Many people find content marketing confusing.
One of the primary causes of this is that there are so many terms used in content marketing, and most people don’t know what they mean.
This article will provide clear and easy-to-understand definitions of many standard content marketing terms people don’t fully comprehend. Use it to take your knowledge of content marketing to the next level.
Content Marketing Terms
This testing method pits two (or more) pieces of content against each other to determine which one performs better with the people in your target audience — or segments of it. A/B testing should only test one content variable at a time, so you always have a clear winner.
Accessibility is a measure of how easy it is to navigate, scan, understand, use, and act on your content. Consumers are more likely to engage with accessible content than denser or more challenging material.
An account is a sales segment, opportunity, or customer group that is a part of your overall target market.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
Analytics is the practice of monitoring data to determine the success of content marketing efforts. It checks things like click-through rates, clicks, time on page, and more to identify ways to improve content marketing efforts so you can reach your marketing and sales goals.
Audiences are clearly defined groups of people or organizations that you want to read, listen to, view, or otherwise engage with your brand’s content and hopefully move on to do business with you.
Benchmarks are industry-standard measurements of success used to determine whether content marketing efforts are overperforming, underperforming, or performing as expected. You can find industry-standard benchmarks for click-through rates, time on page, the value of a lead, and more.
This is content that’s paid for or produced by an advertiser. Companies partner with publishers the people in your target audience engage with. Businesses create pieces of content that are posted and promoted by the publisher.
A business case is why an organization supports and invests in content marketing. It’s usually shared with company leaders and stakeholders in a document or presentation. It is used to build understanding and get organizational support. It should include:
The reason your organization must do content marketing
How content marketing can help your company achieve its revenue goals
What you need to succeed (budget, resources, tools)
Projected outcomes and results.
Buy-in is the organizational support you need to run a successful content marketing program. If you don’t get buy-in, your content marketing efforts will struggle.
Buyers are individuals or representatives of companies who need or have an active interest in purchasing a service or product your business offers.
Calls to Action (CTAs)
Calls to action are statements or design elements (like buttons) that highlight the actions you want the people in your target audience to take after engaging with content. Examples of calls to action include subscribing to a newsletter, attending an event, making an appointment, purchasing something, or exploring other relevant assets and content. The best CTAs are simple, straightforward, inviting, and easy to act on.
Channels are different options for distributing your content, such as a blog or podcast, email newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, TikTok, YouTube, or Vimeo.
Often used interchangeably with buyers, consumers are people who are likely to become customers of products or services offered by your business.
A content audit is a qualitative evaluation of all the assets in your content library. You can rate your content against its relative performance, how it meets customer needs and business objectives, and compares it to content on competitor websites. It will help you determine how your content is performing overall and relative to that of your competitors.
Content briefs are provided to content creators. Think of them as guidelines and instructions to help them develop content that meets the project’s communication needs, editorial standards, and marketing requirements. A well-constructed brief should include an overview of the assignment, relevant branding details (e.g., tone, voice, and stylistic considerations), key messages, target audience information, the purpose of the piece, and anything needed to develop content that meets your organization’s expectations.
A content calendar tracks all the steps it takes to execute your content plan. For each piece of content being developed, it lists the topic, title, author information, media, and supporting assets. It also includes the creation, publication, promotion schedule, and who is responsible for each part of the process.
A content inventory is much like a store inventory. It’s a listing of all your company’s content assets and pertinent information about them, such as where they’re located, their purpose, the links included in them, whether the content is evergreen or timely, and if it has an expiration date. A content inventory will help you manage and maintain your content more effectively and get a handle on the assets you have. An inventory is the first step in a content audit.
Content marketing is a strategy that involves creating and distributing valuable and relevant content to people in your target audience consistently. The purpose is to attract people who regularly engage with your content and eventually become customers and clients of your business because of their interactions with your content.
Content Marketing Strategy
Your strategy is the plan for connecting with people in your target audience by publishing and distributing content regularly. Your strategy should include:
Why you're creating content: Your business goals
Who you are trying to convert: Target audience
What the content is: Topics
How it will be distributed: Media types
When it will be distributed: Content calendar
What you expect from the marketing effort: Projected results.
A conversion happens when a consumer takes the marketing action your business wants them to take, such as buying a product, downloading an ebook, subscribing to a newsletter, or following your organization on social media after engaging with your content.
Editing involves reviewing content for mechanical errors or stylistic issues that might affect the quality or readability of the piece. This includes checking material for grammar, spelling, linguistic, or punctuation issues. Copy editing usually involves improving the content or doing a rewrite to correct problems.
Curation is the process used to select and distribute third-party content to the people in your target audience. It involves content selection, categorization, commentary, and presentation of relevant material. It’s essentially a way to recommend and distribute content from others you think your audience will find interesting.
Customers are the people or organizations that have purchased a product or service from your business.
Demand generation uses content to build awareness and interest in a company’s products or services. Content should move people from not knowing a company exists to make them want to buy something from it.
An editorial plan is a guide focused on how you develop content aligned with your content strategy that includes everything it takes to complete the work. It could consist of who handles what work, when the work happens, key topics, content to create, publication dates, distribution methods, and calls to action.
Evergreen content has a long shelf life. It’s usually the core material businesses depend on to generate regular sales. The opposite of evergreen content is timely material, which is more news-oriented and has a relatively limited life.
Fact-checking is a part of the proofreading process. It’s done to verify the factual accuracy of the piece and add in sourcing if needed. It ensures the content doesn’t include incorrect information, misquoted sources, plagiarism, copyright problems, and similar issues.
A content format is where and how content can be accessed. Examples include blog posts, videos, podcasts, SMS, memes, social posts, and infographics.
Goals are the business results you want to achieve with your content marketing strategy. Goals should be as specific as possible. Examples include:
Grow sales by a particular amount or percentage
Reduce the cost of closing a deal by a particular percentage
Increase customer loyalty by a specific amount.
Goals must be time-bound and progress toward them tracked regularly.
Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
An ICP is the targeted person or organization that’s a perfect purchaser for your company’s products or services.
Influencer marketing programs use celebrities and experts the people in your target audience enjoy or respect to distribute your content or bring it to their attention.
A journey map documents the possible marketing and sales journeys a prospective customer or client can take from initial awareness of your business to making a sale (or failing to).
Keywords (or key phrases) are the terms, phrases, and questions people use to search for content on Google and other search engines. Content marketers use keywords that they want their business to be known for in their content so it registers on Google.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
KPIs are measurements used to monitor and assess progress toward achieving your content marketing goals. KPIs include benchmark conversion rates, number of leads, quality of leads, cost per client, and revenue per new customer.
A lead is a person or business in your company’s sales or marketing database.
Scoring is the process of evaluating the likelihood of making a sale to prospective customers (leads) in your database.
Marketing-Qualified Lead (MQL)
MQLs are leads evaluated by marketers that are passed along to the sales team because they seem likely to become customers.
Media planning involves deciding where, when, and how often to deliver a message or piece of content to a group of people in your target audience. The ideal is to reach the largest number of the right people with the perfect message or piece of content as often as required to get them to take the desired action, such as make an appointment or purchase something.
Metrics are the measurements that indicate whether your content marketing program is achieving the things you want it to. You typically assign benchmarks to different metrics and regularly check to see if you’re exceeding them or falling behind. An example of this would be to assign a click-through rate based on industry standards and consistently check to see if you’re reaching it.
Your content mission statement is the guiding principle behind your brand’s vision for content. It should incorporate your business values, explain what makes your content unique, and why it’s appealing to people in your target audience. It should provide enough information to guide your team’s content development process and act as an umbrella for all your content efforts.
Native advertising is a type of paid promotion that supports marketing goals. Content in native marketing closely matches the form, aesthetics, function, and quality of the materials in the publication where it appears.
Your content operations encompass the processes, tasks, people, and procedures it takes to efficiently and effectively develop, manage, and evaluate content for your organization. It should include everything from strategizing through to content optimization.
Owned media are content distribution platforms that are entirely under the control of your company. They allow you to fully determine where and how your content appears, how it’s accessed, and how it fits with other parts of your content experience. An email newsletter or company blog is owned media. Facebook is not.
This is a type of pay-per-click advertising or other sponsored listing that appears near the top of Google and other search engine results pages (SERPs) when consumers search for information.
Personalization is a tactic that allows you to target content to different people based on their specific interests or where they are in their relationship with your organization. Personalized content generally earns higher engagement than more generic material.
A persona is a profile of the people in your target audience. It should include the relevant characteristics needed to connect with them through the content you produce and how you distribute it. Without complete personas, content marketers guess what their audience wants and are often off-base or completely wrong.
Proofreading is a separate component of the editing process. A proofreader carefully reviews the content when it’s almost ready to be published or released to catch any typographical, consistency, or other minor errors missed in editing or created during production.
Return on Investment (ROI)
ROI represents the financial return your company gets on its investment in content marketing. A high ROI indicates a successful content marketing program. A negative ROI shows a program failing because it’s losing money. It’s not generating as much in sales as it is spending on its content marketing efforts.
The sales funnel is the path that consumers take from becoming aware of your organization to converting into clients or customers. It’s referred to as a funnel because it becomes narrower as people opt out and decide not to do business with you. Monitoring your sales funnel can help you find “leaks” where too many people exit the pipeline. It could be a sign of an issue with your marketing or sales process.
Sales-Qualified Lead (SQL)
Once the sales team qualifies a lead as being ready to sell actively, they are referred to as an SQL. These leads are more likely to become customers or clients than an MQL.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO uses strategies and tactics to get content to rank as highly as possible on Google and other search sites. The higher content ranks, the more likely it is to earn clicks, which increases website traffic.
Segmentation is the categorization of content based on the interests of different people in — or segments of — your target audience. Content is then presented in a more personalized way to them to increase engagement with it.
Shared media, such as social media, are ways for marketers to distribute content through third-party channels. These platforms are owned by other companies, which forces you to give up control over some aspects of content sharing. They are usually more costly to use than distribution channels self-owned by companies, such as email newsletters.
Subscribers are people in your target audience who have taken action to request additional, special, or unique content from your organization. Subscribers are likely the most engaged and devoted people in your target audience.
Total Addressable Market (TAM)
TAM reflects the total number of prospective buyers or potential sales revenue available for a product or service.
Workflows are tasks that the people on a content team need to complete to create, distribute, and evaluate a content asset. They should include how content is requested, sourced, created, reviewed, approved, and delivered.