As digital marketing evolves, so does its most powerful strategies. Content marketing can give brands the flexibility to deliver the kinds of content that speaks directly to audiences and can deliver remarkable returns by creating a product that audiences will find useful. But without the right content promotion strategy, even the best content may go unseen, unused and unvalued.
Knowledge is currency
Knowledge is the currency of the Internet, and content helps convey its value. Useful, relevant content that helps its readers make informed decisions can also help brands attract and keep customers. But the Internet is a big place, giving consumers literally millions of options to find answers to their questions online. That means marketers have to work harder than ever to provide their audiences with the information they need.
For years, marketing executives and agencies alike have struggled to craft effective content marketing strategies. Those struggles have led to marketers asking themselves and their audiences: Which is more important, quality or quantity?
But that’s the wrong dialogue. Before executing your next high-impact content campaign, ask yourself these questions instead: What’s our content promotion plan? And how do we plan to gain earned media coverage for the owned media we create?
Content calendaring is NOT content marketing
After 15 years in the industry, I’ve noted that more than a few marketing executives still view content marketing strategy as creating a content calendar, crafting content and posting it throughout the year. No real attention to who will consume the content, or how it will get in front of the right people, or the channels on which it will be promoted.
That’s why content promotion/distribution represents the next step in the evolution of content marketing. There’s a groundswell of frustration from companies who have acted on the belief that content is king, that content is the only thing that matters. But as BuzzFeed Agency Strategy VP Jonathan Perelman said last year, “content is king, distribution is queen, and she wears the pants.” Investing the time and resources into executing audience and media assessments is critical to building a successful content marketing strategy.
Before embarking on their next content marketing campaign, executives and agencies should consider their promotion strategy. This offers two benefits: it allows you to realize a concrete return on investment and gives you a way to measure that investment against goals you’ve set for your content or an overall campaign.
But integrating content promotion and digital media relations into your owned media campaign requires more than just time and effort—it requires budget. Today’s early adopters are spending 24 percent of their content marketing budgets on content promotion. Brands that do not must start working to accommodate earned and paid media into their overall plans.
The good news about content promotion and digital media relations is that, as concepts, they are still fairly new. In the same way that it took years for SEO buzzwords to become common language in boardrooms and budgets, the value of content promotion is still 12-18 months away from being recognized by most brands.
But executives ready to reap its benefits now must approach it as an investment; to understand the value and potential power of content promotion, it’s important to take the time to try new content promotion and digital media relations strategies, research what’s going on in the industry now and make their mark. Because once the executive team starts to understand the language the industry is speaking around content promotion, any content marketer who hasn’t embraced it will be caught flat-footed.
The purpose of content marketing will never change. But the strategies and tactics we use to make it effective will continue to evolve. And right now, content promotion is the best strategy that gets you in front of your audience at the right time.