Jan 9, 2023

Content Promotion: How to Balance Organic Results with Paid Ads

“People make a distinction between copywriting and content writing. Content writing is more about education and entertainment, but copywriting is about selling. Really, copywriting is about building relationships from that first flirt across the bar when you're googling a vague topic and you find a site that you love. And the copy is engaging and they educate you and help with a problem. And then, that trust builds. Copywriting is really the art of building relationships with customers.” Kate Toon, SEO Content Expert

Marketers work countless hours to plan, create and design their content. However, when it’s time for promotion, many fail to find success. While HubSpot reports that 82% of marketers actively use content marketing, only 31% of B2B marketers reported their organization was extremely or very successful with content marketing during 2021 according to B2B Content Marketing, and promotion is a big part of that.

Part of the promotional challenge is successfully combining organic results with paid ads on search engines, social media and other websites. Read on to find out how you can combine organic and paid tactics to reach peak content promotion success.

Getting Organic: How-To Tips

To achieve effective organic promotion, marketers must grow and leverage their audience. Assuming that you’ve already done a massive amount of research around buyer personas and pain points before creating your content, it’s now time to use that research to support your promotional goals. Here are some ways for you start:

1. Build Influencers: If your company has been around for a while, good news! You probably already have a built-in influencer base. Based on your research, who would be the best fit to represent your business as a customer? If you can’t quite get there based on your current customer profiles and information from your sales team, use a tool like BuzzSumo or Followerwonk (free trial versions available) to find the users who are best suited for content promotion.

Ask them to act as brand ambassadors and share pieces they find useful. Some companies pay for influencers, but there are pros and cons to this. We recommend considering other forms of compensation such as exclusive access to products or services, invitations to events or attractive deals like samples or free trials. In either case, you can expect high performance. Statistics show that for every $1 marketers invest in influencer marketing, they get $5.78 back.

2. Spend Time on Your Blog: Your blog is your brand’s best shot at achieving organic success. When you invest in a wealth of high-quality content that’s published on an ongoing basis, Google is sure to notice. Have a look at some tools and templates for successful blog posts and put some time into SEO for your blogs to make sure they rank.  And don’t forget to engage with your influencers on your blog (via the comments section) as well.

3. Keep Your PR Team Top of Mind: Your content and PR teams (or tactics, if it’s just you) should be closely knit to ensure content promotion success. Here’s how you can grow your PR success organically:

●    Use Followerwonk and search for journalists, as well as the publications you’re interested in and the keywords related to your topic.
●    Once you know who to target, get their attention using a well-honed pitch and exciting story ideas.
●    Once you’ve secured a journalist/story, don’t stop there, keep going to maximize your outreach!

Also consider guest blogging to extend your reach and build up some quality links. Download our ‘Ultimate Guest Blogging Guide and Toolkit’ to get started. 

4. Spend Time on the Right Social Platforms: Marketers must determine which of the many social media platforms are right for their business. The ‘spray and pray’ approach doesn’t work. When you’re on too many networks, you lose sight of your goals and risk over-saturating your audience. That being said, experimenting with new(er) platforms (especially visual ones such as TikTok, Pinterest and Instagram), can prove incredibly valuable for organic content promotion. Take this example from Wordstream below. The brand got over 1000 pins just by adding the “PinIt” button. That adds up to thousands of potential  new viewers on the Pinterest platform from just one infographic.

Screenshot of PinIt likes on WordStream post
Screenshot of PinIt likes on WordStream post

Take Instagram, while RivalIQ’s benchmark 2021 report found that Instagram engagement rates dropped by 25 percent to 0.98 percent, influencer posts rate much higher at 1.42 percent. Plus, Instagram rates surpass those on Facebook (0.19 percent) and Twitter (0.04 percent).And don’t forget about other non-traditional social networks, such as industry forums, as well as cross-promotion on publication sites like Medium.

The above tactics are great for reaching your followers organically, so once you decide to pull paid promotion into your strategy, don’t stop using them. Your marketing team can’t thrive on paid or organic promotion alone. Instead, add in paid campaigns that complement and support the success that you’ve already seen from the organic side. If a piece of content doesn’t work well in organic promotion, paid advertising probably won’t save it. It’s still likely to be your lowest performer.

Download this paid media tracker to keep track of all of your campaigns across networks.

Combining Paid and Organic Tactics

The above tactics are great for reaching your followers organically, so once you decide to pull paid promotion into your strategy, don’t stop using them. Your marketing team can’t thrive on paid or organic promotion alone. 

Instead, add in paid campaigns that complement and support the success that you’ve already seen from the organic side. If a piece of content doesn’t work well in organic promotion, paid advertising probably won’t save it. It’s still likely to be your lowest performer.

Organic vs. Paid

Though many marketers use an organic-only approach to promote their content at some point, most end up realizing that they will only achieve the results they want through paid promotion. 

For example, if you rely on solely organic posts on Facebook, you’ll eventually realize the network is now ‘pay to play’. The average social media user spends 95 minutes a day on social platforms and is exposed to many of content every time he/she logs in. 

You can’t expect your brand to break through the noise with organic posts. Whether your purpose is to grow your audience, create loyal social media followers or favorable actions from highly targeted audiences, combining paid and organic tactics for SEO and social media will get results.

Paid Social Media Tactics

In addition to your organic efforts, here are the ways you can funnel money into social media promotion:

  • Facebook offers two options: Facebook Promoted Posts, which allows marketers to boost the reach of their otherwise organic posts and Facebook Business (Ads) which gives you the tools to carefully target individuals by region, job title, industry and more. Learn how much these ads really cost here.
  • Promoted Tweets is Twitter’s paid promotion machine. This cost-effective method helps marketers use Twitter to reach targeted audiences according to specific demographics and targeted criteria. You can set the maximum amount you are willing to spend and easily track and monitor the performance of your campaign.
  • Instagram & Snapchat: These ‘newer’, visually-focused social media platforms are the perfect fit for B2C content. Read our guide on Instagram Ads here, and check out our Snapchat Ads walkthrough.

Like any paid marketing channel, paid promotions through social media can deliver the type of marketing results you need,if you’re using the appropriate platform for your audience. Find the ones that are right for your business and you’ll easily increase conversions for content marketing success.

Athlete's Foot: TikTok Advertising Success Story

A social media rollercoaster since its inception, TikTok has provided a popular new platform for creators and marketers. Understanding the network's impact, athletic footwear brand Athlete's Foot teamed up with influencer Sarah Magusara to create a series of targeted ads. 

These ads showed Sarah running in a pair of ASICS Gel-Kayano 28s and invited people to ‘race’ her through the ‘For You’ page to the finish line. When users continue to scroll they see additional ads of Sarah running and learn more about the shoe. Those who made it to the final ad in the story could enter to win a pair of the sneakers.

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This storytelling approach meant ‘The Katch the Kayanos’ campaign got 8.5 million impressions and a 5% engagement rate.

Content Syndication: Still Kickin’

Content syndication is a time-tested promotion tactic that continues to prove itself effective. Here’s the idea: Instead of simply hoping users find the content on your website, why not also push that content out to the websites they visit most? If you’ve done your persona research, you’ll have some idea of where your target customers spend time online.

Content syndication allows you to publish a piece of content on a different website for others to access, share and post comments. You earn that promotion plus a link back to your website, where the content was originally posted. Content syndication pricing ranges from very affordable to mega companies only need apply based on the website or syndication company you choose, but there are options for every budget.

Race Towards Retargeting (Remarketing)

Retargeting, also called remarketing, is key to your content’s success. Retargeting is the more commonly used term, however, Google Adwords uses Remarketing for its Retargeting feature, so both of these terms kind of overlap each other in almost every aspect. For our purposes, we will refer to them as the same.

Retargeting ads are served based on a user’s activity on your website. Once the user visits the site, a cookie is set, and you can now target them on other sites they visit with relevant advertisements. Retargeting is done through third party networks like AdBrite and the Google Display Network, giving you the opportunity to reach users on millions of sites. You can find the seven types of effective retargeting in the infographic below.

Graphic from Chango showing 7 types of retargeting
Graphic from Chango showing 7 types of retargeting

If building your brand is important to you, retargeting is one way to meet that goal. As Larry Kim writes:

Cookie everyone who reads your content and make sure they never forget about your brand by chasing them across the Google Display Network with your image ads.

On the Google Display Network, you’ll be able to reach 84% of your visitors 10-18 days out of the month, across 5-10 different sites! That’s a huge way to build your brand

Content Promotion: How to Balance Organic Results with Paid Ads


Most companies spend a lot of time creating content, thinking that if they build great content, users will find it, engage with it and move down the sales funnel; but this almost never works.

There’s so much noise dictating that your great content will never get the attention it deserves. To achieve content marketing success, build your brand by creating and promoting valuable content organically first, then add paid promotion where it makes sense to achieve your content marketing ROI goals.

Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to attract customers. The key is to know how to use content effectively at all stages of the funnel to drive sales. DMI’s Professional Diploma in Search Marketing will help you create the right content for the right people and cover areas such as SEO, search analytics, data visualization and search strategy.   

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