Content marketers are maturing as the Web becomes increasingly saturated with content vying for attention from consumers. Meanwhile, industry conversations are shifting focus from content quality to audience exposure. Promotion and distribution strategies are gaining traction as brands come to realize that high-quality content may not be enough; optimal results cannot be achieved without exposure to the optimal audience. But fear not, marketers. You don’t have to go it alone — there are many tools available to build a successful promotion and distribution strategy.
Audience targeting tools
Just as you shouldn’t shoot a gun before aiming, you shouldn’t promote and distribute your valuable content before defining a target audience. Marketers must have a detailed understanding of their consumers’ behaviors online: where they spend their time, what influencers they listen to, what social media channels they prefer, what questions they’re asking, and so on and so forth. In this era of big data availability, your ability to target your audience is limited only by the granularity of your data.
Tools like Hitwise, Quantcast, and Compete are gold mines for consumer behavior data. They allow you to build out a promotion strategy by identifying where audience members spend their time online. This is a critical consideration when deciding where to buy media coverage or where to pursue earned coverage. Research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, SEOquake, and these ten others you wouldn’t expect are useful for determining which keywords to target and how to optimize your content for your audience. Tactical tools like Buzzsumo, Followerwonk, Social Crawlytics, and Prismatic will paint a picture of the popular content topics that are engaging consumers online.
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Earned promotion tools
Earned content promotion is about building mutually beneficial relationships to gain coverage from influencers in the online communities where your target consumers reside. This takes some grunt work, but the results can be well worth the effort. News coverage, editorial coverage, guest posting and content syndication are examples of earned media, and they will all move the needle against target KPIs.
Major PR outreach software platforms like Cision, Vocus, Gorkana, and Meltwater provide assets like media databases and mass email capabilities that allow you to build lists of contacts and send pitches for media coverage. These tools put the power in your hands — they provide a wide range of possibilities for creating and maintaining relationships with editors and publications over time.
Tools like HARO, Seek or Shout, and ProfNet are like the classified ads of the PR world. By connecting news outlets with credible journalists and other resources, these tools help you make the most of your opportunities in specific verticals by providing access to subject matter experts. They also allow you to add value by generating ideas and building your network.
Paid promotion tools
Paid content promotion can be effective for boosts in both traffic and engagement numbers. By allowing you to target specific viewers based on interests and pay for coverage on a cost-per-click or cost-per-impression basis, these tools can simplify the often complicated process of getting consumers’ eyes on your content. Content can be promoted on media channels in a variety of forms, including banner ads, in-feed ads, promoted listings and recommended widgets.
Leading content-promotion networks like Outbrain, Taboola, Nativo, and Adblade intelligently distribute articles and videos across channels like CNN and Time, displaying the content natively based on consumer behavior. Additionally, social media promotions on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube can be highly targeted and cost-effective, making these tools invaluable for ramping up engagement. The New York Post recently reported that native social advertising is expected to grow to $4.6 billion by 2017, according to research firm BIA/Kelsey. Native advertising will likely fuel significant growth of digital media in 2014.
All together now
Residual benefits can be realized when earned and paid promotion strategies are deployed in conjunction with your owned content. This concept of converged media can provide optimal results and a multitude of digital marketing benefits ranging from increased traffic and conversions to social media buzz and greater brand awareness.
To learn more about how these three types of content promotion tools fit into an overarching marketing strategy, check out our new Content Promotion & Distribution Cheat Sheet. If you want to learn more about the benefits of earning media coverage, have a look at the Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Earned Media.