Principles of Content Promotion

Promote Wisely - Principles of Content Promotion

Content-as-marketing isn’t new. The promotional tools, though… Those are new. We’ve never had as cool a toolset as we have now. It’s easy to get drunk on the possibilities. Sober up:

Promote Lightly-Branded Content at Top of Funnel

Lightly and non-branded content is a top-of-funnel vehicle. Don’t promote it to a high-intent, bottom-of-funnel audience. You’ll see limited results.

I, uh, tested this while helping out a friend & colleague with a local political campaign.

In our current political environment, I will not share names, but it wasn’t a national candidate, so cool your jets.

She wrote a great piece about a broader political issue in her campaign. We promoted it to everyone except her fans, and it hit a home run. Likes, shares, comments, clicks. I was like Eli Gold.

Then, for some stupid reason, I promoted it to her existing fans. It was a complete dud. No likes. No shares. No comments.

Campaign 101 is to get your name in front of the voters as much as possible. But people closer to the top of the funnel need to see the lightly branded stuff.

It seems obvious in hindsight: The almost converted want answers to product/service questions. They’ll come back for the lightly-branded information later.

Don’t spend dollars pushing lightly-branded content to the bottom of the funnel.

Promote Heavily Branded Content at Bottom of Funnel

Do amplify heavily-branded content at the bottom of the funnel. You’re already directly promoting your product or service (or candidate). But do you promote heavily-branded content that’s not a product description?

Say you run PPC ads for your $900 gaming mouse. You say it’s a great value. You say it’s lighter. You should also promote the case study about a video games star who won a tournament using your product. And the piece about your product research team.

Heavily-branded content seals the deal with almost-customers. Promote it to them.

Create Layered Retargeting Pools

Content of all types is your best retargeting pool builder.

Use lightly-branded content to build one retargeting pool. Then promote moderately-branded content to that audience.

Use moderately-branded content to build another retargeting pool. Then promote heavily-branded content to that audience.

Use heavily-branded content to build your final retargeting pool. Run conversion-targeted, direct-response ads for that audience.

Great Promotion Won’t Sell Rubbish

It’s a tired-as-hell principle because everyone says it: Great marketing won’t sell a crappy product. I promise that the moment brands follow it, I’ll stop talking about it.

Promote the unique stuff. Teach me something. At some point, we all have to produce content that says “be authentic.” We don’t have to waste money promoting it.

Market the well-executed stuff. I’ve never done this (cough), but if you raced to publish something and know it lacks polish, think twice before you spend money on promotion.

Don’t waste money promoting garbage. Content is a product. Promotion helps if you create great stuff, not if you ooze informational mucus.

OK, All Done

I hope this isn’t a tired rehash of things people have read elsewhere. If it is, I apologize, particularly after that last principle. But I rarely see huge content promotion budgets. Spend carefully, and follow the principles.

CEO & Founder

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at

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