Long time ago, digital content was anyone’s game. You created a piece of content, published it, and let the Internet decide whether it was worthwhile. If your content was good, it rose to the top. Well, not anymore.
Nowadays, the Internet world is suffocating. Content on every possible topic, in every possible format, presented in every possible way battles for people’s attention. The old ways of building an audience (creating relationships with other sites, link sharing, syndicating, cost-free social media promotion, and patience) are no longer enough to get your content seen. If you’re covering a subject that’s already saturated, then you’re guaranteed to be fighting with thousands, if not millions, other brands and publishers to be seen.
Does this mean there’s no point in even trying? Not at all. Rather than extort our efforts about the influx of competition, we need to get smart about a concept that’s become necessary for success: content amplification.
Content amplification is finding the best new way to get your content within eyeball range of your desired audience. While the classic audience-building strategies are mostly still free of charge (not counting time and resources), they’re also massively time-consuming, and rely heavily on luck. The new generation of amplification is all about tools which dig deep into solving the two most important questions for success with content marketing:
- What is the audience this post needs to reach?
- How do we get it to them?
Since data and the tools cost money, it’s critical to understand what your targeting options are, how they work, and which one is right for your content. Here are five steps you need to know before executing your own content targeting project.
1. The First Thing To Do
The content-amplification tools, which most of you are already using, are Facebook and LinkedIn. While both offer substantial organic reach, these social networks got wise to the fact that they can charge brands that want to get content in front of their billions of users and shrink organic reach accordingly, while ramping up their content targeting offerings.
Nowadays, paid distribution is arguably the most effective way to use both social networks. The targeting ranges in price, yet it’s all based on information that users provide in their profiles. So when you’re trying to figure out where to allocate your amplification dollars, you’ll need to do some analysis. Are you B2B? Looking to reach CMOs? LinkedIn is probably the better choice for you. Is your desired audience mothers of small children? Go for Facebook all the way. The pricing all depends on how many people you want to reach.
However, always keep in mind that the only data these networks have to work with is the data that users provide, which may be adequate for your needs.
2. The Next Level
Beyond the social networks are tools that target content based on basic info that they can obtain from large data management sources. So you can choose a demographic for your content based on data that the social networks may not have, like age, household income, recent browsing behavior, and other data points. Then the targeting tool dips into their data management source and pulls a population to target based on the data points you chose. Then your content gets spread out to this group, either via a social network or as an ad unit on a site with good web traffic.
These tools can be useful to spread a wide net while still keeping some targets in place, but they keep it somewhat surface level when it comes to the actual demographic you’re reaching. For example, women in urban areas might be the top layer of your audience/customer demographic, but adding even more specific criteria (education level, profession, marital status, online spending habits, and many more) will dramatically decrease your cost-per-lead.
These are the tools that focus specifically on people who’ve already visited your website and/or interacted with your content. It grabs their identity, then sorts them by demographic info and targets them with a sequence of additional content. The idea here is to keep people who’ve already expressed interest inside your orbit. The limitation, however, is that you’re only playing with a group that have already showed up. What about the masses who don’t even know there’s a game going on?
4. Going Deeper
Tools on the cutting edge of amplification treat targeting like a chess game. It involves seeing into the minds of your desired audience, then conducting large-scale surveys asking key questions that will help determine who the most likely people are to become your potential customers.
The job of these amplification tools is to craft surveys to this demographic that point to whether or not X or Y person will be more likely to use this service. An example survey question might be “Are you someone who’s willing to let a travel agent plan your yearly vacation?” or “Do you subscribe to a meal-delivery service that chooses a menu for you?” Once you’ve narrowed down those people, and targeted your content to them your cost per lead drops dramatically.
5. Paying For It All
So how much can you expect to spend on all this? Cost for each tool varies based on volume, targeting level, and other factors. Facebook tends to be the cheapest option, but that doesn’t mean it’s the lowest cost-per-lead. Choosing the right tool that will give you exactly what you need to reach your desired audience is critical to keeping your cost-per-lead optimised. How to choose? Working with a skilled content strategy firm will help you figure out which tools are worth your time and money—since choosing the wrong ones, or not using any at all, can severely limit the effectiveness of everything you produce in content marketing.