This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition.
As marketers, we know that there are a million things we could be working on at any given time: e-books, white papers, blog posts, webinars, paid advertising, e-mail marketing.
They’re all important, but part of running a successful business is about putting your focus on the highest-leverage activities. That’s the stuff that brings you the most bang for your buck — the stuff that helps you justify the ROI of your job to your boss.
One of the highest leverage activities you can spend your time on is optimizing your SEO. If you can get even one of your blog posts ranked at the top of Google for a broad keyword, it could drive thousands more visitors to your site every month.
And if you’ve got the rest of your sales funnel in place, then those thousands of visitors could add up to some significant ROI.
In this post, we’ll cover 20 tactics you can use to boost your SEO rankings.
The best, most efficient way to make your content stand out isn’t by reinventing the wheel — it’s by building a better version of what has already been proven to work.
Instead of trying to create an epic 10x piece of content from scratch, look for the blog posts or videos that already perform well within your niche and build on it. Brian Dean from Backlinko calls this the Skyscraper Technique.
For example, let’s say I wanted to write an article for a new marketing blog about Facebook ads.
First, I’d do some research to figure out which blog posts about Facebook ads have a track record of generating a lot of links. There are a few ways to do this.
I could go on Google, type in a broad search term, and see what ranks near the top.
Or I could type a broad search term into a tool like BuzzSumo and immediately get a list of highly shared content related to my topic.
Next, I’d pick one of those successful pieces of content, and build on it.
One simple way to do this is just by making the post longer. For example, one of the top Google search results for “facebook ad strategies” is an article called “5 Ridiculously Powerful Ad Targeting Strategies.” To build on this idea, you might come up with something like “25 Facebook Ad Strategies to Grow Your Business.”
Another way to improve on existing content is by making it more visually appealing.
For example, this post on Pardot.com ranks at the top of Google for the search term “buyer journey,” mainly because of how the post is designed.
According to Brian Dean, by taking a post that is already proven and building on it, you drastically reduce the likelihood that your content falls flat because you’re writing content that has already worked.
An important factor for getting a post to rank high in the search results is having a lot of other influential people link back to it. One easy way to do this is by mentioning your industry’s influencers in your content.
When other people see their name mentioned somewhere on the Internet, they’re much more inclined to share the piece on their own social media, blogs or newsletters. And because industry influencers usually have large audiences, that means more targeted traffic back to your site.
For example, this entrepreneur curated an e-book full of the best Medium posts of 2015, and then sent it out to all the writers he mentioned within the e-book:
A simple e-mail like this sent to the right influencer could be the “tipping point” that makes your content go viral. In fact, according to Blogging Wizard, with the right approach you can get up to an 80% response rate from the top influencers in your industry.
We all have pages on our blog that perform really well in search, and others that fall on page three, four, or even lower. And the frustrating thing is that some of our low-ranked content may contain amazing material. If only those poor blog posts could get a little push — like a share from an influencer or several more backlinks — they might go viral or rank at the top of SERPs.
One way to give the poor-ranking content a push is by finding the posts on your site that rank higher in Google and adding links within them to the pages that rank lower.
For example, HubSpot ranks pretty high for the search term “content marketing strategy.”
Within this post, they link to multiple articles on their blog about topics like list purchasing and developing a social media content calendar — neither of which rank as high.
This is a great way to give some of your lower ranked content the boost they need to get to the top.
The best content is the kind that speaks to people’s emotions. Marketers who are able to connect with their audience can build a large audience of loyal readers relatively quickly.
Make sure you understand your market’s deepest hopes, fears and dreams around the subject about which you’re writing. Once you have a good grasp on this, you can weave it into your blog posts to show your audience that you really “get” them.
Steli Efti at Close.io, a SaaS product to help salespeople close more deals, does this really well.
Salespeople have a lot of hopes and fears around their job. For example, they might feel afraid of coming off as too “sleazy” or too fake.
They might be afraid of hearing a bunch of “no” responses from leads.
Or maybe they feel like they have no idea what they’re doing.
Because their content tells emotionally captivating stories that really “hit the spot” for their audience, Close.io’s blog has quickly become one of the go-to resources for salespeople.
Another great example is the Copy Hackers blog. Their content has a lot of personality infused into each post, which helps set the content apart from all the other marketing posts on the web.
Notice how friendly and fun this content sounds:
Businesses in virtually every industry can incorporate great storytelling and personality into their content if they understand their customers at a deep level. Even Pfizer was able to boost sales using this approach, according to this article by Cognitive Edge.
There are always a bunch of new SEO tactics popping up all the time, but at the end of the day, the best way to have your content reach more people is simply by writing stuff that they actually want to read! And one great way to do that is by writing posts that are fun and/or informative and appeal to the readers’ emotions.
Writing long-form content consistently takes a lot of effort. So before you start climbing that mountain, it’s important to ensure that you’re writing content for which people are actually searching.
One easy way to do this is by using the Keyword Planner on Google AdWords. It’s easy to see how many people are searching for a particular keyword, and you can even uncover related keywords to base your articles around.
Another great tool for gauging the number of search results for a particular topic is Google Trends, where you can uncover search trends over time for keywords to see if they’re worth pursuing.
Or you could use BuzzSumo to see the number of shares that certain types of content get and which keywords are getting a high rate of shares.
Moz has a great guide on how to do keyword research for SEO, including how to judge the value of a keyword and understanding how to use long tail keywords.
By creating remarkable, long-form content around keywords that have a high search volume, you make it easier for your blog posts to rank high for a topic and generate a lot of traffic to your website.
Broken link building is one of the most effective white hat strategies you can use to grow your SEO rankings.
The first step is to figure out which websites in your industry have broken links to your own site as well as your competitors’ sites. There are quite a few search term variations you can type into Google to uncover sites with dead links. According to this guide by Neil Patel and Brian Dean, here are some of them:
For example, you can type in “marketing + intitle:resources” to find posts that are filled with a bunch of links.
Next, you’ll have to scour the page to find the broken links. An easy way to do this is by downloading a Chrome plugin called Domain Hunter Plus, which scans pages for dead links.
Once you activate the plugin for a particular page, you’ll get a list of dead links on that page. You can then export the list of links, send it to the site owner, and ask to replace the dead links with your own resources.
Relying on standalone blog posts to drive your SEO rankings is a losing battle.
A few individual pieces of content might appear high up on the search results, but there are better ways to get more mileage out of your blog posts. One tried-and-true way is the hub and spoke strategy.
Through this approach, you create one giant piece of content to function as the page that people land on directly from Google (your “hub”), and from that page, you link to a bunch of other relevant pages on your website (the “spokes”).
Your hub should be something that’s highly shareable, like a meaty post that people bookmark because of how informative it is and how many useful resources it contains. This way, your hub will rise in SEO rankings, and as a result your “spokes” will rise as well.
Copyblogger created a page called “Email Marketing: How to Push Send and Grow Your Business,” and within it, they’ve included supporting posts like “Why Vanity Metrics Are Worthless (and What Really Matters),” “37 Tips for Writing Emails that Get Opened, Read, and Clicked,” and more.
By creating a hub, or a “table of contents”-style guide around a topic in your niche that people can consistently refer to, you’re creating a larger piece of content that will rise higher and higher in search rankings.
And as a result, the content you link to within your hub will rise higher and higher as well.
As I mentioned earlier, mentioning industry influencers in your content is a great way to help your content get more shares.
And roundup posts are an efficient way to do this on a larger scale. In a roundup, you curate posts from experts in your niche and share them with your own readers. This tactic is an easy method to build relationships with the right people in your field, generate a bunch of traffic, and improve your SEO rankings.
According to Crazy Egg, these are a few key characteristics that make a high-quality roundup:
Once you’ve sourced a long list of high-quality links around a topic that your audience wants to know more about, you can ask each influencer to share the post with their own audience.
For example, here’s an e-mail that someone sent to me after including some of my content in a post:
I ended up sharing it with my list of 20,000+ readers.
Long-tail keywords are keywords that are more specific and “narrow” than broader short tail keywords.
For example, “facebook advertising” is very broad search term, but “facebook advertising for SaaS companies” is much more specific.
It’s natural to create content focused on broad, short tail keywords. We think that because there are a lot of people searching for these more general phrases, we should take take advantage of that. But in reality, creating remarkable content that is focused on long-tail keywords can boost your conversions.
People want solutions that are tailored specifically for their situation. If you create a piece of content called “Facebook Advertising Strategies for B2B SaaS Companies,” you’d make B2B companies feel that you understand their specific situation a lot better than someone who wrote an article called “25 Facebook Ad Strategies to Grow Your Business.”
Even though you would be going after a smaller pie, you would dominate a much larger piece of it.
For more on how to identify and leverage long-tail keywords for SEO, see this guide: How to Identify Long Tail Keywords for Your SEO Campaign.
Whatever strategy you’re pursuing — whether it’s Facebook ads, SEO or anything else — the main point is to drive more prospects along the buyer’s journey to becoming customers.
That’s the main goal of content marketing.
SEO works best when it’s part of that larger content marketing strategy.
According to this guide by Salesforce Pardot (and this image from HubSpot), customers go through the following three stages before deciding to buy:
By creating high-quality content to serve customers at each step of the process, you’ll naturally rank higher in search results while also generating more sales.
At the awareness stage, customers are usually conscious that they have a problem, but they have no idea what the right solution looks like.
For example, if you’re selling services to help CEOs improve their content marketing, they might be thinking things like: “Ugh, I don’t want to waste hours and hours writing blog posts if I have no idea what the payoff is going to be” or “I need to outsource this but I don’t know how to figure out who’s the right person to handle it.”
At this stage, 72% of people immediately turn to Google to figure out how to solve their problems. They search for content that hits their specific pain points.
If you’re selling marketing services, a good piece of content to write might be something like “How to Speed Up Your Content Marketing Success.” This way, when customers search for their problem, your blog will be the first one they see.
An example of how HubSpot attracts customers who are in the “awareness” stage.
Interest or Consideration Stage
As potential customers start to gather more information about their problem, they look for ways to solve it in the “interest” phase. At this stage, evidence-based content starts to become a lot more valuable to them.
According to Crystal Clear Communications, 30% of buyers consult white papers at this stage of the process, 29% consult case studies, and 30% of buyer influencers look to detailed technology guides.
Again, if you’re selling marketing services, good content at this stage might sound something like “The Ultimate Guide to Getting More Leads Through SEO.”
You can present these guides at the bottom of your blog posts and ask readers to fill out their e-mail address in order to receive them. This way, you help people transition from the “awareness” phase to the “interest” phase, and you capture their e-mail addresses so that you can send them more content down the road.
HubSpot does this well — when customers start off in the awareness phase searching for something like “how to speed up content marketing results,” HubSpot’s blog post is the first thing they see on Google:
And at the bottom of that post, site visitors can sign up to get a free content strategy planning guide.
Evaluation or Decision Stage
Only after customers have done their research and figured out how to go about solving their problem are they ready to start thinking about purchase options in the “evaluation” phase.
At this stage, they’re trying to decide which service to buy. Good content here might be something like “4 Steps to Picking a Good Marketing Agency,” “Why Some Marketing Agencies Don’t Get Good Results” or something else along those lines. And in these posts, you can strategically position yourself against your competition by “teaching” your audience why you’re better.
Understanding what your customers are searching for at each step of the journey is super important — that way, you can create highly ranked content to help them along the way.
There are a few specific metrics that you can track to measure your overall SEO performance.
For example, one key metric for SEO is the average time that users spend on your content page. If your content is engaging, if it appeals to their emotions, if it’s useful, then readers will stay on the page longer in order to read more of your material. For more on the right metrics to track for your SEO, check out this post by Neil Patel: Quantify Your Results: The 14 Most Important Content Marketing Metrics.
If your website does not provide quality content, visitors will “bounce” off the page and “boomerang” to a competitor’s site.
Keep in mind that there’s no specific number here that can be considered “good” or “bad.” If you’re writing short-form content, for example, then you’re naturally going to have a low average time on your site. Or if you offer a great answer to a reader’s question, you might have a high bounce rate but also a high time on your site.
The number of return visitors is also a good metric to gauge how good your content is. How many readers come back to your site on a regular basis? If you’re sending e-mails to your subscription list regularly, how many people consistently open and click?
This is one of the most useful metrics that you can measure since return visitors are usually the most likely to convert to buyers.
There are a lot of benefits you can get from associating yourself with experts in your industry.
Read More: 5 Steps to Becoming an Expert Content Creator (According to Google’s Phantom Update)
One of the best ways to leverage that association is by interviewing these experts and repurposing the content into a blog post. That way, you can rank high for the expert’s name and siphon off a large audience that searches for them.
For example, Groove did an interview with Neil Patel and repurposed it into a blog post. Now when anyone searches “Neil Patel interview,” Groove shows up at the top of the results.
Venture Hacks did an interview with Sean Ellis, which also ranks at the top of Google for “sean ellis interview.”
By interviewing influencers in your industry and turning it into a blog post, you can attract a chunk of that influencer’s audience to your own site through Google search.
Part of maximizing the effectiveness of your content marketing is repurposing your material as much as you can.
As Neil Patel and Aaron Agius write in QuickSprout’s Complete Guide to Building Your Blog Audience, there are at least seven different ways to repurpose a single blog post. Turn it into a:
This could skyrocket the reach of each post that you write.
Let’s say you published a blog post called “How to Leverage Influencers in Your Content Marketing.” There are tons of different formats into which you can repurpose this content to attract a wider audience.
For starters, you could take that content and make it native for different blogging platforms like Quora, Medium or LinkedIn — which allow anyone to reach a targeted audience of tens of thousands of people if the content is good.
Then, using a tool like Visme, you can take that blog post and turn it into infographic.
Noah Kagan found from analyzing 100 million articles that infographics get shared the most out of all types of content. This means that an infographic could potentially get more than double the reach of a single blog post, which makes it more likely to rank higher in search.
Then you could take the blog post and infographic and combine them into a compelling SlideShare presentation.
If you have a podcast, you could summarize the key points of the blog post in a quick 10-minute audio segment.
With a simple, structured system, you could skyrocket the reach of each piece of content you put out by making it “native” to several other platforms simultaneously, thereby increasing the likelihood that the content will rank high in SERPs.
A simple way to get more reach on your content is just to increase its length.
Longer-form posts are more comprehensive, get shared more frequently, and lead to lower bounce rates — which is why they tend to be ranked higher on Google.
According to serpIQ, average length of posts at the top positions on Google are 2450+ words.
Not only does this help with SEO, but more time spent on your page means you’d be cultivating more trust between you and your audience.
Content that’s visually appealing allows readers to digest a larger amount of information in a shorter period of time. It’s much easier to look at a graph or an infographic that’s well designed than a huge 5,000-word blog post — and as a result, it’s more likely to get shared.
You don’t need to be a design whiz to create content that’s visually appealing either. You could use a tool like Snapguide to create beautiful how-to guides, for example.
Written content is still very important, but the way the content is presented is also important. The more visual, the better.
According to Commonplaces Interactive, both Google and Bing have reported higher search traffic coming from mobile devices than computers.
That’s why these search engines boost content in search rankings that are mobile friendly.
If you’re not sure whether your site is mobile friendly or not, you can just insert the URL into Google’s Mobile Friendly site analyzer.
The easiest way to make sure that your site doesn’t get penalized in search results for this is by making it responsive. That way, it will “respond” to the device on which it’s being viewed, and won’t encounter any problems on any mobile devices.
By writing original blog posts on major media outlets, you can get a lot more exposure to your own site.
For example, Neil Patel wrote a guest post on Entrepreneur.com.
Within the post, he included multiple links back to his own blog, Quicksprout.
One thing you might want to be wary of is reposting content from your blog to a major media outlet. Although the exposure would be good, Google penalizes duplicate content in search results.
But writing original content for major sites could help build your credibility as well as get more backlinks to your blog. For more on this, check out How to Pitch a Guest Post to Editors at 104 Major Publications by Jon Morrow.
Another quick way to get more backlinks for your blog is by using a service called Help a Reporter Out (HARO). This site is aimed at the tons of journalists out there who are writing stories on various topics and need quotes from experts.
When you sign up for HARO, you’ll get notified every time a journalist who is writing about a topic in your field needs a quote. Then you can send in a quick pitch offering a quote along with your business name and website URL.
This is a great way to get your name and blog on a news media site without having to write a unique guest post.
If you deeply understand your audience’s emotional experience at each stage of the buyer’s journey, you can consistently create high-quality content that not only sits at the top of Google’s SERP, but also drives sales.
The best part is that it’s actually really easy to understand your audience’s emotional pain points.
All you have to do is set up an autoresponder message for everyone who signs up for your e-mail list. As soon as someone subscribes, you can send them something like this:
I get hundreds of “marketing” e-mails everyday from random companies that are just a pain to sort through.
I want to be different. I want to send you e-mails that you actually look forward to reading.
So to make sure that I send you the best possible content, I wanted to ask you a quick question… What’s the #1 barrier that’s keeping you from [whatever success you’re trying to help them achieve]?
Just “hit reply” to this e-mail and let me know. I read every response.
You’d be surprised at how many people pour out their life story in response to that, which helps you to know exactly what’s going through their mind.
It’s even better if you ask for feedback at each stage of the customer journey. Derek Halpern of Social Triggers asks non-buyers for feedback right after they make the decision not to buy from him:
This way, you’ll know exactly how to create the right type of content that resonates at a deep level with your readers, gets shared, and ends up ranking high in the search pages.
This isn’t easy to do, but if you can do it, you’ll skyrocket the reach of your blog. People who invent terminology that catches on in their industry can really boost their SEO rankings.
For example, Brian Dean of Backlinko invented what he calls the Skyscraper Technique, which is a unique approach to creating content.
Now when anyone searches “skyscraper technique” on Google, his name is all over the web on multiple different sites.
To invent your own term, you don’t need to create some crazy new breakthrough idea in your industry. All you need to do is take existing points of view that are already out there, “repackage” them, and make them your own.
For example, Tim Ferriss wasn’t the first ever lifestyle design blogger, but he was the first to package up his ideas into the “Four Hour Work Week.”
Gary Vaynerchuk isn’t the first to talk about understanding the context of social media platforms, but he was the first to position as “Jab Jab Jab Right Hook.”
So there you have it — 20 ways to boost your SEO rankings!
As marketers, there are a lot of tactics out there that we could potentially focus on. But those who get world-class results get them by focusing on high-leverage activities that deliver real long term results.
Now I want to hear from you. What other SEO tips would you recommend? Leave a comment below!
I am going to talk about what I do on Sundays to propel myself forward into the week. I’m not married and I don’t have kids yet, so I can use Sundays to get some additional work done and do a lot of planning around the week.
First and foremost, I’ll go ahead and look at what meetings I have on Monday, see how everyone on the team’s doing, and see what I can do to help out. These one-to-ones are really structured and should come with an agenda centered around the person I’m helping. So really, Mondays are for me to help people out.
Because I have so many meetings and calls during the week, I really try to work on creative stuff. For example, I can work on the advertising or creation of content for a project. I need to block out time for that because I’m doing phone calls all the time. But I don’t really like calls, so one of the things I’m trying to do right now is spend more time creating.
But the most important thing I do, by far, is reserve a strategy day, usually 1–6pm on Friday afternoons. During this time, nobody can book a meeting with me; I try to just sit and do strategy stuff. Sometimes that might eventually lead to me doing actual work.
Here’s what I ask myself during my strategy sessions:
1) What am I doing well?
2) What could I do better and improve on?
3) What could I do more of?
For example, content creation’s working well for us, which is why we’re doing, besides blog posts, Facebook Lives, YouTube videos, podcasts, interviews, webinars, etc. So we’re just creating content all over the place because we’re trying to establish more goodwill. We’re trying to figure out how we can repurpose this content, too (e.g., audio → transcripts → blog posts).
4) What could I do less of?
Really, I should be doing fewer calls, because the number of sales calls you have to do is directly related to the number of clients you have. But there’s still only one CEO. So, instead of jumping on daily sales calls, maybe I should be doing something that only I can do.
5) How can I 10x my business?
I recommend reading the book by Grant Cardone, The 10x Rule. What are some crazy things I can do to 10x my business?
6) Who should I be reaching out to more?
Which leads should we be reaching out to more? In terms of recruiting, who should we be maintaining the conversation with? Who should we be partnering up with more? What kind of mentors should I reach out to more? Maybe you can invite them to lunch (and treat them!) and then build a stronger bond that way.
I also mentioned in a recent post the importance of being in groups such as Young Entrepreneurs Council or Entrepreneurs’ Organization.
7) Where is my business today?
I actually just heard a podcast two days ago with Russell Brunson, and he was talking about how he has his accountant give him two lines of information every single day: how much revenue they’ve generated year to date, and how far off he is from his goal.
Let’s say you have a $10 million goal, you’ve generated 500K, so you’re off by $9.5 million. Well, guess what? That’s going to light a fire under your ass and you’re going to have to decide what you need to do today to reach your goals in the future.
8) What can I do to improve in 30 days?
This is an action plan. I’ve taken to creating strategy docs (one per week) which I review weeks or months later (sort of like a business diary). That way, I’m being more deliberate with my time and not just reacting to everything.
The sooner you can do that more consistently, the sooner you’re going to be able to either hand off your business or sell it.
This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:
I was just writing a couple of chapters for my book and I’m filling in some sections about entrepreneurs. One of the chapters I came across was on stealing. The Pablo Picasso quote that I have for the first line of this chapter is:
Great artists steal.
Here’s a self portrait of the world-renowned thief. 😉
Stealing generally carries a negative connotation around it, but I actually don’t think it’s that bad. Everything that you see around you is basically an iteration. By that I mean, people iterating on or improving the inventions and services of people who came before them.
Steve Jobs used the same Picasso quote when he went to Xerox and basically took a bunch of their ideas (like the mouse). Sugar coat it all you want, but that’s effectively stealing. He just didn’t get sued for it.
Related Content: How To Quickly Create An Automated Headline Stealer For Content Ideation (for FREE)
When I used to game a lot in high school and college, I spent a ton of time playing this game called “EverQuest.” It was essentially the first real MMORPG (think World of Warcraft), and it often hosted competitions between the best players. I was a druid and I was competing to be the best druid on my server. I really had no strategy in the beginning, but realized there was this German druid that had this really cool strategy.
Basically, I just copied her. No shame about it. I had been losing all the time before that, but in the first tournament I played after learning her methods, I ended up winning the whole thing. In fact, I used that person’s strategy against her. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, I think it would be pretty crazy to not copy what someone else is doing if it’s effective.
When I think about everyone I’ve interviewed on Growth Everywhere, 99% of them haven’t really come up with anything groundbreaking or novel. They’ve all made really fantastic iterations on what’s already out there. Granted, there are some notable exceptions.
For example, Ron Klein created the magnetic credit card stripe. But people like Ron are the exception, not the rule, to success.
Or let’s look at Backlinko, Brian Dean’s company, which he started that with his popular SEO blog. Keep in mind, when he started this blog in 2013 or 2014, it wasn’t sexy to start an SEO blog anymore, yet his business pulls in over seven figures a year. His blog gets six-figure visitor counts each month, too. It’s not like he came up with something really novel; he just made little tweaks to existing SEO blogs.
We’re trying to do the same thing at Single Grain, my digital marketing agency, where we run three experiments every week. We use a tool called “Growth Harvest Projects,” which helps us see which marketing experiments other businesses are running.
I think if you want to be successful for the long-term with business (or anything else), you have to steal from everywhere around you. The people who are always trying to be original all the time and come up with their own ideas are restricting themselves needlessly.
There are so many great blog posts out there. There are so many podcasts out there, so many great books out there. So don’t try to make all the mistakes on your own. You can sidestep nearly all of them by learning from somebody else’s experience.
Related Content: My Biggest SEO Mistakes – And the Lessons I Learned
This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:
This post, written by Pawel Grabowski, originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition.
I’m sure you’ll agree: Getting prospects to notice your content is one heck of a task.
Between the sheer amount of content published each day and our dwindling attention spans, it’s no easy task to grab and hold your target audience’s attention.
As a result, you spend countless hours tweeting about it with with fingers crossed, hoping that someone will notice your awesome content, share it with their social network, and make it go viral.
Or you could try an easier way to ensure that your content reaches the right audience:
Paid content promotion.
A lot of advertising platforms allow you to promote your content to a highly specific audience, attract qualified traffic and leads, and grow your customer base. The downside? You have to pay for it, of course. Luckily, many of them aren’t expensive, especially if you consider the ROI they can generate.
If you’ve been afraid to start promoting content with paid ads or even wondered how they work, you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, I’ll give you an overview of the 7 most popular paid content promotion platforms.
According to Social Media Examiner, Facebook is the most popular paid content promotion platform among marketers: 84% of B2B marketers use it to regularly drive traffic to their content. (Hardly surprising, right?)
And according to AdWeek, we spend around 28% of our time online on social networking:
Statista reports that consuming content is one of the primary activities on Facebook:
Facebook also attracts both B2C and B2B audience, making it a viable promotion channel for practically any business.
So regardless of whether you target customers or brands, you have a big chance of attracting them to your content.
Facebook offers many opportunities to promote content via its Advertising Platform, and Page Post Link ads can help you drive more traffic to your content. These ads typically show in the Newsfeed (also on mobile) and clicking on this ad takes a user directly to a website.
Page Post Link ads include a big image which makes it perfect to help catch your ADHD-prone audience’s attention. What’s more, Facebook allows you to A/B test all elements of the ad to come up with the most converting creative.
Learn More: Facebook Lead Ads: Everything You Need to Know to Increase Mobile Conversions
When setting up your ad, you can target users by:
You can also display your ad to current customers or subscribers by including them in a Custom Audience based on e-mails, phone numbers or Facebook user IDs.
Lastly, you can also use Lookalike Audiences to target people similar to your clients, leads or fans.
Facebook Advertising is a bidding platform, meaning that you can specify how much you’re willing to pay for a campaign.
On Facebook, you can bid on Cost Per Click, Impressions, Cost Per Action/Conversion and Cost Per Like, and the final price is affected by:
I know, it makes no sense at all, does it?
AdWords is an ideal platform to attract new customers or leads, but not to promote content, right? And yet…
The aforementioned Social Media Examiner report states that 41% of social marketers use AdWords to promote content regularly, making it the second most popular paid content promotion strategy.
And according to the latest Content Marketing Institute B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks report, search engine marketing is the most popular paid content strategy among marketers.
Of the survey participants, 66% admitted to using the Google’s advertising platform to promote their content.
What’s more, 55% consider AdWords the most effective paid promotion strategy.
How is that possible?
You see, AdWords is a versatile yet extremely simple platform to use. Creating an ad takes no more than a couple of minutes, and Google starts displaying it to anyone looking for keywords that you specified practically right away.
Also, the AdWords platform offers extensive research tools which allows you to really make sure that your content reaches the right audience at the right time.
And finally, data you collect in AdWords lets you improve your audience targeting and create much better content in the future.
Google AdWords targets keywords that people actually use to search for information. So when you choose words or phrases that are relevant to your content, your ads appear to those people.
On top of that, you can also target users by location, language, and device they’re using. Also, by using remarketing, you can target people who have visited your site before.
(Example of an AdWords ad promoting content.)
AdWords is an auction-based system in which you specify how much you’re willing to pay for each click on your ad for a specific keyword.
Social Media Examiner reports that LinkedIn is the 3rd most popular paid content promotion strategy among marketers, with 18% of them effectively using it to distribute content.
And InsideView states that LinkedIn delivers more leads to B2B companies than any other social networking site or a company’s blog.
LinkedIn offers 3 options to promote your content:
1. Sponsored Updates – a native advertising model in which you display content as a sponsored update in a person’s news feed.
2. Text and Image Ads – allows you to place ads in prominent places across LinkedIn’s website.
3. Sponsored InMail – lets you use LinkedIn InMail to message targeted audience segments about your content.
The power of LinkedIn ads lies in their ability to target people not just by their demographics (age, gender, location, etc.), but also by such factors as a job title, employer, industry, company name, company size, skills, LinkedIn Groups they’re members of, and even interests.
LinkedIn offers two basic pricing models:
I agree: You rarely think of Twitter as a paid content promotion platform.
After all, you already use it to promote your content for free (by sharing every article you write on this platform), and you probably use software like CoSchedule or Buffer to tweet about archived content.
You might even reach out to influencers to help you spread the word on your posts.
But I bet you never considered paying to promote your content on Twitter.
Twitter Ads offers an option to publish Promoted Tweets that are nothing but ads disguised as tweets that appear in a person’s timeline. In most cases, the only difference between normal and promoted tweets is a little “Promoted” label in the bottom left corner.
Learn More: Do Twitter Ads Really Work? (And How to Get The Most Out of Them!)
Twitter offers advanced targeting options to ensure that your content reaches a highly-qualified audience.
For example: on Twitter, you can target users based on their interests, accounts they follow or keywords and user behavior.
Like most platforms I discuss in this post, Twitter Ads is an auction based system.
However, unlike AdWords, for instance, on Twitter you’re not bidding on keywords but rather specific actions that you want the person to complete.
You can choose from such actions as clicks, acquire new followers, engagement, app installs, leads or video views.
I bet this happens to you all the time: You discover an interesting article, and just when you get to the end of it, you notice a link to another one.
And then another one.
And another one….
And before you know it, you’ve spent an hour consuming countless pieces of content.
The next platform I’m discussing here makes it possible to promote content by targeting this very behavior.
Outbrain is a service that allows you to target that very behavior and promote your post on other pieces of content in order to attract readers from other websites.
The platform displays a widget with a list of recommended articles below every post on the sites that use it. Here’s a screenshot showing the widget in an article in the Time Magazine:
Just like the other paid content promotion platforms, Outbrain works on a Cost Per Click basis, meaning that you pay only for the visitors who go to the page that you’re promoting.
Note: Outbrain is just one of many content discovery networks. Other, similar platforms include:
Fact: Reddit is the front page of the web.
Just last month alone, the site received 231,625,384 unique visitors (subject to change, as you can see), viewing 8,194,956,819 pages and casting 29,170,122 votes.
What’s more, the site offers incredible opportunities to promote your content.
Reddit is made up of “subreddits”, which are categories that users create to discuss related topics. You can submit content directly to a relevant subreddit or use Reddit Ads to ensure that a specific audience will notice it.
Reddit allows you to target users by their interests, specific subreddit they subscribe to, location, or display your ad to all of Reddit, without any particular targeting.
Reddit charges for impressions (CPM), which means that you pay a flat fee for every 1,000 ad impressions.
Here are the rates as per Reddit’s FAQ page:
I agree: It probably wouldn’t make sense to use banner ads to promote every piece of content.
But if you’ve published a report, long-form guide, e-book or other lead magnet, banners might be a way to attract a new audience to them.
BuySellAds is a platform that connects publishers with publishers and allows them to buy and place banner ads on the sites.
On BuySellAds, you can purchase banner ad space, publish sponsored content, and buy individual ad spaces on thousands of sites.
BuySellAds organizes publishers by categories and topics, so you can find websites with the audience you’re trying to reach:
Along with the basic information about the site, BSA also displays the most recent audience stats like monthly impressions and Twitter following:
Information about ad placements and types is available on the site along with prices:
Price per ad placement is determined by each site and can range from as little as $10 and as much as hundreds of dollars, depending on the site’s popularity and audience engagement.
With so much new content published every day, getting your target audience to notice your content is one heck of a task. One way to achieve this goal is to always promote it via owned and earned media.
Or you could use paid ads to attract more targeted visitors to your site.
Now that you understand what the different paid content promotion platforms are and the pros and cons of each one, you’ll have a much easier time getting potential prospects to notice your content!