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Once upon a time, promoting a business was all about the dollars: buying space in print publications and on TV and radio, and using that space to let people know about your products or services.
In those days, if you could pay, you could play.
Then came social media, and suddenly businesses could post, update, and tweet their way to a prominent space in the minds of their customers and prospects. Big corporation or solopreneur, wealthy or cash-strapped, no matter — just get folks to follow you and you get an all-expense-paid ticket to that glorious little screen right in front of their eager eyeballs.
And best of all, it was all free, so any idiot could play.
And every idiot did.
Now where do we find ourselves? Struggling to get our content seen within the beyond-overcrowded tsunami that is the average Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter user’s news feed.
How bad is it? Well, I just checked my own stats, and currently my unpromoted Facebook posts reach, on average, less than 20 percent of my fans. On LinkedIn, it’s even less than that.
Fortunately, there is a solution to this boondoggle, and it rhymes with “money.”
Well, okay, actually, it is money.
Let’s face it, folks: a few years ago, quality was enough to make you stand out, and the advice “just create compelling content and promote it to your tribe” was completely valid. If your post or update or tweet was well thought-out, well written, and well tagged, the chances of it being seen, liked, and shared were pretty darn good.
But these days, compelling content just isn’t enough. The promoted social update and the sponsored post are gradually evolving from “nice to haves” to “must haves” for any marketer hoping to have a snowball’s chance in you-know-where of getting his or her content seen.
In other words, if you can pay, you can play.
Welcome to the New Age of Advertising.