Online experts continually advise web publishers to create long-form articles that result in clicks, reads, shares, and eventually, purchases.
There are many upon many organic strategies listed for generating SEO-friendly, clickable, and actionable articles. Such organic promotion makes sense because it’s free, leads to genuine interest in the article, and results in evergreen content that experiences high traffic over an extended period of time.
Far less discussed is the idea of paying money to promote an article, and why monetary promotion is sometimes even better than letting an article pick up steam naturally. This paid promotion applies not only to sales-y, call-to-action articles but even to non-marketing and “traditional” articles.
So, when would you want to pay to promote your articles?
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1. When the audience is highly targeted.
Let’s say you have a worthwhile article for a very limited audience. That audience is limited because of its geographic region, for example, or because of its interests. In such cases, you’re really not after traffic volume so much as specific and key audience members.
With paid promotion, you can select who will see your article based on their profiles. This is especially true in the realm of social media. Facebook Ads, for instance, can be directed at audience segments based on their age ranges, interests, and geographic locations. Twitter ads can be similarly tailored towards specific audience members based on which handles they follow or what they are tweeting about.
Such targeting cuts down on “noise” and let’s you focus on the behavior of very select audiences.
2. When time is of the essence.
It takes a while for an article to gain momentum and high traffic volume- which is fine if you have weeks or months of time available. But what if time is short and you need people to take action now?
When you wish to discuss an upcoming event and have people act on it, paying money to promote your article about that event is a good idea. Likewise, if your article is highlighting current news, you need audience reaction now, not later.
3. When you want feedback fast.
Articles gather comments and shares over time, but that may not be an ideal situation if you are sitting on multiple offers or ideas and wondering how to go forward with your plans.
Let’s say you have three book ideas for your audience, but you definitely don’t want to write three books to learn which one book they would like best. You could write an article that discusses the three books, pay money to promote your article to your audience, and obtain valuable and fast feedback that helps you narrow down which book you should focus your energies on.
Essentially, if you have multiple offers/ideas, and you don’t want to waste time and/or money on creating all offers/ideas, paying money to obtain audience feedback is a great timesaver.
4. When you want to go viral.
Facebook won’t even feature posts in its news feed unless they have been extensively shared and commented on. Yes, Facebook really wants (to make money by forcing) you to boost your posts- but sometimes, the outcome is well worth it. Going viral can lead to new customers, fans, social media mentions, and if you’re really lucky, an interview on a big blog or news website.
If your story is interesting enough and you truly believe that your message would be of interest to a wider audience, going viral is a goal worth shooting for.
5. When page views matter.
There are news sites such as Forbes that operate on a revenue share model, meaning that they pay writers based on how much traffic their articles generate. Other sites, like The Motley Fool, bump up your pay-per-article rate once your articles generate additional page views.
With quality rev-share sites, the income that can be earned just from page views alone is astounding- so much so that it may not be a bad gamble to pay a few dollars up-front for social (or other) article promotion.
Investing money to make money should be done carefully, with cost analysis always in mind. Still, if this approach gets you much needed traffic and even “virality,” it may well pay off.
The cost of marketing
Regardless of what you’re writing about, publishing your writing always puts you in the arena of marketing. Let’s face it- if you had no interest in spreading your ideas to other individuals, you’d write your content in your diary and keep it hidden. By the very act of publishing, you are trying to convince other to see things your way and take some sort of action- even if that action involved thinking differently.
Thus, it can be argued that every time we write, we are marketing. As such, promoting our written content through paid methods merely takes publication to a higher and more efficient form. If it can be afforded, it should definitely be explored.