Paid Content Distribution: How, Why, and the Pros/Cons

Content marketing is no longer option for businesses–whether you’re posting videos or articles, you need to give people a reason to visit your site (and keep visiting it). Let’s face it: Nobody is sitting at their computers obsessively refreshing your home or about pages. Entertaining or useful content gives them a reason to stick around and keep you top of mind. 

But sometimes, it takes more than just sharing on social channels to kickstart traffic to your content. This is where paid content distribution can come in.

What is paid content distribution?

You know how when you finish an article and there’s links under a header that reads, “You might also be interested in…”? Sometimes, these are on-site links, but many times, these are part of a paid content distribution network. Those are referred to as “related content linking,” and are the most common type of content distribution; there’s also in stream posts (where the related content is shared in the middle of the post, instead of at the end of it), and related visual sharing, which is for videos, slideshows, etc.

The way it works is simple: you, the end user, pay the content distributor. After you set up a campaign with the content distributor, your content starts showing up on sites within the distributor’s network. You pay either per click (CPC) or per thousand views (CPM); typically, content distribution is CPC, but sometimes CPM is an option.

Why would you use it?

The “why” is pretty simple: you want more eyes on your content. Whether your business is doing well and you want to take it to the next level, or you’re just focused on taking your content marketing up a notch, you want to get the word out about your business. Paid content distribution is a good choice for businesses that already have great content that people would be interested in reading.

If you’re starting out with a tight budget, paid content distribution might not be for you. And if you haven’t already created high-quality content (and demonstrated that that content can and will bring you new customers), it might not be a good option, either. But if you’ve got something to work with and you’re willing to experiment to get better results (or have an agency that you’re working with to do that for you), then paid content distribution could help you increase your number of leads and customers.

Three options for paid content distribution:

Outbrain 

Cost: CPC, $0.25-0.35 per click

Outbrain is one of the largest distribution networks and counts notable sites like the Rolling Stone, NBC, FastCompany, and others in its network. By advertising on Outbrain, you’ll pay per click, and the higher your click through rate is, the more your content will be shown to viewers. It shows potential readers a small image and the article headline, so you’ll want to make sure and create the most enticing headline possible. As far as downsides, Outbrain has a minimum budget per day of $10/day, which may be more than you want to spend if you’re starting out with a very small budget.

Taboola

Cost: CPC, normal rates are $0.25-0.35/click, rates go as high as $0.75/click for the top 30 sites

Taboola’s distribution network also includes several high-profile sites, like the Atlantic, Business Insider, USA Today, TMZ, and more. In feature, they’re fairly similar to Outbrain; they include “recommended content” widgets on sites in their network.

Their two differentiators are that:

  1. They’ve recently added new features to their services, letting clients have more control in where and how their content is presented.
  2. They started out as a video recommendation service, which gives them a leg up when it comes to distributing visual-based content.

If neither of those is a factor for you, then it could be as simple as looking at the site networks of Taboola and Outbrain and deciding based on that.

Nativo 

Cost: Unlike Taboola and Outbrain, Nativo charges based on views, with a CPM of $10-18

Nativo is different than Taboola and Outbrain in that it doesn’t show up as “recommended content,” but rather, in-stream content that matches the look and feel of the home site. According to Nativo, the way content is distributed on their network improves native ad performance by 300%. If you were looking at the idea of branded content or advertorial content as part of your marketing efforts, and don’t want to broker deals with individual sites or publications, Nativo could be the way to go.

So if you find that your content isn’t going as far and wide as you would like it to, you may want to look in to doing some paid content distribution to get some additional exposure. And as always, we’re here to help if you need us.