Digital Marketing

Content discovery 101: Everything you need to know

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Let’s say you have a library chock full of great content — from blog posts and eBooks to infographics, video content and one-pagers.

That’s good and all, but that high-quality content won’t be of much value if your existing and potential customers can’t find or access your assets.

A resource library on your site is one good way to publicize your content, but it’s hardly the only step content marketers should take to share their original content far and wide.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at content discovery — specifically, what tools and content discovery platforms you can use to get your content in front of readers’ eyes.

The options range from free social sites to paid native advertising services, so let’s get into it.

What is content discovery?

“Content discovery” pretty much explains itself: It’s the process by which customers and online users find and engage with your content. Some may be voracious content hounds who go actively looking for great content, while others may be more passive and let content recommendations come to them.

As content creators, you should be fully aware of how your target audience discovers content. This is Step 1 to engagement, and this knowledge is essential to content marketing success.

One way to address this diversity in content discovery habits is to create consumer personas that outline how each may encounter a content asset. For instance, your high-intent corporate buyer may be actively looking for content through a search engine, while others may stumble upon assets when using social media.

What is a content discovery platform?

In short, a content discovery platform is a tool expressly built for displaying your content in front of the right audience.

Whereas content discovery may be more informal when conducted through social media marketing, leveraging a content discovery platform can help drive traffic and increase engagement.

You might have seen these content discovery engines in action before without even noticing. Ever reached the end of a news article and then be presented with tiles of “Recommended for you” content? That’s the work of a content discovery tool that takes the shape of native advertising.

It’s a bit like Netflix, which changed the content game with its machine learning-influenced recommendations. These platforms host oodles of content and depend on user activity data and your own content metadata to display the most relevant assets to any internet user within your target audience.

The upshot of using a content discovery platform is you can avoid pop-up ads and other intrusive means to advertising your original content.

6 top content discovery tools

Content marketers have a range of options when it comes to improving their content discovery strategy, from free social media sites to paid placement through a content discovery platform. Here are some of the best tools at your disposal:

1. Facebook

This powerhouse social site is perhaps the No. 1 destination for many consumers passively looking for content. Social media marketing is fundamental to any modern marketing strategy, and utilizing Facebook to reach your audience is a no-brainer. Posting your original content to your brand page, and even sharing it in Facebook groups, can bring your content front and center.

2. Twitter

Like Facebook, Twitter is a social media platform that’s used daily by hundreds of millions of people. That scale makes it impossible to ignore as a content discovery tool. Of course, you’ll want to be cognizant of what content to showcase on Twitter, as video content and short-form blogs may be more enticing for readers who are constantly refreshing their feed.

3. Taboola

Taboola is a paid content discovery platform that will place your original content next to editorial pieces from established, respected publishers. “Location, location, location” isn’t just a real estate axiom, but one that applies to content creation, too. As a paid service, Taboola can leverage its machine learning capabilities and native advertising format to get your content more clicks, views and engagement.

4. YouTube

Video is a high-performing content type that’s becoming more important to modern content marketing. If you have brand assets like employee interviews, customer testimonials or other videos, be sure to upload them to YouTube. In fact, YouTube recently made content discovery easier than ever on its platform after introducing a hashtag function similar to Twitter.

5. Outbrain

Similar to Taboola, Outbrain can help brands and content marketers get their assets in front of a huge audience. With publisher agreements including CNN, The Washington Post and Condé Nast, among others, Outbrain offers its customers a scale they likely can’t achieve on their own. Using its native advertising services can help boost your original content and resonate with your target audience.

6. Reddit

You either hate Reddit or you love it. And if you’re a content marketer, you should have plenty of reasons to love this site. Given the diversity of r/ verticals, you have a primer audience ready to engage with the content you post to the groups Reddit users subscribe to. Plus, any given post has the potential to become a trending item, further enlarging your audience and boosting your content discovery KPIs.

Content curation tips for enhancing discoverability

Content discovery — as simple as it may be for online users — can be difficult for content marketers to perfect. To help improve your content creation and curation efforts, here are some tips you can use to enhance your efforts, drive metrics and make an impression on customers:

  • Do some content discovery of your own: In order to be relevant and insightful, you need to know what topics and trends your own customers are reading or talking about. There are a number of tools you can use, like BuzzSumo, that can clue you into hot topics. Writing about trends can increase the discoverability of your content, especially if it’s on a subject that users are very interested in.
  • Don’t forget your metadata: Metadata is the hidden backbone of your content. Without it, your efforts are surely made much harder. Plus, content discovery platforms like Taboola and Outbrain require metadata in order to power their matching and placement services.
  • Track your campaigns: In order to justify paying for a discovery platform, you’ll need the numbers to back it up. Conversely, if your content sharing efforts are lagging, it might indicate an opportunity to generate ROI through leveraging a content discovery platform.

A last word on content discovery

Content discovery is an ongoing process and function of a greater content marketing strategy. It requires constant fine-tuning and updating to ensure your new content is current, relevant and valuable to users.

Have some tips of your own for improving content discovery? Share them below!