Getting Past Buzzwords: 7 Interview Ready Definitions of Digital Marketing Subjects

Being a freelance consultant, I’ve met quite a few people who have recently wanted a simple definition of what I do. I think they ask because they are genuinely curious, and it’s good for finding out if the person they’re asking really knows what they’re on about. I regularly have to answer the question on a range of topics, so I thought I’d write down this ‘cheat sheet’ for my own reference, and yours – particularly if you’re planning on getting a new role or line of work in 2013.

Standard Interview Question:

“There are a lot of buzzwords around. What does the word {insert here} really mean to you?”

Content Strategy

Content strategy is the method of organising content and workflow so that the best information is available to the user, whether this is for the goal of purchase or for heightened user engagement. I also like the definition from Margot Bloomstein that content strategy should allow businesses to:

“…make smart choices to ensure the content types, tone, and media in an experience support that experience in a way that’s appropriate to the brand and useful to its audience.”

Book Choice: Content Strategy at Work: Real-world Stories to Strengthen Every Interactive Project, Margot Bloomstein (2011)

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is about earning the attention of prospects, making yourself easy to be found and drawing customers to your website by producing content that customers value. It has been coined in opposition to so called ‘outbound’ or ‘interruptive’ marketing, whereby users have viewing interrupted by advertising. It encompasses SEO, social media, email and other forms of content marketing and effectively stands for building audiences and customers without the need for media spend.

Book Choice: Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs, Brian Halligan & Darmesh Shah (2009)

Content Marketing

Almost interchangeable with Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing is about marketing strategy that focuses on content rather than media spend. However, content marketing has rather more of a cross media emphasis, and can easily straddle mediums such as print and television, while inbound emphasises digital media (at least according to the book). Also, advertising could technically fall under content marketing – for instance, extended versions of adverts are often released on YouTube.

Book Choice: Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher – How to Use Content to Market Online and in Social Media, Rebecca Leib (2011)

Search Engine Optimisation

SEO is the knowledge of how to improve a website’s visibility on search engines – whether this is through web development or marketing strategy. Almost all other digital marketing disciplines are linked to it, and subsequently many people involved in SEO are now defining themselves as inbound or content marketers.

Book Choice: The Art of SEO, Various Authors (2009)

Social Media

Social Media is simply media that is created and shared by the audiences of websites, rather than the owner of the website. Most social media stems from a platform that enables creation and sharing from users.

Book Choice: The Cluetrain Manifesto, various authors (10th Anniversary edition 2009)

Permission Marketing

Permission marketing was a term popularised by Seth Godin, to explain that marketing strategies now need permission to talk to potential customers (originally through email sign up, later social media) rather than interrupting them with advertising.

Book Choice: Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers, Seth Godin (2007 ed.)

Web Analytics

Web analytics is the measurement of website data in a manner that creates insight and drives further action.

Book Choice: Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics, Brian Clifton (2010)

You can find more digital marketing books on my reading list.