PPC and Content Marketing: Integration

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Previously, I’ve talked about PPC and content marketing as it relates to the content audit, audience research, timing, and buyer journey. Now it’s time to think about integrating your content marketing efforts across channels.

It’s common for advertisers to integrate their search and social PPC channels. PPC can inform SEO and vice versa, and social PPC can inform search as well. Frequently, the same person is managing many or all of these channels, making it even easier to coordinate and integrate learnings.

But what about other kinds of media? Think about ad networks, traditional media, organic social, PR, email…. Are you talking to these folks about your content marketing?

Chances are, the answer is no. And it’s time to start.

Map channels to the buyer journey.

The best way to begin the mapping process is to go back and look at your buyer journey. Map each channel to the phases in the buyer journey that make the most sense. You’ll probably need to break things down even further and map campaigns within the channels to the buyer journey. PPC, for instance, can fit into multiple buyer journey phases, so you’ll need to map campaigns accordingly.

Once you’re done, you’ll have a good roadmap of which channels need to be working closest together.

Track content across channels.

Now it’s time to think about tracking your content across channels. It’s not always easy to do, but if you have a good content management system, usually you can assign a content ID to each asset. Then you’ll include the content ID as a URL parameter in each channel. This enables you to slice and dice the data and see how each content asset performs across channels and as a whole.

This is the secret sauce that will help you take your content marketing to the next level. If you know that a certain asset performs well in every channel you’ve used it, then you’ll want to lead with that asset when you enter a new channel for the first time.

If you don’t have a CMS that can track content performance for you, you could try using the utm_content parameter in Google Analytics for content ID. As long as it’s used the same way across channels, you could get asset performance this way.

Track content types.

It’s also important to learn what types of content perform best. Are white papers your top lead generators, or do videos perform best? Track performance by asset type, either by including it in the content ID parameter, or by tracking it manually. One of our clients tracks link clicks on asset titles in their web analytics, using consistent link naming across all channels. The asset title always includes the asset type, so we can roll up the results fairly easily.

Establish a consistent naming convention.

I can’t stress enough how important the naming convention is to content marketing integration success. A naming convention is like a code or shorthand that maps back to your content. For instance, an Intro to PPC white paper might be coded like this: ppc_int_wp_01. All PPC content would contain “ppc,” all intro content would contain “int,” and all white papers would contain “wp.” “01” is the specific asset number. This convention enables you to track and report on all kinds of asset types.

Establish your naming convention before you begin, and you’ll be able to track content performance across channels.

Don’t forget to ensure that all marketing channels, including organic social, are using the content parameter in their destination URLs.  All the naming in the world is no good unless it’s used consistently!

Use the data to learn and improve.

If you find that white papers perform best across all channels, you now know that you need to start writing more white papers. You might find that certain types of content do better in PPC than in other channels, and vice versa.

Be sure to communicate learnings to all involved: your counterparts working in other channels, your client or boss, and so on. Set a monthly or quarterly content performance review meeting to go over your findings. This way you ensure that everyone is informed and can use the information to improve the marketing efforts in their area of expertise.

An integrated content marketing strategy can be highly effective. How have you integrated your PPC content marketing? Share in the comments!

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Comments

  1. Plus a CRM integration if you have a sales team. If you can’t tie it back to revenue, then you’ll continually get the “is this worth it?” question from leadership, something social has taken a long long time to shed.

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