At a sales presentation last week someone asked me: If you could spend time on just one aspect of your inbound marketing strategy, what would it be?

He was referring to inbound marketing’s big three: content, SEO and social media. So which one would I choose?

The truth is you can’t pick just one.

The most successful inbound marketing campaigns include all three components. Each element works together in a successful campaign to make your program effective. If you only focus on SEO (or content creation or social media), and neglect the other two, you’ll be disappointed with the results.

What are inbound marketing’s big three and why are they so essential to your content marketing strategy?

Big 3 of inbound marketing

Image courtesy of HubSpot


#1 Search engine optimization

SEO makes it easier for potential customers to find your website. It includes on-page SEO elements including properly worded page titles, effective use of keywords, alt-tags on images, an enjoyable user experience and more.

SEO also includes building links to your site to give it authority with search engines so your position in search results is maximized.

#2 Content creation

Content creation is the core of all inbound marketing campaigns. It’s the information that attracts potential customers to your site. Content has many benefits. It helps with SEO, builds trust with your leads, showcases your thought leadership and more.

Content includes regular blog posts, white papers, ebooks, videos and webinars.  Typically, companies give away their blog posts for “free,” while other content requires something in exchange, such as visitor information that’s added to your database for future follow up.

#3 Social media

Social media helps promote your content. When you share your blog posts (or other content) on social networks, it becomes more authentic and more likely to draw potential customers to your site.

In response to my colleague who asked where I would focus my efforts, I told him you can’t focus on just one element. Instead, it’s a matter of effort allocation.

Inbound marketing: my effort allocation

In my own experience, I spend about 80% of my time creating content. A blog post takes me about an hour to write and post. An eBook or tip-sheet take much more of my time—especially when you factor in writing, design, creating a landing page and call-to-action button, plus drafting a lead nurturing campaign.

The rest of my time is divided equally between SEO and social media.

With SEO you need to get the basic on-page elements correct on your overall site then ensure each additional page you create, likely through blog posts, is optimized correctly. Then it’s a matter of tweaking your site, building inbound links on a regular basis, tracking your search engine rankings and making modifications as necessary.

For me, social media is a necessary evil. I try to spend as little time as possible on Twitter and LinkedIn. If I’ve posted something new to my site, I’ll take the time each morning to share it on Twitter and LinkedIn (including my LinkedIn groups). Since social media is supposed to be social, I also take the time to share content from other bloggers. In total, I spend about 15 minutes per day on social media.

There’s nothing magic or secretive about an effective content marketing strategy. If you put the time into all three components—content creation, SEO and social media—your business will reap the rewards with more online visits, leads and, ultimately, customers.



How do you allocate your time between content creation, SEO and social media?


Written by Shelley Pringle