May 3, 2016
Content Promotion Using the Owned, Earned & Paid Framework
A special guest post courtesy of Elissa Hudson – APAC Content & Campaigns Marketing Manager at Hubspot.
We’re constantly being told content rules the internet and will do transformational things for your business. I’m not going to dispute this; I’ve seen it first-hand. In fact, HubSpot (where I work) was pretty much built on the success of its blog.
But most businesses don’t see this kind of success with their content.
Why? Because the focus of content strategies often lies solely on the creation process. You end up with a site full of great content that underperforms because nobody’s reading it. Keyword optimisation can only take you so far in terms of building your organic traffic, and if you truly want to reap the benefits of remarkable content, the hard work doesn’t stop once you’ve uploaded that new blog post.
Content promotion is as important — if not more important — than content creation. Here’s why:
This graph is representative of the volume of online content being produced on a daily basis. Collectively, we’re producing content at a rate that no reader can possibly keep up with, and that’s only set to increase. When the rate of content creation looks like this, how do we cut through the noise and make sure it’s our content that’s capturing the attention of our audience?
By promoting our content effectively, to the right people, in the right place, at the right time.
But where to start? I’m going to break down your options for content promotion into three categories:
- Owned: these are your social media channels, your email marketing, and any other platform that’s under your business’s direct control.
- Earned: this refers to promotion of your content that you’ve earned. Whether that’s other people sharing it on social media, people referencing your content in their own articles, or media/blogger coverage of your content.
- Paid: this refers to paid promotion of your content, whether that’s through AdWords, boosted social posts, or retargeting.
These categories are your framework for developing a content promotion strategy. Let’s dig a little deeper and look at some ideas for content promotion within each category.
Owned Content Promotion
Share on social media
Start by sharing your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other channels your audience frequently engages with. Use a scheduling tool to set-up auto-sharing of your content. Unless your content is time-sensitive, you can keep sharing it — alongside your regular posts — until it becomes outdated.
If you have an email newsletter, this is the perfect place to let your prospects and leads know about your content. These people have already expressed interest in hearing from you, and what better way to nurture them through their journey towards becoming a customer than providing value with your content, rather than overloading them with pushy sales messaging?
Make your content visible on your website, rather than just hiding it away on your blog. Whilst your blog might be the best place to host your content, that doesn’t mean you can’t promote it elsewhere on your site. Think about what other pages on your website are relevant to that content, and link to it from there. For example, if you’re a storage company and have a blog post about the most logical and stress-free ways to pack before moving house, then you might link to that blog post from your category page that provides users with information about the boxes you sell.
Republish to Medium or LinkedIn Pulse
Once you’ve uploaded your content to your website, it doesn’t have to stop there! Platforms like and LinkedIn Pulse have ready-made audiences who use them purely to consume and engage with top-quality content; this can be a great way to build your audience and brand awareness beyond your own website. If you’re not familiar with Medium, start with LinkedIn Pulse, where you no doubt already have an audience (even if it’s just on your personal account!) Caveat your post with a statement like “This post originally appeared on [your company name]’s blog” and link it to the original.
Earned Content Promotion
Reach out to relevant websites and ask to guest post
Get in touch with some websites that share your audience and ask for a guest spot on their blog or column (top tip: use Google Advanced Search commands to find opportunities you might not otherwise have seen). Whether that’s another business that’s complimentary — but not competitive — to yours, an online magazine, blog or trade publication. Where it makes sense, include a link back to your own content in the article, as this will help to boost your organic rankings as well as drive referral traffic. Make your pitch specific and always suggest content ideas that will add value to their readership. This is not an opportunity to sell your product, but an opportunity to add real value and grow your own audience.
Secure media coverage
Is your company doing something remarkable? Have you produced new research or data points relating to your industry, or are working on something else that’s ‘newsworthy’? Wrap it up into a compelling press release and email pitch, and let the media know. We’re not talking about the New York Times here; start small with trade publications and local titles, then scale from there.
Rally your supporters
Don’t underestimate the influence of your own network. Ask everyone at your company to get on-board and share the content via their own personal social channels. Extend this to your personal network by asking for the support of your close professional and personal contacts to increase your reach even further.
Paid Content Promotion
Google AdWords can be useful for targeting users in the awareness and consideration phases of their buyer’s journey that might find your content helpful. This can be done either through targeting informational search terms relating to your content, or by targeting relevant websites and audiences in the display network. It’s important to note that AdWords should be used to support your owned and earned promotion strategies in the short-term as you’re essentially ‘borrowing’ traffic rather than owning it.
Paid social media
If you want laser-focused targeting when it comes to paid social media promotion, then setting up a Facebook business page (if you haven’t already) should be top of your to-do list. LinkedIn, Twitter and StumbleUpon also offer paid promotion to suit most budgets.
Content amplification platforms
Platforms like Outbrain and Taboola allow you to reach other publications’ audiences with your content. Ever scrolled to the bottom of an article on the Daily Mail and seen a box with lots of other articles suggested for you? That’s powered by a content amplification platform, sometimes known as ‘native advertising’ without requiring the same huge budgets the publication itself often charges to host the content directly.
Whilst this is by no means an extensive guide to content promotion, using the owned, earned and paid framework when promoting your content should help you structure your strategy. Remember to spend at least the same amount of time promoting your content as you did creating it, and you’ll be on the right track.
About the Author
Elissa Hudson is the Content & Campaigns Marketing Manager in HubSpot’s Sydney office. She specializes in creating content specifically for HubSpot’s Asia Pacific audiences, helping marketers in-region with their inbound strategies. She’s also responsible for spreading the word about the inbound methodology throughout Australia and New Zealand.