3 ways to balance promotional content with useful information to win the content game

The digital era has changed marketing forever. A few decades ago, successful brands were built using the ‘push' tactic – i.e. organizations building teams to create content that would deliver a message about their product or service. But things are not simple now, what with digital technology, social media, and internet savvy consumers whose behavior is unpredictable at best. According to a Forrester research report, only 32% survey respondents trust information on companies' websites. Couple that with only 18 percent of B2B marketers saying they are "extremely confident" in the effectiveness of their campaign, and the data points reveal the new reality; that it is not just enough to have promotional content, but the content needs to be perceived as valuable, showcase thought leadership and engaging the readers so that they are all ‘pulled' in. So how can a firm creatively promote its content through diverse marketing channels while adding value to their audience? We believe below are 3 ways in which organizations can achieve this:

Engage through Networking platforms - Remove the need to target promotion efforts by leveraging sites like Quora and Meetup. Quora, the community-based question and answer site is a great advertising tool; it can help establish the brand showcase their thought leadership by knowledgeably answering questions, get fresh ideas for content generation and even provide customer support by answering specific questions. From Microsoft to Google, almost all companies are leveraging this remarkable ‘secret marketing weapon' now.

Associate with Guest bloggers – As a leading content specialist had to say, "When you make others shine, you turn the spotlight on yourself as well". A Hubspot case study revealed how a leading brand was able to get 60,000 new visitors from search within 6 months of publishing 28 guest posts, just by targeting medium-sized blogs. Hosting guest blogs or inviting guest bloggers gives fresh content, and draws traffic for both the brand and the author. Guest bloggers share a wealth of information for the benefit of the larger community and if they mention your website, that's an additional bonus!

Upscale content - Research shows that long-form content (long, information packed and research-backed) has been proven to rank higher in search engines. Creating a video from this content, or making a SlideShare of new or even older content can make it more appealing to the ‘nonreading' audience. Changing the format to a downloadable PDF helps those who prefer to read it later; they are bound to pay more attention and even share it, all great for converting leads into customers. A great example of digital long form is The New York Times, which in addition to its breaking news and features sections, related the tale of Washington State's Tunnel Creek Avalanche through photographs, video, and graphics on their microsite over the course of many chapters.

Eventually, knowing the fine line between effective content promotion and spamming comes from respecting the audience. Being genuinely interested in building content of lasting value will appeal and with that, conversions will not be far behind.

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