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Content marketing, SEO, and social media – friends, enemies, or frenemies?

Content marketing, SEO and social media are frequently mentioned at the same time during planning meetings and lumped together when people talk about “doing digital.” But are they really compatible with one another? Or should they be treated separately? I vote for “friends,” maybe even “besties.” (Can you tell that I have teen and pre-teen daughters?) Because despite the glares that one set of specialists may shoot across the conference room table at specialists of a different stripe, these disciplines don’t just get along, they almost require one another. Each is weaker when not accompanied by the others.

First, let’s talk about tactics vs. strategies. Social media should rightly be considered a tactic. It’s a way to communicate with your target audience. Yes, there is (or should be) strategy underlying you social media activity, but when you begin defining that strategy, a lot of it comes back to discussions of content.

Best friends!
Photo credit: Jolante

Simlarly with SEO. There are still a great many things that you can and should be doing to optimize your site from a technical standpoint. (The search engines reward efficient, fast-loading, standards-compliant sites. The further you move away from those ideals, the more you’ll be penalized.)

But beyond those basics, along with things like local optimization and solid keyword research, you are once again talking about content. You have to have content related to the keyword phrases that your audience uses to search for the products and services you are marketing. It’s just that simple.

Content marketing doesn’t exist on a pedestal all its own, though. “Build it and they will come” doesn’t work anywhere but in the movies. Even the greatest content needs to be promoted and amplified in order to maximize its reach, connect with an audience and provide any real marketing ROI.

So if you’re talking to an SEO specialist whose weak on content, or a social media expert whose all about this hot channel vs. that hot channel, take a step back and start a conversation with someone who can provide a more complete perspective. That may be a content marketer or a digital strategist.

Either way, the goal has to be to focus on strategy that aligns all of your marketing efforts – including content marketing, SEO and social media – so they can be “besties.”

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Andrew Schulkind

Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured? A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms find a more strategic and productive mix of tools that genuinely support online brand goals over time. With a passion for true collaboration and meaningful consensus, his work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components. He views is primary goal as encouraging engagement. Getting an audience involved in your story requires solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either. Andrew has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events, on content marketing and web-development topics. His technology writing appears on the Andigo blog, in a monthly column on, and for print and online publications like The New York Enterprise Report, Social Media Today, and GSG Worldwide’s publications LinkedIn & Business, Facebook & Business, and Tweeting & Business. Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")

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