Any kind of advertising copywriting has its challenges, but the promotion of content marketing assets means telling a special kind of story, in a special kind of way.
Whereas traditional online ads might be focusing on directly pitching the merits of a product or service, for instance, content marketing assets are usually being promoted as a more indirect means to that end.
A blog post, for instance, might be serving to demonstrate that a company is in tune with its core audience’s interests, which might not be directly related to what it sells at all. A white paper might get into the details of a product, but it could also serve as a higher-level guide to trends in a particular industry or market. Video content, infographics and the like might all be considered top-of-the-funnel content to drive awareness before getting potential customers and prospects to dig deeper and more towards an actual purchase.
Unless a company already has an extremely large and highly engaged built-in audience, however, even the best content marketing assets will likely need some kind of extra push through paid media promotions. Marketing automation tools like Marketing Cloud have the capabilities to manage these kinds of activities, but it all starts with having the right “creative” or content in the ads to get people to download or otherwise click through to the content marketing asset.
If you’ve never written ad copy for a content marketing promotion (or “native ad” as they’re sometimes called), that’s okay. A lot of it will likely build on what you already know about marketing, except that you’re selling interest in an idea, or driving demand around your thought leadership.
Do: Identify The Asset Type — And The Time Commitment Required
Some native ads try to be deliberately vague about what they’re pitching, using a catchy headline of some kind. Unlike an e-mail subject line, however, where the recipient might already be in their inbox and therefore more tempted to open the message and scroll through it, online ads need to work harder to prompt actual conversions.
If you’re using ads to drive traffic to your blog, for instance, making it clear that you’re directing them to blog content in the copy might reassure your audience that you’re not pushing a product, and that reading the post might only involve a matter of minutes. Being specific about the fact you’re promoting an eBook or white paper, on the other hand, will tell them this is something that will take more time to peruse, and will likely require them to input some basic contact information in exchange for a download. If you’re trying to drive views for a video, letting them know it’s less than two and a half minutes might make the difference between the audience choosing to watch or simply turning back to whatever else is surrounding the ad on screen.
Don’t: Give Away All The Spoilers
Have you ever watched the trailer for a movie and thought you’d basically seen all the main plot points in under three minutes? That’s exactly what you want to avoid in a native ad.
If you’re promoting a research report based on a survey you conducted, for instance, you don’t have to choose the most startling or most provocative statistic to get interest. Instead, think about how you can position the data. Describe how knowing the number will make up their mind about a key business decision, for instance. Talk about how the research stat will debunk a commonly-held perception.
In many cases you have limited space on an ad, so ensure you’re only using it to feature something that would make them want to click through with giving the best part away.
Do: Put Your Personas Front And Centre
When content marketing assets were being developed, you might have sketched out a typical segment within your customer base as the intended target audience. This could be someone who worked in a particular role, like the CEO or CFO, or it could be someone working in a particular industry, such as retail or health care.
Those personas might not have been explicitly called out in the assets you created, but when it’s time to create a native ad to promote them, you might want to deliberately frame the tagline or other copy around them. Talk about why the content will address something that keeps them up at night, for instance, or describe how clicking through will somehow make them more successful in their day-to-day work.
Don’t: Limit Yourself To A Single Asset
While some assets, like blog posts, might be somewhat time-sensitive, others might have a longer shelf life. That means it may be worth looking beyond a native ad to promote a single asset but instead a collection of assets.
Take your case study library, for instance. You may have a strong recent case study, but the customer might not be a well-known “marquee” name. If that’s the case, you could develop ad copy that references the overall number of firms in your case study library, a sample of brief quotes drawn from multiple case studies and so on.
Do: Offer ROIs And Outcomes
Great content marketing is informative, educational and entertaining. It may include a call to action to learn more or talk to a sales rep, but that doesn’t belong in your native ad copy. Instead, write about where the asset might take them in terms of return-on-investment for their attention and interest.
“Learn how to make your customers happy in less time,” might be the template for one such line. “This blog post will turn your critics into promoters,” might be another. Of course, you shouldn’t promise something the content can’t deliver, but make sure the audience is already thinking about what they’ll be doing after they’ve consumed the content, rather than simply focusing on how great it is.
There are many things involved in more traditional ad copywriting that apply well to content marketing promotions or native ads. These include rigorous A/B testing, refreshing content whenever possible and of course, using Marketing Cloud to continually ensure you’re getting the most out of every single word.