publication. You’ll need to pay on a cost-per-click basis and not on impressions. So, you pay for actual clicks and not just mere impressions.
Outbrain’s algorithm classifies your content, and shows it to the visitors on the basis of their online behavior and article context. The platform doesn’t allow you to drive traffic to promotional content such as landing pages where users need to fill a form.
Marketing specialist, Daniel Louis reveals that ad blindness that usually affects almost all other forms of advertising is significantly reduced by using Outbrain.
Here’s how to set up an Outbrain content amplification campaign.
All it takes is a few steps and a fewer clicks to set up your first Outbrain content amplification campaign. You can customize and review all your campaign's attributes along the way.
First things first, name your campaign so that you can easily identify your campaigns later.
Now, submit your content. You have two options to submit your content: URL links or an RSS feed.
If you’re planning to promote a specific piece of content, select the URL link option. But in case you’re looking to promote all of the content on your blog, select the RSS option. No matter which option you select, simply copy and paste your links within the subjacent field. Once your submission is validated, you may choose to add additional URLs, or click on ‘Continue to Settings’.
Targeting - On Outbrain, you can geo-target readers by country. Campaigns without geo-targeting recommended on Outbrain’s worldwide network.
You’ll also be able to select the devices you'd like to target with your content. Choose Desktop and Tablets, Smartphones, or both.
Budget – After targeting, you’ll need to choose your daily budget. You can start your campaign with a daily budget as low as $10.
Remember, Outbrain works on Cost Per Click model. So, once you choose your daily budget, you’ll need to carefully choose your cost-per-click. It is the amount that you’re willing to pay for every click to your content.
Now, set the duration for which you wish to run the campaign. You can select to set a start and end date, or you can choose to allow your campaign to run continuously upon approval.
Measure – You can track impressions, clicks, spend, traffic sources, geography and content to measure the impact of your content distribution efforts on Outbrain dashboard. The site also allows you to track conversions by embedding a code on your page, just like Twitter. Customize conversions to meet your specific goals.
Here’s how the dashboard looks like:
Here are some best practices to help guide you as you build your Outbrain Content Amplification campaigns.
- To ensure that the content that you’re planning to distribute via Outbrain provides a positive, value-adding experience to users.
- To ensure that your headlines accurately depict the content and are concise, between 80 and 100 characters. Refrain from inaccurate, misleading, or overly sensational headlines.
- To use strong adjectives, numbers, and questions—including words like “who,” “hot,” and “surprise.”
- To use high-quality images and illegible fonts.
Strategy #3: StumbleUpon Paid DiscoveryWith over30 million monthly active users, Stumbleupon is yet another go-to source for publishers. Users come to StumbleUpon to read new articles, discover new sites and consume other forms of content. In fact, a report reveals that StumbleUpon drives 3 times more traffic than Reddit.
This means that there’s a huge window of opportunity for individual brands and publishers to capture hundreds of thousands of views for their content. But more than 15% marketers use StumbleUpon to promote thousands of content pieces daily. And that’s why, it makes sense to use the StumbleUpon Paid Discovery to give your content that extra push.
StumbleUpon Paid Discovery is one of the most effective ways of driving a torrent of social traffic to your site. It is an excellent way to target and engage with your audience.
Paid Discovery allows you to look for your planned demographic for a direct engagement with users. A fair share of businesses has used this paid service in the past. Mint.com is a classic example. Click here to check out a case study that reveals how Mint.com benefitted by using the StumbleUpon Paid Discovery page.
This service guarantees more eyeballs to your content. In addition, it also promises to place your site with the proper context based around interest category. But what’s most interesting is that you only pay per unique visitor. This means that you wouldn’t need to spend an arm and a leg to use this services and effectively distribute your content.
It takes only a few clicks to create a content via Stumble Paid Discovery. Here’s how you can get started.
Signup for the StumbleUpon Paid Discovery tool! Once you create your account, enter the URL of the page you want to promote.
Targeting - Once you enter the URL, you’ll need to select between auto and manual targeting. Remember, Auto-Targeting is the default setting. If you choose to select Auto-Targeting, then StumbleUpon will automatically select topics that best match your content. However, if you’re looking for a greater control over your campaign, try using the manual targeting option.
Visitors Per Day – You may choose the number of times your ads will be served per day. Remember, the default setting is 2,000 times per day. You may change this setting.
Demographic– You have the option to serve your ad only to audience that you believe bet fit your content. Please be mindful that the default setting is to reach all users. However, if you’re looking to reach out to a wider audience, StumbleUpon advises against using this advance setting.
Budget – StumbleUpon Paid Discovery works on Cost per Click (CPC) model. This means that you only pay when someone actually visits your site with no minimum spend. The campaign creation tool recommends a price per visitor ranging from 10 – 50 cents based on targeting. However, you may adjust the recommended bid price as per your requirement and you can start and stop at any time. It would be safe to say that StumbleUpon aid discovery offers best bangs for your bucks.
Measure – You can start seeing results within minutes of creating your campaign. The robust reporting dashboard allows you to monitor campaign performance and make changes in real-time. For exposure, you may track the total traffic generated and sharing activity.
To keep the analysis simple, set all the drop-down menus. This will also help you compare the various criteria against each other. Click Generate Report.
Here are some best practices to help guide you as you build your StumbleUpon Paid Discovery campaigns.
- To ensure useful and engaging content. Refrain from using image and video sites that scrape and/or monetize duplicate, unsourced, or copyrighted content.
- To make sure of using visuals that can take the elements of your brand and showcase it to the world in a way that’s even more awesome.
- To keep your primary content above-the-fold, so regardless of monitor size or platform, users won’t have to fish for your content.
- To keep a keen eye out for things like score to monitor campaign performance. Click “Download detailed report” to see how many users have thumbed-up or thumbed-down your content.
- To include StumbleUpon include Badges and Widgets on your site.
Wrapping it Up!While conceptualizing and creating great content is just half the battle, getting it in front of right users and creating engagement is the other half. This is where these paid distribution strategies come to your rescue. Getting your content in front of right audiences is no mean feat, but by trying the above distribution tactics, you can reach out to a wider audience and get your brand message across successfully and effectively.
If you can create great content, it deserves to be shared. And paid content distribution can help you get your content shared, liked and voted by more and more audiences. It works especially well during the initial phases of your content marketing campaigns. Remember, if you can increase engagement for your content during the initial phases of your campaign, there are chances that your content may become viral driving further organic traffic to your website.
But it’s not just fresh content that you boost through paid content distribution. You may revitalize and lease a new life to your existing, evergreen content. But don’t forget to test every attribute of the content and make changes in your content to make sure that it resonates well with your target audience, so that whenever they see your content, it’s their taste, their experience, their voice they see.
As always share your thoughts, comments and suggestions in the comment section below. Like the post? Share it on Twitter. And don’t forget to sign up for Our Weekly Newsletter to get more such interesting content delivered right into your inbox.
This is a guest contribution from Mike Dane of Truconversion.com.