SimpleReach CEO Edward Kim writes in a recent Ad Age column that digital publishers must transcend the “analog values” that inform a prevailing aversion to paid promotion of content. Kim asserts that the opportunity cost of relying on word of mouth and earned distribution of articles is too high.
“If your traffic is spread across a large percentage of your content, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a well-diversified library. Rather, it means you’re likely leaving value on the table that could be extracted from your winners,” Kim writes.
“When you choose not to invest to promote your highest-potential content, you’re essentially assuming that organic channels are sufficient to reach the fully addressable audience for your content. … If you have a great product, then invest in it. Get it in front of the widest addressable audience possible, which is both a benefit for your potential readers and also for your business goals.”
Kim argues that the reluctance of publishers to pay for amplified content stems from the print model. Unlike other media like TV networks, studios, and record labels, pre-digital magazines and other publications were forced to market their product as a whole – they couldn’t promote one article, for instance, as if it were a show, movie, or album.
But now, in a post-print world of search and social side doors, they can – and, according to Kim, must – focus resources on powerhouse pieces that bring in the most visitors and revenue.
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