Paid media and inbound marketing were once seen as mutually exclusive — and content arguably took centre stage in an increasingly competitive race to the top of the search engine results pages.
Certainly, businesses have come to love inbound marketing because it offers recurring gains for the initial investment in content; gains that can recur for years.
At the same time, “paid” became something of a dirty word. But paid media does still have its place, providing it’s used ethically and naturally as part of a holistic marketing campaign.
Let’s look at five types of paid media that are still worthy of investment.
1. Google AdWords
Google AdWords is the cornerstone of every paid media strategy and not just because of its phenomenal reach. AdWords provides crucial keyword data that’s impossible to glean through organic search due to the rise of keywords that are ‘not provided’. As such, AdWords still has a role to play in bridging paid media and inbound marketing.
2. Press release distribution
Press releases have been highlighted by Matt Cutts as a source of discounted links. But while a press release won’t do anything for PageRank, the press release is still an extremely valuable paid media tool for traffic building. Aim to use a distributor that gets the majority of its releases into Google News.
3. Facebook Exchange
Facebook is phasing out some of its advertising efforts and pushing Facebook Exchange as an alternative. Exchange (also known as FBX) is a retargeting system based on real-time bidding. While Exchange is initially slightly less accessible than Promoted Posts or Sponsored Stories, it represents a move to a more sophisticated type of paid social media marketing where content can still play its part.
4. Stumbleupon ads
On Stumbleupon, you can purchase paid exposure for content, giving it a second lease of life. Stumbleupon prices its Paid Discovery product on a pay-per-visitor model. Stumbleupon is sometimes sidelined — perhaps because it requires some effort to gain traction — yet it’s still effective. Incorporating it into a paid media strategy is the final piece in the puzzle.
5. Promoted Tweets
Practically every brand has a Twitter account; many have more than one. Promoted Tweets give brands a new way to leverage their content. Tweets are set up in advance and promoted to people who search for keywords. Twitter doesn’t offer sophisticated analytics yet, but the service is reasonably new.
By blending paid media and inbound marketing, you should aim to get the best of both worlds for an affordable cost. Your content marketing projects should also get a valuable boost from the paid media strategy you devise.
Alistair Norman is marketing manager at inbound marketing consultancy, Tomorrow People.
There’s no avoiding the Internet. Whether you’re checking the headlines, keeping in touch, booking flights or buying a birthday gift for your mother, the chances are you turn to your PC first (or your laptop, or your phone…). It’s scary how reliant on the Internet we’ve become for information and entertainment, and how quickly. Who would have imagined 15, or even 10, years ago that we’d be using telephones to watch a video of William Shatner singing Rocket Man?
This all-pervasiveness is both good and bad news for businesses. Good because the web gives you access to an almost unlimited customer base; bad because just having a website is not nearly enough when the typical visitor expects to be informed and engaged instantly. If you don’t deliver straight away, your visitors will be off to someone who can.
To succeed in the modern business environment, you’ve got to have a web strategy that works. E-commerce, search engine optimisation, online advertising, affiliate marketing, email marketing, social networking – these are all things you may well have to master to maximise your online marketing and sales. It’s horribly confusing and complicated. Or is it?
For the Marketing Donut, we’ve recruited a phalanx of Internet experts to tell you what you need to know in language you can understand. We’ve got Penny Power, for example, the founder of the web’s top business networking site, Sunzu, explaining how to do social networking; a variety of experts from our main sponsor, Google, addressing online advertising; David J Smith, director of operations at the online retail body IMRG explaining e-commerce issues – you get the idea.
With the Marketing Donut, we want to make Internet marketing straightforward for small-business owners. We think we’re going to do it. Find out for yourself on 20 April.