Content Marketing Glossary
Like a lot of niche industries, content marketing is teeming with jargon. To help veteran and newbie marketers alike, we’ve created this glossary to serve as a handy reference for many of the terms used in content marketing.
A common testing and evaluation method that compares two versions of a web page in order to determine which version people prefer. It’s a straightforward and methodical way to boost conversions. Marketers begin by creating two different versions of a landing page with notable differences in their key features, such as the headline or call to action. Half of the traffic received is then sent to version 1, the other to version 2. The goal is to find out which version performs better based on the varying elements of each page.
Above the Fold
The section of a web page that is viewable without the user having to scroll down. This is the part of a web page that is seen first and is considered prime real estate.
The process of creating a customer experience that is specifically tailored to their unique behavior and needs. The main objective is to deliver the right message to the right person at the best time possible.
Any move or operation performed by visitors. This could involve clicking on a link, making a purchase, or forwarding content.
A Google service that offers targeted, revenue-generating advertising for websites.
Paid advertising that’s designed and written in the style of an editorial feature.
Google’s advertising service designed to show the most relevant ads pertaining to a user’s search query.
A popular income-generating model that allows website owners to place ads on their site and direct visitors to an affiliated brand or company’s website. It’s essentially a revenue-sharing program between online advertisers and publishers, where income is earned through the performance of an ad, measured via sales, clicks, and registrations.
Content gathered from numerous sources.
The use of the word agile in this context stems from the software development industry, where it implies iterative and incremental development. The idea is to start with something basic and request feedback from a select audience of users. These assessments are used to determine what needs to be changed and enhanced before improvements are made. The process is then repeated. Take note that this approach is different from the traditional development of products in the manufacturing industry.
The brief description of an image on a web page. Normally used to boost search engine visibility.
Often refers to Google Analytics and the data and metrics regarding visits, bounce rates, traffic, and even sales. The results are used to measure the effectiveness of a website and discover meaningful usage patterns that can be used to improve marketing efforts.
Texts displayed in a hyperlink that users can click, usually to direct them to a new page. It’s important to use anchor texts that are relevant to the content or your page may be penalized by search engines.
A type of written content that offers information and insight on a specific topic.
The process of identifying actions or marketing channels that have led to a successful outcome, such as a conversion.
Crediting the creator of written content. Crediting authorship can help boost visibility to a particular piece of content by raising the material’s credibility.
A platform that allows marketers to reply automatically when emails or texts are received. It involves a series of email marketing messages sent to subscribers following a predetermined order and frequency set by the marketer.
Short for “business to business” marketing –the practice of marketing from one business to another, as opposed to a consumer.
Short for “business to consumer” marketing—the practice of businesses marketing to consumers, as opposed to another business.
Also referred to as inbound links—these are links found in external websites that link back to your own. You will normally see backlinks at the end of blog posts or articles.
A visual ad that appears on a web page. The ad’s content is based on a user’s search history.
Black Hat SEO
Shady or dishonest SEO techniques that are designed to circumvent search engine algorithms to boost a website’s ranking.
Originally referring to a type of personal, online diary, blogs have since evolved and are commonly used by individuals or business entities as a platform to share news, original content, images, and other relevant material to their audiences.
The standard copy used by marketers that offers brand or company details added to the conclusion of articles, official documents, or web pages.
The number of people who leave a website after viewing just one page. Bounce rate should not be confused with “exit rate,” which refers to the percentage of visitors who go to a site and actively click a link to go to a different site from your site.
A catch-all term for how well known a brand is by the general public.
The process of growing brand awareness and popularity.
A term referring to a user’s level of attachment and involvement with a brand.
The level of exposure a particular brand or company receives.
The various stages—from a brand’s first point of contact to the moment they are converted—that users go through.
A customer profile created based on information that extends well beyond traditional customer demographics. A comprehensive buyer’s persona will traditionally include the customer’s emotional buying motivations, hopes and fears, typical career choices, hobbies, interests, and common challenges.
The different stages a customer goes through before he or she finalizes a purchase with a business. Typically, this will include at least five stages: awareness, consideration, intent, purchase, and repurchase.
Call to Action (CTA)
CTAs are a brand’s desired action from a customer. They are one of the more important elements of a marketing page, designed to elicit a positive response from a user and encourage an immediate sale or conversion.
Short for “completely automated Turing test to tell computers and humans apart.” Commonly used by websites to verify that there is a human user by having them perform a task that can’t be done by a computer.
Misleading or sensational links that deliberately draw the attention of users.
The use of tools or scripts to follow the path of a user through a website.
Click-through Rates (CTR)
The volume of users who perform a desired action, usually following a specific link, on a piece of content such as an email or web page. Often used in the context of email marketing, CTRs are measured in a straightforward manner. If 100 people saw your link, and 10 people clicked on it, then your CTR would be 10 percent.
Content Management System (CMS)
A software or platform used to manage and publish website content—the most popular being WordPress or Wix.
A critical stage of the content creation process that outlines specific details such as objectives, goals, and metrics to determine the next steps and how effectiveness will be measured.
The management and promotion of a brand or company’s content.
An industry engaged in creating and publishing content assets with the goal of developing and enhancing a brand’s performance. Any content marketing effort is focused on attracting and converting prospects into loyal customers. To that end, the content shared and developed should be closely related to what you’re trying to sell. Content marketing’s primary goal is to educate and inform people about what is on offer in order to build relatability, rapport, and trust with the brand.
The approach that marketers take to plan, manage, and distribute content to maximize effectiveness.
A conceptual representation of the various stages of a user’s journey—from being a prospect to an actual customer.
How successful a particular web page or marketing activity is.
The basic and essential content that a website and other materials contain. These are texts designed to answer common questions about what a company does and offers. Cornerstone content allows marketers to highlight important archived content, attract links, gain more subscribers, and increase traffic.
Content gathered and produced by an engaged audience that isn’t necessarily part of the organization or company that developed it.
Cost per Click (CPC)
An online advertising model where a company pays for each click made on their ad. Marketers typically set a budget for daily clicks, allowing CPC campaigns to be easily scalable according to the budget.
Cost per Sale (CPS)
The amount an advertiser pays for sales generated from an ad.
The process of organizing, collecting, and sharing content across the internet. This is usually done via a blog or social media.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
A series of processes that use technology to automate, organize, and streamline customers’ interactions with a business to ensure all involved departments are on the same page.
The process of gathering data to study statistical behavior patterns used to segment customers based on demographics, buying habits, or even behavioral attributes in order to deliver personalized messages.
A link that goes to a web page that no longer exists.
Transactions conducted online wherein a buyer gives a seller money in exchange for a digital product or service.
A variety of products and content including software, written materials, online training courses, ebooks, streaming media, fonts, graphics, photos, apps, or music files. These are usually non-tangible products only available in digital form.
Any online activity intended to promote a brand or company’s products or services.
Marketing efforts that are focused on a very specific group, involving strategies for selling via mail or catalog, and with the objective of eliciting a positive response from the customer.
Promotions or advertising efforts that allow users or consumers to respond directly to the advertiser, whether by mail, telephone, email, or other means of communication.
A website’s credibility and trustworthiness among search engines. The higher a website’s authority is, the more likely it is to be trusted and recognized by search engines as a relevant and reliable source of information.
The process of websites asking users to confirm their contact information twice—the first time when they complete their online form and again via a validation link sent to the email address they provided. This is typically employed to ensure that the address provided is valid.
Content that appears on more than one website or page. Duplicate content is usually penalized by search engines as it may be identified as plagiarized content. Tags allow search engines to appropriately identify duplicated content so it’s properly indexed.
Content that changes depending on who is visiting the website. For example, a user who has already bought something on a website may find items related to their purchase the next time they visit the site, while a first-time visitor may be presented with a different view of products.
A book published in digital form often consumed using an eReader or mobile device such as a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. eBooks are written using a long-form format and are typically used in content marketing to generate new leads. They can also contain images and links and may be downloaded for free or purchased.
Commercial transactions completed online on an online shop or Internet-based business.
A situation in which a community repeats, reinforces, and amplifies specific ideas, information, or beliefs to the point where the message excludes or directly contradicts competing information, ideas, or beliefs. This has the effect of repeating and reinforcing what a person already believes.
An essential step in the content production process that ensures content is aligned with overall objectives and is carefully written and free of errors before publishing.
A tool used to map out and outline creation and publication of content for a particular brand or company. There are standard calendar templates for marketers, but an effective calendar includes pertinent content details such as draft dates, angle, status of material, publication dates, and publication platforms. For examples of social media calendars, visit this link.
The use of technology to deliver educational and training programs.
The use of email to deliver marketing communications and promotions straight to customers. It starts with marketers reaching out to prospects to determine whether or not they want to be sent relevant information regarding a topic or product they’re interested in. Should they agree, the marketer then sends an email crafted to engage and attract these subscribers. Email marketing can be used for long- or short-term lead nurturing efforts, and can deepen a business’ relationship with their prospects when used correctly. To view recent examples of the best email marketing efforts, check out this link.
Any marketing effort’s ability to capture, hold the attention of its audience, and eventually persuade them to participate in an intended activity. This can be anything from liking a post, following your brand on social media, commenting on a blog post, or answering a quiz.
The process of adding code to a web page so that externally hosted content such as videos or images can be viewed on your website.
The customer, user, or organization that will ultimately use a product or service.
Content designed to maintain its value and quality over time because it contains material and information that will not change.
The last page a user visits before they leave a website. Exit rates show how many visitors left your site from a specific page, perhaps after browsing through multiple other pages on your site. They don’t necessarily have to have landed on that page. High exit rates on a particular page could mean there’s a problem with the page content and it should be reviewed. Exit rates should not be confused with bounce rates.
Links added to your website that goes to another site. These kinds of links are critical for SEO as search engines rely on them to assess a page’s relevance and ranking.
One of the most popular social media networks. Launched in 2004, Facebook is intended to allow users to connect with friends—and friends of friends—thus building an interconnected network. It also allows users to create profiles, post status updates, and share images, videos, or articles. They can also create private or public communities based on interests.
Marketing strategies specifically designed to use Facebook as their main platform.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Common questions usually presented in a bulleted format to provide an easy-to-read reference for customers.
Also referred to as a message board, this is an online resource intended to discuss a specific topic. Within forums, conversations are typically archived, with assigned moderators to approve the participants’ posts to ensure relevance to the topic (and adherence to the site’s standards of communication) before they are published.
Original new content produced to encourage users to engage and keep coming back to the website.
The conceptual stages that leads go through as they go from being a prospect to an actual customer.
The process of applying features commonly present in game design to other tasks in order to make them more fun and engaging. This can include elements such as keeping score, giving rewards, amplifying competition, or adding rules of play.
The process of targeting users based on their location with geographically relevant content.
A social media platform designed by Google.
A Google service that allows marketers to gather data and statistics based on website performance.
Writing and publishing blog posts for someone else’s website or blog, often done as a way to gather more leads outside of one’s own audience base.
H1, H2, H3 (etc.) Tags
HTML tags that identify and format a web page’s primary headings. These are normally used by search engines to rank websites and find relevant content for search queries.
A high pressure and overt sales technique—often viewed as pushy and aggressive.
Often used on Twitter and social media to allow users to group and identify posts according to the category by prefixing descriptions with the symbol #.
The main and central page of a website, usually the page first seen by visitors.
A clickable link that allows users to move between pages or sections of a document within a webpage or on a different one.
How many times a page or an ad has been viewed by individual users. In the context of online advertising, an impression is counted once an ad is pulled from its source and is seen by a user.
A link coming from an external website that leads to your website, which search engines use to determine relevance and importance when presenting search results.
Web pages that have been reviewed by a search engine’s robots so they can be retrieved during search queries.
Individuals who have notably high profiles in a particular field or industry, often due to their expertise on the subject matter or the breadth of their network. Often tapped by marketers for their ability to influence buying behavior and user opinion.
A visual way of presenting complex data, statistics, or information to ensure that it’s easily understood—and more shareable. These graphics are essentially digital posters that leverage eye-catching design and crisp copy to present content in more engaging, shareable ways. According to research, infographics help grow traffic for companies by about 12 percent versus businesses who don’t.
Instagram: A social media platform that allows users to post photos and videos. Engagement is achieved through likes, sharing, and commenting features. Instagram content can be shared on other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
Interactive Learning Environment (ILE)
An online environment that’s specifically designed to allow people to learn at their own pace.
A marketing strategy that streamlines and unifies multiple marketing platforms and techniques to ensure brand promotion efforts are presented with consistency and maximum efficacy.
Links between pages of the same website, often used by search engines to discover relevant content while indexing websites.
Keyword (key word) or Phrase
A word or phrase selected and used with the intention of driving traffic to a website.
The volume of keywords used in a particular piece of content in relation to the total number of words. Overuse of keywords will usually lead to badly written copy that will be penalized by search engines.
The process of finding high-value keywords or phrases for a particular subject so they can be used in content development and be optimized for search engines.
The practice of overusing keywords or phrases on a web page or in written content in an attempt to rank highly in searches. This approach is ineffective, as it results in badly written, unreadable content and is recognized and avoided by search engines.
A stand-alone page that’s designed to capture leads by gathering contact information via a brief form.
A user who shows a high potential of becoming a customer.
The process of searching for qualified prospects.
The process of communicating with prospects (leads) in an attempt to engage and convert them into new customers.
A framework that describes a customer’s relationship with a business as they go through the different conversion stages.
The process of creating inbound links (links coming from other websites) to help your own site rank higher on search engine results.
A social media platform that connects users based on their professional history. Users are encouraged to update their profiles to display their professional and career achievements and thus build a professional network. LinkedIn also encourages users to publish useful content on the site.
The time it takes for a website or page to display its full features when visited. Slow loading times usually lead to search engines penalizing your website due to lack of functionality.
Longer—and therefore more specific—key phrases. While they are less likely to be searched for by users and have less search volume than short keywords, they tend to deliver more relevant traffic that brings high-quality leads to your site.
A rundown of key market characteristics that includes information on typical purchasers, existing and possible competitors, and general information regarding retail and purchasing patterns.
The process of systematically monitoring, gathering, recording, and analyzing data related to the transfer and sale of goods and services between the seller and consumer.
The process of sorting prospective customers into groups according to their characteristics in order to form effective strategies to reach them and gain a major portion of sales.
Software used by marketers to automate, streamline, track, and measure critical marketing initiatives. It’s designed to perform tedious and manual marketing tasks automatically.
A marketing concept that is focused on four main elements of marketing: the product, price, place, and promotional strategy.
A strategy that outlines a brand’s overall promotional approach towards achieving predetermined marketing objectives.
Engaging content (usually funny or ironic) intended to spread online from one user to another, changing with the input of the public as it does. For example, Grumpy Cat or Be Like Bill.
Describes platforms that access content via wireless devices such as tablets, eReaders, or smartphones.
Advertising or promotional efforts specifically designed to appear on mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets.
Usually included as one of the primary goals of a business or brand—to generate income from a marketing activity, product, or service.
Multiple and complex data and statistical methods to allow numerous variables to be compared simultaneously.
Usually included as one of the primary goals of a business or brand—to generate income from a marketing activity, product, or service.
An advertising strategy where online ads are designed to seamlessly blend as part of the entire website, which makes it less intrusive.
The method of referencing a breaking news story with high relevance and tying it to your own agenda via content to take advantage of the current public interest.
The specific element within a sales page that pitches to users what they are primed to receive when or after they make a purchase. This can include a free trial, a bonus product, or a sales guarantee.
SEO techniques applied directly to the web page, such as formatting, keyword or key phrase research, and HTML meta tags.
SEO techniques applied externally to a website, specifically the creation of inbound links to a specific page.
The measure of how many sent emails in a marketing campaign were opened by recipients.
The action taken by a user or website visitor to explicitly express that they want to subscribe to a service or contact method.
The action (or inaction) of a person who doesn’t want to be included in a mailing list from a company or brand.
Web pages provided by search engines based on how well they match a particular keyword or phrase searched by the user, not influenced by paid advertising.
Links that direct users to a different website.
The number of times a web page has been seen by visitors or requested from a server.
The opposite of organic search. Paid search is an advertising method marketers use where ads appear above organic search results to relevant queries.
Customizing content, products, ads, or communication for a particular group or audience. The most common example is addressing subscribers by their first name in email communications.
Audio content that can be listened to on demand or downloaded.
A separate and smaller window that appears over a web page as a user is browsing a website. Popups typically contain ads or specific calls to action.
Pay per Click (PPC)
An advertising technique where the advertiser is only charged when users click on the ad.
A statement designed to make an announcement or provide publications information about a particular event, product, or service.
Content developed and published on external or third-party websites to increase brand or product awareness.
A high-quality prospect or user who has shown interest in a product or service, and who has the ability to purchase it.
Data that can be measured numerically, such as the volume of visitors to a website or how much time they spend on specific activities on the website.
A web page’s position in search engine results. High-ranking pages are found at the top of the search results and are more likely to be clicked by users. SEO techniques are employed to improve page ranking.
The extent of an ad’s distribution, specifically how many people have seen it.
Remarketing or Retargeting
An ad strategy provided by Google that presents targeted ads on other similar websites or pages when it is viewed by users who have previously been on your website.
Visitors who have previously visited the same website within a specific period of time.
A web design approach that ensures a website is readily viewable across a range of devices. For example, resizing content so that it can be viewed and read on both a laptop and a smartphone.
Customer-generated or expert-written descriptions of a particular product or service that can be read by the public. Reviews are especially helpful in terms of building trust and credibility for a business and maybe a factor for customer purchase.
Return on Investment (ROI)
A quantitative measure of how much profit has been generated in relation to the cost required to activate it.
The length of time a visitor spends on a website from the time they arrive on the site to the time they leave.
All aspects and forms of social media platforms.
The idea that people take action based on what others in their social circles are doing. In marketing, this is usually manifested when brands display how many shares particular content has received.
When search engines take into consideration social media performance of a particular piece of content to determine importance or ranking of a web page. For example, the number of shares or likes a blog post has received will factor into its search result display rank.
Brief labels that describe a web page, blog post, image, video or any form of media. Tags can help classify content, thus making it easier for users to find it and they also help search engines categorize a page accurately.
A marketing technique wherein marketing messages are specifically tailored for a unique audience. Usually requires intensive research to gain insight and accurate segmentation of user groups.
Every possible point of contact that a brand or business will have with customers.
Non-digital or offline media—media platforms that existed before the Internet such as television, radio, and print media.
The volume or number of visitors a website receives.
The number of individual users or visitors that visit a website within a given time frame.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
A website’s address, shown in the browser’s address bar. i.e., http://www.google.com
User Experience (UX)
The general experience that a website can provide its visitors. Usually involves the seamless ability of different marketing elements such as branding, design, usability, function to create a meaningful, relevant, and positive experience to users.
A compound of “video” and “blog”—content that is made up of videos instead of text.
The collection and analysis of web-related data to assess the success of existing content and marketing efforts; usually used to guide the development of new content.
A field that brings together computer programming, graphic design, and information architecture to create websites.
A compound of “web” and seminar”—a gathering held online using video conferencing technology.
Stands for “extensible markup language.” A method of marking up datasets and structured documents commonly used on the web so that they can be transferred between applications such as transferring data from an underlying data store to a web page.
An application of XML language that works similarly to an RSS feed. For example, an XML file of specific products may be produced weekly and sent to a subscribed website, thus automatically updating their product database.
An XML file typically used by search engines to index a website. It basically lists all of the pages on a website, similar to an “HTML sitemap.”
A pricing strategy defined by an understanding of consumer behavior and flexible pricing, with the goal of selling products for maximum revenue.
One of the leading video hosting and sharing sites founded in 2005. The site has since been purchased by Google in 2006.
A chart used in business that plots annual sales across three specific categories–totals for a given time period (i.e. monthly), cumulative total revenue, and a moving annual total.
Zero level channel
A marketing channel that eliminates the middleman, allowing manufacturers to directly sell to consumers.
A pricing strategy hinged on location — this means the basis of pricing is based on where they are located with variations caused by differences in shipping or overhead costs.
If there’s a word or term that we missed or if you would like to make a contribution to this list, feel free to contact us. We’d love to engage fellow marketers as we endeavor to create one of the best resources of this kind available online.