Paid Promotions and How to Get Started
- Getting your content distributed to a wider range and increased number of sites
- Driving more qualified traffic to your site by powerfully targeting your content distribution to the people most interested in reading it
- Generate more conversions by capturing, retaining and shepherding qualified browsers to your site.
The problem these days is that there is so much information out there that it is difficult to get your content to stand out from all the other blogs, articles, social media posts, etc.
This is why paid advertising and online promotions work by leveraging a platform and visibility for your content so that it has a better chance of being noticed specifically by the people you are trying to reach.
To make the most of paid promotions you simply need to follow two basic rules and you will be well on your way to realizing your goals.
Rule 1: Define your target audience and write your content with them in mind
This is actually more demanding than it might seem since it requires a little investigative research to generate user personas that can be used to guide your content creation.
Make your user personas as concrete as possible by answering the following questions:
How old is your targeted audience?: This is usually broken down into age-groups such as 12 and under, 13-18, 18-24, 25-36, etc
Gender: Is this even relevant? If you plan to reach out to men and women separately you need to create separate A/B campaigns and use them strategically.
Education/Status: Is your target audience still attending school? Do they have a degree or post graduate qualifications? Knowing their academic level will affect the way you present your content.
Geography: The more specific you can be, the closer you can focus your content. At least mention distinct metro areas and the state or province.
Interests: What kind of subjects or topics would be of most interest to your targeted browsers? For example, if you are writing for a travel agent, would your target audience’s curiosity most be sparked by travel articles, blogs about exotic cuisine, brief life histories of famous travel writers, insights into learning languages fast, etc. There are many ways to introduce your material and hooking their interest is the first important step to enticing them to read on …
For B2C paid promotions you might also like to consider such parameters as income levels, employment or marital status, and other customer-specific details that will further enable you to hone your content to a clear target audience.
Rule 2: Select the right promotion platform or channel
Think about where you want your paid content to appear. You need to take into account three main considerations:
Does the platform you would like to use have targeting capabilities and the type of audience that fits your user persona?
In other words – there isn’t much point using Twitter if you hope to reach the 60+ age-group since out of all potential audiences they tend to be the age-group that least engages with Twitter and you will have more success reaching them if you specifically target websites connected with retired people.
What type of media are you promoting and which platform has the best potential for presenting this type of content?
You wouldn’t expect great results from using long-form videos in skippable pre-roll slots or as onsite rollover placements.
Likewise, think about the type of device your target audience is likely to use and adjust your content accordingly.
Where, when and how is your content likely to be received and what do you want your target audience to do once they engage with your material?
To get a good feel for the different platforms you need to take time out to browse a bit and see for yourself the sort of content that appeals and how audience engagement works on each. This will give you a more concrete feel for where to place your paid promotions and ads.
However, always bear in mind the following:
- To get your content shared online you need to be sure to get it promoted on channels that have sharing capabilities such as Facebook, StumbleUpon, social media, etc
- To give browsers the feeling that they unearthed your content for themselves, direct it towards sites such as Zemanta or Outbrain, or use it as a niche placement on subject blogs, subreddits, depending on your content’s simplicity/accessibility.
- Display ad networks and content discover plugins are excellent for getting your maximum exposure at relatively low cost.
- To give your content authority, aim to place it on respected platforms or as an officially-sponsored promotion. These tend to cost more but have greater sticking power!
- Combine platforms for even greater reach. For example, you could start out using StumbleUpon Paid Discovery and then direct more traffic to your content via Reddit and then retarget your audience yet again by sharing your piece via Twitter.
- Remember – always be aware of how and where you are going to pay to promote your content even as you create it.
Don’t be too ego-centric
Remember too that audiences are not puppets and won’t always respond to your content as you expected! Don’t be too surprised when the unexpected happens and be prepared to make changes.
You’re trying to start a dynamic and ongoing conversation so go with the flow (so long as it is in a positive direction, of course!). You’ll learn more about your audience each time you engage with them and will be able to adjust your content so that it resonates best on each particular platform.
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