Just like any other industry, content marketing has its own jargon and commonly used terms that might confuse people who are new to the practice. Whether you’re just getting started with content marketing or have been around for a while but are still unclear on a few content marketing terms, here are definitions of the top 30 words and phrases you’re likely to hear.
A/B testing, as “Harvard Business Review” puts it, is the process of comparing two versions of something to see which performs better. For example, you might publish a blog post with two different headlines to see which headline generates the most clicks or engagement. It’s one of the great content marketing terms to know as you’ll likely hear it a lot.
“Oxford Dictionary” defines analytics as “the systematic computational analysis of data or statistics.” Analytics is one of the “must-know” content marketing terms as it shows you how many people are clicking on your content, where they are clicking, and what they do after visiting. It’s basically how you justify your value to your brand.
A shortened form of “weblog,” a blog is a way of publishing content online. According to ProBlogger, the content on a blog is arranged in chronological order, with the newest posts appearing at the top of the page. Although blogs were once largely personal things (the online version of a journal or diary), many brands now use them to connect with customers and publish content (including text, videos, and images) that their customers will find relevant and useful. It’s one of the most prevalent content marketing terms out there, to say the least.
A brand evangelist is a person who loves a company or a company’s product so much that he or she is willing to promote the company or product to others. Brand evangelists can be influencers who work with a company, or they might just be people who believe deeply in a brand. In either case, it’s up to a brand to leverage the brand evangelist to its advantage. Many marketers find this to be one of the more annoying content marketing terms. But, because it’s now part of the lexicon, it’s here to stay. Marketers might as well get used to it, or, at the very least, know its definition.
Also known as marketing personas, this is another one of the “need to know” content marketing terms. Buyer personas are fictional, generalized versions of your audience, as defined by Hubspot. Creating buyer personas helps you to figure out the type of tone to use in your content, the type of topics to write about, and the formats that will best appeal to your audience.
Sometimes abbreviated “CTA,” a call to action encourages people to do something, and is another of the “need to know” content marketing terms. In content marketing, the CTA is the “so what?” of your content. It clearly tells people what they should do next to take advantage of whatever was discussed in the content.
Clickbait, the bane of all content marketing professionals, is content that’s created with the sole purpose of getting people to “click” on it. This is one of the content marketing terms that doesn’t have a good reputation, as the content behind it is usually worthless. As Techcrunch puts it, “Clickbaiting is the intentional act of over-promising or otherwise misrepresenting — in a headline, on social media, in an image, or some combination — what you’re going to find when you read a story on the web.”
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
The click-through rate (CTR) is another one of the “need to know” content marketing terms. It’s the ratio of people who click on your content compared to the number of people who see your content. The higher your content’s CTR, the greater the number of people who are finding it worth checking out.
A content strategy is a plan for creating, delivering, and governing content. This is one of those content marketing terms marketers should have ready to use at a moment’s notice. It involves creating objectives for content, and putting a system together so that the content is able to achieve those objectives.
According to MarketingSherpa, conversion is the point at which a person receiving a marketing message completes the desired action. Conversion might be having a reader sign up for an email list, a viewer of a video make a purchase, or someone share a post on his or her social media profile.
Curation is the process of sorting through lots and lots of content, and highlighting or recommending the best of it in a way that is organized, and that makes sense to an audience. Curating content lets a brand provide useful information to its audience, and helps that brand continue to build trust with its audience.
Earned media is free publicity. It’s content that’s created by other people because they’ve heard good things about you or have had a positive experience with your brand. Earned media can include write-ups in magazines or newspapers, reviews of your product, positive comments on your blog or social media, and shares or likes on social media.
In the content marketing world, an ebook is a type of long-form content that is often given away for free as a way to generate leads. An ebook might be a type of interactive content, as some contain videos and other multimedia elements. Usually, a person downloads an ebook to his or her computer or device to read.
Like the trees it’s named for, evergreen content is content that stays fresh and relevant at all times. It’s content that is always going to be up-to-date and accurate, even if you don’t edit or revise it every month or year.
According to i-Scoop, engagement refers to the level of investment a customer has with a brand. Audience engagement with a brand or the content a brand produces often results in shares, comments or likes.
The hashtag, or #, is Twitter’s creation and works to index keywords on the social platform. Users can search for specific hashtags to find posts relevant to a particular topic. Brands can also use hashtags to track rates of engagement with a post or campaign. Although hashtags started on Twitter, they are now on all of the major social media platforms.
According to the “Cambridge Dictionary,” an influencer is someone who can affect the way other people behave. Content marketers might work with influencers to have them share blog posts, videos, or other content. Alternatively, an influencer might be responsible for producing content for a brand.
An infographic is a visual representation of data and information. It can be in the form of a chart, graph, timeline, or any other sort of image.
Interactive content actively engages the audience. Instead of simply asking a person to read a blog post or watch a video, interactive content asks them to participate. Types of interactive content include surveys, quizzes, and multi-media articles.
Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
According to Investopedia, a key performance indicator (KPI) is a metric that a company uses to measure its growth or success over time. What that metric is exactly can vary from industry to industry. In content marketing, common KPIs include traffic volume or unique visitors, and engagement rate.
According to Mental Floss, scientist Richard Dawkins first described a meme in his book “The Selfish Gene.” He describes it as an idea that spreads by replicating itself over and over. In the digital age, a meme is any piece of content shared over and over again.
As Hubspot puts it, newsjacking is the “practice of capitalizing on the popularity of a news story to amplify your sales and marketing success.” When a marketer inserts a brand into an unrelated trending story to drive traffic to a website, it’s newsjacking. The goal of newsjacking is to find a way to make a trending story relevant to a brand.
Owned media are assets that a brand has full control over. Try not to confuse it with earned media, which a brand gains by building trust with an audience. According to the “Harvard Business Review,” owned media can include a brand’s website, catalog, blogs, and newsletter. It also includes a brand’s social media profiles.
Paid media is any sort of content that a brand pays to get out into the world. According to Hubspot, a brand can use paid media to increase exposure and promote content. Examples of paid media include traditional advertising, ads on social media, and influencer marketing.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
According to Search Engine Land, search engine marketing (SEM) is the practice of using paid ads in search engine results to boost website traffic. While SEM involves purchasing ads related to specific keywords, don’t confuse it with search engine optimization.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing website traffic using organic search results. SEO involves strategic keywords, links, and other tactics to naturally improve the search ranking of a piece of content.
Social optimization is the use of social media to increase brand awareness, and to connect with an audience or customers. Like SEO, the goal of social optimization is to increase traffic to a brand’s website or other assets.
Sponsored content is also known as native advertising. Brands pay for specific content that appears on the website of a major publication as if it were editorial.
The American Press Institute defines sponsored content as content that has the same appearance and quality as other content on a publisher’s website, and as content that influences perception of a brand by providing entertaining or useful information to an audience.
User-generated content is the creation of content by the audience of a brand and not the brand itself.
According to Business Insider, user-generated content (aka consumer-generated content) is particularly effective at converting customers. People who interact with user-generated content are 97 percent more likely to convert than people who don’t.
Visual content is image or graphics based, rather than text based.
According to Thomson-Reuters, visual content is more successful than other forms of content. That’s because the majority of information received by the brain is visual. People tend to process and respond to images better than they do text.