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How to Use Paid Promotion in Your Next Marketing Campaign

Like most corporate marketers, I am always looking for ways to promote my company’s content on different channels. With limited resources and pressure to capture your audience attention, marketers need to be vigilant on how to cut through the noise.  Paid, earned, owned, and shared media may sound foreign to some marketers, but smart marketers are using these channels to their advantage.  Based on my past experience with paid promotion,  I like to share how you can promote your next campaign using paid media.

In content marketing, the campaign in my mind doesn’t finish when the content is created, but when it’s ready to distribute and promote. I wrote extensively on the importance of distribution and paid in my previous post on the Seven Ugly Truths about Content Marketing. Promotion is key now more than ever. The Internet has made your customers more savvy. On average consumers are reading 10.4 pieces of content before making a purchase. How to you make sure they find your content?

Answer: You need to have a paid strategy for your content.

So what is paid promotion? Jeremiah Owyang from the Altimeter Group, wrote about the concept of paid media in the report, The Converged Media Imperative: How Brands Must Combine Paid, Owned & Earned Media .


Awesome graphic explaining the difference of earned, paid, and own media. Source Credit:

CliffsNotes version on Paid: paid promotion is when you pay to promote your content. You can read more examples on paid such as native adverting, here.

Why don’t more organizations use paid? Lack of understanding and reliance on their own channels.

It’s been in my experience that most organizations understand, perhaps a bit too well, that posting content on their website is essential. But what happens when posting on your site is not enough? Recently, I ran two experiments with paid promotion to promote our monthly webinar series. I choose webinars because

1) it is consistent

2) timely

3) what the market needs

4) more importantly wants to know about.

Promote webinars on our site is  a given. We promote our webinars on our social media channels and through our newsletter. Check and Check. But, attendance was stagnant. It was time to turn up the dial.

Through research, I found publishers in our industry that were trusted and great pubs where our customers go for information. We worked with the publisher on two experiments, one where we just use their promotion channel and the other where the publishers work with our expert to host a webinar.

Sounds simple, right? A couple of recommendations before jumping into paid content:

  • Research publications. I knew we needed to promote our content, but I wasn’t sure what publishers we should partner with. I asked our experts, I did my own research, and I monitored on social media what folks where sharing online on their own channels.
  • Experience the publisher’s outreach program. I opted-in to publisher’s newsletters, alerts, and promotional emails to check out frequency and content. I think this is a crucial step. You need to know how your prospect will receive and consume content. You don’t want to partner with a publisher who over-sends promotional email or alerts.
  • Attend webinars and/or download whitepapers. Again this is to experience the journey just like your target audience. I like to know how folks are consuming content and how easy/hard it access information.

The results from paid were encouraging:

  • We quadrupled the number of attendees who attended our webinars
  • We deepen our reach within organization we already worked with or had worked with in the past
  • Most important we added new prospects

Remember the paid promotion around the hosted webinar I mentioned earlier? The results around this are still coming in, but we have been able to exceed the success of our first campaign.

Paid promotion, like any other tactic, needs planning. Before getting started be smart and have the following information handy:

  • Know your audience
  • Know how and where they consume information
  • Research publishers or organizations to partner with
  • Complement your paid promotion with social media
  • Add e-mail marketing to the mix
  • Make sure to have executive support.
  • Measure your results and report.

What would you add to the paid promotion best practices?


Rachel DiCaro Metscher has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review. She is currently working in the DC metro area building content marketing programs from the ground up.

Part 1:4 things I learned during my first year of implementing a Global Social Media Strategy (Part 1)

1)   Change is Hard

I had overlooked the fact that many of my constituents had been running their “social media strategy” organically. The fact that someone else was coming into their territory and changing their business practices was not received well. In fact, many of them question my strategy, even though our divisions had never written a plan or given much thought as to why they were using social media. Other than other companies are on insert social channel and we should be too. Yay for differentiating.

Change is hard and no one raises her hand and say, “ yes, I like to lead a project in which no one is interested in. Sign me up for that!” Instead of giving up, I used the first 6 months to getting our corporate channels in running order. It was lesser of the two evils as I was able to make immediate changes. I evaluated what channels we used based on what allowed us to be successful in terms of our goals: engagement and brand awareness not what was the new shiny object. We increased brand mentions, followership and influenced in 6 months by double digits. This increase began to intrigue our internal folks. By building our credibility, I was able to leverage this into working with our stakeholders on their channels.

My organization at the beginning of our social media experiment had more than 45 channels and growing. I evaluated social media channels on simple measurements: 1) are we actively using this 2) do people react or post comments 3) is it worth our time?

Using this logical approach, we began to shed social media channels in which we 1) were not active  or 2) no one was actively engaging. Now, in the beginning, I receive a lot of resistance on delete accounts that were not active. My rationale was simple: If no one has posted any content in a year or years, do you really think people are still actively looking for what you post or say? Most people couldn’t answer yes.