Content Marketing: The Power at the Heart of Social Media, Search, and Sales [Chart]

  |  March 19, 2012   |  Comments

The three S's of content marketing: social media, search, and sales.

three-heidi-cohen-photo-4Content marketing is gold for marketers. Content marketing attracts prospects, customers, fans, and the public enabling you to engage and build relationships with them. Content marketing is important because advertising and promotions are less effective and more costly than ever because marketers don't trust them!

Content marketing is the power at the heart of social media, search, and sales.

To leverage the effectiveness of content marketing for your plans, it's critical to understand how it interacts with social media, search, and sales. In essence, content marketing is the food fueling these three elements to attract, engage, and convert prospects, customers, and fans. Further, content marketing provides support in the form of information potential buyers seek at every stage of the purchase process. Equally important, content marketing enables you to track your marketing's effectiveness directly. (For a better understanding of how content marketing achieves this, read the "4 Pillars of Content Marketing.")

Here's how content marketing interacts with social media, search, and sales and salient ways to track its effectiveness.

Content Marketing: The Power at the Heart of Social Media, Search, and Sales
Element Interactions Metrics
Social Media
  • Offers content for social distribution.
  • Motivates participants to share via social networks.
  • Provides basis for participant engagement.
  • Page views and time spent with content.
  • Numbers of shares, reach, earned media.
  • Conversations and questions answered.
  • Supports keywords with context.
  • Supplies links across owned media and attracts inbound links.
  • Offers various media formats (text, photos, videos, audio, and PDFs).
  • Search rankings for top keywords.
  • Traffic by keyword.
  • Inbound links.
  • Enhance brand through voice, look, and other attributes.
  • Decribes product, brand, and company.
  • Supports purchase at every step of process (awareness, engagement, purchase, post-purchase, and advocacy).
  • Number of prospects and visits.
  • Brand metrics such as recall and intent to purchase.
  • Sales.
© 2012 - Heidi Cohen - - All rights reserved.

3 Elements Content Marketing Must Include

Three elements are critical to maximize content marketing effectiveness across social media, search, and sales. They are:

  1. Integrate these elements into your editorial calendar. For each piece of content, set out which platforms you're going to place it, the relevant keywords, links to your products, and other related information. It's useful to incorporate these factors into your plans.
  2. Utilize a contextually relevant call-to-action. Without guiding your prospects and customers to take action, you're leaving results to chance. Don't forget that it's useful to test different versions to find the most effective one for each case.
  3. Use a unique promotional code for tracking purposes. Since your goal is to determine sales effectiveness, it's critical to have a means to monitor results. To this end, you must use a different promotional code for each option. Further, you must ensure that these results can be captured by your analytics systems and measured.

The bottom line is content marketing has a symbiotic relationship with social media, search, and sales that strengthens your ability to attract and convert prospects into customers over time. These activities extend beyond your owned, internal media onto social media and search engines without outright promotional messaging or advertising.

What examples do you have that support how content marketing powers social media, search, and sales? Please add them in the comment section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Note: I will be at SES in New York City tomorrow, Tuesday, March 20, 2012. I'm holding one-on-one content marketing sessions in the exhibit hall as well as at the Meet the Experts: Roundtable Forum on Content Marketing. Please stop by with your questions or to just say hi! Get a 15% discount on the admission price to SES – New York here.

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Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies, an interactive marketing consultancy. She has over 20 years' experience helping clients increase profitability by developing innovative marketing programs to acquire and retain customers based on solid analytics. Clients include New York Times Digital,, CheapTickets, and the UJA. Additionally, Riverside Marketing Strategies has worked with numerous other online content/media companies and e-tailers.

Prior to starting Riverside Marketing Strategies, Heidi held a number of senior-level marketing positions at The Economist, the Bookspan/Doubleday Direct division of Bertelsmann, and Citibank.

Her blog,, was nominated as a finalist for Top Social Media Blog of 2012 by Social Media Examiner.

Heidi is also a popular speaker on current industry topics.

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