Traditional marketing tactics made a lot of sense at one time: buy advertising space where customers like to spend their time – like radio, TV, and print – and promote your products like the dickens.

But the age of inbound marketing has forever changed how customers interact with major brands. Customers now prefer to interact with a brand in less promotional ways that provide real value and insight.

Enter content marketing and paid promotion. It’s a combination that savvy brands are using to reap powerful results in lead generation. Here’s why it’s worth it – and why paid promotion is a critical component of your content marketing strategy.

Swapping Advertisements for Free, High-Quality Content

Content marketing flips the traditional customer-and-advertisement relationship around. Instead of interrupting your customers’ content, you become your customers’ content.

When customers are enticed by your ideas and insight, they’ll pursue your brand independently, warming to your business rather than being forced to make a decision right away. This puts your prospects in the right mindset to buy and helps build loyalty so they only want to buy from you.

Choosing a Paid Promotions Platform

This sounds wonderful – and it is – but it isn’t as simple as writing great content. Great content that no one reads won’t bring you new customers. As marketers embrace the demand for content, they need to use different paid promotion platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to get their content in front of the right people. And which platform provides the best return on investment? More often than not, it’s LinkedIn Sponsored Updates.

LinkedIn has a few advantages that aren’t found on other social media platforms, from the amount of users who are in “reading” mode and therefore more likely to click your article to the professional quality of each lead.

In fact, when HubSpot pitted Facebook and Twitter against LinkedIn’s paid promotions, LinkedIn proved to be 277 percent more effective in lead generation. HubSpot also uses LinkedIn Sponsored Updates to gather high-quality leads. According to its case study, HubSpot experienced a 400 percent increase in leads compared to efforts on other platforms, joining other brands, such as Adobe, Lenovo, Xerox, and American Express OPEN, that already use sponsored content to drive their marketing efforts.

Related Class: How to Leverage Earned and Owned Media to Create Effective Paid Media Programs

Tips for Using LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates Tool

Whether you’re looking to establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry or simply drive leads to your products and services as HubSpot did, paid promotion can help you reach your goals. Here are three tips for delivering your message to specific audiences on LinkedIn:

Create a Buyer Persona

LinkedIn’s platform gives you direct access to the right people for B2B marketing. You can even focus your promotions by industry, company size, job title, seniority level, and more. Your first step should be to target your campaign and carefully sculpt your message to your ideal buyer persona.

Content Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All

It’s important to match the content you’re producing and promoting with the target market you’ve identified. Keep an eye on industry sites, and be aware of what’s going on in the world of the people you’re targeting.

Never Stop Testing

Keep monitoring your campaign, and make changes if you notice things aren’t working the way you’d like them to. Don’t be afraid to tweak your strategy. Unlike traditional campaigns, you can make unlimited changes, and they can happen instantly. You may even consider running two campaigns at the same time to gauge which one is more effective.

If you’re ready to connect and build relationships with your target audience, paid promotion is a powerful way to get your relevant, branded content alongside organic content in users’ LinkedIn feeds. Because when you’re writing high-quality, original content, what matters most is the exposure and connection it can bring to your brand.

To learn more about the difference between paid, owned and earned media and how to effectively combine your efforts across channels, watch the Online Marketing Institute featured class, Paid, Owned, and Earned: Balancing Tactics for a Successful Media Strategy.