As lead generation tools, many are quick to put content marketing and paid search into their own rigidly defined categories. Pay-per-click campaigns are optimized for one action and content marketing is beneficial to inspire greater buyer engagement. However, it's a little premature to simply write them off as isolated components under the umbrella of online marketing.
In fact, PPC and content marketing are very much complementary tactics for lead generation, as well as lead nurturing. In some respects, paid search can be a way to introduce content marketing collateral, such as a white paper or webinar, to an untapped audience (1). For instance, marketers can work with the Google Display Network to publish PPC ads on a website or within search results that are relevant to the content marketing resource the company is trying to promote. In this way, buyers who enter specific search terms or land on the related website will be exposed to the display ad, increasing the likelihood of generating leads from it.
To make this work well, marketers need a strategy that begins with thorough keyword research (2). Identify search terms that will likely resonate with the target audience. Ultimately, content marketing resources will need to align with not only the keywords, but also with the specific priorities of the buyer market.