If you're like 86% of B2C marketers and 91% of B2B marketers, you engage in content marketing. You probably consider it more effective than traditional marketing. And there's a good chance your content marketing budget is going up this year.
Generating all this content was a problem at first, but you are learning quickly. You’ve bought content from publishers, produced it yourself, or worked with an agency or third party.
And now you've got something compelling.
Your content provides tons of value to consumers. It has heart. Legal has approved it. It's ready for prime time. So with fingers crossed you secretly hope every time, maybe this will be the one to go viral?
That beautiful content gets added to your website. It gets posted on your social media sites. And you wait.
Then reality sets in.
Your amazing content right now is being exposed to an audience who is by-and-large, already a fan of your brand. They're already your customers. Already your visitors.
People like your content, sure. But it's not driving the kind of lead generation or sales you hoped for, especially given the investment — because it's not reaching a new audience.
Many marketers feel the largest barrier to content marketing is lacking the resources to developing compelling content.
You finally overcame that barrier, only to come up against a new road block: distribution.
The second hurdle to greater use of branded content marketing is distribution or “reach.” Product manufacturer websites are typically not content destinations for consumers. Most brands have websites, and many of them are extremely robust. But the volume of traffic reaching those sites pales in comparison to that generated by the online publishing giants.
—Source: State of the Industry: Branded Content Marketing, April 2013
I'm here to tell you not to worry.
With a little help, your content can get the views it's due.
It's no coincidence that the rise of native advertising is following quickly on the heels of content marketing's sweeping popularity.
From paid promotion of social media posts to sponsored editorial content on publisher sites, there are many opportunities for content to reach new audiences.
Premium publishers are starting to offer native ad opportunities on a massive scale. 73% of Online Publisher Association members offer native ads.
Native ad platforms like Sharethrough and Buzzfeed are in a heated race to add scale to native advertising.
Display advertising is rapidly becoming a channel for content distribution as well. Videos, social feeds, articles and white papers are the most common examples of ad-friendly content.
These kinds of engagement ads allow for consumers to interact with your brand anywhere on the web, without forcing them to click through. After all, very few people actually click on ads unless they're sure it wont take them off the page they're enjoying.
Display is a strong contender for content distribution because it's already a core competency for many marketers. You may not have run content ads before, but you're familiar with the rest of the process.
If you're trying to visualize how content might fit into a display ad, you can read more about 12 example ad formats like the ones above.
In fact, many publishers such as Newsweek.com are starting to offer an ad experience that is both native and display at once.
Paid and Unpaid Discovery
While content discovery platforms may effectively be native advertising platforms, this category of services deserves it's own mention.
Paid discovery allows you to not only reach the right audience, but at exactly the moment when they are consuming content.
Stumbleupon helps users find content they like based on their interests, and what people with similar interest enjoy. Stumbleupon delivers guaranteed traffic from their userbase.
Outbrain allows you to amplify content discovery by providing recommended articles across a larger audience. In the above screenshot, related articles from around the web are presented to CNN viewers at the end of CNN's own content.
Disqus helps amplify the discussion about your content by exposing both article links and comments to viewers on new sites. If your content is seeing good comments, you can amplify their impact.
No matter what your content distribution plan is — paid or not — once you get your audience always make sure to deliver something of interest and value. If your content is good enough, maybe next time they'll come on their own.
Learn how publishing content into display ads is becoming the hottest new approach to digital advertising.