Promoted Content: The Free Ride Is Over

Jul 2015

The Free Ride Is Over

This month is all about the trends that are shaping the future of the content marketing world. This week, we’re focusing on the growing need for paid promotion.

Raise your hand if you remember the early days of blogging and social media.

Now, if you just raised your hand, let me know if this sounds familiar: “Who needs an advertising budget? Who needs to spend money to get your brand out there? Start a blog! Post on Facebook! Start a podcast! It’s all freeeeeeeeeeee!”

Yeah, the content universe was a great place for marketers … until all the marketers showed up.

Or as I like to illustrate it in my presentations, this is what the content marketer’s world looked like a few years ago:


(Photo Credit:Ricky Leong via Compfight cc)

This is what it looks like now: 


(Photo Credit: Kaeru via Compfight cc)

And here’s what it’ll look like a few years from now:
Bishwa Iztema 2013 Phase II on train 01 by Mayeenul Islam

(Photo source: Wikipedia)

The reality is that we live in a crowded world where millions of our marketing brethren are competing for attention. The free channels of blogs and social media are pretty much saturated.

So how do we enable our content to stand out above the fray? We do what not all of our competitors are willing to do: we pay to promote it.

Paying to Play

Yes, we — and I include myself — roll our eyes every time Facebook releases a new update that makes it harder for us to get that all-important organic reach. But think about it. Open Facebook right now and look at how many Pages you follow. If you saw every post that every Page published, there would be zero room for updates from your friends and family, no?

With so many brands competing for attention on free channels, there has to be a differentiator, and that differentiator is willingness to pay for eyeballs on our content.

Marketers Are Opening Their Wallets

According to a recent study by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and PR Newswire, 65 percent of respondents use at least one paid method to promote their content. What are the odds that some of your competitors are in that group?

The good news is that most paid promotion methods have sophisticated targeting features that helps us ensure our promos will get in front of precisely the right audience.

The bad news is, well, we have to pay for it.

How to Get Started

Promoted Posts and Social Media Ads

The easiest and most cost-effective way to dip your toe into the paid promotion pool is through promoted posts on Facebook and Twitter. Pick a post or tweet to promote, choose your target audience, set a budget, and let ‘er rip. I’ve gotten good results from both and usually wind up paying well under $1 per click.

You’ll notice I didn’t mention LinkedIn in the above list. Yes, LinkedIn also offers promoted posts, but there it’s quite a bit more expensive: When I promoted last month’s webinar, I paid over $6 per click. If you’re a diehard B2B marketer, you might find it worth experimenting with — just make sure to set aside a bigger chunk of your budget.

Search Engine Marketing

Google Adwords is a bit of a mixed bag — for some folks it’s a gold mine, but for others, meh. My own results tended towards meh, but it’s definitely worth experimenting with. Just make sure that whatever you’re promoting is an asset that’s worth the click: an e-book, white paper, audio resource, etc. Probably not the best method for promoting your run-of-the-mill blog post.

Paid Online Advertising

Yes, we’ve all hears about banner blindness, and online advertising doesn’t work like it used to (what does?), but targeted advertising can still be effective.

The key here is choosing the right location for your ads. Pick a site that serves the same target audience and that has a solid reputation among the people you serve.

Whatever method you choose, make sure to track your results — not just clicks, but also conversions — and stick with the tactics that perform best. With a little experimentation, you can put together a paid promotion plan that grows your audience, grows your reach, and elevates your content marketing results to a whole new level.

OK, your turn! How are you using paid promotion to broaden the reach of your content marketing? Leave us a note in the comments — we’d love to hear form you!

Ask RachelGot questions about outsourcing your content marketing? Hit me up at!






About the Author

Rachel Parker, Founder & CEO of Resonance Content MarketingA self-described geek who can recite entire episodes of South Park by heart, Rachel Parker has had a passion for content ever since she was old enough to hold a crayon (purple, please).

As Founder and CEO of Resonance, Rachel helps businesses publish content that connects with their audience … and converts those followers into customers. She’s also the host of the Content Marketing Podcast and a sought-after speaker, having presented to many major business and marketing organizations. Contact Rachel about speaking to your group or business.

content_marketing_50 BizSugar KredFeatured Author on Business 2 Community

Our Clients Are Saying

  • Increased our likes and interaction rates

    Working with Rachel was a delight. Not only does she communicate very well, but she provided valuable insight about our social media platforms and followers. We have much better engagement with our fans and followers, which increased our likes and interaction rates.


  • Produced ROI Result needed someone who could grasp the complexities of our product, capture the subtlety of our differentiating value propositions, and convey them in the right voice for an exacting customer audience…. Resonance delivered, by crafting a multi-faceted online content marketing strategy that drove traffic and conversion, producing the ROI result we were looking for….

  • Social Media Ranking Better Than Ever!

    We are so happy to have hired Resonance for our social media needs. We spend most of our time serving our clients and studying our field so we can provide the highest quality possible. We no longer worry about our social media, as we have total confidence in the wonderful work Rachel and her team have accomplished.

    Our social media is active, promoted, and is ranking better than ever! People often comment about what they see on our Facebook page. Resonance has added a creative, and artistic twist to our social media that is appealing and captivating to our audience. This has allowed me more time to work with my team and clients, so I can focus on service towards the people that help our business grow.

    I know there will be wonderful content on Facebook, and that Rachel will answer to posts, comments and questions as soon as a comment arrives. I am often impressed at how quickly she responds! Thank you Resonance! I highly endorse Resonance and encourage companies who need social media strategies to work with Resonance! You won’t regret it! 

  • One of the best “vendor” relationships I’ve ever had.

    My company had little or no time to spend on social media. Our needs were to ensure a steady stream of posts across three platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) by harvesting and re-purposing content from our own site and news streams. So I contacted Rachel Parker of Resonance Content Marketing.

    The result was two-fold. Not only did our ranks of followers grew steadily, the steady drip, drip, drip of content helped us train our personnel and direct their own individual social media efforts.

    Rachel and her team are extremely organized and open to discussion and new ideas. They deliver a rapid response to new opportunities — and an overall feeling of being on the same team. One of the best “vendor” relationships I’ve ever had.

  • Event Sold Out Two Years In A Row!

    Rachel worked with me on creating a content marketing calendar and content for the Big Social Media Summit (Big SMS) three years in a row. She is very organized and knows just the right amount of posts on social, email newsletters and content to send.  Her content marketing efforts helping us sell out our event three years in a row!  I am expecting the same for October 2014.

    Rachel was hired to write content for our email newsletter and content for our social platforms. In addition, she had a budget to do advertising on social media. She participated in the event live and after the fact to assure buzz was created before, during and after the event. As a result, our event sold out.

    When I work with Rachel, I have total peace of mind.  I know that she is on target, on time, reliable and delivers over and above the results I expect.

    I trust Rachel totally with her ideas on strategy, marketing and the content used to not only promote our events, but also post on my behalf on social networks. I have been doing social media for 8 years, and I hire Resonance to post on some of my social sites as it saves me time, and keeps my social sites relevant and current. They always post great, engaging content that gets my social properties likes, comments and shares.


  • Added 5 figures to my business in less than 4 weeks

    Rachel took the overwhelm and stress out of writing content for my marketing campaign! When I approached Rachel, I was really concerned that I wouldn’t have the time to focus on writing copy for a lengthy marketing campaign that included sales pages, solo emails, newsletters and social media updates. Well, let’s just say I’m glad I hired Rachel because I couldn’t have done it without her support and expertise. I loved how she used my voice and words to craft content that helped me reach and attract my ideal client. As a result of working with Rachel, I added 5 figures to my business in less than 4 weeks, hundreds of new social media followers and exceeded my sales and list building goals! You know your marketing copy is working when you hear someone say, “I see you everywhere”. Thank you Rachel for helping me not only get seen by my ideal clients but get paid!

  • Professionalism and Sincere Desire to Help

    I just didn’t seem to be able to find the time or the right words to explain what I offer and how my company helps people accomplish their goals. Rachel was able to ask me some questions, do some research and capture my voice while writing my website copy exactly as I needed it to be written.  Now, the copy on my website is much more professional than what I would have created and having this task handled by Rachel and Resonance freed up my time to complete other tasks I am better suited to do.

    It was a joy to work with Rachel. Her professionalism and sincere desire to help was apparent from the first communication until the final delivery. I will definitely use Resonance again and highly recommend their services.

  • Increased website traffic, New Lead Generation

    We were experiencing a lack of internal resources to consistently maintain the Ustream blog. So we turned to Resonance Content Marketing to write blog posts on current industry topics while maintaining a consistent tone with the brand. The result is increased website traffic, new lead generation from gated assets on blog, and better educated/qualified leads. And I now have more time to spend on marketing strategy with the confidence that the content we push out is extremely well written and engaging.

    Rachel is an amazing writer and has really managed to create engaging and relevant blog material on topics that aren’t always super interesting. On many occasions, she has been able to quickly turn around one-off requests and the results are always top-notch. She has also helped guide our content strategy based on her expertise in content marketing, which has been a huge asset to our team.

Free Tips
learn more...