Look, we’re all about content here. We call ourselves a content-driven digital marketing agency, and we mean it. We believe (and have the data to back it up) that good storytelling is at the heart of generating growth for our clients.
But guess what? A story-driven approach to content marketing can (and should) work in tandem with paid advertising like pay-per-click (PPC) and social media ads. That’s right, we are believers in the power of paid as an effective tool to bring in new leads — who will then be wowed by your awesome content!
So, yeah, we are all about killer content that attracts, engages and converts, but that doesn’t mean we leave clicks on the table. Paid online advertising can play a critical role in supplementing and accelerating your digital marketing program.
Paid vs. Organic: What’s the Difference?
Let’s start by defining some terms. According to Hubspot, “organic marketing is focused on generating traffic to your site over time. … Inorganic marketing, or paid marketing, uses paid methods to target, reach, engage and convert audiences quickly.”
Examples of organic marketing include unpaid social media, blog posts, newsletters and search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is generally regarded as offering the most bang for your organic buck — it drives 1,000% more traffic than organic social media.
For our purposes, we’re going to focus on the two categories of paid online advertising that offer the highest return on ad spend (ROAS):
- PPC (pay-per-click) is a form of paid search advertising that is used to direct traffic to your site. An advertiser will pay a publisher (the most common is Google) when their ad is clicked. PPC is also called cost-per-click.
- Paid social is the practice of displaying sponsored advertising content on third-party social networking platforms like Facebook and Linkedin with the goal of targeting specific customers.
PPC: Why Pay for Clicks?
PPC ads are cost-effective with the proper strategy and position you at the top of the SERPs, or search engine results pages. When combined with a solid organic marketing strategy, PPC can help you reach your goals faster. PPC ads can:
Generate leads. Let’s say you make bolts used exclusively by car manufacturers. You’ve recently designed a new product that is a perfect fit for boat manufacturers. You’ve written a blog post and a white paper titled: Our Bolts, They’re Not Just for Cars Anymore.
Sending it out to your current leads (car manufacturers) isn’t likely to have the payoff you want. You want this campaign to reach an audience that is larger than your normal organic traffic. PPC is a great way to broaden your base and attract views, clicks and conversions from a new audience.
Help you rank higher. One of the powers of paid search marketing is the ability to target bloggers or journalists who’ve already shown an interest in your space. This is beneficial because it can lead to backlinks, which then leads to a higher domain authority, which then leads to a higher SEO ranking, which then leads to more organic traffic — it’s a domino effect.
Access data. According to Ahrefs, Google Ads is more than just an ad creation platform, it is “a treasure trove of data that SEOs can use to improve organic visibility for their site.” Using this data, you can better understand how to optimize your SEO using keywords that are likely to convert. The more ads you run, the more data you’ll be able to cull.
Paid Social: Why Bother Boosting?
The ubiquity of social media has made social advertising the fastest-growing segment of paid advertising. What and how you post on social media can contribute to how future customers see you.
A recent study found that trust is the new brand equity. That means, more than ever, consumers require brands they give their dollars to to be trustworthy. In fact, 74% of people use social media to make purchasing decisions.
What does that mean for you? Social ads are a great way to reach — and then engage — your current target audience or develop a new one. Paid ads and boosted social media posts can:
Promote. We’ve already established that we’re suckers for good content. It’s because it really is the best way to turn lookiloos into loyal customers. If you have a blog post, white paper, webinar or what-have-you that you know will speak to your audience, a boosted social post can broaden that asset’s reach.
Draw in. Use social media ads to reach new audiences and then draw them into your world of content. This of course starts with creating ads that are truly click-worthy.
Call to action. Create social media ads and boosted posts that ask users to take action — whether by downloading content, visiting your site or interacting with your organic social media. Having a paid social post brings in new users to your site who are excited and ready to engage in your content.
Remarket. Getting a brand new audience from a targeted selection of social media users allows for the opportunity to remarket. Once someone lands on your site, you can then do a “lookalike” audience search for people in similar demographics. You can also target the same people through AI and algorithms who may have clicked but not converted to get the magic number of touches it takes to get a conversion.
The truth is, you can have a strong content marketing strategy using SEO alone, but well-placed PPC and paid social are proven to give you greater reach, a wider audience and a broader platform to get that awesome content seen.