- What is content marketing
- How content marketing and SEO are similar
- How content marketing and SEO differ
- Why the importance of content marketing is growing
- Why SEOs don’t do content marketing
- How to properly combine SEO and content marketing
What is content marketing
Content marketing is a method to attract customers by answering questions that are important for your target audience.
How content marketing and SEO are similar
In both SEO and content marketing, we create content to get more traffic and sales. Both have a cumulative effect. But the approach to creating and distributing content is very different.
Let me remind you that the cumulative effect is the principle according to which, each next unit of content will bring you more benefits than the previous one. Unless, of course, you are doing everything right.
Difference between SEO and content marketing
Difference #1: how we optimize content
- In SEO, we optimize content for the requirements of the Google algorithm;
- In content marketing, we optimize content for the needs of the target audience.
Content marketing is about focusing on the quality of content and not agreeing to sacrifice it, even if it does worse on your rankings in Google.
This difference leads to the approach to set tasks for copywriters and expert authors. In SEO, strict requirements are often used for the uniqueness of the text, readability, and the occurrence of keywords.
In content marketing, the author is given more freedom. Strict requirements lead to the fact that the author will almost always write about old problems, without novelty.
Difference #2: how we build a content plan
- In SEO, we only build a content plan based on the keyword research;
- In content marketing, we build a content plan based on the interests of the target audience.
SEO specialists working with keyword research run the risk of missing out on well-converting content for which there are few search queries: cases, studies, expert polls, and so on.
Content marketers often miss out on benefits because they don’t understand that their content is relevant to a cluster of high-demand keywords and they can get organic traffic if they optimize their page correctly.
Difference #3: where we place the content
- In SEO, we only post content on our site;
- In content marketing, a website is just one of the possible platforms.
In SEO, external sites are also used, but mainly for guest posting. They are rarely looked at as separate brand resources.
In content marketing, you can generally have a one-page site to which you pour traffic from other sources or sell directly on YouTube, Medium, Substack, Instagram, via email newsletters, etc.
Difference #4: for what purposes we create content
- In SEO, we create content to attract new customers;
- In content marketing, we create content to both attract new and retain old audiences.
Difference # 5: a variety of content types and formats
- There is little variety in SEO types and formats of content;
- There is a wide variety of types and formats of content in content marketing.
Content types – guides, interviews with experts, case studies, answers to questions, and so on.
Content formats – articles, videos, presentations, infographics, webinars, apps, e-books, and so on.
In SEO, it is usually necessary to write medium to long articles in order to get traffic. In content marketing, you can write short notes, post polls, post announcements, and this will add value to your users.
Difference #6: methods to promote new content
- In SEO, we promote new content usually through outreach and guest posts on other sites;
- In content marketing, we use guest posts, posts in social networks, advertisements in social networks, advertisements from bloggers, email newsletters, etc.
In SEO, guest posting and outreach is an intermediate stage. The task is to get links in order to increase the link weight of the page on your site and then get traffic from Google for targeted queries.
In content marketing, all promotion methods are geared towards gaining coverage and either converting the audience right away or turning it into loyal subscribers.
Difference # 7: main assets
- In SEO, the main assets are domain age, link profile, stable traffic;
- In content marketing, the main assets are recognition, the number of subscribers, and audience trust.
Assets are something that can be sold or converted into money through the creation of new content.
In SEO, we build up a positive reputation and visibility in the eyes of Google.
In content marketing, we build up a positive reputation and visibility in the eyes of the target audience.
Difference #8: main risks
- In SEO, the main risks are updates to the Google algorithm, attacks by competitors, a drop in demand;
- In content marketing, the main risks are the lack of stable traffic, forgetting by the audience.
The value of content marketing is that if your audience has lost demand for your product, then you can quickly release a new product to that same audience. Her constant attention and trust in you make it possible to quickly recover your sales and revenue.
If demand falls in Google, it will be more difficult to recover your search traffic.
Why the importance of content marketing is growing
I see 4 main reasons.
- The growing popularity of YouTube, social networks, messengers, blogging platforms leads to the fact that people spend more and more time on sites where they find content differently from Google.
- Increase in customer acquisition costs. Standard SEO and paid advertising sources are getting more and more expensive. Retention of old customers and increasing income from them becomes critical.
- Competing on Google doing regular SEO is getting harder and harder. The launching of an E-A-T rating into the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines leads to increased demands on expert content and its authors.
- The speed of getting results in content marketing is much higher since we can use external sites that will give us traffic immediately.
More comments on the graph can be found in the statistics of social media growth by the number of users and statistics of daily use of social networks.
Why SEOs don’t do content marketing
Why, then, are SEO professionals who create websites and oversee the content creation for websites rarely doing content marketing?
- They are convinced that this is an unprofitable investment.
- Unit economics or other rules of the game do not fit in the niche.
- They do not know how to do that.
At the same time, the conviction that this is an unprofitable investment often stems from the inability to do it correctly.
Both SEO and content marketing have their own strengths. Leaving only to content marketing also fraught with the fact that you will lose a lot of valuable organic traffic. You need to learn how to combine these two areas correctly.
Here’s my version of how to do it right.
How to properly align SEO and content marketing
We create a content plan, not only based on keyword research, but also on the basis of experience, data, questions that will be interesting for the target audience.
First, go through the keywords, and then think about what your audience will be interested in. For such topics, there will be no search queries. Interviews, expert polls, interesting facts, news, answers to highly specialized questions, and so on.
It will be useful here to try yourself as a product manager. Conduct interviews with users, find out what they dislike about existing solutions to their problems.
The picture below is my content plan for the Russian-speaking Telegram channel. I first take notes on any ideas that come up and then turn them into short posts. Some posts organically flow into long reads, which I already do on other platforms.
This entire content plan is built on my ideas about what might be interesting to my audience. Only a small portion of all this content will then be used to create SEO articles.
We are changing the approach to set tasks for writing texts and accepting content from authors. Instead of stringent keyword entry requirements, we describe the topics that need to be considered. We are increasing the autonomy of authors.
Keywords should be born naturally to the author in the process of working on the topic. Strict requirements hamper the creative flight of the author’s thoughts.
We do the internal optimization after the substantive part has been approved. First the meaning, then the words by which it is expressed.
We raise the requirements for the quality of content and content design on our website. As part of this rule, you need to find authors or experts on the topic and set up the editing process for all content according to uniform rules.
You can find expert authors as follows:
- Hire a brand ambassador (sometimes experts themselves suggest it);
- Grow experts at the office (minimum 1-2 years);
- Buy articles from well-known experts;
- Trade good content for audience access from rising stars.
- Write yourself
Writing yourself is especially important at the beginning of a product launch. But sooner or later it is necessary to pass it on to others, or at least to take one of the authors additionally.
You need to write and edit articles in order to debug the technology and know what to demand from authors, editors, content managers.
Setting up the editing process for all content begins with creating an editorial policy. It describes for whom and how you create content, how you need to style the content, what common mistakes to avoid. Every little thing matters.
Below is an example of the editorial policy I created for the Sitechecker blog.
For us, it includes mandatory rules for both SEO and copywriting, grammar, punctuation, and so on.
This is a checkpoint for an SEO specialist, an editor, a content manager, and an author.
We multiply the ready-made textual content unit into different formats (video, infographics, presentation, e-book, webinar, tool) and different channels.
Since the reproduction of content in different formats is cheaper than its initial creation, then you need to proceed to the creation of the next unit, only after the possibilities of reproduction of the first have been exhausted.
For example, here are my modest statistics on the Medium. I duplicate articles there, the original of which is on my blog. So, with the help of the same content, I reach an audience that I would not have received from organic.
While the site is weak and unknown, we publish high-quality content on external sites, build links and grow our E-A-T.
Why do we take great content and publish it not on our site? After all, we would eventually be able to get traffic to it?
We publish it on an external site because this way we will benefit from it faster. Visits, backlinks, growth of author’s authority.
Ideally, when for each cluster of queries you will have ideas on how to write 2-3 high-quality, but different articles. One for your site, the other for an external site.
We convert existing traffic from Google organic search into subscribers on our other sites, and we will convert subscribers into traffic from Google.
Thus, we protect ourselves from the monopoly of Google and get an audience that will help us distribute new units of content and get backlinks.