Curation is the assembly, selection, categorization, commentary, and presentation of relevant content. The technique typically involves third-party content in which your brand puts your spin on others’ content. It also can be applied to curating content published by your brand.
Accessibility is the ease anyone should have navigating, understanding, and using your content. Often used in the context of conditions, such as visual or auditory impairments, such as someone who prefers to mute videos and read the captions.
Calls to action (CTAs)
Calls to action are statements or design elements highlighting actions you want the audience to take after engaging with the content, such as subscribing to your newsletter, attending an event, or exploring other relevant assets and offerings. The best CTAs are simple, clear, inviting, and easy to notice.
Channels are individual content distribution outlets, such as a blog or podcast channel, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, or Vimeo.
A content format refers to where the content can be accessed or its presentation for distribution and engagement, such as text via in a printed book, a digital magazine, or an SMS campaign; audio for a podcast; or visuals for like a video or infographic.
Keywords or key phrases describe the contents of a content asset based on terms people use to search for content on that topic. They are the building blocks of a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
Owned media distribution platforms are fully under your brand’s control, allowing you to decide where and how it appears, how it is accessed, and how it fits in with other aspects of the content experience.
Shared media, including social media, provide opportunities for marketers to post content, create and listen to conversations, and interact with people. These platforms are ultimately controlled by a third party, which can change its policies and procedures – or cease operations altogether – at a moment’s notice.
Native advertising is a paid/third-party promotion format that supports either brand or direct-response goals and is where the content matches the form, feel, function, and quality of the content of the media on which it appears.
Wikipedia defines branded content as content funded or outright produced by an advertiser. Like native advertising, it works by partnering with relevant publishers that have the trust of your target audience. This technique takes a more immersive, sensory-driven approach to storytelling, making the experience more entertaining, valuable, and memorable.
These opportunities typically take the form of pay-per-click ads or other sponsored listings that appear near the top of search engine results pages (SERP) when consumers search for information relevant to your content.
One of the fastest-growing marketing techniques (as well as a burgeoning industry of its own), influencer marketing programs enlist the assistance of people who have the ear of your target audience to bring your content to their attention.
Definitive resource: How to Turn Influencers into a Powerful Content Force
Personalization is the process of targeting content to individuals based on one or more of the following: who they are; where they are; when, why, and how they access content; and what device they use to access it. Given the high competition for getting attention online, marketers use this technique to make their content more findable, engaging, and personally resonant to their target consumers and existing customers.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO is a set of strategic techniques and tactics designed to get content to rank as highly as possible on search engine results pages (SERP) on Google and other search sites. The higher your content ranks, the more likely it is to receive a click, which increases traffic to your content.
Definitive resource: Providing the Best Answer May No Longer Be the Best Strategy for SEO [Video Series]
Segmentation refers to the categorization of content based on the target audience niche (similar to a buyer persona). Content is presented in a clear and concise manner specific to that audience. Often affecting design, messaging, and presentation, content segmentation can improve engagement, better differentiate your brand from competitors, and improve content marketing effectiveness.
Definitive resource: 8 Expert Tips To Help You Personalize Your Content and Segment Your Audiences
Account is defined as a sales target, opportunity, or customer group established within the total addressable market.
Account-based marketing (ABM)
ABM is a B2B marketing approach where high-value (typically enterprise-level) organizations are identified, and content is created to target them as a grouped unit rather than marketing to individual members of that organization.
Definitive resource: Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Crash Course for Content Marketers
Buyers are prospects – people who are in need of, or have an active interest in, purchasing a service or product.
While the term is often used interchangeably with “buyers,” from a marketer’s perspective, consumers are the people who are likely or intended customers for their business.
While buyers and consumers are terms used to indicate interest or intent, customers are the individuals or organizations who have actively made a purchase from your business or brand.
A conversion takes place once a consumer has taken an action your organization designates as meaningful – such as purchasing a product, registering for an event or a gated asset, subscribing to a blog, newsletter, or joining a social media community – after engaging with your brand’s content.
Definitive resource: How To Create High-Converting Content
Demand generation is the focus of targeted, sales-centric marketing programs designed to drive awareness and interest in a company’s products and/or services. The greater the demand, the easier it becomes for sales to nurture that interest to convert.
Definitive resource: Demand Gen for Content Marketing in the Next Decade [New Research]
Ideal customer profile (ICP)
An ICP is a description of a targeted buyer (person or company) that’s a perfect fit for your brand’s solution.
This term refers to a method of identifying information and assistance consumers likely need at each possible interaction and is used to determine the most effective content to nurture them toward conversion.
Definitive resource: Wondering What Content To Create? Try a Customer-Journey Map
In marketing terms, a lead is a person or business in your company’s sales or marketing database, typically (though not exclusively) by engaging with a branded asset or communication platform.
Definitive resource: Make Content Integral to Your Lead Generation
Scoring is a marketing method of objectively and comparatively evaluating the quality and conversion potential of a prospect based on predetermined sales criteria.
Marketing-qualified lead (MQL)
MQLs are leads reviewed by the marketing team that satisfies the criteria to be passed along to the sales team as someone who may become a customer at some indeterminate point.
Sales funnel/funnel stage
The sales funnel is a method of defining the decision-making process of a customer from the time they enter the marketplace through the purchase (or conclusion not to buy). It’s commonly used to determine the most effective outreach approach to nurture conversions. (While marketers may also define customer decision-making in terms of funnel stages, content marketers are more likely to characterize these stages as progression along a journey.)
Sales-qualified lead (SQL)
Once a lead is qualified by the sales team as being active in the market, they are referred to as an SQL; these leads are more likely to become a customer than an MQL.
Total addressable market (TAM)
This is a calculation that references the total number of prospective buyers and/or potential revenue opportunity available for a product or service.
Definitive resource: Build a Stronger Pipeline With Content: Unlock the Power of Sales and Marketing Collaboration
This is a performance testing method that pits two pieces of content against each other to gauge comparative performance. Also known as split testing, it’s a randomized experiment where two possible version options — two web pages, two subject lines, two design strategies, two content angles, etc. — are presented in equal scale to different viewers.
Marketo defines analytics as the practice of managing and studying metrics data to determine the ROI of marketing efforts like calls to action, blog posts, channel performance, and thought leadership pieces, and to identify opportunities for improvement.
Key performance indicators (KPIs)
KPIs are standard, agreed-on measurements for assessing progress against your content marketing goals. Potential KPIs might be average conversion rates, number of leads, quality of leads, revenue per new customer, etc.
In contrast to KPIs, metrics are the business-as-usual measurements that quantify things that add value to your organization but aren’t focused on the most critical goals, such as website page views or “likes” on a social media post. Think of these as the “what-needs-to-be-true” numbers that can help you achieve or optimize your KPIs.
Definitive resource: These 4 Analytics Oversights Mess With Your Content Performance Plan
Return on investment (ROI)
ROI is a broad term that describes how a company’s marketing initiatives drive profitable actions and business growth. Knowing ROI for content campaigns enables marketers to determine appropriate budget allocations, maximize the efficiency of each marketing expenditure, and demonstrate the impact of their efforts to their executive stakeholders. However, though it’s (arguably) the most critical measurement of a content program’s effectiveness, it can be difficult to calculate and quantify, let alone prove definitively.
Definitive resource: How To Demystify the Process of Measuring Content Marketing ROI [Video Show]
In content marketing, subscribers are defined as audience members who have taken an action around your content (and provided some personal data to do so) in exchange for an expectation of receiving ongoing value; core metric for measuring content marketing value.
Understanding the language is the first step to success
While this glossary is by no means a comprehensive list, it should clarify commonly confused or misunderstood industry terms and concepts. If there are additional content marketing constructs that you would like to see us add to this list, let us know in the comments.
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