Your Content Marketing FAQs, Answered

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Content marketing has always existed. Before the term picked up buzz in 2012, it was simply known as “marketing.” So, what is content marketing? Is it a subset of SEO or does it encompass SEO, social media and much more? It’s brand awareness. It’s thought leadership. It’s lead gen. Content marketing is marketing.

The purpose of this post is not only to answer some commonly asked questions about content marketing but to help marketing managers answer the golden question: What can content marketing do for my business? Let’s get into those content marketing FAQs!

What Is the Difference Between Content Marketing and SEO?

While SEO and content marketing are very much related, we like to think of them as art and science. Content marketing is the art and SEO is the science. Content marketing is delivering information to your target audience through various channels and leaving them with a favorable impression of your brand. The content itself can take many forms – and it should be artful! SEO is much more technical and scientific, involving keyword targets, meta data, links, site speed, and more.

Need help understanding these terms?

Does SEO Come First, or Does Content Marketing?

We usually start on the SEO side of things with a technical site audit to ensure the website has a solid foundation from which to grow. Search data informs target keywords and, ultimately, the content we create.

While SEO and content marketing are very much related, you need a strong foundation of SEO to use content marketing most effectively.

Do I Need a Blog to Do Content Marketing?

No, you don’t need a blog to do content marketing. However, blogging is a popular channel for content marketing, as it allows you to publish information that’s relevant to your industry and rank organically for keywords your target audience is querying.

Rather than a blog, though, gated content also works splendidly, as it allows you to build your owned audience and market to them later. We have found success by using blogs or resources (gated or ungated) as the source of content and then distributing the content through other channels (like email, social media and PR). The content helps build your owned audience, which you continue to nurture with more content.

It’s Great for Brand Awareness, But Does Content Marketing Drive Sales?

Yes, if that’s your goal. Like any marketing campaign, it depends on your aim. If your goal is to drive awareness, your content is going to address top-of-the-funnel queries. If your goal is to drive sales, your content is going to address bottom-of-funnel queries.

Let’s use a home organization service as an example.

For brand awareness, we may produce a video titled “How to Organize Your Purse.” While it’s interesting and highly searched, not many people proceed to book an appointment right after watching the video. (If their experience of the brand was good, however, they may come back later for information or a purchase.)

For sales, we may produce a gated eGuide that illustrates the financial and emotional benefits of getting organized and maintaining an organized home. The eGuide addresses any concerns the homeowner may have in the decision phase of the sales journey.

Is Content Marketing Only for Big National Brands?

No, content marketing is not just for big brands. Most small brands engage in content marketing using a customer relationship management (CRM) strategy. Content marketing is how businesses entice users to either follow them on social media or subscribe to emails.

When it comes to concepting content marketing campaigns, whether it be a blog post or a YouTube video, smaller businesses should be mindful that their audience is… small. Therefore, the content should also be hyperlocal or regional. If you’re an electrician in Detroit, don’t publish a piece about energy consumption amongst MLB ballparks. Instead, write a piece about which Detroit sports stadium consumes the most energy. Think about topics that uniquely appeal to your market.

What Is Data-Driven Content Marketing?

Data-driven content marketing uses collected data to build a persona that represents your target audience. With the persona or audience description, you can better tailor your campaign to what customers or potential customers need to hear from you. After publishing the content, you can measure views and engagement metrics to refine from there.

Every campaign needs to be validated by search data or market research, not just use interesting topics in the hopes someone might read them. Many brands assume they have a dedicated audience like they’re a major news publication. The truth is, nobody is checking your blog daily for new content. And your news feed? Only a fraction of your followers ever see your latest posts.

content marketing faq

Ideas to consider:

  • Check Google Trends to see when the topic is most relevant – or whether it’s relevant at all!
  • Check search volume to see how many people are searching for the topic.
  • Check demographics to see who is searching for the content.
  • Check social analytics to see which types of content are most engaging.
  • Check Google Analytics to see which types of content convert at higher rates.

And so much more. Without data, you’re flying blind and wasting a ton of resources on ideas you think are great. Data lets you see what your audience actually wants.

How to Measure Content Marketing Success:

Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) at the forefront of any content marketing campaign, based on your campaign goals. Once you’ve identified your goals and how your KPIs show progress, you can track indicators throughout the campaign’s duration.

How to Identify KPIs

The KPIs, of course, depend on the goal of the campaign. If the goal is to increase brand awareness through organic search, consider using organic sessions or organic pageviews as your primary KPI. If your goal is to drive leads, consider tracking form fills through all marketing channels. You can get even more granular than that. If you’re promoting content on Facebook, look at Facebook referrals. If you’re promoting the same piece of gated content via email and social, measure the impact of both. The important step is establishing a goal, which makes it much easier to develop a strategy. Only then can you identify KPIs that measure the success of that strategy.

How Does Social Media Support Content Marketing?

Social media is a form of content marketing, just like passing out pamphlets or dedicated blogging. If your audience consists of a lot of social media users, go to where they are. Using social media platforms that your audience uses allows you to put information in front of people who will probably be interested in it.

How to Get Started with Content Marketing

Start by identifying your goals. Why are you producing content? What do you want consumers of your content to ultimately do? Identifying the goal helps you determine the type of content you’ll want to produce and the channels you’ll want to use. This step is not easy. It’s exactly why so many brands rely on experienced marketing partners to identify the campaigns and channels that fetch the greatest return on their investment.

Your Vertically Integrated Digital Marketing Agency

So, what are your marketing goals? Oneupweb has more than 20 years of SEO and content marketing experience. We can help you define, pursue and crush all your marketing goals – content or otherwise. Let’s talk.  

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Taylor Holloran, Account Manager I joined Oneupweb after spending five years as an editor and project manager for an electronic publishing company in Traverse City. Before moving to northern Michigan, I worked on the ground for several international aid organizations, supporting development and conservation projects in Argentina, the Philippines and Cambodia. My experience working with...

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