How to Combine Content Marketing & Performance Marketing

Lena M.
6 min read
15.12.2023 12:16:00

While some marketing experts swear by content marketing, others are mainly dedicated to performance marketing.

But why do you even have to choose? We say: A combination of both is the solution to reach more leads and close more sales.

Because only the right combination of content marketing and performance marketing will turn your website into a funnel that nobody can resist.

We therefore think it's time to think about content performance marketing!

Performance Marketing vs. Content Marketing

Anyone who has been passionately following developments in digital marketing for as long as we have will have a feel for which trends come and go - and which stay.

Neither content marketing nor performance marketing are simply trends, as both methods comprise solid measures that are indispensable for efficient marketing.

Nevertheless, we have been observing the competition between performance marketing and content marketing for a long time. Fans of performance marketing swear by measures that generate measurable clicks and open up fantastic traffic sources for websites. These measures often belong to outbound marketing.

Content marketing enthusiasts are convinced that inbound measures such as unique content with stunning added value are winning the race. There is only one thing that everyone agrees on: marketing must take place online, now and in the future. Why?

90% of all B2B customers start their journey with online research. Likewise, 90 % research 2 to 7 websites before making a purchase decision. On average, consumers conduct 12 searches before visiting a particular brand's website.

Findability on the internet is therefore vital for B2B companies and visibility in search results is the optimum of good marketing.

And the following is particularly true in B2B: companies do not make impulse purchases! The search for competent partners, suppliers or service providers is not a shopping spree in search of a tie that matches your shirt. In the B2B sector, highly qualified employees are looking for partners who are trustworthy, competent and reliable. 

Your marketing must do justice to all these facts. So you can't afford to pick a favorite when it comes to performance marketing vs. content marketing. Because you can only keep up with the competition if you cleverly combine both methods.

Performance Marketing: What Can It Do?

In performance marketing, the focus is on technology-based online marketing. Everything revolves around one question: How does my content perform?

Admittedly: Of course, there are a few other questions too.

  • What about the click rate?

  • What is the conversion rate?

  • How high is the bounce rate?

  • When do I reach the ROI?

  • Which formats generate the most traffic?

  • Which call-to-action button generates the most interactions on my landing page?

  • How do I achieve viral effects on social media portals?

There is no goal that cannot be defined and measured. There are many powerful tools for each analysis that enable precise fine-tuning to continuously improve website performance and achieve goals more effectively.

With measures such as paid media, including paid search and paid social ads, you can influence certain performance figures in performance marketing (e.g. click-through rate and conversion rate).

Paid, Owned, and Earned Media 

A combination of owned, earned, and paid media has proved particularly successful. And of course content, but more on that later.

  1. Paid media content is paid advertising such as banner ads, paid social media ads, search engine advertising, etc.

  2. Owned media includes all own content, such as content on the company website, blog articles, or social media posts that direct "warm traffic" to the website.

  3. Earned media includes all content that a website operator has earned through high-quality content. Likes, comments, and shares from enthusiastic readers not only increase reach free of charge, they are also considered positive social signals and are therefore used for search engine optimization.

Your Content Needs to Deliver

But what happens when users enthusiastically give in to their first impulse, click on a link, and are then disappointed by the content?

Performance marketing relies on the perfect packaging, so to speak, which encourages customers to click spontaneously.

However, if the packaging has made promises that it cannot keep, this not only has a negative effect on conversion. It also damages the relationship of trust on which long-term customer loyalty is based.

So if you allow yourself to be seduced into a wild hunt for clicks by the many exciting tools when designing performance marketing, you will end up disappointed with the sales that actually take place.

In some cases, you can even make losses, e.g. in paid search, if you pay for clicks that do not result in sales.

In the B2B sector in particular, it is therefore crucial that the content authentically conveys the expertise and corporate culture in order to be successful.

At the latest, if your marketing takes on the charm of a clickbait campaign, a reorientation should be considered.

Content Marketing: What Exactly Is It?

Content marketing seems to take the opposite approach. Content marketing focuses on providing an excellent user experience with unique content.

To achieve this, content today must be of such high quality that it stands out from the crowd. This is becoming increasingly difficult and at the same time increasingly easy.

Many websites rely on rewriting the content that their competitors also have and then hoping that Google and users will consider this rehashed content to be of high quality, which has worked for a hundred other websites. Unfortunately, content doesn't get better with the hundredth rehash.

To stay in the race with a long-term content marketing strategy, your content simply has to be damn good.

Ideally, the content is adapted to the needs of the target group with a great deal of sensitivity.

The content can be advisory or entertaining, ideally both at the same time. It can be prepared as step-by-step instructions, funny videos, emotionally gripping experience reports, and much more because the wishes and concerns of the target group are at the heart of clever content marketing.

Readers should simply feel better after visiting the website than before, but of course, the content should also be helpful. 
Good content in a B2B context should fulfill at least one of the following points:

  • The content helps the reader with a specific problem and offers a comprehensible solution (e.g. instructions on how to repair a tap or tips on how to win new customers).

  • The content provides valuable insights that offer the reader added value (e.g. an evaluation of a study in a specific industry or a field report on a specific topic).

  • The content stimulates the thought process and allows the reader to look at a topic from a new perspective (e.g. an interview or a debate).

Whatever is explained in detail and presented in an exciting way is suitable for a strategy that inspires confidence and consolidates expert status.

And now comes the catch. Captivating content marketing requires a lot of expertise, creativity, and a long-term approach. This is the only way to make your company's image unique and attractive.

If You Want to Be Found, You Have to Be Patient ...

But what if nobody finds your brilliant and lovingly created content? In contrast to performance marketing, content marketing requires a lot of patience. It can take months for search engines to give a website the attention its brilliant content deserves.

Content marketing is classic inbound marketing (also known as pull marketing) and focuses on being found. However, marketing without push measures (outbound marketing) is as exciting as a party without guests.

While you're waiting to be discovered, attractive applicants are busy elsewhere. The way out of this dilemma lies in well-thought-out content performance marketing or inbound outbound marketing.

The Exciting Symbiosis: Content Performance Marketing

Every brand today needs to create content to be successful online. So why not combine the strengths of both strategies and create impressive content performance marketing?

With timeless content for long-term planning and the use of outbound measures in paid media, such as paid search and paid social ads, you can optimize your performance.

  1. Content performance marketing changes your focus: instead of just chasing measurable clicks or focusing on unique content, you can combine both: your individual expertise and a distribution strategy that makes your analytics tools glow!

  2. In content performance marketing, you can combine your creativity with technical tools: This allows you to take new customer acquisition to a new level by giving your company a distinctive personality - and achieving considerable reach at the same time.

  3. Existing customer care is easily neglected in pure performance marketing: even though it is more cost-effective than acquiring new customers and still guarantees a stable order situation. Content performance marketing is interesting for both target groups, for new customers and for existing customers.

Conclusion: Content Performance Marketing Acts as Your Best Brand Ambassador

Target group-oriented content allows you to appeal to your readers emotionally and strengthen your branding as a helpful, likable expert in your industry. By continuously monitoring performance, you can find out which content achieves the best effects.

Content performance marketing is like an unforgettable gift to your users, consisting of the thought, the packaging, and the content.

This way you can unleash your creativity, truly understand the market, and outperform your competitors elegantly. Content performance marketing offers a happy medium for making success measurable and creativity predictable - and boosting sales in the process.