The key to good content marketing is to create a smart strategy and decide on the purpose of your content.
Using organic content is great but has its limitations, which is precisely why many marketers use paid content as well. Ads are very powerful but come with their own problems.
In this article, I am going to explain what those two are and how you can use them in combination and achieve better results.
Keep reading this article to find out some useful tips for organic and sponsored content.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
In simple terms, influencer marketing is a type of marketing that takes place on social media and involves influencers who are endorsing products or services by using them. Since they already have followers, they can market them and work with brands.
Often, influencers are seen as experts or are trusted by their community. This makes brands more driven to promote their products or services through them and achieve better results.
There are many ways for advertising your brand through influencers. What matters is that they are related to your business. They can help you raise your brand awareness and improve your sales if you know how to utilize the latest influencer trends.
Paid vs Organic Content
It doesn’t matter what kind of marketing strategy you want to create, chances are you’re going to need both organic and paid content. In other words, to achieve results, you need to invest some money but have a production of organic content at the same time.
First, organic content is free. Your followers, connections, and friends (depending on the network/social media) are your audiences for organic content. On the other hand, paid content is going outside of your following community. Therefore, non-followers.
Organic social media marketing has the function of letting your potential customer know that they made the right choice. One survey says that more than half of your website visitors come from your brand’s social media. Social monitoring and social listening can help you understand how to approach your audience better.
Organic content is all about creativity, establishing brand voice and awareness, building relationships, and engaging with customers. Of course, it’s difficult in the beginning but there are ways for achieving success or driving growth to your social media.
Pros of Organic Content
This strategy is free and it reinforces connections between your brand and your followers. If you think about it, it’s a reminder of some sort. Your audience is constantly being reminded of your values, how trustworthy you are, and what your brand voice is.
Before starting with social media marketing, it’s a good idea to establish your brand voice. Probably the most famous example comes from Starbucks. On the functional side, their copy is clean and simple. Its function is to be easily found and help customers make orders fast.
However, they are more expressive in showing their brand personality (how passionate they are about coffee, for example).
An interesting fact is that they changed their voice after their head of marketing (Howard Schultz) went to Italy. He wanted to change the Starbucks brand into something more than just a coffee place.
The owners refused but had to sell the business after four years. Schultz bought it and the rest is history. Today, Starbucks is using both functional and expressive brand voice to create top service while remaining a warm place for morning coffee or work.
Cons of Organic Content
One of the cons of organic content is that, unlike some classic strategies such as email marketing, the results are slow. This means that if you start using an organic strategy, don’t expect fast success.
Also, if you’re creating content without (a big) budget, there are certainly a lot of things that require your attention. It goes without saying that this strategy requires a lot of planning and testing. This also means that you’re going to make mistakes.
In the end, spending a lot of time on these requirements will mean spending more money one way or the other because time is money, after all.
Investing in your content is a smart thing to do since there is an increase in customers who purchase products after seeing a paid social ad. There are many benefits of going with this strategy.
Pros of Paid Content
Organic content can go beyond your followers but it’s hard. Paid ads are by default targeting new audiences, which is great for brand awareness. You always need new people to grow your audience. By investing in ads, you’ll get the exposure you need.
Paid ads have a different impact in terms of algorithms. For example, a typical organic post has a lower reach than a paid one. Remember, platforms want you to purchase ads (Facebook and Instagram for example are lowering the reach of organic posts).
Like Facebook, LinkedIn also has some options for marketers. You can choose some of LinkedIn’s integrations that can help you generate more leads.
Those organic posts that performed well have proved their value, which means that you can turn them into paid posts. This will be your best investment since you know that they will have even better results.
Paid content is amazing in terms of targeting. If you want a specific group, a demographic, or even age, you can show them your content.
Cons of Paid Content
The obvious problem for paid content is money, of course. It can be hard to maintain this strategy, especially if you’re a small business or a startup.
It’s not just about paying ads but also setting them right, which often includes having expertise or hiring an expert which is an additional cost.
At times, people are not comfortable seeing the same ads all over again. It can alienate them from your brand and ignore your future messages (organic or paid).
There are a large number of ads showing the same type of products or services as you. It’s going to be hard to make it compelling for your potential customers to pick you rather than your competition.
These were some of the pros and cons. To really improve your content marketing strategy, take a look at possible ways for combining organic and influencers paid content.
How to Combine Organic and Influencer’s Paid Media?
Not All Posts Need to Be Promotional
Take time to create original posts that are a product of your creativity. See what’s left from your content pillars and play around. Make a separate project of those posts. Treat them as a space for utilizing your ideas.
Promotional posts can be used for the most important messages and organic content can play the role of a gap filler. Don’t expect results from those posts, their role is not about raising awareness. They will reinforce your consistency.
For example, think about Facebook ads. You see ads for Nike shoes. However, when you see posts from social media, you will often see content that is not salesy in nature. These posts are there to reinforce the paid ones.
Experiment With Organic Posts
You can be creative and craft an original post on social media and then use those who do well for further promotion. Use organic posts for announcing new launches, improvements, or new offers.
If you don’t have enough reach on those posts, then you can turn them into paid ones. Organic posts that do well can be promoted for additional reach.
Your paid content should always be tested organic. This way, you’ll know that your ROI will be optimal. When you see that an ad is becoming boring or anything, go back to square one. See what else resonates with your audience.
A great example of a brand that creates powerful organic posts and improves them over time is HubSpot. They like to experiment with images, share highly creative advice, and are constantly changing their style.
Take a look at this simple Instagram post. It’s a very simple image and a short copy. The empty line is a powerful way to engage your audience without being pushy and aggressive.
Analyze Your Competition
Marketing is all about marketing trends. You need to pay close attention to your competitors and be aware of their strategy. From time to time, do a little research on the brands in your niche.
For example, Zappos is a well-known shoe company, owned by Amazon. At first, Aldo (another famous shoe retailer) advertised shoes for mostly lower-income customers. Their price for a shoe was around $50.
However, Zappos promoted their shoes for an average price of around $200. Aldo quickly realized that there is a digital market for not only those who are looking for a bargain but for high-end customers. They quickly adjusted their prices. You can learn a lot just by watching your closest competitors.
Offer Helpful Tips
Being helpful is always great for marketing, especially in the beginning. By giving free tips or telling inspirational stories, you are able to make stronger connections with your audience and improve your brand awareness.
A good example of a brand that uses a combination of sponsored and organic content is Headspace. Their organic strategy for social media is focused on building a community of followers.
They use organic social media posts to give tips on meditation, healthy habits, sleep cycles, etc. The company’s sponsored posts are addressing the challenges of their customers, further strengthening their brand.
Analyze Your Followers and Create Your Ideal Audience
You should always promote your content to the right group. What is the right group? It’s your ideal customer, your dream audience.
Organic content will give you a consistent presence of your audience. They consume your content, interact with your posts, write their opinion, etc. These are all valuable information that you must use to your advantage. Every feedback counts!
Think about demographics, how old is your audience? What online places do they like to visit? What are their interests, problems, beliefs, etc.? ?Think hard about this because it will make or break your brand.
Why do you need to know all that? Because, by knowing their features, you will be able to serve them. Your organic content is the bait for the paid ones. It’s a questionnaire disguised as free information.
Let’s say you post something about dogs, how dogs are loyal, how they give you positive energy, etc. In the end, you ask your audience to write what they like about dogs.
If the majority of them like how empathetic they are, you know what to do – make another post about that!
After a while, your organic posts will be a bit targeted so you’ll get more views, engagement, etc.? Those with the best stats are space for ads and should be promoted.
Also, take a look at what the competition is doing. By analyzing their competitors, brands can improve their influencer marketing.
Combine Organic and Paid KPIs
When creating content, you always need KPIs (key performance indicators). They are very important for measuring success and knowing what needs to be improved, what works, etc. You can use this metric to improve your content marketing as well.
For example, look at the data of your organic posts and see which one had the best results in terms of reach, total views, engagement, etc. Then, do the same for paid content. You can use those results and use those posts in a different way.
Great organic posts can, for example, be promoted. Sponsored posts that performed well can be slightly changed for organic experimentation. You can still use the original but play around by posting organically slightly modified versions.
Automation Is Your Friend
Once you set your promotional goals for your ideal audience, it’s time for you to set things in motion. Technology is your most efficient friend these days.
Always use some of the available automation tools for getting rid of those boring tasks. You can schedule organic posts. Approved or disapproved posts based on specific parameters. Set triggers for organic posts that perform well (by your metric).
Always make things easier for your customer. For example, if they need something from your website, use QR codes. This will speed up the process and make your website more efficient in the eyes of your customers.
This is the end of this article (I hope one day I will write “pandemic” instead of “article”), and a beginning of practicing your new marketing ideas (I hope, at least).
In short, organic content can be fun and interesting. It can help you establish a brand voice and raise awareness of your brand. In most cases, organic content is necessary for building relationships with your customers. Sponsored content is a great way to boost the things that proved their value. It can target the right group and increase your audience significantly.