25 content marketing terms explained

Looking to hire a content marketer to help boost your digital marketing strategy? Or perhaps you're interested in knowing more about how content marketing can help your business.

Whatever your reason for getting to grips with the basics of content marketing, there's plenty of information out there to help you.

However, there's no denying that the field of content marketing can be a confusing place. Particularly if it feels like everyone speaks a different language. But despite the jargon, learning the ins and outs of content marketing needn't give you a headache.

We've created a glossary of content and digital marketing terms that you should know, along with explanations. So, without further ado, let's take a look!

Here are the content marketing terms you need to know and simple explanations as to what they really mean. Let's get stuck in!

1. Channels

In content marketing, a channel is an area where content can be deployed and presented to a target audience. This may be online or offline, depending on the demographic a company is trying to reach. Currently, the most commonly used marketing channels are websites, email, digital advertising, and events.

2. Search engine optimisation (SEO)

Search engine optimisation, or SEO as it is often called, is a digital marketing process used to optimise a website or webpage for search engines like Google. The purpose of SEO is to increase the visibility of websites and web pages so they rank better in organic search results — these are unpaid listings on a search engine results page (SERP).

One of the main benefits of organic search is that it helps companies build credibility with their target audience whilst also being more cost-effective than paid SEO tactics.

3. Keywords/keyphrases

Keywords and keyphrases are terms used to describe words or phrases that are selected and searched for by users in a search engine. They are particularly important in content marketing and SEO strategies as they help websites and web pages rank better in the SERPs. For this reason, keywords and keyphrases should form the core of any website content — this includes the main body of text, titles, and headers.

4. Paid search

Paid search is a type of advertising that allows companies to pay to have their website placed at the top of search engine results pages, above organic search results. Paid search results are marked with the word "Ad", making them identifiable from organic search results.

Paid search works on a pay-per-click basis, meaning the company will only pay for the advert if a user clicks on it. A budget can be allocated to pay-per-click ads, which makes them a more controllable method of advertising.

5. Search engine results pages (SERPs)

A search engine results page (SERP) is a web page that shows up when a user enters keywords or a query into a search engine or search bar. A SERP will typically consist of paid search, pay-per-click ads, and organic search results.

The results at the top of SERPs tend to receive the highest amount of website traffic, making the top spots highly desirable to companies — this is why SEO is so important. It is an excellent way to gain a competitive advantage and boost a content marketing strategy.

6. Engagement rate

The engagement rate is a metric for tracking and identifying the level of engagement that has been generated by an audience in response to a piece of content or brand campaign. It is calculated as the total engagement divided by the total number of followers, multiplied by 100. Total engagement refers to the number of interactions, which will differ depending on the platform. For example, total engagement on Facebook would be calculated as the total number of likes, shares, reactions, and comments. On Instagram, total engagement would consist of the number of likes and comments.

7. Content management system (CMS)

A content management system (CMS) refers to software designed to help users manage the creation and modification of website content. It also allows companies to build websites without needing to code from scratch or without any prior knowledge of how to code.

8. Call to action (CTA)

A call to action (CTA) is a prompt directed at a reader, viewer, or listener, which is intended to evoke a specific response. In content marketing, a CTA most commonly refers to wording featured on web pages. For example, a call to action on a webpage could be "click here for more info", "call today to get a quote", or "follow us on Instagram".

9. Marketing funnel

A marketing funnel is a representation of the steps taken in the customer journey, from finding out about a brand to becoming an active customer. Understanding this journey can help provide insight into what it takes for customers to move through each stage and why conversions don't always happen.

A basic marketing funnel has the following four stages:

  • Attention: a potential customer becomes aware of the company through word of mouth, adverts, social media posts, or any similar scenario.
  • Interest: as a result of the advert, they are interested in the product or service and want to learn more. This is typically because they have identified that there is something of value on offer.
  • Desire: the prospective customer has done their research and wants to convert by taking action.
  • Action: the customer takes action. This could include making a purchase, signing up for a trial, or filling out a form.

10. Inbound marketing

Inbound marketing is the strategic process of creating valuable content, specifically tailored to a target demographic. The aim is to provide valuable solutions to problems that potential customers are experiencing and are searching for ways to resolve.

Inbound marketing can take many forms, but the main aspects of it are creativity and meeting the needs of customers. Examples of common types of inbound marketing content include webinars, infographics, and blog posts.

11. Target audience

A target audience is a group of people that have been identified as potential customers of a company. These individuals usually share similarities, such as being in the same age group or location.

Identifying a target audience is crucial as it is a fundamental component of a content strategy. Without a clear idea of who the target audience is, content cannot be tailored accordingly or personalised. Both of these things

12. Content brief

A content brief is a guide given to writers and editors, outlining the requirements and key information needed to complete a piece of content. The brief could be internal or from a client.

Typically a content brief will include the following:

  • Title
  • A word count
  • Topics
  • Keywords
  • Headers
  • Target audience
  • Tone of voice
  • Words or phrases to avoid

The purpose of a brief is to aid writers and editors with content creation and keep projects on track. They also minimise the number of edits and rewrites needed, saving time and money.

13. Conversion

Conversion is when a user completes an action on your website that is valuable. Often, the term conversion is used to describe the change from a website visitor to a customer. However, the term can also be used for other valuable actions, such as a potential customer signing up for a newsletter or making a phone call to the company.

14. Landing page

A landing page is a standalone webpage that has been specifically created for a marketing campaign. As the name suggests, it's where a viewer "lands" after they've clicked a link. This link could be directing the viewer from an email, advert, social media platform, or other websites.

Unlike web pages, which tend to encourage users to explore other pages on the website, landing pages have a sole purpose: a call to action (CTA). This means that they will typically contain fewer links than a homepage in order to focus the viewer and prompt them to carry out a specific response. For this reason, landing pages are an excellent tool for increasing conversion rates and sales revenue.

15. Content strategy

A content strategy is a plan for creating, releasing, refreshing, and managing all content produced by a company. The aim of a content strategy is to achieve measurable business goals, such as increasing website traffic, reaching new audiences, and increasing revenue.

There are three main components of a content strategy:

  • Brand focus: content should be created in alignment with the brand's core values and the brand image the company is conveying.
  • User experience: an effective content strategy is based on who the end users are. This is so content can be tailored for the intended audience and provides value.
  • Content distribution: when, where, and how content is distributed. This should be in alignment with the goals of the strategy.

16. Impression

Also known as a view-through, an impression is when a user sees a certain piece of content — such as an advertisement. This measure is typically used as a key metric when assessing the effectiveness of pay-per-click advertising and other digital marketing tactics.

17. Click-through rate (CRT)

The click-through rate is a ratio comparing the number of viewers who see an advert or listing and the number of viewers who click on them (impressions). This metric can be used to assess how effectively adverts, keywords, or free listings are performing. CTR is calculated as the number of clicks an advert receives divided by the number of impressions.

18. Pay-per-click (PPC)

Pay-per-click is a model used in digital advertising where companies pay for online adverts. These adverts may appear on social media, search engines such as Google, websites, and all kinds of other places. Each time a user clicks on the advert, the advertiser will be charged a fee. When PPC is working at its best, the cost of clicks is worth more than the upfront cost as it will make a profit.

19. Bounce rate

Bounce rate is a metric that calculates the percentage of visitors that leave a webpage without performing any actions. This could be clicking on anything, making a purchase, or staying on the page for a specific amount of time.

The calculation for a page's bounce rate is worked out by dividing the number of single-page visits by the total number of visits to a website. A high bounce rate is often cause for concern as it means viewers are only visiting one page and clicking off the website. It could suggest an error in the tracking code or a broken link. For this reason, a high bounce rate is worth investigating to find the cause.

20. Customer acquisition cost (CAC)

Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is a calculation of the costs associated with acquiring a new customer — such as sales personnel and marketing resources. CAC is calculated as the total cost of sales and marketing expenses divided by the number of new customers acquired.

This metric is important as it gives companies an idea of how effective their marketing campaigns are. It also helps identify areas for improvement.

21. Consumer

A consumer — sometimes referred to as an end user — is an individual who consumes a product or service. The term consumer is often used interchangeably with the term customer. For the most part, this is not an issue. But, knowing the difference is particularly beneficial in content marketing as it helps identify a target audience and tailor content accordingly.

22. Customer

A customer is an individual who has bought a product or service. Due to a consumer being an end user of a product or service, a customer may not always be a consumer. For example, if a parent buys a toy for their child, the parent would be defined as a customer and the child defined as a consumer.

23. Key performance indicators (KPIs)

Key performance indicators are quantifiable measurements of performance for specific objectives, assessed over time. They are targets for teams and individuals to strive for, that are continually measured to see progress made. This helps businesses gain insight which allows them to make informed decisions to improve their strategies.

24. Customer relationship management (CRM)

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a collective term for the processes, principles, and practices put in place by companies when interacting with customers. It encompasses all aspects of building relationships with customers, from contacting them with sales offers to managing relationships and strengthening them. The aim of CRM is to forge mutually beneficial, lasting relationships with customers.

CRM may also refer to technology that companies use to manage relationships with customers. Again, these are implemented with the intention of improving relationships in business and maintaining existing ones.

25. Return on investment (ROI)

Return on investment (ROI) is a measure of the efficiency and profitability of an investment — such as a CRM system or marketing campaign. It can also be used to compare investments made by companies to determine which ones are the most valuable and effective.

ROI is calculated as the net income from the investment — the initial cost of the investment minus its final value — divided by the total cost of the investment, multiplied by 100 to get a percentage.

The world of online marketing may seem like it's filled with jargon and complicated terms. But now you've read this guide, you'll be more than equipped to understand the basics of content marketing. And as you get more familiar with the topic, you'll pick up even more definitions as you go. So, whether you're working with clients, hiring a content manager for your company, or want to have a better understanding of content marketing for your own business, you'll be well on your way to mastering things in no time!