Relevant Content Makes Discovering It Easier

Content discovery, a native ad unit recognized by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, occurs when an ad or paid content link is delivered via a “widget.” Steve Cody, CEO of Peppercomm, said even the best funded combinations of search discovery tools will fall flat “if the content itself is self-serving and intended to sell products and services.” Below are some other key tips.

1. Set objectives.

Ask: What do I want to accomplish? This could include driving traffic to a brand-owned website, increasing brand awareness, or creating a lift in website conversions. Identifying what you want the content to do will make it much easier to tackle the next step.

2. Identify the content you want to promote.

Pick content based on your objectives. If you want to increase traffic to a branded recipe site, then test a few individual recipes from the site. If brand awareness is the goal, consider driving to recent media placements.

3. Follow the rules.

Keep in mind that home pages, product pages and general navigation pages are not acceptable content. This means you can’t drive to a product page on a corporate site to promote a product launch. However, you could develop a microsite that includes editorial content about the new product.

For example, engage a group of influencers to test the product in advance and write a review, including pictures, that you can house on the microsite. Planning ahead will ensure you have editor-approved content ready to go.

4. Upload your content.

Once you’ve identified the right piece(s) of content, it’s time to upload the URL and an image, as well as craft a headline. Consider testing multiple images and headlines across different content discovery platforms to see which combination drives the greatest engagement. Don’t use overt marketing or sales language.

5. Set your targeting parameters.

Each content discovery platform offers different targeting options based on demographics, geography and interests. Select targeting criteria that align with your objectives.

6. Measure performance and optimize.

Track the impressions and clicks that each set of creative is driving and then optimize based on performance. Keep in mind that content discovery often proves to be a more effective tool for driving awareness than paid search, so PR professionals who run content discovery campaigns should compare their CPC and CPM results with those of recent paid search campaigns.

Picking the Right Content

  • Owned content such as posts or videos from a corporate blog, brand newsroom, content hub or YouTube channel: A food company that manages a recipe site may consider using paid content discovery to increase the reach of a fan-favorite recipe during a relevant season or holiday.
  • Earned content like media coverage and organic blog posts: A positive product review from a leading online tech publication could be promoted via paid content discovery, targeting other readers with an affinity for technology.
  • Paid content like sponsored content on blogs or publisher sites: A brand that partners with a blogger network may want to extend the reach of a few of the network’s highest quality blog posts via paid content discovery.

Source: Monica Bhandarkar is VP of social media and marketing at JSH&A. The above content is an excerpt from PR News’ Book of Content Marketing Strategies & Tactics. To order a copy, please go to

This article originally appeared in the June 22, 2015 issue of PR News. Read more subscriber-only content by becoming a PR News subscriber today.