If you’ve gone through my site, you might be wondering: “WTF is content marketing?”
I’ve done my best to explain it in normal human terms, but I completely understand how frustrating it is to think you’ve found a solution…but, you’re not quite sure what that solution is because it seems to be in another language.
Let’s demystify content marketing. First, it really is what it sounds like: marketing using content. However, there are a whole bunch of things involved in making sure it’s worth the effort. And that whole bunch of things is typically what people get deer-in-headlights about.
I’m going to explain the most common terms below so that next time you talk to a content marketer, you can be like, “yeah, but is that the right source to get an inbound link for search optimization?” Knowledge is everything, my friends.
Inbound marketing brings people to your site by earning their attention through various techniques (like content marketing!). This is opposed to outbound marketing, which is you going out and finding customers, like cold-calling, advertising on Google, and television ads. Inbound is less pushy, and draws people to you who have already expressed interest in what you do or write about.
Any business should employ a mix of both inbound and outbound, but don’t get them confused because many marketing professionals specialize in one or the other.
Conversion rates are the #1 thing you should be measuring when you’re doing online marketing. A conversion happens when someone who visits your site, say a sales page, takes a desired action, like subscribing to your email list or purchasing a product.
A conversion rate is the number of actual conversions divided by the number of visitors. Example: Out of the 100 people that visited this page, 10 of them subscribed to my email list = 10% conversion rate. The idea is to continuously improve your conversion rate, which means that a higher percentage of people who visit your page are taking the right action.
While sales funnels are not specific to content marketing, content marketing does play a key role in getting someone to enter your sales funnel? Sound frightening…it can be.
A sales funnel is simply the sales process of moving a prospect, or someone who qualifies to, or should buy, your product, to become a customer. Enjoy this graphic to help you out.
Just like the beautiful fir trees you don’t chop down for Christmas, evergreen content typically lives forever in one place. A great example is a pre-recorded online course. You can take the course over and over again, at any time of the year, and all the provider needs to do is maintain it. Evergreen content is valuable because it gets more reach with less effort.
This a part of inbound and content marketing. Inbound links are links to your site from another site. If you did a guest post somewhere, the link in your bio leading back to your website is an inbound link.
Inbound links are a major help in increasing your ranking on search engines like Google and Bing.
Straight up: people who can influence others buying decisions, whether that’s buying into an idea or product. These are people with major street cred online, like social media celebrities, actual celebrities, thought leaders, and bloggers/product reviewers. When they tell other people to like and buy your stuff, they add social proof that what you offer is THAT good.
These are words that people type in to search for something…the key words they use. Ensuring that your website is ranking on search engines for certain keywords that your audience uses is, well key to getting more of that inbound traffic we talked about earlier.
Keywords are also known as hashtags (#word) in the social media world.
A lot of people get landing page confused with sales page, because us annoying content marketers use the terms interchangeably. Another term you’ll come across is squeeze page, which is also essentially the same thing. To make your life easier, let’s just say they’re all the same thing and call them landing pages.
Landing pages are typically temporary pages on your site with a specific mission: to drive the sale of your product or service, or to generate leads by getting people to sign up on your email list. Landing pages typically have a one-column design (no distracting sidebars) and are designed specifically for conversions. They are the opposite of a homepage with multiple click options, and if temporary should be setup so that Google doesn’t index them because that will hurt your search ranking.
There are a gajillion different ways to optimize things, but what does it really mean? It means to design that tool or piece of content for a specific reason or action.
For example, if someone wants to optimize their blog post for social media, they’ll make it easy to share via social media share buttons, maybe a click-to-tweet link, a featured image so when someone shares the article on social media the image shows up, and metadata so that when someone shares the article it also pulls text from the article.
You’ll hear people say they want to optimize for conversion, optimize for lead generation (which is the same thing as conversion), clicks, search engines…all the things.
Editorial calendars are key to awesome content marketing. In short, they are content planners that outline what content you will create and share when. Good editorial calendars also include who the audience is for every piece of content and by analyzing them over time you can see where there may be gaps and opportunities for more content creation.
You feel a little bit better about what content marketing is now, don’t you? See, knowledge is key! Now you can walk into a meeting with a content marketer and tell whether they actually know what they’re talking about, AND you can offer some suggestions to add to their strategy moving forward. Don’t let content marketing jargon stop you from content marketing.