SEO, Social Media Marketing, and Content Marketing -What’s the Difference?
DIY Sprocket Solutions
If you’re new to the game, or heck –even if you’ve been around awhile, you probably have heard phrases like content marketing or SEO being thrown around all over the place. Also, if you’re anything like me, you’ve spent a lot of time blindly shaking your head going, “Sure, yeah, SEO super important. Oh, yeah, content marketing is where it’s at right now…” All the while feeling like you’re speaking in tongues. So, let’s break it down. What IS the difference between SEO, social media marketing, and content marketing? What do each of these things mean?
SEO is Search Engine Optimization. I know, I’ve lost you already –wake up! Basically what SEO is for is to “optimize” your web page and its content in a way that will hopefully receive more website traffic on search engines result pages. Still lost? This is what people are referring to when they say they want to make it onto the front page of Google and other search engines. So, you have to keep in mind that search engines, like Google, decide how to rank website content that comes up in their search results. People claiming to be “SEO” experts are essentially promising to optimize your website and content to make it to the top of these searches.
As a positive, I can say that there are things you can do to improve the ranking of your website (AKA improving your SEO). You can add specific keywords that will be used for searching, you can provide more content (ex/ blog posts) with specific keywords, and more. Beware of SEO poachers looking to take you to number one on a search engine. Remember that search engines really just want to find organic results –which translates to results that genuinely answer the needs or the questions of the search engine user.
In fact, check out our own Kate Gingold’s posts on 5 Things SEO Experts Won’t Tell You: Here & Here
Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing is just that – it is marketing via social media. It is when businesses take to social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, etc. to promote their brand and also to interact with customers. The goal is generally to gain website traffic or attention through social media sites. This includes creating or updating social media accounts for your business, interacting with customers on behalf of your business via social media, initiating marketing campaigns via social media (ex/ contests and promotions), and more. Many social media marketing programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it across their social networks. This is where content marketing comes in.
Content Marketing, in a nutshell, is marketing that involves the creation, publishing, and sharing of content in order to acquire and retain customers. I think Forbes, with a little help from the Content Marketing Institute, describes it very nicely:
The Content Marketing Institute, an online resource for information on all things content marketing related, defines content marketing thusly:
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
The key word here is “valuable.” It’s what changes this definition from one that could describe almost any form of advertising or marketing. You can tell if a piece of content is the sort that could be part of a content marketing campaign if people seek it out, if people want to consume it, rather than avoiding it.
To pull all three together, for further example, creating this blog post (and every other biweekly blog post I write) for our website (and therefore our business) is content marketing. This is content that is valuable and beneficial to my readers –readers who are actually seeking out this post. I will share this post on our social media platforms for some social media marketing to drive readers back to our website for extra traffic and I’ll throw some great keywords into this blog post for a little SEO. BOOM, how’s that for wrapped up in a nice little package for you?
More questions? Still confused? Anything to add? Comment below!