If you want to unlock the potential of content marketing and don’t know how to get started, this is the perfect guide for you.
This comprehensive guide, crafted by experienced content marketers, will equip you with the knowledge and tools to create compelling content that captivates your audience, boosts brand visibility, and drives tangible results.
You’ll learn how to set realistic content marketing goals, how to design a content marketing strategy, and the best way to promote your content for maximum online exposure.
The Beginners Guide to Content Marketing
1. What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is one of the most popular and effective forms of inbound marketing in the digital world. It’s essentially the process of creating and publishing written and visual assets for a specific audience.
While many people associate content marketing with blogging, the term “content marketing” can apply to many different types of online assets.
Companies can create everything from eBooks, infographics, videos, podcasts, webinars, and even online courses.
Primarily, the purpose of content marketing is to raise brand awareness, connect with an audience through the delivery of valuable information, and increase visibility with search engine optimization.
However, content marketing can also be used to generate brand loyalty, increase sales, and demonstrate thought leadership or authority.
Used correctly, content marketing can be an extremely valuable tool in your digital marketing strategy.
It’s no surprise that in a recent study, 55% of marketers say they’re focusing on creating more content and posting more frequently to engage their target audience.
Some of the most important benefits of content marketing include:
- Generates a fantastic ROI: Used correctly, content marketing can deliver incredible results for a low initial investment. It helps to increase site visits, improve the number of pages indexed by search engines, and generate leads.
- Improves visibility: Content marketing is an excellent way to increase visibility, particularly when combined with SEO. Effective, authoritative content helps websites to rank higher in the SERPs.
- Strengthens branding: A good content marketing strategy can improve brand awareness and enhance your company’s reputation. It’s a chance to deliver customer value, earn loyalty, and differentiate yourself from your competitors.
- Builds customer relationships: With authoritative, valuable content, you can build lucrative relationships with your target audience, educating leads and prospects about the services and products you offer and nurturing prospects into buyers.
- Boosts conversions: Not only does content marketing make it easier for customers to find your brand, but it can also be used to answer any questions your audience might have about your products, increasing your chances of conversions and revenue.
- Engages customers: Effective content marketing can get people talking about your brand and even encourage them to interact with you more frequently. It can push customers to subscribe to your newsletters and engage with online events.
To learn more about the importance and benefits of content marketing, visit the following resources.
2. Content Marketing Types
As mentioned above, while many companies still primarily associate content marketing with blogging, “content” can encompass a wide variety of different assets.
Experimenting with different types of content can assist companies in reaching a wider audience and increasing engagement. Common options include:
Blogging: Blogs are an effective way to share valuable information, insights, and even updates on brand growth.
High-quality blogs should include text and incorporate several media features such as images, screenshots, and graphs.
Video content: Video has become one of the most effective content marketing tools in recent years, with 91% of companies utilizing video assets.
Videos are used to create engaging and visually appealing content, such as tutorials, product demos, interviews, and behind-the-scenes insights into business operations.
Podcasts: Ideal for generating thought leadership and capturing audiences worldwide, podcasts are audio-based content options.
They allow businesses to share valuable information, interviews, and discussions with their audience. They can be produced in a range of formats to showcase brand voice.
Social media content: With around 4.89 billion people using social media today, it has become an excellent way for organizations to connect with their target audience.
Companies can share videos, posts, and even snippets from blogs and website articles on a range of channels to engage and nurture customers.
Infographics: A fantastic way to present complex information in an easily digestible, visually appealing format, infographics combine graphics, charts, and text into a simple, shareable image.
Email newsletters: Email newsletters are an excellent way to not only capture audience attention but nurture prospects into leads and customers.
They can provide followers with updates, exclusive content, promotions, and personalized messages, allowing companies to maintain strong client relationships.
Ebooks and whitepapers: Typically designed to offer customers access to larger volumes of information, eBooks, and whitepapers convey in-depth information, research findings, and insights on specific topics.
They’re great for generating leads, as they can be used as lead magnets on landing pages and website forms.
Case studies: One of the most valuable forms of content businesses use in both the B2B and B2C space, case studies act as a form of social proof.
They showcase previous work done by a brand, highlighting challenges the company helped customers to overcome in the past.
Online Courses: Another excellent way to attract and nurture leads, online courses are simple, educational solutions designed to provide customers with guidance and information.
Courses can be delivered through learning platforms or directly through a company’s website, giving customers a structured learning experience.
Webinars and virtual events: Through virtual events and webinars, businesses can connect with their target audience in real-time, sharing valuable information and insights.
These types of content provide opportunities for interactive discussions, live presentations, Q&A sessions, and engagement with participants.
Interactive content: Quizzes, surveys, assessments, calculators, and other forms of interactive content are excellent for driving engagement.
They encourage customers to get involved with a brand’s content, capturing attention and providing a more personalized, memorable experience.
For more information on how to create different types of content marketing assets like listicles, evergreen content, and pillar pages, read the following guides.
3. Setting Content Marketing Goals
The best digital marketing results, whether content marketing, social media marketing, or email marketing, always stem from strategic planning.
Setting goals for your content marketing efforts ensures you’re producing the right type of content in the correct format to drive results for your business.
Establishing goals will also help you to define which KPIs or metrics you need to track to determine whether your content marketing efforts are successful.
For instance, if your aim is to increase brand awareness, you may focus on metrics like website traffic and brand mentions.
If you’re trying to increase your visibility on the search engine results pages, you can monitor things like domain authority, backlinks, and rankings.
While your goals may vary, they should always be “SMART”. In other words, you should ensure your targets are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.
Examples of effective content marketing goals might include:
- We want to improve brand awareness by [X%] in the next 3 months, using thought leadership content, webinars, and blogging. We’ll measure website traffic, brand mentions, and customer perception using [x] tools.
- We hope to attract [X] new customers to our business within the next 6 months, using blog posts and guest posts to drive customers back to our site and how-to videos to showcase our products. We’ll measure conversion rate, unique traffic, and contact requests using [x] tools.
4. Creating a Content Marketing Strategy
Once you have a clear set of goals for your content marketing campaign, the next step is developing a comprehensive strategy.
The exact strategy you use may vary, but some of the most important things you’ll need to do include:
Defining your target audience: Determine who you want to reach with your content marketing efforts before you start producing content.
Figure out your customers’ goals and challenges, examine their demographics (age, gender, lifestyle), and consider their purchasing behaviors.
The more comprehensive your customer profiles are, the more effective your content will likely be.
Conduct a content audit: If you’ve already been active online for a while, running a website content audit will be important in determining what’s working already for your brand.
Ask yourself whether you can refresh any out-of-date content or build on high-performing content with additional assets.
Research keywords: A good content marketing strategy should always go hand-in-hand with SEO.
Researching keywords and the topics your customers typically search for online will help you to establish ideas for what your content marketing strategy should cover.
You can use tools like SEMrush to help you examine concepts like customer intent and track the content your competitors are ranking for.
Examine the competition: Looking at the websites of your competitors is another excellent way to improve the value of your content marketing strategy.
Check how much traffic your competitors get for certain pages or types of content on their websites.
Look for potential keyword gaps you can fill with your own content. For instance, can you create infographics and visual assets when your competitors focus entirely on blog posts and articles?
Develop a content marketing plan: Based on your research, you can start planning the content you will develop.
Your content marketing plan should include insights into the kind of content you will create, who will be responsible for producing the content, and when the content will be published.
You should also highlight how to promote your content for maximum exposure.
Read the guides below for a detailed analysis of how to create a content strategy and how to find topic ideas of your content assets.
5. How to Create High-Quality Content
With your strategy in place, it’s time to start developing the content.
Creating AI generated content, or the same content that everyone is producing, will not get you far.
If you want to stay one step ahead of the competition, you’ll need to learn how to create superb content.
A good starting point is to study the guidelines set by Google for creating helpful, reliable, people-first content.
The most important tips are:
Assess the quality of each content piece: Google wants to ensure it’s delivering relevant, helpful content to customers.
After writing each piece of content, ask yourself whether it provides valuable, original, and intuitive insights.
Make sure your content is unique (don’t copy anything else online), and ask yourself whether it addresses your target audience’s key needs and goals.
Create people-first content: Though it’s tempting to craft content specifically designed for SEO ranking purposes, your blogs should always put the needs of your audience first.
Ensure your content clearly demonstrates first-hand experience and your authority in your industry.
Make sure the page experience is excellent for users on any device, and focus on helping people achieve their goals, overcome pain points, and move through the purchasing cycle.
Get to know E–E-A-T: Google’s ranking algorithms use many factors to rank content.
However, they prioritize content demonstrating Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T).
Google also suggests looking at the “who, how, and why” associated with your content.
In other words, make sure it’s evident who your content is for and who created it.
Think about how the content is created and the resources you use to generate results.
Avoid using AI-generated articles, as this can damage your domain’s reputation, making it even harder to rank for anything on Google.
Finally, make sure you know “why” you created the content. Ask yourself what purpose it serves for your audience.
Follow our checklist below to ensure that each piece of content you create has the characteristics of high-quality content.
6. Content Promotion Methods
Producing high-quality content will help you attract the attention of your target audience over time.
However, you must invest in promotional tactics to accelerate your results and increase your exposure.
There are various ways to effectively promote your content, depending on your goals and marketing budget, such as:
Send a newsletter: If you already have an email list of engaged customers, you can send newsletters to your customers announcing your latest posts and assets.
You can improve the impact of your emails by personalizing the content you share for each audience segment you target.
Use social media: Sharing links to your content or snippets from your latest blog posts on social media is an excellent way to drive attention to your brand.
Make sure you research your customers to find out which platforms they use and boost visibility with hashtags.
Run paid ads: Paid advertising strategies can be an excellent way to enhance the visibility of your business and content with minimal effort.
You can use Facebook retargeting ads to connect with customers who have already visited your website or PPC (Pay per click) advertising on Google to promote high-quality pieces.
Invest in partnerships: Consider working with influencers or other companies to promote your content.
Influencers can help advertise your content to a wider audience across social media.
Bloggers or other websites mentioned in your content may also promote your piece on their own social channels and through email marketing.
For a complete guide on how to best promote your hard-produced content, visit the link below.
7. Content Marketing Tools
Effective content marketing can be a time-consuming process, but it’s often made easier by using the right tools and software.
Content marketing tools can assist you with everything from improving the quality of your content to scheduling posts for specific dates and times.
Some of the most popular tools utilized by content marketers include:
Semrush: A comprehensive all-in-one tool for SEO and content marketing, SEMRush makes it easy to research keywords and develop ideas for your content.
You can also conduct competitor analysis within the platform to pinpoint topics and ideas relevant to your target audience.
Canva: If you’re investing in visual content marketing, Canva is an excellent and affordable tool for creating images, videos, and infographics.
It comes with dozens of templates to work with, including solutions designed for all of the top social media channels. Plus, it has collaborative tools for teams.
Grammarly: Grammarly’s AI-driven content editing and proofreading tools are excellent for written content.
You can download the app for your word processor or use it with solutions like Google Docs to check for spelling errors, mistakes, and even issues with your tone of voice.
Mailchimp: Ideal for automating your email marketing strategy, Mailchimp allows companies to create professional-looking emails with templates.
You can use the platform to send emails and SMS messages according to your specific schedule and track crucial metrics like click-through and open rate.
Social pilot: Designed to support companies investing in social media marketing, Social Pilot is a social media marketing and analytics tool.
You can use it to schedule and automatically publish posts across various social channels. Plus, it’s ideal for collecting valuable information about your target audience.
Google Analytics: Google Analytics is the free go-to tool for analyzing your website’s traffic and content marketing campaign performance.
Google Search Console: A comprehensive toolkit for monitoring your website’s performance on Google.
You can check your indexing status, search queries, and crawling errors to improve the visibility of your website.
Google Docs: Great for collaboration between content marketers, Google Docs allows you to create and share content through the cloud.
Multiple people can work on the same document at the same time, and content can easily be exported to a variety of different digital platforms.
8. Learning Content Marketing
While the concept of content marketing is relatively easy to understand, mastering the unique nuances of this promotional strategy can be complex.
Dedicating the right amount of time to learning about content marketing and how to improve the quality of your content will help you to increase your ROI.
Some of the best ways to learn about content marketing include:
Explore content marketing fundamentals: Read blogs and articles online about content marketing and how it works.
You can even invest in ebooks or check out videos from leading content marketing influencers to expand your education and determine what kind of content you will use.
Practice writing: Writing is one of the most important parts of content marketing. Even if you’re going to be creating podcasts and videos, you’ll still need to produce scripts.
Develop your expertise in writing by following writing courses, experimenting with content marketing prompts, and publishing blogs on your website.
Experiment with tools: Experimenting with crucial tools in the content marketing landscape, like those mentioned above, will improve your skills and help you learn more about how content marketing works.
Develop research skills: Developing research skills will also be extremely useful for a beginner in content marketing.
Learn how to develop your understanding of your target audience, find relevant competitors, and search for keywords.
Take a content marketing course: Content marketing courses are one of the best tools you can use to enhance several content marketing skills at once.
You can experiment with both free and paid courses to expand your knowledge. Plus, some courses even have certifications you can add to your resume.
Get an entry–level content marketing job: One of the best ways to learn about content marketing is to dive into an entry-level role.
Consider applying for jobs as a junior copywriter or digital marketer to get first-hand experience. Alternatively, you can offer your services to smaller brands as a volunteer.
The following guides include step-by-step guidance and links to resources you can use to go from content marketing novice to content marketing pro.
Content marketing is one of the most valuable tools any business can utilize to increase visibility and unlock new opportunities in the digital world.
Used correctly, the right content marketing strategy will help you to connect with your target audience and differentiate your brands from competing companies.
With the steps above, you can develop your own content marketing strategy and start putting this marketing channel to the test.
Remember, as digital marketing evolves, it will be important to invest in your education and improve your skills constantly.