Sometimes You Need to Pay to Give Your Content What It Deserves

content discovery

The majority of small businesses out there are on a budget, and it’s always tough to justify spending some of that budget on something that could be done for free. Content marketing often falls into this category. Through optimization, a little bit of social promotion, and potentially some guest blogging efforts to help you build links to the relevant article on your website, marketing your content for free is a definite possibility.

While this might be a good place to start, what sets many businesses apart are some of the paid efforts out there that they use to bring their content to the next level. After all, your content is one of the most important aspects of your website (if not the most important), so it deserves a little bit of your budget.

Different Paid Options to Help You Up Your Content Marketing

Some of the most popular paid options for marketers include Facebook paid ads and Google AdWords. However, what many don’t realize is that branching out from some of these social networks actually offers even more content benefits. Creating an ad on Facebook and/or Google just for a piece of content doesn’t make nearly as much sense as using some of the tools and places designed specifically for promoting a single article.

Below are some options I recommend to get started:

1. Zemanta. If you want to build links for your content, get it in front of writers who need it as they’re writing their own piece.

Zemanta is a company that works to connect bloggers with relevant content that they might need for an article they’re writing. Sometimes when you’re blogging all you want is one little reference to learn more without having to go through all of the research, and you want it now. Bloggers can therefore install the Zemanta WordPress plugin and then the plugin will recommend content based on whatever that blogger is writing about at the time (or whatever he/she pasted into WordPress).

As someone trying to promote your content, being a piece of content that is recommended to a blogger is an excellent way to build backlinks and therefore improve your visibility and SEO. Below is a screenshot from Zemanta of what a blogger would see if they were using the plugin:

zemanta

2. StumbleUpon Paid Discovery. A content discovery network, you can actually pay to have your content show up more frequently.

The cool thing about StumbleUpon as opposed to other social networks is that is thrives on single pieces of content. Much like Zemanta, the whole idea here is that your content will show up in front of targeted users more than it would if you just stuck with the organic side of things. You aren’t creating an ad like with Facebook, so there is no need to create graphics with great headings, etc. The people are taken to your page of content directly without needing to do a thing. Below is an example of the StumbleUpon interface and where your piece of content would show up (note the thumbs up and down options at the top).

zemanta

The best part of showing up on StumbleUpon is the idea that this greatly improves your organic benefits as well. StumbleUpon shows pages to users based on the number of “thumbs up” a post will get, so if you can skip that part and be put into a great rotation, you’re sure to get more thumbs up, and the rest is history.

The Standard Plan is $0.10 per visitor and the Premium is $0.25 per visitor. Premium is best for product launches, while standard is best for brands seeking to engage their target audience.

3. Reddit Ads. Similar to StumbleUpon with a slightly different audience.

Because Reddit isn’t censored and is known for its controversial information, it’s not exactly the first place marketers think about when trying to promote content. There is a definite young demographic here, but if that’s you’re audience then this is the perfect place to submit content. Just as with StumbleUpon, this is a network that focuses on single pieces of content, and paying for advertising will help you content show up more frequently. Below is what Reddit looks like when you visit the site. It’s not as pretty as StumbleUpon, but it’s 100 million unique visitors monthly makes it OK:

The Negatives: some do say that paying for content marketing is untrustworthy, and it is somewhat true. You can never guarantee that you’re going to get the results you want, but all that this means is that you need to have other content marketing strategies in place. Don’t only rely on paid marketing.

Do you have any more ideas for paid content marketing options? Have you seen improvements since you started amplifying your content marketing this way? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.

Creative commons image by Ritesh Nayak / Flickr