When content marketing and advertising work together, your sales team benefits.
Advertising and content marketing work very well together. Each one makes the other more effective, improving your short-term and long-term results as well as the return on your investment.
While the goals for each are similar — raising awareness, driving traffic to a website, generating leads, and driving sales — they operate on different timeframes, have different priorities, and require different styles of writing.
Paid media campaigns are active and immediate.
The goal of an advertising campaign may be to raise awareness and/or generate conversions (loosely defined as leads) over the course of a specific period of time. Depending on the nature of the campaign, a conversion may occur when someone places a phone call, buys a product, downloads a white paper, or fills out a form. In the field of education, for example, paid media campaigns are often focused on lead generation in the form of student recruitment, while professional services companies typically seek to fill their pipeline with business-to-business leads.
Paid media campaigns place ads where they will be seen by a defined audience — on billboards, in newspapers, on the radio, and online across paid social channels, search engines, and websites. Ads promote the brand’s message to both general and more targeted audiences. Ad copy is concise, persuasive, and actionable. It calls attention to the brand and compels target audiences to take action.
Content marketing efforts are responsive and long term.
While advertising and content marketing share common goals, the approach and priority of each are quite different. According to the Content Marketing Institute:
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
The primary goal of content marketing is to build interest in your brand and develop relationships and trust with your audience. Content is a long-term strategy that rarely shows measurable results in the first six months.
This type of content typically resides on a brand’s website. In many cases, readers are attracted to the content because it appears in an organic search result on a search engine like Google or Bing. This is why SEO is so important — it is an effective way to attract an audience to a specific piece of content.
Blog posts, white papers, case studies, and ebooks are authoritative, long-form pieces of copy written to educate and inform a specific audience. This rich content answers audience questions and serves as a valuable resource to both prospective clients and your sales team.
Together, advertising and content marketing make a powerful team.
Content marketing is a foundational effort. It builds relationships and trust by answering the questions your audience poses. It reaches people who are looking for a solution to a problem they are dealing at the moment. By building trust with this audience, a portion will choose to become a lead by filling out a form or signing up for an email newsletter.
Advertising typically takes a more direct approach. Ads are served to targeted audiences to generate interest and encourage a variety of action steps. Like leads that come from a content marketing effort, advertising leads are self-selecting and thus incredibly valuable.
In some cases, a new lead is ready to engage your services right away. In other cases, they may still be exploring the solution you offer. Content can help nurture your leads, moving them down the sales funnel. Imagine if your sales team sent a white paper that directly addresses a lead’s question or concern to them right after an initial sales call? They would not only earn the lead’s trust but they just might earn their business.
If you’d like to talk about content marketing or your next advertising campaign, please get in touch! We’d be happy to help you leverage the power of these two complementary tactics.
Erica Hothausen oversees content marketing, copywriting, and SEO at Richardson Media Group, a strategic media planning and buying agency.