6 Steps To Successful PPC Content Marketing

Com­bine your con­tent mar­ket­ing and PPC mar­ket­ing efforts to attract and engage more con­sumers.

Melissa Mackey By Melissa Mackey. Join the discussion » 0 comments

In PPC, con­tent mar­ket­ing is used fre­quent­ly for lead gen­er­a­tion, as well as for high-end con­sumer pur­chas­es that require research and time. When done cor­rect­ly, PPC con­tent mar­ket­ing is high­ly effec­tive at attract­ing and engag­ing your customers/audience and dri­ving more rev­enue. Here are six steps to suc­cess­ful PPC con­tent mar­ket­ing.


Step 1: Audit All Available Content

Before you can start pro­mot­ing con­tent in PPC, you need to fig­ure out what con­tent is avail­able. Resist the urge to jump in and start throw­ing con­tent assets into your PPC cam­paigns. Tak­ing the time to fig­ure out what con­tent you have will set you up for suc­cess. The con­tent audit con­sists of four steps:

  • Iden­ti­fy your con­tent mar­ket­ing goals. What are you try­ing to achieve? Aware­ness, lead gen­er­a­tion, pub­lic rela­tions, some­thing else?
  • Cre­ate a list of all avail­able con­tent. Include every piece of con­tent you have, even if you think you’ll nev­er use it in PPC.
  • Note whether the con­tent is ever­green or time-sen­si­tive. This step will deter­mine how and when con­tent can be used.
  • Include the for­mat in your con­tent list. Con­tent for­mat may seem irrel­e­vant, but it’s actu­al­ly impor­tant. You’ll want to know what types of con­tent per­form best for your busi­ness, so note that now.

When the audit is fin­ished, you’ll have a list of every­thing you can use (often called a bill of mate­ri­als or BOM) for PPC con­tent mar­ket­ing.

Step 2: Research Your Audience

Audi­ence research in PPC con­tent mar­ket­ing is as impor­tant as key­word research in search PPC. Not all con­tent will appeal to every seg­ment of your tar­get audi­ence, so it’s cru­cial to know what con­tent to serve to whom.

The audi­ence will also help you deter­mine which PPC chan­nels to use: search, Face­book, LinkedIn, Twit­ter, Insta­gram, etc. Where does your audi­ence hang out? Which engine tar­gets them the best?

Don’t for­get to seg­ment your audi­ence into buck­ets. You may want to con­sid­er using per­sonas to help you.

Your con­tent audit can also help here – you might have some con­tent geared at C-lev­el exec­u­tives, and oth­er con­tent geared at end users. Use this infor­ma­tion to help seg­ment your audi­ence in a way that will inform PPC cam­paign set­up.

Step 3: Determine Content Promotion Timing

With mar­ket­ing, tim­ing is every­thing. You’ll need a sched­ule that tells you when to pro­mote your con­tent. An edi­to­r­i­al cal­en­dar may be all you need – or you may need to devel­op your own cal­en­dar or sched­ule.

If you don’t have an edi­to­r­i­al cal­en­dar, you’ll need to think about what makes the most sense for your busi­ness. eCon­sul­tan­cy has a help­ful Peri­od­ic Table of Con­tent Mar­ket­ing that can help you fig­ure out when each type of con­tent should run.

Step 4: Map Content To Your Buyer Journey

The buy­er jour­ney is an often-over­looked aspect of con­tent mar­ket­ing. The buy­er jour­ney is the stages a poten­tial buy­er goes through on their way to mak­ing a pur­chase deci­sion. The stages are com­mon­ly called aware­ness, con­sid­er­a­tion, eval­u­a­tion, and decision/purchase, but there can be inter­me­di­ary steps in between as well.

Most con­tent is going to be suit­ed for one phase of the buy­er jour­ney. Overview videos and blog posts are usu­al­ly aware­ness con­tent. Solu­tion briefs, ebooks, and white papers fall into the con­sid­er­a­tion phase. Prod­uct demos and tri­als are deci­sion con­tent.

Map all the con­tent in your con­tent audit to the buy­er jour­ney. This step helps you deter­mine which chan­nels (social, search) the con­tent is best suit­ed for, and helps you craft ad copy.

Here’s a great exam­ple of the buy­er jour­ney from Rock­et Watch­er:

Content Types for Stages of the Buyer Journey

Step 5: Track & Integrate

Once you’ve mapped con­tent to the buy­er jour­ney, you’re almost ready to launch your PPC con­tent mar­ket­ing cam­paigns. But first, you need to make sure you can track results. You’ll want to know how each piece of con­tent is per­form­ing across not only all PPC cam­paigns, but across oth­er mar­ket­ing as well.

The best way to track con­tent across chan­nels is by using a con­tent ID. Most con­tent man­age­ment sys­tems will assign a con­tent ID for you. You can also use the utm_content para­me­ter in Google Ana­lyt­ics to include a con­tent ID.

Make sure you’re track­ing not only the con­tent ID, but the type of con­tent and the buy­er jour­ney phase. Col­lect­ing this data will enable you to slice and dice in many dif­fer­ent ways: which con­tent per­forms best at each phase, which type of con­tent per­forms best, etc.

Use this data to opti­mize your PPC con­tent mar­ket­ing cam­paigns and to inform new con­tent cre­ation.

Step 6: Measure & Test

The final step in PPC con­tent mar­ket­ing is to actu­al­ly mea­sure results. It’s crit­i­cal to think about how you’re going to track con­tent per­for­mance across chan­nels. While some assets will do well in cer­tain chan­nels and poor­ly in oth­ers, some assets will do well across the board. That’s the con­tent you want to focus on, not only from a pro­mo­tion stand­point, but to inform new con­tent devel­op­ment.

For instance, if a white paper does well across the board, you might want to write a sim­i­lar report about anoth­er prod­uct or ser­vice you offer. You could cre­ate an info­graph­ic based on the white paper. You could cre­ate an overview video about it.

Don’t for­get to look at asset types to see what your audi­ence responds to. Do they pre­fer videos, or do they like to read and share white papers? Think­ing about how to track this data at the out­set will enable you to devel­op a sys­tem enables you to make data-dri­ven deci­sions.


Are you com­bin­ing your con­tent mar­ket­ing and PPC mar­ket­ing efforts to attract and engage more con­sumers?

Melissa Mackey

Written by Melissa Mackey

Search Supervisor

Melissa Mackey is Search Supervisor at gyro, the largest independent B2B agency in the world. Mackey contributes her insights about PPC strategy to a variety of marketing publications, regularly speaks at industry conferences about PPC, and hosts a search marketing blog, www.beyondthepaid.com

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