Content used to be driven by two things: Either it was produced for social media and the need to share - in which case it was visual and highly clickable. Or it was produced for consumption on business blogs or content hubs, in which case it was designed with keywords in mind. But for content marketers, this was restrictive. Every day, 2 millions of blog is produced (including this one), and social organic reach is now at 2%, content marketers are now getting more difficult to introduce audiences to new pieces of content, no matter how interesting they might be.
That's why content advertising has now emerged as one of area in content marketing that need to be addressed.
Content Advertising is simply distribution of content through paid channels
Content advertising is form part of content marketing strategy in the sense that it is pushed out to consumers through paid channels. Some call it "Content Discovery", "Content Amplification", but since the key differentiation here is "paid", Content Advertising serves as better term. Because it is paid, we don’t have to rely on the search discoverability alone and content advertising allow us to zoom in on topics that would otherwise be too niche to ever make an impact in search results.
We will now explore some of Content Advertising Tactics available:
Content Amplification Network
The content advertising journey doesn’t end with the content going live. Instead, it relies on additional content amplification to get the message out to the maximum number of people possible. Content amplification, like so many content marketing tools, helps get the right content in front of the right people. Marketers can use content amplifying platforms, like Outbrain and Taboola. These platforms help get their content out to potential customers, via publisher sites. They are often very effective because they only work with trusted publishers. However, a key hindrance for this type of content network is they attract "Click-baits" type of advertising, like below:
Programmatic Native Advertising
Adtech companies like Sharethrough, Nativo now allow advertisers to create native advertising at scale across different publishers. They generate adverts that follow the style of each publisher’s content. The purpose of this is to make it difficult for consumers to tell whether the content is promotional or not. Luckily, FTC has released a policy statement [PDF], that guide such deceptive ads. Also, thanks to IAB, there are now standardised protocol Open RTB 2.3 specifies how these ads can be bought and serve through real-time auction.
How about transforming display Inventory into Content Advertising?
This is newest form on Content Advertising, by creating content ads and serve them through standard display inventory. Enzymic is in the fore front of this technology. Basically, Enzymic tranforms display banners into content ads units (see sample here and here and here). This allows content marketers to create their own content ad units quickly and efficiently. As a result, they no longer have to rely on under-performing banner ads.
One of the major benefits of using a platform, like Enzymic, is that it means it’s much easier to get content advertising out and shared online. In the past, if content marketer wanted to promote different contents,it would have to produce multiple banners, which is costly and time-consuming. But now, thanks to Enzymic, agencies can use these new platforms to quickly and easily create new content ads. Once these ads are constructed, they can then be distributed to other platforms and publishers. Enzymic will then track the performance of these ads, and optimise them automatically.
Of course, content advertising means that the nature of online marketing is changing yet again. With content advertising, there is usually a long lead-in time than with other methods, like PPC. But over the long term, content marketers should be thinking of content advertising as part of their content marketing strategy.