Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and content marketing can work together in your marketing strategy with stellar results. PPC can help build a sizeable audience for your content, as well as help you target your prospects with the right content at the right time.
By leveraging the right keywords, you can more effectively hone your efforts to focus on different funnel stages and your prospect’s intent. To make the most of your investment, it’s important to consider the type of content you choose to promote and how (and when) you align it with the needs of your audience.
The Value of PPC for Inbound
Traditionally, the inbound methodology relies on your prospect having a problem and seeking a solution to that problem — generally through search. While inbound is an excellent way to educate your buyers and enable them to make informed decisions, it’s predicated on them being initially aware of their problem or interested in solving one.
“PPC is a great lever to pull to put your content in front of the eyes of people who wouldn’t ordinarily see it or aren’t searching for a solution,” says Search Strategist Mike Shirk.
In other words, you can quickly and effectively expand your reach by investing in PPC and targeting the right audience. Additionally, PPC presents an excellent opportunity to build brand awareness and authority — especially for new companies. While organic methods can take a few months to build up steam and generate results, PPC advertising can put your brand, product or solution out into the marketplace quickly and effectively.
Beyond brand recognition though, paid advertising is an opportunity to promote the content that you are creating to bolster traditional inbound methods like organic search.
Amplifying Content with PPC
Identifying or creating content to promote
If you are creating content on a regular basis to help attract and nurture leads, it can be valuable to extend its reach. Promoting content with paid advertising can be effective at driving a quicker time to value on your work, but it can also be effective at measuring your content’s potential value to prospects.
For instance, if you’re targeting your audience with the right keywords and generating a lot of impressions but few conversions, your content might not align with the needs or challenges of your audiences.
Choosing which content to create can come down to a number of factors. Promoting new content can deliver faster returns on your investment of time. Alternatively, you can focus on generating even greater results from your top performing content.
Finding the right keywords
“The most effective inbound approach to PPC is to seriously consider the intent of your chosen keywords and align them with the promoted content and where it falls in the funnel,” says Mike.
If you’re promoting a very top of the funnel offer but bidding on keywords that more closely align with the intent of someone in the decision-making stage, it’s unlikely that your amplification will be effective.
As you conduct your keyword research, consider what value or level of education the content you’re promoting is providing and where it best fits in the buyer’s journey. This should help you identify keywords that not only reach the right audience, but reach them at the appropriate time in their process.
“If you’re unsure about the intent about a given keyword is, just Google it and see what other ads and results come up,” says Mike. “It’s a pretty efficient way to get an understanding of where a keyword falls in the funnel.”
Using phrase match vs. broad match
After you have identified keywords that match the subject of your content and the intent of your buyers, it’s time to determine whether you should use broad match or phrase match keywords.
When you’re just starting out with PPC, broad matches can be the preferred way to go. Taking a broad match approach will ensure your ads will reach the widest possible audience.
Google will show broad match ads to people searching for many variations of the same keyword. For example, inbound marketing as a broad match keyword will also show your ad on search queries for inbound marketing strategies.
Alternatively, a phrase match approach is a much more targeted approach where the specified keyword must exactly match the searcher’s query in order for your ad to appear. While it may sound as though content amplification deserves the widest audience possible to get the most impressions and leads, phrase match targeting is more likely to get you the best-fit prospects.
“If broad match is casting a wide net into a big lake, phrase match is knowing where the good fishing spot is and casting a smaller net,” says Mike.
That said, if you take a phrase match approach, it’s important to identify keywords that have enough search volume to support your ads.
Paying attention to data
With that in mind, it’s important to keep track of data to be sure that your content amplification efforts are working. Just because you have high-fit, high-intent keywords doesn’t mean your ads will garner impressions.
If the search volume isn’t there for enough of your audience to actually see your content, it won’t be amplified at all, will it?
Alternatively, if you’re getting a lot of impressions but you’re not seeing a high click-through rate, you should consider whether the keyword or content offer is relevant to your audience at that time or whether your ad copy or design needs improvement.
Paid advertising and inbound marketing do not have to be at odds with one another. Instead, PPC advertising can help bolster your content production efforts by driving results sooner than traditional organic methods and expanding your reach.
This post was originally published December 5, 2016.
Chris is a Brand Marketer at New Breed where he is responsible for crafting design and video assets that support our brand. When he's not behind the camera, he enjoys kayaking and tending to his sourdough starter.