Blog Home

The Creative Edge

Paid Media or Content Marketing: How to Choose

By Angelica Fierro on

No company is exactly the same, therefore no marketing strategy is the same. We've found that aligning your marketing efforts (especially when first starting your marketing) with your goals is key. You've got to find the right marketing channel(s) to achieve your objectives.



Give it a listen here: 


You can also listen on Spotify or Apple Podcasts! Or a bunch of other places to listen here.

Enjoying this episode? Make sure and rate ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and share it with your friends! You can also connect with the host, Carter, on LinkedIn.


Here is the transcript:


Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of the Marketing cave. My name is Carter and on this week's episode, we're going to be talking about when to use paid media as your primary marketing function, as opposed to doing content marketing. Obviously, there are upsides to each we see value in each we do both of each here at Creative Cave. And typically we would suggest that you use them both in tandem together and in order to kind of leverage each other to see growth and results but there are definitely certain situations we get into where it just makes more sense to do a paid media play only based on the goals of our clients and what they're trying to accomplish.

So there's a conversation that we have with people all the time on a regular basis. It's usually a marketing person who says yeah, I understand the value of content and I understand inbound and and how that would benefit us as an organization. But my CEO or my CFO is really focused on ROI in the spreadsheet and what we're actually getting for our dollar spent on marketing. And usually the first response to that is okay, yeah, we understand. But do they also get that that means we're focusing on short term results as opposed to long term. So as long as they're okay with focusing on short term returns, and not so much the long term, then it totally makes sense. It's really key, though, to get buy in from whoever that CEO, CFO type person is to make sure that they understand that inbound and content is a much longer play 6, 9,12,18 months, where as paid media is only going to take you as far as your budget will last. So that's one scenario that we see a lot.

And then obviously, there are times when we have clients who say, Yeah, I need to do content, and I need to do paid media, I need to do both. I've got to have both engines running at once. And then that's really about finding the balance or the sweet spot between that short term paid media play, and then the long term inbound marketing play. So that kind of lays out the scenario of what we what we see a lot of times we're having these conversations, a lot of the times when we get into this they want to do content and paid and then we kind of actually get down to we need short term results. And that's where we'll suggest, hey, let's just stick to paid media. So sometimes in that situation where we're just trying to jumpstart the the inbound engine or jumpstart the lead generation engine, will create just a content offer. So a bottom of the funnel piece of content that offers a lot of value and a lot of insight and we know is very, very relevant to the audience that we're trying to get in front of, and I'm talking specifically LinkedIn here. So in this situation where we need to see numbers quickly, instead of investing our entire budget at inbound, we invest a little bit of our budget into that inbound content activity in order to then leverage that with a larger paid media budget that's going to show quicker results. And that allows us to have a little bit of a balance right we're still creating some content that could start to build some brand equity for the website and to create a little bit more brand awareness and organic search traffic while we're also being able to show Hey, CEO, CFO, you know, we got 30 leads this month from this X amount of dollars and that's usually a good win for the teams and then obviously, you know, driving more organic traffic and leads is obviously going to be the most cost effective long term goal.

But putting some paid media behind this to kind of get the wheels turning a little bit faster, I like to say throw in a little gasoline on the inbound fire is really a great opportunity to appease both parties both short term and long term. And then a lot of times what we'll see is over a span of a couple of months, we've really shown what we can do with that investment. We've shown what the value of content is when you can put some paid media behind it and get some leads get some top of the funnel activity going. And that can directly be put into a spreadsheet. So when someone's reviewing a quarter of what we get for our marketing dollars and it's a very clear ROI to say we generated X number of leads is X number of dollars, it's a much easier conversation to get more buy into. So okay, let's invest more in marketing in paid media as well as let's amp up our inbound efforts to add more social media and email campaigns and other things that can help really get things going. So that's kind of an instance of where, hey, we're easing into marketing, we need to see immediate results we need to see immediate ROI. Let's get a piece of content that can drive some traffic. Let's put some dollars behind it and let's get some quick numbers to show success. And for us, you know, we work with a lot of growth stage startup type companies who maybe have some some capital or you know, some private equity. So they have a little bit of money to invest in marketing, but they really can't justify that full jumping headfirst into a full inbound marketing campaign plus some paid media and PR and and then other channels as well that they can be investing in. So, you know, especially in a startup, it makes sense to put some paid media behind that to really jumpstart the process to get things moving. And then hopefully, you can close some of those leads that come in that first couple of months, you can close some of those deals and get some more revenue in the door that hopefully you can justify reinvesting back into your marketing efforts.

And then something else just to think about from that perspective, is you know, set expectations and get buy in but then also put a goal on the wall right? So agree to a goal with that CEO, CFO person who's needing to see an actual ROI and say, Hey, if we hit this goal, then what or what's the next step if we can get this much out of these marketing dollars and that's another good way to have someone committed Just saying yes, we will do more marketing if we see results. And then ultimately, it's really for us, it's not about you know, paid media versus inbound marketing, we never really want to have to have those to go head to head. But there are plenty of instances where it just makes more sense. If the majority of your leads and your business is coming from search, if a majority of the people who are looking for you're going to Google and searching for what you do or your solution, as opposed to looking for education on the topic or or wanting to learn more, a great example that we see of this is for recruiters. So there's plenty of content to be created around recruiting and best practices and how to hire the best, you know, sales marketing HR people, but really a majority of where that demand is is someone going into Google and searching that box and looking for someone to help them with a recruiter usually pretty immediately.

So a majority of that demand is at that bottom of the funnel stage where someone is already identified that they need help with that they're not trying to evaluate why they should use a recruit or anything like that. So it always makes sense to invest a majority of your paid media dollars into the Google Ads campaigns. So as you're feeding that Google Ads machine and continue to pay for those leads, you should absolutely be reinvesting back into your inbound marketing campaigns to hopefully try to offset some of those those paid acquisitions to become organic acquisitions, right? If you can not pay for leads, because people are searching for you. And you've started to rank organically, someone is searching for a recruiter, if you can show up high enough organically and not have to pay for that lead. That's 100% what you should be doing every single time.

So it's not just about identifying which paid media channel works in the short term, you should always be looking at how can I invest in the long term? What happens if I run out of budget for paid media? And then all my leads dry up? Do I have other avenues of email campaigns and lead nurturing and things going on that can continue to fill the pipeline if I've got a pullback on my spend in q4? So I say all of that to say there is no like perfectly right or wrong answer, right? Like every scenario is going to be different. Every company's going to be different, but you do need to test and learn and understand what the ROI is on each one of those efforts to hone in on really what is your perfect marketing mix. So that's what I wanted to talk about on today's episode. It's Want to give you guys some quick examples of how we've seen paid media versus inbound and when one is right versus the other. Again, ultimately we see them as a perfect marriage together to help grow your reach your awareness, your marketing, your leads, all the things you're trying to accomplish through your marketing efforts. But did want to share some examples and kind of the way that we approach it here at Creative Cave so thank you so much for tuning in. And I will see you in the next one.

topicIcon Content Marketing, Paid Media, The Marketing Cave