As marketers, one of our most important goals is driving more traffic to our sites, and one of the best ways to do that is through content creation. It helps you educate your audience, assert yourself as a thought leader, and generate more subscribers, leads, and opportunities.
But let’s say you’re writing content and promoting it through different channels -- email marketing, your blog, social media -- and you’re still just not getting the amount of traffic or number of leads you want. How can you amplify your reach even further?
This is where content discovery platforms come in. Have you ever read or scrolled through a blog post, and at the bottom were “Recommended Posts” or “Suggested Content”? Content discovery platforms, like Outbrain and Taboola, give advertisers the opportunity to fill these inventory slots with their own content. They use an algorithm to match your content pieces with relevant posts on other sites and blogs that your target audience enjoys, giving you real estate at the bottom of these relevant pages.
Sharing your content through these content discovery services can get your brand some great exposure on top sites, such as CNN, Slate.com, and Inc.com. But beyond the exposure, these platforms can help you make a real dent in your traffic and lead gen numbers. To that end, here's how to set up and optimize your content discovery campaigns so you can get the most out of them.
1) Identify your objective(s).
Before you dive in and begin creating your campaigns, the first thing you should do is ask yourself what your goals are. Are you looking to generate new leads for your sales team? Are you trying to drive as much traffic as possible to your site? Are you simply looking to gain more brand exposure? Stating clear goals up front will help you stay focused on the ultimate objective of your campaigns throughout the setup and optimization process.
2) Determine what content to promote.
Once you’ve identified your goals, you should look through your blog posts and other content pieces and decide which ones will be the best fit for this platform. If you’re focusing on brand exposure, why not leverage this service to promote some of your earned media pieces? If you’re focusing on clicks and conversions, you’ll want to select content that performs well -- blog posts that have gained a lot of views, content pieces that have received many downloads -- in order to maximize the impact you’ll drive from further promotion.
Also, given that the nature of this service is to recommend other content at the bottom of blog posts, a best practice is directing these readers to your own blog posts, rather than jumping to something like an ebook download.
3) Optimize your content.
That said, you can still generate leads without sending viewers directly to your landing pages with lead capture forms! You do this by optimizing your blog posts with calls-to-action to download your ebooks. Make sure that the content of the ebooks you’re promoting and the topic of your blog posts are closely tied, though, otherwise this is not likely to work well. You should include links to your lead gen content throughout your blog content, and you can also create a larger visual call-to-action at the end of your blog posts, mimicking the “recommended next step” setup.
If your blog post is compelling enough and your calls-to-action are relevant and enticing, you should see great success in taking readers from viewing a completely different site, to reading your blog post, to downloading your content and converting into a lead.
4) Upload your content and create title variations.
When you have your list of pieces to promote, upload the URLs to the platform dashboard (most content discovery platforms are self-serve). Don’t forget to include tracking tokens if you want to do any reporting on your end.
Another feature you’ll want to take advantage of is the opportunity to create numerous variations for the titles of your blog posts, which will appear when they are promoted. Think of this as running an A/B test, only with many more variations. You’ll be able to see which titles are performing best and pause the ones that are bringing your averages down.
5) Track performance and optimize for your goals.
And now, it’s simply a matter of keeping a close eye on the numbers! Make sure you’re tracking the performance metrics that are most closely tied to your goals -- number of views, clicks, leads, etc. -- and that you're constantly optimizing your campaigns toward those goals by testing new content and titles, and shifting your budget allocation appropriately.
Now go set up some content discovery campaigns, and watch your content reach grow!
Originally published Mar 26, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017