Caitlin Burgess

Working Together in Perfect Harmony: Digital Advertising + Content Marketing

Content marketing has emerged as an incredibly effective way to arm consumers with the information they seek and need, increase brand awareness, enhance engagement, and ultimately inspire action and conversions. As TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden likes to say:

“Content isn’t King. It’s the Kingdom.”

But the kingdom is crowded. According to Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProf’s 2016 benchmark reports, 88% of B2B marketers and 76% of B2C marketers say they use content marketing.

With so many marketers in the content marketing game—many of them creating and publishing new content daily—competition is stiff. In addition, evolving algorithms for social media news feeds and search engine results make it even more difficult to get the right eyeballs on your content.

So, what’s the solution? How can you get that great content you’re creating in front of your target audience?

One option is adding digital advertising to your tactical mix.

If you’re skeptical, I get it. Digital advertising often requires more budget and some argue that it’s ineffective. However, I’d argue that—when done right—digital advertising can work in beautiful harmony with your content marketing efforts.

#1 – Get your content in front of more people.

While this one seems pretty obvious, it’s important to mention because it keeps things in perspective. The most successful content marketers use multiple content marketing tactics to reach their audience in a variety of ways and at different stages in the buyer’s journey.

Digital advertising can add a booster rocket to some of your tried-and-true marketing tactics. For example, let’s say you create an amazing eBook and then share a link to it on social media. Chances are, you’ll promote that eBook several times on your social media channels to get as much visibility (and hopefully engagement) as possible in your audience’s news feeds.

However, with a little bit of ad budget, you can bring your content higher up in news feeds and keep it there longer. In addition, the targeting capabilities have allowed you to expand your reach beyond your current following.

Quick Tip: Most social platforms give you dozens of options for choosing your audience. Pick too many options and you can end up shutting out good leads. Stick with the 2-3 most important parameters that will give you a relevant, but still sizable, audience.

Digital advertising can add a booster rocket to some of your tried-and-true #marketing tactics. Click To Tweet

#2 – Zero in on a specific audience.

One of the key drivers of content marketing success is in-depth audience knowledge, with marketers devoting a ton of time to audience research to better understand who they are, what motivates them and what pain points they need fixed.

Digital advertising allows brands to target a specific audience using keywords, affinity, topics, interests, demographics, geographic criteria, title, company—and the list goes on and on. This means you can leverage your extensive audience knowledge to directly target your core audience and serve them up helpful, relevant content.

Quick Tip: When it comes to launching a paid search campaign, use tools to check out what your competitors are doing. Look at what keywords they’re bidding on, how much they’re bidding, and where their strategy is most vulnerable. Doing this will help you identify gaps you can fill, or even keywords they’re winning that you can bid competitively on.

#3 – Uncover new insights that can drive content strategy.

When you launch a digital advertising campaign, whether it be on social platforms or search engines, you begin to collect valuable metrics and insights. And those metrics and insights can be used to refine your ad campaign, as well as help inform the content you’re serving up.

For example, paid search campaigns feature search query reports. These reports show all of the search queries that resulted in your ad being shown. This means you’re able to see exactly what people are searching for, and use that information to create content that fits with the intent and terminology your audience is actually using.

Quick Tip: Make sure you have proper ad tracking set up so you can accurately collect data. This will help you see what is and isn’t working, so you can make campaign and content adjustments.

Make sure you have proper ad tracking set up so you can accurately collect data. #digitaladvertising Click To Tweet

#4 – Enhance brand awareness.

Whether you’re a young company or an established brand, creating content that drives awareness of your product or service offerings is always a marketing priority.

Thanks to the customization and targeting options, digital advertising can help you get that helpful, relevant and informational content in front of those who would care most about it.

Quick Tip: Test different messaging styles and tones, and offer different calls-to-action and assets. This will help you get a clear understanding of the type of content your audience is asking for and how they want that information delivered to them.

#5 – Keep your content (and brand) top of mind.

Content marketers work hard to consistently create quality, relevant content for their audience. But today’s complex customer journey and oversaturated online world can make it difficult to keep your audience engaged with your brand.

Specifically, remarketing can be a huge help here. Simply put, remarketing allows you to keep your content, brand, product or service top of mind by allowing you to place a targeted ad in front of people who have previously visited your website.

Quick Tip: Get the most out of your remarketing efforts by spreading your targeting over multiple channels. Your audience isn’t just on one channel so showing your ads on multiple platforms will help you reach your audience wherever they are.

Get the most out of your #remarketing efforts by spreading your targeting over multiple channels. Click To Tweet

Can Digital Advertising Work in Harmony with My Content Marketing Efforts?

Like any content marketing tactic, digital advertising may not be effective for every brand. It’s effectiveness will depend on your product or service, industry, business objectives and, of course, budget.

Below are a few resources that can help guide your efforts:

What digital advertising tactics have been the most successful for you? What about least successful? Tell us in the comments section below.

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