Your Handy Content Marketing Glossary of Terms

content marketing glossary of terms

Content marketing is a pretty big deal these days, as it has been for years now. If you haven’t quite caught on to its importance yet, we already covered a few reasons for developing a content-rich small business website and how content marketing provides invaluable insights into your target market’s buyer persona. The bottom line is, if you want a real internet presence and to capitalize on the power of the web to build your brand and generate more leads and sales, content marketing belongs in your strategy repertoire. 

Just in case you’re not 100 percent on the meaning of “content marketing,” it’s basically any way of creating and sharing valuable content for free to build your brand’s reputation and appeal to existing and potential customers. Writing original blog posts or articles and publishing them on your website is the most common, fundamental form, but there’s lots more to it. And “content” can refer to any written pieces, video, podcasts, sound, images, infographics, resource directories, and more. 

We’ve found that lots of people still get confused by some of the terminology that gets thrown around in discussions about content marketing… particularly when digital marketers start yammering on and on about it. But here at CREATE180 Design, we’re all about knocking down barriers. So, we thought we’d publish a glossary to explain some of the terms we’ve noticed not everyone is completely clear on. 

Analytics refers to accumulated data used to identify patterns in your users’ on-site behavior. It helps you see what your visitors do and don’t want, what converts them to accomplished website goals, and to figure out how to improve your results. 

Backlinks are links back to your content on other sites. When you publish something that other site operators feel compelled to share, they direct their audience to it via backlink. This drives targeted traffic to your site and, when backlinks come from reputable sites, they give your SEO a boost. 

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who come to a page on your site and leave it quickly for another site without visiting any of your other pages. It doesn’t matter where they come from, whether it’s search engines, typing in your page URL, backlinks, social media sites, or anywhere else; they just leave without exploring your site any further. A high bounce rate can indicate that your site appears untrustworthy, it doesn’t make its purpose clear right away, that it isn’t relevant to what people expected it to be, or a number of other problems. 

Brand voice means the language, tone, and style of all the copy you use when your brand communicates with its existing and potential customers. Content marketing, like all your copywriting. social media marketing posts, emails, newsletters, and everything else, should be consistent with your brand voice, which should be deliberately designed to appeal to your target market. Read more about brand voice here. 

Buyer persona refers to a detailed description of a generalized, fictitious person who perfectly encapsulates your target market. You create a buyer persona to better understand whom you’re talking to in your content marketing, advertising, and other copy, and what they do and don’t want. Read more about buyer personas here.   

Call to action expresses exactly what you want someone to do, often after being exposed to a piece of your content, in an immediately actionable way. Online, it’s usually a button users can click to buy an item, place an order, contact you, learn more, sign up for a newsletter, or fulfill any other goal you’ve established for your website. 

Content management system (CMS) is a software platform (WordPress is a widely used example) that lets you add, remove, and edit the content on your website without being a web developer or having to pay your web developer to do it for you. Having one makes it easy to engage in blogging and other content marketing on your site. Read more about content management systems here. 

Click-through rate is the percentage of people exposed to a link or call to action who click on it. 

Curating means finding valuable content from other sources to bolster your content or social media marketing with supplemental material. The proper way to do this is to only publish small excerpts and provide a backlink to the original site to avoid copyright infringement; alternatively, you may purchase or secure permission from the copyright holder to republish. 

Email marketing is a sub-category of content marketing that involves building a mailing list and occasionally sending out mass emails containing valuable—and usually promotional—material. When done well, this can be an especially effective branding and sales tool. Read more about smart email marketing here. 

Engagement is when your audience interacts with your content. This might mean liking it on social media sites, commenting on it, sharing it, or otherwise indicating that it compelled them to go further than simply reading it. High engagement shows your content is striking a chord in your target market. 

Infographics are simple, highly scannable and digestible pieces of content that rely on imagery and minimal words (typically written like captions) to illustrate a point. They’re particularly beneficial when used to distill complex ideas into concise, easy-to-understand visual soundbites. Well-made infographics are often shared widely on social media. 

Keywords are the few words or the phrase that expresses the overall topic of the piece of content. They are words people would be likely to type into a search engine if they were looking for the information your content provides. Keywords should always be in the title and body of content. 

Podcasts are audio content recorded and made available for users to listen to at their convenience. These are especially good for longer, more in-depth pieces that many web users might not be inclined to read, while being easier to create than video content. 

Sales cycle is the process by which potential customers become actual customers. It’s generally said to consist of five main phases: awareness, consideration, intent, buying, and repeat buying. Content marketing can speak to possible customers at any stage, and each piece should always be specifically written to speak to people in one of these phases. 

Sales funnel is closely related to the sales cycle. It’s how you move potential customers along from one phase to the next. For example, a piece of content may convince people who are comparison shopping for a product you sell that you’re the best source, ushering them from consideration to intent. 

Target market refers to the people most likely to buy what you’re selling. You should always know whom you’re talking to when you create and share content for branding and marketing purposes. Read more about target markets here. 

Viral content achieves an unusually high number of page views because it gets widely shared on the web. It means lots of people who come across it find it worthy of sharing on their social media accounts, via email, on their own blogs or websites, etc. Of course, “viral” is a relative term; for some publishers, it takes millions of page views to be considered viral; if, however, your content is typically only seen by a few dozen people, you might consider a piece with a few hundred to have gone viral.

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