How SEO And Content Marketing Work Together To Fuel Your Online Success

“So, when will we start to see results?”

This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions content marketers get from upper management. It’s also one of the hardest ones to answer. More often than not, the answer is, “We don’t know yet.” And so begins your internal content marketing education.

It’s easy for content marketers to fall into relying on vanity metrics to demonstrate the success of our efforts. Impressions, reach, and views are all valuable things to measure, but they don’t indicate engagement or business results. And even vanity metrics take time to show incremental impact.

Why spend marketing dollars on something if it doesn’t contribute to real results? This is ultimately what your boss—and your boss’s boss—will care about.

Today, we’re more equipped than ever to show real results. With marketing spend on analytics predicted to increase by 200 percent over the next three years, there’s no time to waste. It’s important to get your results in front of your marketing leaders, and to present them the right way.

The 2018 CMO Survey found that lack of internal knowledge about how marketing analytics connects to business results is one of the top reasons for excluding marketing insights from business decision-making. So if you want to see real change, be the person who shares these insights.

Content marketing is no longer the new kid on the block, but it veers from traditional marketing standards like direct marketing and advertising. It’s more of a long-term play, which can be tricky to explain to a performance-driven boss.

Set Expectations at the Beginning

Save yourself and your team from struggling through performance evaluations by doing the right prep work to set expectations. As you launch or optimize various content marketing efforts, make sure your managers are fully on-board and understand what success will look like, and when.

Explain how it complements and integrates with other marketing tactics—especially those associated with more direct results like lead generation. David Peck, vice president at Azusa Pacific University, shares, “The biggest challenge when it comes to proving the effectiveness of content marketing surrounds balancing our short-term expectations against long-term value. We know that organic, consumer-centric information provides both awareness and education.”

For example, explain how featuring editorial stories on a conversion landing page will humanize your marketing and give necessary context to inspire visitors to take the next step in your customer life cycle. Or show how effective SEO will help your website appear at the top of relevant searches—giving you a business advantage over the competition. Make sure management is on the same page with expected results.

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Image attribution: Wenni Zhou

Peck has experienced this tension between immediate and long-term results: “Ultimately, content marketing needs to contribute to the consumer purchase process. Often, however, it’s primarily focused on serving as a resource and educating consumers—in our case, students and families—around the different aspects tied to a consumer decision and purchase—in our case, going to college.” In the end, you need to find the right balance for your brand.

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