In pretty much any large company or small business, you’ll find departmental segregation. It makes sense, as departments need to be together in order to plan workloads, team meetings, and who goes on the coffee run that day. And as businesses grow, that divide can easily widen, to the point where people from different departments no longer know each other, or even care about the latest hire. That’s inevitable in large companies, but in small businesses, and especially in digital marketing startups, it gives us a precious opportunity to collaborate with — and understand — what our colleagues actually do.
In digital marketing, we have organic and paid — with content, social, and PPC working underneath. It’s generally accepted that writers work in one corner, PPC’ers in the other, and social sits somewhere in between; the school playground all over again basically. This notion of workhorse writers striving towards ‘organic’ supremacy, while PPC pros are getting busy ‘stealing’ traffic has lead to a delectably heated rivalry: who’s really better? However, it’s also a one-way ticket to internal combustion. Luckily, at Curated, we’ve found that working closer together, being involved in each other’s projects, and helping out where we can, has led to content and PPC coexisting in harmonious circumstances — you might even say we depend on each other. And this is how we do it.
Content helping PPC
Successful PPC campaigns are about targeting the right audience with the right message. Who does that day in day out, then? That’s right, content do, and our content team have been able to assist us in getting across brilliant messaging with compelling copy — on time and on brand.
Even with a structured ad copy testing plan, it can be exhausting looking for new variants of the same marketing message. So when you need a fresh injection, having a passionate team of writers up your sleeve can help get you some impressive results. For example, we ran a competition amongst our writers to see which ad got the best click through rate for one of our clients. The winner of this competition is still standing as the accounts best performing ad. In essence, it’s the same as creating an article title: arguably the main reason why they click on a link. It’s what they do, so why not use them?
How do I utilise a content team?
As well as helping to supply new ideas, and as obvious as it sounds, the content team are also the ideal second pair of eyes needed to cross check ads before they go live. We’ve established an effective system where we share web docs in order to draft ads, for example. It’s quick, efficient, and allows them to just jump in and fix stuff. Needless to say, my grouping of spelling, grammar, and sense checking into one collective ‘thing’ only highlights the need for a PPC nerd like me to collaborate with a content team. To be honest, no matter the writing skill level, anyone working on large PPC accounts can become weary-eyed and sloppy, and in need of a helping hand.
For instance, I remember one of our content team explaining that the rules of editorial of grammar do not necessarily apply to a PPC ad — as the copy serves a different function and meets different reader expectations. That means readers will accept ads that are not 100% correct grammatically correct; in some cases to facilitate character limitations. This was news to me. Now, the ad copy we create has another dimension to it, and is able to better covey client messages — addressing what its users actually engage with.
PPC helping content
On the other hand, when our content team have produced well researched and well constructed onsite copy, it can really help to guide interested searchers onto a specific, or new, page. Especially where your onsite content does not have significant rankings for certain search terms, nudging users via PPC campaigns can drive engagement — pushing up rankings and improving brand awareness as a result.
What about social media?
Paid social media campaigns can play a significant role here, too, and they work really well in conjunction with a piece of reactive content. For example, let’s say your content team wrote an article on Brexit that was filled with brilliant research and terrific quotes from parties both for and against. It’s a hot topic at the moment, and people are clamouring for any and all information on the subject. So, by pushing through Facebook campaigns, you can target those most interested incredibly easily; with content helping to inform the audience because they’ve done all the initial research for the article anyway. The Facebook reactions — the opinions, the questions — that result in the push can provide the perfect PR catalyst to remind the reader that whoever publishes the piece is a thought leader in that space. That is a great example of paid and organic working together really well.
How can paid influence content?
When our content team are researching for articles to improve onsite engagement, our PPC team can arm them with some critical historical data on what has worked, and also what perhaps didn’t work, previously. For example, when site link testing for one client, we wanted to see if searchers would be more influenced by what other customers say, or through price sensitivity. One site link took the customer to testimonials, and the other was to flexible payment plan options. This is the type of data that helps our client and content team alike to develop deeper customer/audience profiling — and what type of content we push to them as a result.
A really effective research tool that PPC can also provide a content team is ‘interest by location’. For instance, we’ve recently run a demand test in the entertainment bookings sector, and we were able to gather search and conversion data which can guide their budget and growth areas — subsequently helping to inform what the content needs to address.
So, at Curated, the PPC and content teams don’t work in silos. We’re a team, and having a team that’s united produces better results than a team that’s divided — it’s as simple as that really. For more information about how we work, have a read about our signature approach, or contact us below for a chat.
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