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Content Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

Content Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing: Navigating the Modern Marketing Landscape

Content marketing vs. traditional marketing is the most recent debate in the evolving marketing landscape. Some argue that content marketing is merely a tactical channel rather than a strategy. In contrast, traditional marketing, with its emphasis on the four Ps of marketing (product, price, place, and promotion) as the fulcrum of lead generation and sales, is the only valuable marketing approach. The truth is that either approach can be effective if chosen wisely. Here, we dive into content marketing vs. traditional marketing, and why a modern marketing plan may include both rather than focus solely on one.

Content Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing: Understanding Traditional Marketing

Technically, the definition of traditional marketing is marketing offline – that is, non-digital media. Think direct mail, print advertising, television, or radio commercials. It’s the kind of marketing that’s been around for decades since the first business published a newspaper ‘advertisement’ touting hair tonic, ladies’ dresses, or the latest shows or entertainment. Even as far back as ancient Rome, people used advertising – for example, bread preserved in the volcanic ash in Pompeii displays a maker’s mark on the top. It was a form of advertising used by bread makers to distinguish their product from another’s bread, similar to how we might use a wrapper or label on products today.

The Evolution of Web Marketing

Because I am as old as dirt (well, not that old), I remember the early days of internet marketing. Just as the first automobiles were called ‘horseless carriages’ because the carriage was all people understood as a conveyance, marketers transformed print ads into digital formats. Behold: the banner ad.

The banner ad appeared in the early days of the internet, like a print advertisement in a magazine. Static, except for this incredible thing we called click-through. You could click it and be taken directly to the product page. Wow!

You are probably laughing at this mental picture, but I assure you, back in the late 1990s, it was the 'right' way to advertise. Of course, we still have some static ads – my blog, Home Garden Joy, displays two in the sidebar for affiliate programs we belong to. I do this for a simple reason: I am very choosy about my advertisers, and so are my readers. I was unhappy with the quality and quantity of ads displayed by Google's algorithm technology, so I switched to tightly controlled advertising. It works for me, and my readers seem to appreciate it.

Evolution of Digital Marketing

That brings me to my next point. The evolution of traditional marketing into digital marketing is more complex than one might assume. The two areas overlap. Like content marketing vs. traditional marketing, digital vs. traditional marketing is a false dichotomy. There's no need to choose between them. Instead, finding the right blend of online and offline advertising and incorporating successful content marketing strategies and tactics into the overall marketing plan may be the best way for your company to obtain leads and sales.

The Right Marketing Approach Depends on Target Audience

Choosing the right marketing approach, whether it’s traditional marketing, digital marketing, content marketing, or a combination of all three, depends on one thing: your audience.

Advertise Where Your Audience Is

You must fish where the fish are biting. This means you must market to your target customers in ways that appeal to them and in places where they are spending time. Depending on your target audience, this may mean:

  • Print advertisements in magazines or newspapers
  • Radio commercials on traditional local radio, national radio, or digital broadcasts
  • Google advertising or other search advertising
  • Social media advertising
  • Direct mail
  • Outbound calling (“cold calling”)
  • Events and conferences (attending, presenting, a trade show booth or sponsorship)
  • Sponsoring the local sports team
  • Billboard ads
  • Become part of a trade organization (chamber of commerce, etc.)
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Content marketing, including case studies, white papers, videos, and more
  • Coupons, sales, and rebate programs

I’m sure I have forgotten traditional, digital, or content marketing methods, but the point is that the list above is not a ‘one size fits all’ list.

The Best Marketing Plan Is Created Just for Your Business

The best marketing plan is one that suits your business. It is a plan created by researching the product, its place in the market, and its competitors. It is a plan that draws from market research into what your customers – not your competitors, not anyone else's, but YOUR customers – want and need from the product or service. A good marketing plan charts a roadmap to position your company among a sea of competitors so that it stands out and helps develop recognition, awareness, leads, and sales.

Content Marketing vs Traditional Marketing: Let Common Sense Be Your Guide

So, regarding content marketing vs. traditional marketing, here are the similarities and differences.

Content Marketing:

  • Focuses on awareness, education, and sharing information to empower customers
  • Does not overtly ‘sell’ with a call to action
  • Provides useful, desirable information
  • Meets the consumer need at the point of interest

In sum:

  • Educates customers on how to use products or services
  • Provides increasingly detailed information to bring customers to the point of sale
  • Highly targeted to specific customer groups called "personas."


Traditional Marketing

  • Focuses on generating awareness and a desire to own a product
  • Does “sell” or calls to action: buy, call, click, etc.
  • Motivates through emotional appeal
  • Promotes to a mass market or large targeted market to generate interest

In sum:

  • Generates interest to generate leads and sales
  • Appeals to emotions (keep up with the Jones, look better, feel better)
  • Often mass market or to a large audience, but can also be targeted

Content Marketing vs Traditional Marketing: We’re All About Content Marketing

At Seven Oaks Consulting, we have over 20 years of experience in all aspects of marketing: content marketing, traditional marketing, and digital marketing. We specialize in business-to-business content marketing and can provide this service to your company. If you feel content marketing is a helpful adjunct to your marketing program, call us, and let's discuss your ideas. We're honest. If we think we can help you, we'll tell you. And, if we believe content marketing isn't helpful, we'll let you know that, too.

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The Case for Content Marketing

Engagement Matters: The Case for Content Marketing 

The case for content marketing: this marketing tactic has emerged as a leading tactic in recent years due to its promise to engage audiences, enhance brand visibility, and drive conversions. However, skeptical business owners and leaders might wonder if it's all razzle-dazzle or if there's any substance. The short answer: It's still relevant, and it offers a great deal of value. Here's a look at the why and how.

The Case for Content Marketing

Content provides valuable, relevant, and consistent information to attract and retain a target audience. Unlike traditional outbound advertising — which can sometimes feel intrusive — content marketing seeks to engage and educate people. By inviting them in with trust and authority, your brand is perceived as a helpful guide, not merely sales-driven. 

  1. Valuable: People hate "being sold to". But they do love learning. As one B2B customer said to us, "When you share information, I love it. When you sell to me, I hate it. That's why I love webinars, case studies, etc." - all types of content.
  2. Relevant: Make sure your content is relevant to the target audience. If your audience is using Sage, sending them content pieces about Acumatica or Oracle isn't relevant.
  3. Consistent: Don't publish sporadically. Consistent publishing helps build an audience and adds to engagement.

Advanced Analytics Help Assess ROI

Advanced analytics tools provide a look "under the hood." You can see how your audience interacts with your content, which allows you to refine or modify your content strategy. Adaptation is critical to creating content that meets your target audience's needs and preferences. On that note, content marketing transforms the brand-consumer relationship from a transactional one to a deeper connection based on trust and brand loyalty.

In short, content marketing is here to stay, and savvy business owners know they must subscribe to this strategy. Effective content marketing can deliver results and help companies reach people they might not otherwise. In other words, it's an investment brands cannot overlook if they want to stay in business. 

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Content Marketing vs. Social Media Strategy: Do You Need Both?

Content Marketing vs. Social Media Strategy: Do you Need Both?

Content marketing vs. social media strategy - what are they and do you need both?

Social media and content marketing are two distinct but complementary marketing strategies. Companies can generate mindblowing results from a robust content marketing or social media strategy. However, only top marketers understand the benefits of integrating both strategies.

A robust content marketing strategy provides detailed information that can be repurposed into social media content. Similarly, the insights from social media content provide valuable ideas for a robust content marketing strategy.

Only B2B companies that effectively integrate the two strategies gain optimal results from their marketing efforts. I’ll explain why.

What Is a Content Marketing Strategy?

A content marketing strategy refers to a company's plan to create, manage, and distribute content. The main goal is to build a solid relationship with prospects by sharing relevant and valuable content that addresses their needs, interests, and pain points.

Content can be created in many forms - blog posts, infographics, emails, white papers, videos, podcasts, etc., to capture various audience interests.

Top B2B companies understand that content is a valuable marketing tool for earning customer trust and establishing industry authority. To achieve their content marketing goals, they focus on being the go-to resource for helpful industry information, helping their prospects and customers make valuable business decisions.

A comprehensive content marketing strategy involves:

  • Audience identification
  • Defining content goals
  • Content creation
  • Content distribution
  • Lead generation, etc.

What Is a Social Media Strategy?

A social media marketing strategy is a plan on how a company intends to use social media platforms to educate, inform, and engage with its target audience, drive traffic to its websites or sales pages, build brand, product, and service awareness, and ultimately meet other business objectives.

It's one of the most popular marketing channels, and smart B2B companies understand the many opportunities it presents to build trust and authority while increasing their margins.

A comprehensive social media strategy involves:

  • Audience identification
  • Goal setting
  • Platform selection
  • Content creation and distribution
  • Engagement strategy, etc.

Content Marketing vs. Social Media Strategy: How They Differ

Content marketing and social media marketing differ in many ways, from their focus to objectives, content types, and many more.


Content marketing uses different content types, like blog posts, infographics, videos, etc., to educate, inform, and address audience pain points while building a valuable relationship with them. Forward-thinking companies understand that by creating relevant and informative content, they establish their place as a reliable figure in the industry, giving them industry authority status.

However, social media marketing uses relevant and visually appealing content to attract engagement and interact with an audience in real-time. Customer-centric B2B companies leverage social media platforms to interact with their audience and understand their needs and interests.


Content marketing’s objective is to use relevant and informative content to build brand awareness, establish authority and expertise, and generate and nurture leads into customers. It aims to capture customers at the different stages of their buyer’s journey, from awareness to consideration to decision-making.

On the other hand, the objectives of social media marketing are slightly different. It aims to use relevant and engaging content to increase brand awareness, foster direct communication with the target audience, drive traffic to specific content or offers, and enhance customer service and support. Companies build strong communities on different social media platforms by engaging their customers consistently, making it easy to convert them into loyal customers.

Content Types

Content marketing comprises various forms of content, from blog posts to infographics, eBooks, white papers, videos, etc. These content are usually long-form, as they’re more in-depth and informative. Companies create detailed content and later break them into smaller pieces to repurpose them on many channels, including social media.

On the other hand, social media marketing is known for short-form content, such as posts, images, infographics, short videos, etc., created to fit into a platform’s content specifications.

Social media platforms have different content length limits. Twitter, for instance, has a maximum of 280 characters. Even when platforms like Facebook allow long-form content with a character limit of 63,206, smart companies make their posts short and crispy to capture their audience’s wavering attention and maintain engagement.

There are many other differences between content marketing and social media marketing, such as content distribution mode, measuring metrics, content lifespan, etc.

Why Content Marketing and Social Media Work Together

Some B2B managers ask, “What is the link between content marketing and social media strategy?” “Does content strategy include social media?”

While content marketing and social media marketing are two distinct online marketing strategies, they complement each other in many ways. Top B2B companies understand that they need both to achieve optimal marketing results.

Amplified Content Reach

Content amplification is one of the vital ways social media and content marketing work together to enhance B2B marketing efforts. Social media is one of the major distribution channels for content. When a company publishes well-written, relevant content on its website, the next step is to share it on different social media platforms.

By sharing valuable content with their social media followers, B2B companies also reach their follower’s networks. How? Most social media users will not hesitate to comment, share, and retweet vital information that would benefit their networks. The wider the content reach, the more significant the visibility boost.

Profitable Engagement and Interaction

Social media helps B2B companies interact with their audience in real time, allowing them to address inquiries and customer complaints.

But beyond that, this social media engagement and interaction provide companies with valuable insights that could inform their content marketing efforts. They get new content ideas to keep their content marketing efforts going. And with more content published on their websites, companies have multiple excerpts to post on social media to increase engagement. It’s like a positive feedback loop.

One of the key benefits of this for B2B companies is that it proves their expertise to their customers and shows them they listen to their complaints across these social channels. This allows the customers to speak up more and helps the companies to keep improving their products, services, and marketing efforts.

Quality Lead Generation

Social media is one of the primary traffic sources for B2B companies. With over 4.2 billion social media users worldwide, innovative B2B companies see social media's untapped potential and try to share their content consistently on these platforms to leverage them.

By sharing valuable, relevant content on social media, these companies direct their social media audience to their websites or sales funnels. Then, they receive in-depth information about their products and services.

After getting high-quality products and experiencing good customer service, these customers return to social media to discuss their experiences, generating more quality leads for the companies.

Integrate Content Marketing and Social Media Strategy for Optimal Marketing Results

While companies can implement separate content and social media marketing strategies, integrating both promises better returns. Companies repurpose their most valuable content on social media to drive engagement and traffic. Therefore, content marketing serves as a feeder source for social media content.Social media serves as an amplification tool for web content.

By integrating both marketing channels, B2B companies build valuable relationships. They also establish their expertise and authority, and generate high-quality leads that turn into loyal customers.

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What Content Marketing Services Do Marketing Agencies Provide?

Content marketing services provided by content marketing agencies vary according to the agency, its specialty area, and the end customer's needs. Seven Oaks Consulting, for example, is a business-to-business (B2B) content marketing agency specializing in content strategy and planning, outsourced content creation services, and written content: blog posts, articles, case studies, white papers, and more.

Before addressing the larger question of what content marketing services content marketing agencies provide, it might be helpful to take a step back and ask: What services do you need, and is a content marketing agency the solution?

Content Marketing Services: Content Creation Can Be a Big Task

I recently read a book about scaling up content for organic search traffic (organic SEO). The book's authors provided statistics and screenshots of Google Analytics platforms to prove that it takes over 1,000 blog posts to reach a specific level of traffic to yield X leads. According to their formula, posting a certain number of optimized posts over a specific period and building up a repository or search engine optimized posts leads to more leads and sales over time.

After reading their explanation, the question that lingered in my mind was simple: How in the world does the average person write that many posts?

Sure, some turn to AI-powered tools like Chat GPT and new platforms with similar generative AI running in the background, but generative AI isn't meant for content marketing. It spits out plagiarized content, often with glaring errors (ask the lawyer who had it prepare his brief - it cited fictitious cases, and he's facing charges because of it!).

There are many problems associated with this content creation method, yet with the increasing competition for search traffic, creating thoughtful, optimized content is essential.

Most people struggle to write, and it takes the average person several hours to write a blog post like this. How do you scale up your content marketing?

Scaling Up Your Content Marketing

There are several ways you can scale up your content marketing efforts:

1. Write your own content: If you like to write, you understand how to write compelling SEO content, and you have the time, this is undoubtedly an option.
2. Hire a freelancer: You can look through Fiverr or Upwork to find freelancers or post ads on FlexJobs or other ad search boards. Or, look for hashtags on LinkedIn for freelance writers who specialize in your content area.
3. Hire a part-time or full-time writer: If you have the budget, hiring a content writer is also an option.
4. Hire a content marketing agency: Agencies offer content strategy and planning services, content creation, and content amplification. They can translate rough ideas into action plans to help you achieve your goals, measure the plan against KPIs, and scale up or down according to your needs.

Pros and Cons of DIY and Freelance Approaches to Content Marketing

The question of which of the four options to choose is answered by budget and need. If you're a startup or sole proprietor with a limited budget, you will likely be the DIY writer (1) or hire a freelancer (2).

DIY or Hiring a Freelancer


  • Lower cost: DIY costs only time, and freelance writer prices vary according to the writer, the length/topic of the content, and the turnaround time.
  • Flexibility: If you’re a DIY writer, you can write when the inspiration strikes - after reading a news article or hearing a podcast that inspires a reaction, for example.
  • Output: Output depends solely on your efforts or the budget spent on freelance talent.


  • Costs money: Freelancers don't write for free, and if you expect them to provide free content, stop there and be a DIY writer. Expect to pay $25, $50, $100, and up for a good article or blog post from a freelancer.
  •  Requires time: You'll need to write your content (DIY) or create the instructions, called a creative brief, for the writer. You'll still need to research topics, find keywords, assign them to writers, check and review their work, provide feedback, and publish your content.
  • Finding good writers: Freelancers are a dime a dozen, but finding reliable, professional freelance talent who understands your company, products, services, and target market can be challenging. And once you find that person, they may stop freelancing, ghost you, or raise their prices.

Hire a Part-time or Full-Time Writer


  • You’ll have someone on staff during business hours whose sole job is to write content for you.
    They’ll quickly learn brand voice and tone, products and services
  •  Depending on the writer, you can turn out a high volume of quality content quickly.


  • Expensive - you have to pay a salary, benefits, and insurance.
  •  Challenging - it isn't easy to find a good full-time freelancer.
  • They may be unable to turn out the consistent quality you desire or handle other aspects of content marketing, such as planning, strategy, and amplification. So you'll end up doing that yourself, too.

Content Marketing Agency Services


  • Offers teams of professionals to work on your account, so someone is always ready to handle any aspect of your project.
  • Experienced at content marketing - no need for hand-holding.
  • Flexible teams can provide additional content services (amplification, strategy, visual content) as needed
    Can get better results faster and report on results.


  • The most expensive option. Seven Oaks Consulting's monthly fees start at $2,500, although we work on a per-article basis if companies want to try us out first. Pricing with large content marketing agencies like Brafton begins at $10,000 per month. The average is around $4,000 - $6,000 per month.
  • It still requires some time from the client. We always ask clients to review their content before publication to ensure accuracy.
  • Some ramp-up time is needed to learn the company, products, and services (but likely much less than a freelancer would need).

Typical Content Marketing Agency Services

Again, I emphasize that no two agencies provide the same services, and the final list of services an agency recommends for your company's needs may vary from another company's list. It's all in the goals: What do you want to achieve? Then it's about the audience: who are your customers and competitors, and what will it take to reach them?

Strategy and Planning

  • Developing a strategic content marketing plan
  • Creating an editorial calendar or content calendar
  • Competitive analysis
  • Persona identification and mapping


  • Researching and writing content
  • Identifying target keywords
  • Optimizing digital content
  • Graphic design of content


  • Promoting content across various channels (social media)
  • Guest posts and article placement
  • Advertising content on search engines and social channels


  • Reports and metrics
  • Other marketing services: brand consultation, digital marketing, direct mail marketing

Do You Need a Content Marketing Agency?

A content marketing agency offers a comprehensive suite of content marketing services: strategy, planning, competitive intelligence, SEO, creative design, writing, and promotion - the marketing of the pieces themselves. Agencies also provide reports, coaching, and guidance on various marketing disciplines.

Content marketing agencies may work across both B2C and B2B companies or specialize in a specific niche: beauty and health products, medical or health, technology, manufacturing, and more.

Agency-Client Fit

Finding the right agency to fit your goals, needs, industry, and audience is essential. Part of your due diligence is to ensure a good agency-company fit. This means meeting with the company's team - perhaps the account executive you'll be working with and other key players who will be hands-on with your projects.

Experience Match

Take time to ensure that your expectations align with their experience. Don't try to fit a square peg into a road hole. You may like how an agency approaches its graphic design, but the ramp-up time may be significant if they don't know your industry very well.

Time Investment

Be ready to invest over 6- 12 months with a content marketing agency. Most will require that much time to get content planned, created, and promoted. It is unreasonable to expect results within weeks or months. Good content marketing takes time to develop, time to index by search engines, and time to be found and appreciated by customers.

Ready to Get Started with Content Marketing Services?

Are you looking for content marketing agency services? We're happy to help. Please contact us after you've reviewed our prices and services, and we can discuss your goals and needs.


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Yes, Content Marketing Still Matters!

Content marketing still has a place in the marketing mix. Consumers are hungry for information online and look to online sources to help guide their decisions. In 2021 nearly 70 percent of online shoppers typically read between one and six customer reviews before making a purchasing decision, according to Statista. This points to the fact that consumers are influenced by the content they encounter in their buying journey.

Leading the Way

That’s where content marketing enters the equation. It’s a powerful means to inform and influence potential customers about how you can add value, while establishing trust. Plus, optimized content marketing can bring organic traffic from search engines like Google. This can translate to improved Google rankings, online visibility and more robust sales.

However, effective content marketing doesn’t happen by design. Both art and science, the brands with the most success know to approach content marketing from an inbound perspective. In other words, marketers have become adept at reaching their consumer base in ways that don’t seem too sales-y or formulaic. 

Custom Content Is King

While each brand has its own style, a storytelling framework resonates with consumers and lays a foundation for loyalty.  It’s rooted in intentionally tailoring your content to your target audience and their needs, instead of pushing out a message to a general audience. In contrast, an inbound content marketing strategy means your brand and products appear naturally during their fact-finding mission.

For example, if a health-conscious consumer is looking for information about adding protein to their diet, they might be researching protein shakes. If you're a manufacturer or marketer of plant-based shakes,  you could write a blog post with recipes. Based on keyword research that produces search engine results pages, you could drive consumers to your e-commerce website naturally. 

In short, content marketing is still the secret sauce when it comes to creating brand awareness. Companies of all sizes can remain competitive in a crowded digital landscape while engaging with core consumers more effectively than ever before.


What's Working in Technology Content Marketing

What's working in technology content marketing?

In today's rapidly evolving marketing landscape, using the right strategies in technology content marketing can make all the difference. As marketing professionals, we understand that reaching potential customers with the right content at the right time is essential. Knowing your customers inside and out is at the heart of good content marketing.

On our recent webinar, “Trends in Marketing – What Works and What Doesn’t” our panelists debated shared what works in technology content marketing and marketing.

Our panel included a content marketing expert (Jeanne Grunert), an ABM Strategist (Melissa “Lisa” Watts), and our target customer, represented by Ryan Dube, a digital transformation director. Here, we summarize a portion of the webinar and share what works, with plenty of feedback from our target customer.

Five Content Marketing Tactics for the Technology Industry That WORK

  1. Webinars and Website Content: The Power Duo

Webinars and website content emerge as the dynamic duo in connecting with your target audience effectively. If webinars are on topic and focus on a technology, solution, or problem the target audience struggles with, they work well to engage customers.

Ryan, our subject matter expert, raved about webinars. “I love attending them because I’m not being “sold to” – I’m there to learn – and that’s key for me.”

Make sure your webinars are packed with information to make them effective for your audience to ensure they're working for technology content marketing.

  1. No One-Size Fits All Content

One key takeaway from the conversation is the understanding that technology marketing success depends heavily on understanding the customer and marketing to them on a much more detailed, personal level than other forms of marketing.

 No longer can marketers rely on a "one-size-fits-all" approach. For instance, a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) might engage with content on Instagram, gathering insights from different sources, while someone from an engineering background might seek data-driven content, such as cases, comparisons, charts, and technical information. Recognizing these nuances is essential for tailoring content to suit the preferences of the intended audience.

  1. Personalization and the Customer Journey

Personalization extends beyond just understanding the customer's persona; it involves knowing where customers acquire their information and tailoring content delivery accordingly. This shift from broad outreach to targeted, relevant content addresses customers' specific needs at different stages of their journey.

The customer journey encompasses various stages, such as the education phase, the consideration phase, and the decision-making phase. Effective content strategies must align with each of these stages to provide the right information at the right time, ultimately guiding potential customers toward a purchase decision.

  1. A Customer-Centric Approach to Technology Content Marketing

A central theme that resonates throughout the conversation is the importance of understanding the customer. Listening to their preferences, pain points, and preferred channels of information consumption is paramount. Content strategies must revolve around the customer's needs, gaps, and challenges. Marketers must position themselves as solution providers who can bridge those gaps effectively.

  1. The Power of Engagement and Relevance

In a world where information is abundant, engagement and relevance are the cornerstones of successful content strategies. Engage with customers in meaningful ways, such as by attending conferences and industry events. By actively participating in the industry discourse, marketers can identify gaps and challenges that their solutions can address.

Technology Content Marketing - the Right Approach

The right approach to technology content marketing (and overall marketing into the tech industry) makes a big difference. Our panelists agreed: personalization, and a deep understanding of the target market, is essential for success. When you start with the customer's problems, and think of them as an individual, your messages will resonate with them.

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Content Marketing vs SEO - Which Is Better for Marketing?

Content marketing and SEO are digital marketing strategies that guarantee optimal online visibility, engagement, and overall success for any B2B company. However, some content marketers and B2B companies are confused about the similarities and differences between the two strategies and which to devote the most effort to.

Three key questions remain:

  • Is one of these strategies superior to the other, or do they function better when integrated?
  • Should B2B companies focus on one or leverage both for overall company success?
  • What’s the best way to approach SEO and Content marketing?

Understanding the distinct attributes of each strategy and the potential synergistic power of both remains the only way to determine the answers to these questions.

Content marketing and SEO complement each other, and research has shown they work best when integrated. B2B companies that resolve how to complement both strategies make the most of their powerful synergy and stay ahead.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing involves creating and distributing valuable content in the form of blogs, videos, eBooks, and podcasts to educate or inform an audience. Companies leverage it to educate and inform their audience about their products and services, helping them understand how the company stands out from their competitors.

By consistently publishing and distributing valuable industry information, B2B companies present themselves as reliable go-to resources for industry thought leadership information. This helps the company build trust and authority, enabling them to convert their prospects easily.

To excel with content marketing, you need an efficient content marketing strategy that includes plans for audience research, content planning, creation, distribution, analytics, and others.

What is SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to the strategies and techniques used to improve a website and its pages to rank at the top of search engine result pages (SERPs). Ranking high on SERPs increases a website’s visibility, as research has shown that most people don’t go beyond the first page of a search engine when seeking information.

The increased visibility generates more traffic, increasing the website’s leads and conversion rate. The primary aim of SEO is to increase the quality and quantity of traffic to a website from search engines.

Companies adopt SEO to increase their company's, product's, or service's awareness, improving their revenue generation chances.

To execute SEO successfully, you must have a robust SEO strategy that includes plans for keyword research, link building, competitive analysis,on-page optimization, off-page optimization, and technical SEO, amongst others.

Difference between Content Marketing and SEO

While content marketing and SEO are similar or complementary, they have differences in their goals, scope, and the role search engines play.

The Goals of Content Marketing and SEO

Content marketing aims to build brand awareness, establish industry authority, and build solid and beneficial relationships across all marketing channels with potential customers. To achieve this goal, companies create relevant and educational content that resonates with their target audience, depending on the marketing channel.

However, SEO aims to increase a website’s visibility and rankings on search engines, enabling it to attract high-quality leads. Companies achieve this goal by optimizing various elements, such as website load speed, meta, and title tags, HTTP status codes, mobile friendliness, backlink structure, etc.

SEO significantly increases the chances of success on one vital content marketing channel – search engine marketing.

The Scope of Content Marketing and SEO

Another difference between content marketing and SEO is their scope. Content marketing focuses more on content creation in various formats and distribution through multiple channels, such as social media, blogs, search engines, emails, etc.

On the other hand, SEO involves all technical, on-page, and off-page activities in helping a website achieve the most content distribution and visibility on search engines.

Role of Search Engines in Content Marketing and SEO

This is a more subtle difference between content marketing and SEO. Content marketing emphasizes creating high-quality, relevant content that addresses the target audience's needs, preferences, and pain points. When content marketing involves website content, the content might help the website rank on search engines.

However, SEO is more direct in helping websites rank on search engines. It focuses on the website’s technical sides, content structure, and other on-page and off-page elements like keyword research and integration, quality backlink building, user experience, etc. All these help search engine algorithms understand a website’s relevance and rank it at the top of SERPs for those searching for related information.

Content Marketing and SEO: How They Complement Each Other

Content marketing vs. SEO shouldn't be the question. The better question should be how can both work together for optimal results. SEO and content marketing complement each other, from keyword optimization to brand and product visibility, user experience, and link building.

Keyword Optimization

Keyword optimization is one of the most vital ways SEO helps actualize content marketing goals. When users seek information on search engines, they do so with keywords. Identifying and optimizing for these keywords is only possible through extensive keyword research, an SEO activity.

To rank high and generate traffic from search engines where prospects actively use these keywords, companies create relevant content that addresses prospects’ needs and pain points and integrate these keywords naturally into them.

Improved Visibility and Brand Awareness

Content marketing and SEO work hand in hand to improve a company’s website’s visibility on search engines, creating awareness for its products and services. SEO is used in content marketing to help search engines identify and index well-written content that addresses customer needs.

The more readers find the content useful, the more search engines will help push it to a larger audience. Content marketing efforts are more fruitful when the content reaches a broader audience, and SEO helps achieve this by pushing the content higher in search rankings.

Quality and User Experience

Content marketing and SEO also work together to improve content quality and user experience.

By conducting extensive keyword research and SERP audits, companies gain more insight into their target audience’s expectations. They can then create content that addresses those expectations.

The quality of a piece of content depends a lot on how relevant it is to the readers. And the more relevant the content is, the better the user experience.

Engaging, informative content improves a website’s search engine rankings. It keeps readers hooked on your website longer. And the more people stay on your website, the greater the odds they'll contact you.

Increased Link-Building Opportunities

Great, informative, and exhaustive content attracts backlinks from other websites. The more backlinks content receives, especially from authoritative sources, the more search engines recognize the content and website as relevant and trustworthy. And this makes the search engine algorithms push the content higher up on the SERPs.

Great content and SEO marketing strategies lead to more organic link-building opportunities. In turn, this increase a website’s ranking, visibility, traffic generation, and ultimately lead generation and conversion.

Integrate Your Content Marketing and SEO Strategies and Achieve Optimal Results

Undoubtedly, optimal online marketing results come with integrating SEO and content marketing strategy. An extensive content marketing strategy without a complementing SEO strategy is ineffective. You can miss out on many organic leads and leave a lot of money on the table. Similarly, a robust SEO strategy without solid content marketing backing it up is almost futile.

The ideal approach is to develop a complementary SEO content marketing strategy that includes content marketing and SEO plans. Smart B2B companies integrate both strategies to give their brand, products, and services much-needed organic visibility, ultimately increasing revenue-generating opportunities.


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The Important of Content Marketing for B2B Companies

Content marketing is important for B2B and B2C companies. 

Content marketing is a valid marketing approach for both B2B and B2C companies. However, many are skeptical of adopting content marketing as part of their strategy because they’re unsure of itsf ROI. Here, we dispel the myth that content marketing does not produce significant ROI and examine its importance in the marketing mix. 


Content Marketing for B2B Companies Is Similar to Marketing for B2C Companies

Here’s a typical definition of content marketing; 

‘A type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (blogs, white papers, case studies, videos, social media posts, etc.) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.’

This definition shows that content marketing is crucial for every business.

There’s a need for B2Bs to understand their prospects' pain points and adopt content marketing strategies to educate and inform the prospects about their products and services and how they solve those pain points.

There are many reasons why content marketing is essential for B2B companies, from helping them build trust and authority to showcasing their products and services and generating high-quality leads.


7 Top Reasons Why B2B Companies Need to Have a Strategic Content Marketing Plan

1. Builds Trust and Authority

B2B buyers constantly try to mitigate risks and optimize purchases. They scrutinize every piece of information they receive before making purchasing decisions. When a company consistently presents itself as the go-to resource for expert industry information and insights, they become a trusted authority.

Smart B2B companies can use content marketing to build trust and authority by consistently creating valuable and relevant content. Building a B2B content marketing strategy that includes case studies, blogs, customer testimonials, thought leadership whitepapers, etc., signals industry expertise and helps build buyers’ trust.

2. Helps B2B Buyers Make Purchasing Decisions

B2B buyers are conscious of making purchasing mistakes that could negatively impact their ROI and customer relationships. They extensively research products and services before making any purchase decision.

B2B companies can use content marketing to provide relevant educational content that helps these customers make informed purchasing decisions. They can provide this information using marketing materials that show detailed product information, use cases, demos, and how the products and services help problem-solving.

By using transactional content for B2B marketing, companies can get their customers, who are at the decision stage of their buyer journey, to make instant buying decisions.

3. Improves SEO and Website Traffic

Strategic content marketing helps B2B companies rank higher on SERPs for different money keywords, increasing website traffic and driving MQLs. During product research, most B2B buyers use keywords to query search engines for specific information regarding their needs. This is especially true when they don’t know about companies offering the required solutions.

Because search engines reward quality content with high-ranking and qualified leads, strategic companies can rank for those keywords, have more visibility, and deliver exceptional content detailed enough to answer all the prospects’ questions. Creating content relevant to your target audience and search engines can generate high-quality leads, leading to increased revenue.   

4. Helps Companies Stay Competitive

Most B2B companies are already leveraging content marketing to drive leads. And since B2B buyers conduct online research before purchasing, companies not adopting content marketing lose out on many sales and market share. 

It has become a critical differentiator among companies with similar target markets.

5. Bring Higher-Quality Leads

High-quality lead generation is one of the many benefits of content marketing to B2B companies. Content marketing generates more qualified leads because it drives leads actively seeking solutions. These prospects don’t waste time making purchasing decisions when they encounter content they resonate with.

Different approaches to content marketing help companies attract people at different stages of their buyer's journey. With informational and educational content, B2B companies can attract customers at the awareness stage of their buyer journey. Companies can also attract higher quality leads at the consideration stage of their journey, with a different approach to content – transactional.

Knowing how and when to use each approach to content marketing for B2B lead generation is vital to increasing sales and revenue. . It all lies in the company’s content marketing strategy.

6. Content Marketing is Cost-Effective 

Content marketing is a cost-effective marketing approach for B2B companies for valid reasons. Consistently updated quality and valuable content can rank at the top of search engines for years and generate leads year-on-year. This is cost-effective in the long run and requires an insignificant investment compared to paid marketing. 

Furthermore, valuable content can be repurposed into other forms, such as infographics, videos, podcasts, eBooks, whitepapers, etc., which can be used in other marketing channels like email, social media, etc. This reduces the cost of generating separate marketing materials for these other channels, reducing the overall marketing cost for a company.

With a solid content marketing strategy, companies can save the costs of running daily, monthly, or yearly paid ads and achieve similar or even better results.

Showcase Your Products and Services

Content marketing is an excellent way for B2B companies to showcase their products and services. Customer-centric companies create content that answers their audience’s questions while suggesting their products and services as the necessary solutions.

Even more, they provide detailed content highlighting their products' specific features and benefits. 

Since B2B buyers at the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey use online information to compare products and make buying decisions, content marketing becomes strategic for companies that leverage it.

The fascinating thing about using content marketing to showcase products and services is that, when executed well, it can be so engaging and fun that the customer never loses focus or interest. For instance, a product review can be developed to deliver value and drive conversions without the readers feeling they’re being sold to. 

Leverage Content Marketing, Adopt a Strategy, and 10X Your Results

Companies that adopt content marketing and create valuable content are sure to win in a competitive B2B market. It’s a non-negotiable for companies that want to be future-proof and increase market share and profit margin. Hopefully, you have the insights to adopt an effective content marketing strategy, execute it well, and generate 10x your results.

eyeglasses on a closed apple laptop with cellphone on a desk

Content Clusters: What Are They and How Do They Work?

Content clusters, also called a B2B pillar content strategy, consist of related groups of content on a website. This content may be a group of articles and blog posts, or multiple types of content, such as blog posts, articles, presentations, videos, infographics and so on. No matter what type of content pieces are featured, however, they are all grouped under a main idea or topic – an umbrella, if you will, or a pillar, whichever visual works for you – and are related through a series of logical, connected keywords.

Why Develop Content Clusters?

I’m not exactly sure when the term content cluster came about, but over the past several years, it’s become apparent that using big, long form content pieces (pillar posts) with layers of related yet separate content pieces works wonders to boost a site’s organic search traffic.

How Search Engines Work – How Content Is Discovered

If you think about how search engines work, the answer to “why develop content clusters?” readily becomes apparent:

  1. Search engines send scouts, called spiders or bots, to scour the internet for new content.
  2. They follow links from page to page to find and review new materials published online.
  3. Materials are indexed according to keywords – what the bot considers the main topic of the content piece.
  4. Google and other search engines use an algorithm to rank the content according to usefulness, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (the infamous E-A-T formula).

When search engines encounter content, they look for links as they scan the web page, and then they follow those links, and so on…and that helps the content rank well. We know from experience and data tracked over many years that the more your website interlinks in a logical, helpful way to the visitor or reader, the better.

B2B Pillar Content Strategy

A B2B pillar content strategy starts with pillars, or big concepts related to the heart of your website. On my gardening website, Home Garden Joy, pillar topics include vegetable gardening, composting, and seed starting, all basic concepts for new gardeners to master. On a fashion website, pillar topics might include capsule wardrobes, choosing flattering colors, or classic pieces to add to your wardrobe.

Each website’s pillar content varies according to the theme, unique spin, or ‘tilt’ as Joe Pulizzi calls it, of your site. A B2B pillar content strategy focuses on key concepts a business might be marketing to other businesses. Each topic, or pillar, in a B2B pillar content strategy should be broad enough to cover the idea thoroughly. Keyword-rich articles, linked from the pillar topic, create an ecosystem of content pieces related to a single concept or thought.

How to Begin a Content Cluster or B2B Pillar Content Strategy

Newcomers to content clusters or B2B pillar content strategies often wonder where they should begin. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What questions does my audience ask that my business is unique positioned to answer?
  • What key search terms do these questions relate to?
  • What is the search volume for this term?
  • Are there synonyms or related topics? If so, what is the search volume for those topics?
  • What has my competition published on this topic?
  • Have I published anything on this topic? If so, how many visits does it get?
  • Could my previously published pieces on this idea benefit from a rewrite?

The Seven Oaks Consulting Technique of Building Pillar Clusters

At Seven Oaks Consulting, our team of professional B2B content marketers uses a technique we call spider mapping to develop content clusters.

  • We put the main idea or big concept for the pillar content strategy in the middle along with its search volume, competition, and links to the top 3 content pieces into the big center circle.
  • Then, we brainstorm ideas around the big idea. These ideas go into the little surrounding circles.
  • We then conduct additional keyword research to develop out the shorter articles in the circles that looks like planets orbiting the sun.

Here’s an example from my own gardening website, Home Garden Joy. The primary idea is how to grow beets. We then spun off “beets” into multiple interlinked concepts, including recipes, to build a content cluster around growing beets.

example of content clusters

And then – voila. We have a content cluster. Writers receive their assignments, with the pillar content piece (the big idea in the middle) a long form topic and each orbiting topic developed into a supporting yet unique article.

We make sure that the pillar links out to the shorter pieces, and the shorter pieces link to the pillar. Then, we make sure that there are other links from our website into each piece.

Tools to Help Develop Content Clusters

There are a ton of SEO tools available to help you develop content clusters. I’ll share some of our favorites here.

  • SEM Rush – the big daddy of SEO tools. On the expensive side but you get a ton of great tools in one monthly package. It will help you assess keywords, compare competitive sites, and develop ideas.
  • Moz – another great SEO tool to help you find keywords and develop your strategy.
  • Keysearch – a low- priced yet feature-rich keyword search tool that also helps you pinpoint the top sites currently ranking for keywords you’re hoping to use and rank for.
  • Yoast – I absolutely love the paid Yoast plugin and it is worth every penny. We use it on all of our sites. It finds orphan content, or content that is not linked to anything else on the site and thus harder to find for search engines. It also helps us see if our content is readable and hits the right SEO buttons to rank well. Lastly, a paid Yoast subscription provides access to their library of educational materials, which is also great if you are new to SEO!
  • AnswerthePublic – this tool used to be free but is now a reasonably priced paid tool. It lets you assess keywords and develop conceptual lists around keywords.

Again, there are dozens more platforms and tools just like these out there, and every content marketer will have her favorite. I recommend starting with free or low priced tools (Google search analytics tools, Keysearch, AnswerthePublic) if you’re just starting out.

2B2 Pillar Content Strategy Part of Our Services

We provide B2B pillar content strategy creation as part of all of our content marketing packages, so if you’re reading this and feeling overwhelmed, give us a call. We worked with technology and manufacturing companies to develop robust content marketing strategies to boost website traffic, brand awareness, leads, and sales.

Our content clusters include keyword research, content topics development, writing and editing for proper organic SEO, and our unique subject matter expert review (which no other content marketing agency provides!).  Please contact us for a free consultation and discussion of your content marketing goals.


Video: Content Clusters, Creating B2B Content Pillars

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The Power of Customer Success Stories: How to Leverage Content Marketing for Maximum Impact

The Power of Customer Success Stories: How to Leverage Content Marketing for Maximum Impact

Customer success stories offer B2B companies a powerful way to share their work with customers.

Over the years, from the days of marketing gurus like Gary Halbert, David Ogilvy, etc., stories have been a powerful marketing tool. Now, companies leverage customers’ success stories as a content marketing tool. Stories build trust and credibility. They improve lead generation, nurturing, and conversion.

There are many ways to leverage customer stories for content marketing. Case studies and testimonials are the most common. We’ll go beyond case studies and testimonials to evaluate and discuss other creative ways B2B companies can leverage their customer success stories to boost their content marketing returns.

What Is a Customer Success Story?

A customer success story, or client story relates the tale of customer’s encounter with a company’s product or service. It includes detailed information, from the point of contact to the challenges, positive experiences, and how the products or services addressed their needs. Smart B2B companies understand that prospects trust what a customer says about a company and its products and services more than what the company says about itself. Therefore, they leverage customer stories to boost their content marketing effectiveness.

Customer success stories work best with prospects in the consideration stage of their customer journey. Early in the customer journey, customers may be eager to hear from others who have used a particular product or service they want to purchase. Customer-centric companies use customer success stories to dispel these fears and show how they’ve helped customers with similar challenges. They highlight challenges and pain points, and how the company solved these challenges.

Ways You Can Leverage Customer Success Stories for Content Marketing

Here are some ways B2B companies can leverage customer success stories to enhance their content marketing efforts:

Case Studies

Case studies are the most common ways companies show prospects how their business operates. Beyond sharing customer success stories, companies use case studies to narrate the customer journey and how they address every customer’s needs.

Sharing customer success stories with case studies requires B2B companies to highlight how their customers used their products or services to overcome challenges and achieve their business goals. They include key metrics, testimonials, and use cases and add compelling narratives to show their offerings’ value and effectiveness.

Blog Posts

Companies can use blog posts to share their customers’ success stories. This is useful, especially to B2B companies that wish to show detailed use cases of their products or services to enable their prospects to see how they are the best fit for their business.

To successfully share customer stories with this method, B2B companies must make blog posts about their customers, detailing their pain points and how their products or services provide the solution. These blog posts can be presented as interviews or guest posts from customers.

Video Testimonials

Videos are powerful content marketing tools with multipurpose use in content marketing. B2B companies that want to leverage their customers’ success stories to drive visibility and conversion must use video testimonials.

Video testimonials don’t just capture your customers’ stories more engagingly and compellingly; they also build trust and credibility faster, as the prospects hear directly from the customers. Video testimonials can be incorporated into other content marketing formats like published blog posts, shared on video-sharing networks like YouTube, posted on social media, or attached to emails.

Social Media

With over 4.2 billion social media users worldwide, companies understand the impact building trust and credibility on social media platforms using their customers’ success stories would have on their business.

To effectively leverage social media for sharing customer stories, companies develop social media campaigns that focus on sharing their customer stories. Share them as quotes, short video clips, infographics, and other repurposed content.

Encourage customers to share their stories using specific hashtags; when they do, they respond and engage with them by quoting their stories and pushing the success stories to their followers. This increases engagement on the company’s social media accounts, thus, increasing visibility and leading to more lead generation and sales.


Webinars are fast becoming a vital content marketing channel companies can leverage to share exciting news and information with their prospects and customers.

B2B companies can use webinars to share customer success stories by inviting customers for interviews. In these interviews, their customers will share their stories, beginning with their challenges, how they sought solutions, and how the company’s products or services addressed their needs. 

Given the nature of webinars, companies can have more in-depth conversations with their customers, highlighting the key benefits they derive from their products or services. This gives prospects a detailed insight into the customer experience success stories and helps them envision telling their stories someday.

Email Campaigns

Email marketing has remained a powerful content marketing channel companies adopt to nurture leads into buying and repeat customers.

Leveraging email campaigns to share customer success stories helps companies handle customer objections and convince them to try their products and services. This strategy will work best in multichannel marketing where other strategies, like video testimonials, podcast episodes, webinars, blog links, etc., are incorporated to give the prospects more reasons to trust the company.


Why Use Customer Stories and Testimonials?

Customer stories and testimonials are powerful content marketing tools that future-centric B2B companies adopt to build trust and credibility. They make it easy for companies to showcase their values and benefits.

Success stories also make products and services relatable. When prospects see other customers who have been in their shoes and had a successful experience, they imagine themselves achieving the same feat. This influences them to purchase the products without further objections.

Furthermore, customer stories enhance content marketing efforts as they can be repurposed into valuable content that supports lead generation and conversion.


Learn more about the power of stories: How Brand Storytelling Increased ROI 2,700%!


How to Structure Success Stories and Testimonials to Get Results

Like a typical story, customer success stories and testimonials follow a structure. They move from problem to solution.

That means companies should first narrate their customers’ challenges. Then, talk about how they sought solutions. End with how their products and services provided the customers with the needed solution.

This approach enables the prospects to envision the customer’s journey. It also provides insights into how their problems can be addressed with the company’s products and services.


Use Customer Stories Strategically and Get Improved ROI

Customer success stories can help a company generate massive leads and help it nurture prospects into buying customers. However, handling B2B customer success stories is delicate, as companies must seek their customers’ consent and tell the story strategically. Always ask permission before sharing success stories. 

Leveraging customer stories for content marketing is a powerful marketing approach for fB2B companies. When executed properly, it can greatly improve ROI. 




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