To win big in today’s highly competitive online climate, it's important to combine digital marketing strategies. You can use content marketing to engage your audience and establish your website as a knowledgeable and authoritative source. Add some carefully targeted traffic from paid advertising and you will see your content start to climb up search rankings and do what it was meant to do — inform, engage, and convert.
The Importance of Integrating Content Marketing and Paid Advertising
Marketers have traditionally looked at content marketing vs. advertising as two very separate methods. However, a holistic approach that employs both can produce better results. With paid ads, you can display your message throughout search engines, social media platforms, websites, or apps — anywhere that potential customers will likely see it. When they click through, you can present them with valuable information and guide them to your products or services.
Content marketing works best when you create pillar content that thoroughly covers a broad topic and links to more specific subtopics built around associated keywords. Using paid ads, you can direct potential customers to your pillar content, which will boost your SEO ranking and — if your content is compelling enough — bring in more sales.
Integrating content marketing and paid advertising is not the same as paid content marketing or paid posts. It’s also not a one-time effort. To make this strategy worth the time and money, it's essential to create a marketing plan and calendar that provides a clear overview of your marketing activities, deadlines, and resources.
You will also need to set aside time to evaluate how well your ads and content are performing so that you can continue to better target your audience and improve your content.
Benefits of Integrating Paid Advertising in Your Content Marketing Strategy
Even if you have stellar content, you won't get very far if no one sees it. Paid advertising can help get more eyeballs on your content and help you build brand awareness, even if you are just getting started.
Reach a Wider Audience
While content marketing allows you to boost the credibility of your brand and retain visitors, paid advertising allows you to get more traffic and increase brand awareness. According to TechJury:
- Pay-per-click ads bring double the visitors compared to SEO.
- Ads may increase your brand awareness by up to 80%.
With Google paid advertising, you can bid on the same keywords you used to build your content around. Google displays these ads above organic search results, so when a user searches for that keyword, they will see your ad at the top of page one.
With this tactic, you can reach potential customers without waiting for organic content to climb up the search rankings. As an extra bonus, that extra traffic from the ads will also help your content naturally move up in search.
Gain Lasting Engagement
If you run ads directly to sales or product pages, traffic will typically dry up as soon as you stop paying for those ads. But when you drive traffic to action-oriented content — like an article that invites the reader to sign up for an email list — you can continue to keep their attention without always relying on ads.
Take this report from Litmus, which found that email marketing can generate $36 for every $1 spent.
5 Things To Consider in a Combined Strategy
There are many different ways to combine content marketing and paid advertising to best suit your business. But there are a few things to always keep in mind: Consider your target audience, where your customers are, and your marketing budget. Don't forget to employ SEO tactics and follow a comprehensive content strategy. And always set aside time to monitor your strategy performance to see what works and what doesn't.
Make Your Paid Advertising Campaign Relevant to Your Target Audience
All marketing must start with a target audience. Create ads based off your buyer personas. Use market research and data from existing customers to identify your target audience’s demographics, goals, challenges, motivations, and preferences.
To do market research, you can interview customers, organize focus groups, or use SurveyMonkey or Typeform to create and distribute surveys. Once you start running ads, tools such as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights can provide you with even more relevant data about your potential customers.
Determine Where Your Potential Customers Are in the Marketing Funnel
There are three stages in a buyer's journey:
- Awareness: To create awareness of your business, you need to cast a wide net. You can attract potential customers using blog posts, ebooks, videos, and other valuable content. Making them aware of your products or services is the first step.
- Consideration: To move those customers toward buying, you need to create more specific content and ads. These may include case studies, white papers, or testimonials.
- Conversion: This is when they actually commit. You may attract customers with free trials, coupons, or discounts.
Where your targeted prospect is in the buyer’s journey will help you determine the keywords to focus on, the type of content you create, and the placement of your paid advertising.
How To Choose Relevant Keywords for Better Search Engine Optimization Performance
Keyword research is an important step in creating content marketing that gets noticed. Your buyer personas will help give you insight into search intent — what people want to see when they search a particular word or phrase.
Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, Bing Keyword Research Tool, or Moz Keyword Explorer to find data on search volume and ranking difficulty for specific keywords.
Reach niche audiences by using long-tail keywords with three or more words and semantic keywords (related phrases). For example, if your main keyword is "dog trainer," some semantic keywords could be "puppy training" or "how to train a dog."
You can also use tools like LSI Graph, Answer The Public, or Google Related Searches to help you find more keyword variations to build your content around. Consider the following types of keywords as well:
- Informational keywords usually start with words like "how," "what," "why," "when," "where," or "who" and are often used by marketers at the beginning of the buyer’s journey. Use these keywords for pillar content, social media advertising, and search engine advertising.
- Navigational keywords often include the name of a brand, product, service, or location to guide users to a specific website or web page in the mid-stage of the buyer’s journey. These are good for a long-form sales page, case study, or white paper.
- Commercial keywords usually include words like "best," "top," "review," or "compare." They are most effective at the mid-stage of a buyer's journey when they want to compare their options. These are good for paid ads, which should contain the exact keywords you want to target.
- Transactional keywords usually include an action, like "buy," "order," "book," "download" or "sign up." They are best at the last stage of the buyer journey.
The right keywords will get you more clicks, higher conversion rates, and a better ROI for the ads you run on search engines and social media.
Choose the Right Social Platform for Your Advertising Campaigns
Your buyer profiles will tell you which social platforms you can best reach your target audience. Content ads can work well on social media because you can design them to blend in with user-generated or editorial content.
Take a look at some ad copy examples to help trigger some ideas for your business. YouTube is good for video ads, of course, while graphics and image-based ads work well on Instagram. According to Sprout Social, these are the best platforms by age group:
- YouTube: 15 to 35 years old
- Instagram: 18 to 24 years old
- Facebook: 24 to 35 years old and 65+
Monitor Your Strategy Performance and Click-Through Rate
To maximize returns on your content distribution strategy and ads marketing budget, you’ll need to closely monitor ad metrics. Be sure to look at the following:
- Click-through rate: tells you how many people click on your ad
- Bounce rate: tells you how many people leave without taking an action (this reflects how relevant your ads are to the content they point to)
- Conversion rate: tells you how well your entire marketing funnel is performing
- Ad ROI: tells you how well your ad strategy is working
- Time on page and scroll depth tells you where visitors lose interest in your content
Use these metrics to help you improve your marketing strategy. Also, try split A/B testing to determine which ad or landing page is producing the best results.
Maximize the Effectiveness of Your Content Marketing Campaigns
Combining content marketing and paid ads can make for a potent strategy. To successfully drive traffic to your site and increase conversion rate, you need a solid marketing plan and content calendar, along with hiqh-quality content and well-placed ads.
Great content must be at the heart of every marketing campaign because it keeps prospects moving through your sales funnel and supports your brand image. Stellar content that gets shared and recommended also boosts your authority and credibility.
Superb content writing and paid advertising are powerful tools. Together, they can bring big results.