What to do when you don’t have (enough) money for paid ads?

While paid ads can be very successful, they are expensive and only getting more so.

What is the alternative?

Content marketing!

The best possible way to provide value to your potential customers is through content marketing, it cannot be recommended enough.

>> If you take the time to put together a detailed and well-structured content marketing strategy, follow through by producing excellent content that your audience wants to consume, and then promote it to the right people then you’ll have a great foundation to build a customer relationship from.

Promotion is arguably the most important step of content marketing, but it’s also the one that businesses struggle with the most so here are 5 ways to promote content that should be more effective than programmatic advertising.

Social media ads

The biggest opportunity to promote content comes through social media. Facebook and LinkedIn both have detailed targeting methods to ensure you’re able to narrow down and target the audience you’re most interested in.

True, this is a form of paid ads but as the ads blend in with posts on the platform, the audience is less blind to them. Promoting organic posts is also much cheaper than other kinds of ads.

Organic social

Ads aren’t the only way to promote content on Social Media. When it comes to non-advertised content on Facebook, you can build groups that contain your existing and potential customers. This is even better than just promoting content as you provide a place for them to discuss the common interests that align with your business. By monitoring these discussions you can better understand what’s important to them in order to improve your product, service or messaging. And don’t forget, you can still get some organic reach with Instagram and LinkedIn.


If you’re producing video content, then YouTube is another effective way to distribute it. If you’re not producing video content, why not? YouTube has more than a billion users, and 45% of people watch at least an hour of video on Facebook or Youtube a week. People often forget that YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the western world, it’s a great place to promote your content and be found by your prospective customers.

Organic search

Speaking of search engines, you can generate a ton of awareness through SEO if you write high quality, engaging content on high volume topics and keywords. You’ll need to put in the effort with link building and onsite optimization if you want it to rank, but once it does, you should be consistently driving free traffic into the top of your funnel.


The last recommendation for distributing content is to partner with brands, publications, or influencers who have a large following.

This can take a variety of forms: guest posting, third-party newsletter distribution, and influencer marketing are the most common.

Other than guest posting, they’re not evergreen so once the email or promotion is over, you’re unlikely to keep generating value. However, if you do need a boost in engagement around a particular time of year then it could be a great option.

Combine them

Although you have a number of options when it comes to promoting content, you shouldn’t rely on just one to be the magic bullet. You’ll get significantly better results if you can combine a number of these tactics together to ensure that your content is consumed, not just seen, by the right people.


It doesn’t need to be one or the other, content or paid ads. If you’ve got the resources to do both then, by all means, go for it. But if your time or budget is limited, then I prioritize content marketing for generating awareness.

A more effective alternative to programmatic advertising

PS. It sounds like an exaggeration when you first hear it but you quickly find out it’s true when you actually start doing content marketing: spend at least 50% of the time on promoting the content, the rest on writing. And if you need to adjust the rate, adjust it in favor of distribution.