Content Marketing and Paid Advertising | Contest or Marriage?

inbound content marketing versus advertising

Are content marketing and paid advertising a contest or a marriage?

The way I see it, they work well together, and are not mutually exclusive.

If you have a post or a page that ranks well for a critical search term, and you get good levels of qualified traffic, you don’t need to pay for advertising, because your landing page is already doing a good job answering the search query.

However, if you’re a relative newcomer and you’re trying to compete for eyeballs in a space dominated by authoritative pages and domains,  you”’ need to pay for advertising in order to be visible.

I’ve used paid ads alongside my content marketing on several occasions, and the results have varied depending on the quality of the ad planning. Personally I find it easier to do content marketing because you can fine tune it so well to your audience and the right point on their buying journey.

In my experience successful ads work when:

  • They show up in front of the right people, at the right time
  • They offer a direct solution to a popular search query
  • They move the searcher along their buying journey

So, like crafting valuable content, your ads need to be crafted to:

  1. Move people further down their  buying journey
  2. Show valuable content to qualified audiences 
  3. Give people searching an relevant and timely answer / solution to their query

Timing, and getting in front of your buyer at the right stage of their journey is critical.

For instance, if you’re running a campaign to sell tickets to a talk and there is an urgent need to get bums on seats, an ad that is written in language that gets in front of a casual browsing audience with no clear or urgent need, won’t attract or convert the desired buyer.

Think of content marketing as a means to getting to the different stages of a customer journey using different content formats.

Think of Pay Per Click (PPC) as good for getting in front of your audiences when you don’t have sufficient domain authority to be visible for the term you want to rank for.

My advice is strategic, and I recommend content marketing and paid advertising at the relevant stage. Bear in mind that increasing numbers of people use ad blockers. But, when used correctly, owned-media and paid-media are a good marriage.

Download our How to write search-friendly content guide and PPC ad campaign planning template.

Share this post:
Click here to receive our exclusive newsletter full of marketing tips.