4 surefire strategies for mixing PPC and content marketing

You might have been told that PPC and content marketing are enemies, that they go together like ice cream and mayonnaise. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Mixing PPC and content marketing can result in a delicious marketing cocktail. In fact, there are a few such mixes that are not only effective, but well established. These are approaches that have been around for years, and wouldn’t be at all effective if not for both parts playing a role.

These four surefire strategies blend PPC and content marketing to get results:

1. Web assets and paid search

Advertisers have long offered web assets – downloadable whitepapers, eBooks, and case studies – as the calls-to-action in B2B paid search campaigns. Whereas e-commerce advertisers might push product with a short sales cycle, B2B marketers are often working with a product or service that takes months or longer to close.

Most people who click on a B2B paid search ad are not yet ready to perform a hard conversion such as a demo request or contact us form submission. Downloadable assets are a great way to offer something of value to those in the research stage of the buyer’s journey, in exchange for their contact information as a sales lead.

One of Brafton’s core best practices is the idea that good content must be promoted. After spending time researching, writing and formatting a comprehensive branded document, it makes sense to disseminate that content to the fullest extent. Paid search has been the channel of choice for many B2B marketers to do just that. Instead of offering a CTA like “Contact Us” or “Request a Demo,” you can spice it up with “Download Our New Whitepaper” or “Get the Free eBook.”

Also consider: Web assets and paid social

There’s nothing stopping you from pushing that same asset across your social media channels with some paid backing. Given the wonderful targeting options that social media ads offer (demographics, job titles, you name it), it’s a great way to get your content in front of exactly the right people. Speaking of…

2. Sponsored content on social media

The digital marketing landscape is constantly moving forward, and social media is arguably leading the charge. Gone are the days of an organic social media strategy generating unheard of results. Businesses have developed the need for more targeted social strategies, and social media platforms have decided to capitalize. Welcome to the age of social ads.

One of Brafton’s core best practices is the idea that good content must be promoted.

The reality today is that your content probably won’t organically get the reach on social networks as it could have in the past. On the plus side, sponsoring your blog content, videos, infographics and other high funnel content is an excellent way to get the reach you’re looking for, and social media platforms work diligently to make this option worth your while. Marketers leverage this to build brand awareness, generate quality traffic to their sites and even get hard returns.

In exchange for advertising dollars, social media platforms grant targeting options worth salivating over. The advertiser is able to select from nearly every criteria supplied to the platform in question – demographics, interests, connections, and sometimes much larger datasets. Some, like Twitter, even allow for the integrating of email lists, ensuring an even higher degree of relevance for your audience.

3. Great content and retargeting

Brands are like musicians. Not everything they release is going to be a hit. But once you have that hit song, it’s important that everyone hears it. The same goes for content. In my experience, if a client can count the number of truly game-changing pieces of content they’ve released on even just one hand, that’s a sign of success. These are the articles that generate a big chunk of organic traffic year in and year out, the whitepapers that drive consistently excellent conversion rates, and the videos that people remember when they close their eyes.

Make sure everyone can enjoy your greatest content marketing hits.

Make sure everyone can enjoy your greatest content marketing hits.

Changing pace for a moment, brands also face the reality that most people (more than 95 percent) will not take a conversion action upon first visit to their website. Retargeting – displaying targeted advertisements to that pool of nonconverters – is the tactic of choice to keep the conversation going and bring them back a second (or third) time until they take a desired action.

Many advertisers choose to retarget their audience with a generic CTA, such as “Contact Us” or “Learn More.” For brands that have an arsenal of content, however, remarketing presents an opportune chance to play their greatest hits and stand out from the masses. Content remarketing most often incorporates web assets, but doesn’t necessarily stop there. Consider remarketing a top performing blog post, video or infographic to entice your audience.

4. Content and distribution

If you’ve browsed a major news website only to see “recommended articles” or “articles from around the web,” there’s a good chance that you’re seeing content distribution in action. Content distribution, offered by players like Outbrain and Taboola, is a way of buying placement on reputable publications as a tactic for generating traffic to a piece of content.

This business model is fueled by content, and literally wouldn’t exist if content marketing wasn’t supplying them with inventory. Moreover, these advertising networks have been around for a decade or longer, so they are well established at this point. Websites in need of traffic should look into content distribution if they have content that encourages clicks.

For B2B marketers targeting a very precise audience, consider reaching out to the publications you know your audience reads. They may have their own advertising solutions that leverage a type of content distribution to their own captive audience. If you’re comfortable with those publications syndicating your whitepapers and sharing your content via their email marketing efforts, they will be happy to work with you.

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