February 4, 2020

Paid ads vs content promotion

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Michael Jenkins

CEO - Shout Agency
[email protected]


Today, every brand’s currency of choice to convey value is content. And as such, all brands have become media companies, using the medium of powerful content to build engaging communities and revenue streams. But, it’s no longer enough to regularly publish content to reach the zenith of digital success. 

WordPress alone sees over 70 million blog posts every month. We are no longer short on good content, as we are short on attention. To stand out from the noise, and get your content noticed, you need to engage in content promotion– the other half of content marketing that is just as important as the first half, content production. 

What is content promotion?

A content that’s not promoted stays stagnant and undiscovered. Content promotion refers to the process of connecting the piece of content with its target audience by distributing it across a variety of media channels, such as social media platforms, email and blogs. There are two ways to do this– organic and paid.

Organic Promotion

This method of content promotion involves increasing the reach and visibility of your content without using paid methods. There are several ways to organically promote your content:

  • SEO- The most popular way to drive organic traffic to any sort of content, whether it be social media content or blog article is to have it search engine optimized with relevant keywords. Creating content using SEO best practices will increase the likelihood of targeted users finding your content naturally through search engine results. 
  • Networking- Linkedin is a fantastic platform to directly connect with your industry’s thought leaders. You meet more people within your industry, you can join and participate in relevant Linkedin groups. Publishing and sharing your content with this powerful user group establishes your own credibility in their eyes, while giving them the option to share your content with their own audience. 
  • Proactive outreach- Building a list of influencers who have a strong voice in your niche, and reaching out to them via social media or email for a quote or for sharing a link to your content, is a great way to get your content done organic traction. For this to work though, you have to make sure that your content is extraordinary.

Organic content promotion takes time, and on social media ads, reaching a new audience base is getting harder to achieve. But, one benefit of this type of  promotion is that you are not limited by an advertising budget, and you can use multiple platforms to promote your content as much as you want. 

Paid Content Promotion

Many platforms now allow you to promote content to a hyper-relevant audience for a fee. Paid promotion does not depend on search discoverability. There are mainly 3 types of paid content advertisements:

  • Native advertising-  These types of ads blend into the site’s other content. All Social Media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat enable you to advertise your post, in-feed, as promoted content for a cost-per-impression or cost-per-click. 
  • Recommended Content- Users are shown a bank of content recommendation located on third-party websites based on their reading history.
  • Paid Search- Promoting content on other websites, apps and right within the organic search engine results using platforms such as Google’s display ads or search ads.

Promoting content through paid advertising is a great technique to connect content revolving around a hyper-niche topic with a very narrow audience base. It also helps you scale quickly. 

But this channel has its own disadvantages too. Your content’s potential reach is highly dependent on your budget. And, paid content advertising might be great for awareness, but not so great for content driven purchases.  

Making Organic Work with Paid Promotion

When to use organic first– Before burning through your budget, it’s important to check if there’s interest in your content. Distribute your content organically and track its performance especially on social media.

If it gains traction naturally, then you can boost the post to quickly reach a wider audience base.

Since organic promotion doesn’t cost you anything other than effort, it can be used to discern how engaging a piece of content is before promoting it with dollars.

When to use paid ads first– If you have created a piece of outstanding content, whether it be in the form of a 5000+ word blogpost or an immensely valuable whitepaper or research report on a highly talked after topic in your industry, that you know other people would link to and refer back, then it makes sense to promote it through paid advertising right away. The boost in engagement it receives through paid ads, will propel its ranking in the search engines too, and encourage organic distribution through shares. 

Your content doesn’t have to stay in the void any longer. With the right mix of organic and paid promotion, you get put your amazing content in front of the right audience, and use your it to drive meaningful results.

Here at shout, we mix both content promotion and paid ads for our clients to get out of the most from search engine traffic. Contact our content marketing company in Melbourne to learn more about both these strategies.


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        Shout logo in grey

        As Founder and Director of Shout Web Strategy, Michael Jenkins is at the forefront of digital marketing. Since it’s inception in 2009, Shout has built a strong reputation as one of Australia’s leading strategic SEO agencies, assisting online businesses to formulate, implement and track successful marketing strategies. Michael is a respected thought leader and digital strategist, specialising in online strategy, corporate SEO, Google retargeting, email and conversion rate optimisation, and online reputation management. Follow Michael on Google+, connect with him through LinkedIn or visit the Shout Web Strategy website.

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