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Content marketing continues to grow as an essential part of a digital marketer's toolkit. According to a 2013 survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, B2C marketers say content marketing comprises 28% of their budgets, and 55% will increase their content marketing budgets over the next 12 months. And for many, paid media constitutes the channel in which they can scale their distribution.

But how does a marketer make paid media publishing - specifically, content marketing scaled into display and mobile advertising - most effective? Maximizing ROI relies in large part by selecting the right content, surfacing it for the right audience, and updating it appropriately.  

1. Be relevant. The content must provide a reason for the user to care. If they don't, they won't interact with your ad. The best way to do this is understand what motivated the user to visit the site that hosts the ad in the first place. Is it for news? Deals? Silly video entertainment? Whatever the site's value for users, the ad should deliver content of a similar nature.

2. Be current. Staleness can be smelled through the screen, and in today's lightning-fast online culture, it is a recipe for being ignored or even scorned. An ad streaming in a Harlem Shake video wouldn't have quite the same impact today as it would have back in February; in fact, it might portray the advertiser as being out of touch. What this means in practical terms is getting a pulse for what's trending, and updating ad placements as quickly as possible. And replace your ads' content as soon as your audience starts yawning.

3. Be fresh.   Related to being current—but not quite the samebeing fresh means that content must be updated frequently. Ad content should be updated on a schedule that matches its context or the sites that content-rich ads are living on. If a site relies on short-attention spans and ADHD-fueled page refreshes, then ads should surface new content as frequently. If that seems excessive, think about the opportunity for multiple engagement opportunities such an audience presents.

4. Be prolific. Give users options. Although a site's context can provide cues about what sorts of content an audience prefers, it's best to deliver several variants and hope that at least one content element of the ad creative resonates with a user. Galleries, link lists, and tabs are effective vehicles for surfacing different ways that a user can interact with your ad. Giving them a clear set of choices also plants users in the driver's seat, allowing them to select the manner in which they engage with the advertiser.

5. Be genuine. Authenticity matters, especially with younger audience who have finely-tuned BS meters. Your ads' content should deliver real, substantial value, and should not be an advertorial. Allow audiences to respect the content you've provided, and they'll give you props that might be far more valuable than a click to your site.

Several of these best practices follow naturally when adopting an agile approach to developing and updating your digital advertising. The marriage of content marketing and agile marketing, called paid media publishing, is one of the hottest trends in reinvigorating display advertising and moving beyond the click.  

Learn how publishing content into display ads is becoming the hottest new approach to digital advertising. 

Download The Essential Guide to Paid Media Publishing.