By Sarah Babbitt, VP, Agency Marketing

Are you extending your PR efforts with paid promotion? If not, you’re leaving a lot on the table. This is why.

Earned media coverage is well trusted and does have a built-in audience. It’s a much larger one than your business probably has on its own. Still, a news article isn’t likely to reach your full target audience. It’s more likely just a sliver, especially with how fast things fall below “the fold” these days.

There’s a similar thing about influencer content. It’s pretty well trusted and instantly opens up a new audience, but it’s just a portion of who you could be reaching.

You’re leaving ROI on the table for these amazing pieces of content if you’re not extending them through paid channels and tactics. Really, in today’s “content jungle,” the days of just organic are over.

That said, not every single piece of content warrants (or needs) paid media extension. And there are a lot of options when it comes to paid.

How We ID Content for Paid Promotion

We typically look for pieces of coverage or content that are already performing well organically; they’re driving good traffic or seeing high engagement on social media. These pieces can be brand posts or mentions (via influencers or user-generated content).

We also make sure they’re trackable; they should have a linkback to the website, a custom affiliate or promo code (to capture related sales), or some way to measure ROI on paid spend.

Where We Extend Content

Depending on the goal at hand, there are myriad ways to tap into paid channels to amplify content and extend campaigns. They include:

  • Content syndication: We reach here often for high-quality earned media coverage (whether online article, video, or audio). Syndication basically serves up the piece as “recommended reading” either on similar articles or to a targeted user (based on criteria such as first and third-party data, audience type, geo and place of business). It also includes retargeting.
  • Promoted social posts: If you’re only using influencer content organically (in your business’s feed and theirs), you’re only scratching the surface of potential. We always suggest investing more money upfront to get the usage rights to share influencer content across paid, earned and owned, too. We’ve seen significant ROI by doing so — up to 400% ROI on paid promotion. Social channels have also made this increasingly easy to do, providing the ability to promote the post directly from the influencers feed, rather than through the brand’s channel. This also helps maintain authenticity.
  • Display + Social Ads: Most ads are built with heavy-handed product imagery, messaging, or deals. Using influencer content in an ad can really help it stand out. Likewise with featuring a great piece of earned media or inclusion in a highly trusted analyst report; it gives the ad instant third-party validation and credibility. If your PR/social asset is on-message and highly valuable, you can likely put it to work for other parts of the marketing funnel by supporting through online advertising.  

These are just a few options we turn to often. What’s amazing about all of them is that they extend the reach of your content in a highly targeted way. And you can gear these paid extensions toward audience attributes. On many channels and platforms, it can also target specific companies to support Account Based Marketing, which is becoming more and more necessary in the B2B space.

These days, campaigns and content really do need to be supported on all channels to maximize impact. Paid promotion is a critical input, working hand-in-hand with Earned, Shared and Owned to drive results and move prospects further along their journey with you.

Lisa Zanchi and Rosalie Morton contributed to this post.

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