Compass pointing toward the right decision

Content Marketing vs. Paid Digital Marketing: Which is better?

March 17, 2020

Content marketing and paid digital marketing are both effective ways of establishing your brand, generating leads or customers and increasing revenue. They both provide solid benefits and results. Deciding which one is best for your business or company should be based on how quickly you need or want results.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a segment of marketing where companies create and share videos, blogs or social media posts online with the purpose of driving interest in a company, product or service.

When people have questions about a product or service, they typically turn to the internet for answers. Asking Google for advice has probably become more common than asking your neighbor. But not just any answer will do. Research shows that nearly 70% of internet users prefer to learn about products or services from good and interesting content.

It can’t be stressed enough — the most effective content is regular, engaging, well-written, well-produced and thoughtful. When you consistently capture all those things in one post, blog or video, you can go a long way in securing loyalty to your brand.

But you can’t just throw something together and expect it to work. Blog content needs to be relevant and informative. Social media posts need to be frequent and engaging. Videos need to have a purpose and a point. And SEO needs to be considered for all of them.

Optimize for Search

Content doesn’t matter if no one sees it. But if you have quality content that hits all the right spots for SEO, then you can drive traffic to you full of people who are already searching and interested in what you are offering. The money you spend will be in the time it takes to create the content. Once it’s finished, it can be strategically distributed on your site or social media pages and stay there from now until…

The ROI for content marketing will take some time, but it will show up in the gradual increase in traffic to your site because your content is engaging. You’ll see a return in the trust you build with the customers who continue to seek you out, leading to loyalty for your brand.

What is Paid Digital Marketing?

Paid digital marketing lets you achieve results faster and more broadly, but you’re also paying for them. In other words, while your audience goes to you in content marketing, you go to them in paid digital marketing.

With an ad, you can pay to be at or near the top of the SERP, which you can’t guarantee with content marketing. There are many types of ads, but these are the most widely used:

● Search ads – ads where you pay to show up at the top or bottom of the search engine results page.
● Display ads – ads are usually a graphic, photo or text placed on a website or page and contain a direct message or ask from the advertiser.
● Social media ads – ads that show up in the feeds of social media users that fall in your target audience parameters.
● Gmail sponsored promotions – ads that send your advertising directly to your audience’s Gmail inbox, whether they subscribe to your marketing materials or not.
● Instream ads – full-screen, non-skippable or small sidebar videos placed either at the beginning of or during a YouTube video.

Paid advertising can be a bigger expense because the cost is not just in the creation. You also pay for the placement, clicks, views or downloads. And unlike content marketing, which lives online forever, your ads disappear from all platforms once you stop paying.

It can be fairly easy to track and see results from the clicks, downloads and views. That makes it easy for you to know how many people actually saw and engaged with your message. And that makes the ROI more obvious.

Better together

There’s a reason that businesses continue to turn to content marketing and paid digital marketing either separately or together – they work.

The most effective strategy is a combination of the two. Paid digital marketing will help your prospective customers know you exist. Content marketing will keep them coming back.

If you want to engage, connect and relate with potential clients, you can’t afford to rely on only one channel or the other. You need both paid advertising and content marketing.

By doing both, you reap the rewards of both sides. For example, a paid search ad puts you at or near the top of the SERP. Then you can test ads against each other, across channels. You can test your calls to action.

When you compare the results, you can see what gets people to click the link. That’s when they find your high-value, relevant content, which will be irresistible.

TruStar Marketing fuses the art and science of marketing to improve your business. We specialize in health care, insurance and high-tech manufacturing industries. Digital marketing that works stars with a free introductory call.