Content is what drives people to your website or blog, what makes them stay and in the end, become fans and/or customers.
Therefore, it’s quite obvious that when it comes to marketing and branding, you will use valuable content as the most important tool of your marketing strategy. On account of effectiveness, however, it will all depend on your capacity to give your audience exactly what they need, when they need it and how they need it.
The „return of investment” dilemma
Even if you are writing your own articles, shoot your own photos or design your own visuals, you still need to invest time in creating them, which is your most valuable resource. There’s no assurance that success will come, however, even if your articles are informative, professionally written and effectively targeted to a specific niche audience.
Therefore, you can spend your time on producing what you think to be the best content for your audience and still not get the traffic you need for branding and marketing.
What do you need? Well, you need a content amplification strategy.
What is it and how can you make the most out of your content? How can you get the best returns of investments?
The content amplification strategy
Did you ever hear about this term? What is content amplification and how can businesses or websites benefit from it? The term refers to specific ways in which content can be marketed and boosted by using specific online channels of communication and advertising.
Let’s see the most important channels that people use in order to amplify their content:
Social media: For a marketer, Instagram means more than an image sharing network. So does Pinterest and other social media platforms available out there. There is also Facebook, the most popular network, which allows you to share images, texts and links, and Twitter as well. All these channels are perfect choices for content amplification. Based on your marketing strategy and after carefully studied the market and the audience, you can select either one or maybe even all of them.
Considering that more than 70% of the US businesses are already using Instagram and that 7 out of 10 hashtags are already branded, this social media network may be as well your first choice for content amplification.
Facebook on the other hand, has more than 2 billion active users.
This is the reason why 1 out of every 5 pages internet users from US view daily occurs on Facebook while 42% of all marketers report that Facebook is critical for their businesses’ marketing strategies.
Paid ads: They cost more than self-produced and published content, and you need a working advertising strategy and a budget in order to make things work for your brand, website or business. However, they may prove to be quite effective, especially if you are using social media channels as well.
Let’s take for example Estately’s successful campaign on Facebook. What did they do? They paid for a boosted post, “37 Things You Should Know Before Moving to Seattle” and, with only 100 dollars spent, they managed to get 8500 Likes.
Native advertising: This term encompasses all branded articles and blog posts that are published on other websites as a form of paid advertising. They usually generate better returns of investments due to the fact that unlike traditional ads, they can be informative and valuable to the audience.
Moreover, they are posted as main content and not as banners or link ads and as a consequence, they are more visible to the reader and cannot be blocked by ad blockers.
“Native advertising doesn’t disrupt the user experience and offers helpful information in a format similar to the other content on the site so users engage with it more than they would with, say, a banner ad” says Joe Pulizzi on Content Marketing Institute.
„This is good for advertisers, and if the content is truly useful, good for consumers” he added.
Influencer marketing: This is yet another popular form of marketing and advertising that may prove to be quite effective if you choose your influencers correctly.
When I say “influencers”, I speak of people who are popular (influential) and can amplify your content and message via their already engaged audience.
You can use Buzzsumo as a great tool for finding influencers based on specific keywords and shared content, make a list of the most influential individuals for your industry and start building relationships with them.
Building relationships however will be the hardest part of this strategy.
You cannot just write them and ask for help. Instead, you should start following their social accounts and blogs, start linking their articles and recommend their services to other people.
Content amplification through paid ads
Paid ads have sometimes a bad reputation among online users but this doesn’t mean that they cannot be effective for your content amplification strategy.
The bad rep comes mostly from the fact that they are being quite intrusive, especially on websites that seem to host more ads than valuable content on each of their pages.
Take for example this screenshot from Cnet.com.
There are three ads that capture the users’ attention. One of them is a video ad that starts playing automatically at a high level volume which makes it not only intrusive but also disruptive.
At the same time, the footer ad stays on top of the text, making it completely unreadable without scrolling over and over again.
However, if you are using the right tool, if you are selecting the right channels of distribution and an effective advertising strategy, such issues will not be a problem for you anymore. Here are some facts that I hope, they will help you at this point.
First, let’s talk about why we need advertising.
Organic reach from social media is lower than ever. Facebook makes it harder and harder for us to market our websites and blogs through dedicated pages and personal accounts. Posts that are not sponsored get to only a fraction of your audience and there’s a big chance that they will not even end up on the wall of those who are interested in what you are saying.
According to Adgo.io, Facebook organic reach was in 2016 at only 2%. Considering that we’ve seen a constant declining from 16% in 2012 to what we have today, there’s no point in arguing that Facebook marketing without ads can be effective. It can’t, at least it cannot deliver your expected numbers without paying for ads and sponsored posts, however.
There are more than 4 million blog posts that are being written each and every day. Yeah, I know that the World Wide Web has enough room for everybody but still, if you want your content to be noticed, you have to fight with all those posts and there are good chances you won’t even be noticed by your audience. People have access to a lot of information and they have to choose what to read and when to do it. You have a better chance to reach out to them if you are amplifying your content through paid ads on other popular websites and social media channels.
Now, let’s get to the point, and talk about content amplification through ads. Here are some of the most important things to consider:
Choose your best content. What you advertise matters and it matters a lot. Choose your best articles, images or designs because you don’t get too many shots at this. Considering someone will click on your ad, the same person will not get back to your website later if they don’t like what they read. At the same time, when it comes to social media, the first few seconds are quite important and this is why you need something of great value to your customers to be advertised. Otherwise, they will not click on your ad and the money spent are going to be spent for nothing.
You can use Buzzsumo’s tool to search for the most shared articles from your own blog. Instead of searching for “Influencers” like we’ve already seen in the previous screenshot, you can use instead the “Monitoring” tool for your own website.
Select “total shares” and you will get a list of your most shared and therefore, valuable blog posts you can promote to reach new audiences.
Carefully study the market. You need to know what to deliver and to whom. Content is powerful but it will only be effective if you are targeting the correct audience with keywords of interest and professionally written and valuable articles. Facebook for instance, as well as Instagram, give you great targeting choices based on diverse personal and general information. Thus, if you know to whom your ads are addressed to, it will be easy to target them to your selected niche audience.
From Facebook’s Ad Manager, you can choose not only the location of your targeted population, the age group and sex but also interests, demographics, behaviors.
Choose your channels. There are many channels available for advertising and your choice will depend mainly on your marketing strategy. At the same time, for better results, you can choose both, social media paid ads and display ads.
When it comes to social media paid ads, things are quite simple: you need to select a social media channel and pay for ads to be displayed on that specific channel based on demographics and interests.
Display ads, however, need more work on your part as you will need not only to know your niche and the influencers from your industry but also to select the websites that are most likely to display ads that will be clicked and not blocked.
How to choose the most effective channels for your content distribution.
You can use analytics and traffic stats in order to see where your readers are coming from in the first place. Or, you can use Buzzsumo to check the channels where your articles were most shared on. Based on that knowledge, you can start by adding content and building a list of followers on the social media platforms that sends back to your website the most readers.
Tip: You can create a Facebook page and distribute video content as part of your marketing strategy. You can boost the video posts and get better results that with texts and images, considering that 85% of the US Internet users are watching videos online and that the native videos published on Facebook have 10 times higher reach compared to YouTube links.
Here are four examples of suitable advertising channels:
Other websites: This is the traditional way of conducting advertising online. Basically, you get to pay for the advertising space on another website, preferably websites that have an influence on related industries or niches or, websites that are very popular among users.
Here, you have to pay attention to where you buy ad spaces because there are websites that are overcrowded with advertising banners and probably, blocked by users.
On the other hand, there are niche and popular websites that are selective when it comes to advertising, websites that have a loyal pool of readers and fans who do not use ad blockers and as a consequence, that can deliver better ROIs that magazines or newscasters.
Facebook: This is the most popular social media channel and as a consequence, it should be first on your list of social media platforms suitable for advertising. Most of the today’s Internet users are already on Facebook and this is why regardless of your niche, this platform may help you build a brand and attract followers and customers.
Moreover, Facebook allows you to effectively target your ads, whether you choose to promote posts or publish banners on their website.
According to this study published by Socialbakers, media companies receive 4X more interactions on Facebook than on Instagram.
However, when it comes to brand engagements, numbers are significantly higher on Instagram than on Facebook. Thus, you choice depends also on your marketing strategy and the type of content you want to share.
Instagram: This social media platform is owned by Facebook and therefore, the system of ads publishing is the same. You get to effectively target your ads to specific audiences on Instagram as well but more importantly, you get to publish ads that are not intrusive to your fans. Instagram ads are no different than regular posts and this is the main reason this platform delivers the best engagement rate out of all social media platforms and at the same time, a great return of investment.
This year, Instagram also launched their Ad Stories feature, which enables you to insert your full screen ads into Instagram stories, thus being able to reach easier to your relevant audience. Considering that people love stories, this option, combined with the available measurement tools, will allow you to take your ads to the next level.
However, for both, Facebook and Instagram to be effective, you need a mobile friendly website to link to. This tool available on Google will help you evaluate whether your website is mobile friendly or not. You need it because people access social media platforms and especially Instagram from mobile devices. Instagram is designed to work on smartphones, not on computers. If your website is not mobile friendly, people who come from mobile apps, will not return for a second visit.
Google Adwords: While social media makes the top of the list of today’s Internet users preferences for communication and information, Google is still the most popular search engine. One of the easiest ways to rank higher on specific queries on Google is to buy ads through their ads serving network, Google Adwords. Of course, you can also benefit from displaying your ads on other websites and pay for clicks or impressions.
There are several ways in which Google ads can help you.
First, if you want to advertise on Google, there are search ads, that display links to your content when people search for specific keywords. Secondly, there are Google ads that are displayed on other websites that can be targeted similar to what we’ve seen you can do on Facebook.
However, there is a third option as well, the YouTube advertising banners, which can prove to be a great investment, considering that people of today consume more video content than ever.
Design your banners. This should be your final step. Once you know where you want to display your ads as a content amplification strategy, you need attractive and professionally designed banners to catch the attention of your audience. As a marketer, the easiest way of completing this task is by using an online banner generator such as Bannersnack. Why? Such tools are designed specifically for banner design, they allow you to create professional designs in less time and at a fraction of the costs of hiring a designer to take care of the job. Moreover, you have numerous templates to choose from, a complete set of tools to work with and access to stock images that might help you do a better job.
You have access to a banner generator as well, a tool that allows you to create a complete set of banners you can use on any social media platform or website. This is a really big time saver if your want to design banners quickly and amplify your content on various platforms.
Content may be the best solution for a marketer but regardless of how valuable and professionally written your texts are, you have no way to tell how popular will they become or how many people will read them and turn from strangers into friends and followers. Sure, there are many ways of boosting a website and work on branding but at the same time, you can also work on a content amplification strategy and pay for ads in order to make sure success is at hand.
But don’t forget that you need to create content but this content should be regarded as an advertising campaign in itself. You will invest time and resources in creating the content but at the same time, you need to think about how to deliver it to the best channels, how to promote it and to whom you are going to address your message.
Take for example Hubspot and their great numbers generated by an effective strategy of content partnerships and content marketing through which they managed to build an audience of over six millions, the largest in their industry.
What do you think about content amplification? Did you try it? Were you successful? Did you invest in ads as a marketing strategy? How did you choose your channels and which one of them delivered the best results?