For decades, content marketing has been considered the decisive key to success. Social media transformation and other relevant, inventive technologies never diminished their major role; on the contrary, they only further highlight the importance of unique and out-of-the-box marketing content.
Beginners who just started their baby steps in the advertising and marketing field must have been in dire need of a complete walkthrough guide, and that is what we are here for. What is content marketing, exactly? Keep scrolling for more of our take.
What Is Content Marketing? Types of Content Marketing
Before diving further into niche benefits and insightful case studies, it is important to grasp basic definitions, concepts, and different content types regarding marketing strategies:
The term “content marketing” is a broad umbrella that encompasses all strategies with the usage of guides, videos, blog articles, and other content formats to:
- Foster long-time trust in the brand and company
- Attract more buyers
- Shorten the sales cycles
- Assisting clients in getting their desired services and products
The ultimate goal is to build a strong customer-business relationship – in which buyers bring in consistent and repeated revenue while also turning themselves into enthusiastic and devoted brand advocates. Hence, genuine, exceptional content that resonates with readers’ needs should be prioritized above all else.
Type of Content Marketing
From here, content marketing is further divided into three subcategories tailored for different stages:
1. Discovery Content (TOFU – Top of Funnel)
These content types educate and communicate about your prospects, explaining to customers all possible resolutions to their current dilemmas.
a. Blog Articles
Blogs generate about 67% more monthly leads and 13x ROI generation. With proper development, they drive readers to spot your website through organic searches, encouraging them to learn more about the services and products.
b. Video Tutorials
Studies reveal average customers spend 19 hours online watching videos, with 69% of surveyed clients admitting they usually turn to videos for service and product comprehension.
The reason is simple: video is among the quickest and easiest ways to digest a giant volume of information, a mind-blowing funnel to connect with readers who might skip your blog articles otherwise.
With an average of 4200% ROI ($42 for every spent $1), emails stay dominant as the most effective means to engage customers with your brand and business.
However, one of the more common mistakes with emails is their salesy nature (pushing readers to click “Purchase” instead of being educational and concise about the offered values).
Please remember that inboxes and spams fill up at a break-neck speed; the only way to strike a chord with buyers is to be brief and clear about what you aim to provide.
2. Consideration Content (MOFU – Middle of Funnel)
Once getting over the discovery stage, the next step is to pave ways for your buyers to compare different options and solutions:
a. Comparison Guides and Articles
Use vivid and detailed comparison guides to further instruct clients on recommended steps to handle their pain points. The content might include:
- Explicit comparison between your services and products
- Benefits and drawbacks of each option
- Pitching your brand against competitors
Though the search volume is admittedly lower than other blog topics, audience engagement is guaranteed.
Hosting webinars to advertise and draw more clients is a great idea. Cross-branded webinars and contents are also highly-recommended, in which brands/representatives from other industries are invited to participate and further boost people’s awareness of your brand.
Record the webinars and post them on your Youtube channel or website, allowing them to keep bringing value.
3. Purchase Content (BOFU – Bottom of Funnel)
Powerful BOFU content seals the deal and pushes clients to make final choices.
a. Case Studies
Serving as client testimonials, they are the best, most highly-recommended pieces on any website, giving clients reasons to choose your brand over others.
These case studies display amazing past results that your business achieved with other clients or companies, strengthening readers’ belief that similar outcomes are possible if they decide to work with your business.
b. Live Demos and Trials
A great idea for businesses that offer lifetime subscription or membership services!
With free trials, customers can test the products’ performance before subscribing or purchasing. Demos serve similar goals, helping clients navigate how to use and optimize services to their best advantage and leaving your brand more room for improvements before officially rolling out.
c. Free Consultation
Are your customers ready to get down to it? Connect them with an assistant or representative that walks through the entire process – whether in-person or virtually. Set out options for zero-cost discussions and be ready to negotiate.
The aim is to help them – not to market and sell your products. Keep that in mind throughout the rest of the session periods, so that clients will feel more at ease disclosing and exploring their problems with you.
What Is Content Marketing Benefit? Eight Advantages
Six years or even thirty years later, content marketing will still stay on the hook; its major advantages and benefits are not something one can easily replace:
1. Returning Audience
Never underestimate the power of great content. It gives clients positive experiences and long-established impressions, propelling them to return for more benefits and enjoyment.
Thus, your top responsibility is to capture their attention and reinforce the brand’s good values.
2. Better Social Media Traction
Creating trendy content to increase traction and spark discussions is the dream of every business, even those with huge social follower counts.
Does your website barely see any traction despite great numbers of followers? It is time to set up plans for viral posts and optimize content to your benefit. As everyone on social media cannot stop talking about your brand, boosted traffic will only be a matter of time.
3. Long-Time Customer Trust
Always answer customers’ questions and engage with them through constant value creation.
There is no need to ponder the benefits; these small interactions are not meant to generate instant revenues. Instead, they bring something even better: a deep connection and solid customer faith. Clients will be more comfortable trusting your recommendations and advice if they see you selflessly invest time and effort in addressing their problems.
It would be even greater if you time your content in alignment with the audience’s pain points: the brand’s message and reputation will receive tremendous boosts. The more amazing content they see, the more clients will sustain positive engagements and associations with your label.
From here, take several steps further to turn these enthusiastic customers into brand advocates. Their loyalty and utter faith in your company might influence the buying decisions of other family members or friends, too – even when they themselves no longer have any particular need for your services.
Let’s look at this simple example: suppose a mom has been using Cheerios cereal for her infants for years, and now all her children have outgrown it. But even though the mom stops buying Cheerios, she is still willing to recommend it to new parents seeking high-quality children’s food. Now that is some impressive networking!
4. Better and More Leads
This sentiment is quite self-explanatory: as audiences resonate with what you upload and gain a better understanding of the services, they will likely purchase in the near future. How so, though?
Great content guides readers to the website’s landing page, where useful information is offered for free. Delighted at what they discover, these satisfied visitors will move on to the other website sections, ready to explore the tremendous offerings introduced by your services.
CTA (call-to-action) also plays a critical role in attracting leads. Place it at the bottom, on the left and right panels, between the lines, or anywhere you deem fit. Make the invitation inviting, urgent, and irrefutable!
5. Improved Conversions
Content plays a decisive role in conversions, offering entertaining yet informative content to help them make better, more educated purchases.
Our advice is to always use original pictures (created and taken by your team) instead of stock photos; the latter has been proven ineffective in helping brands meet their sales KPIs. And, as always, skipping CTAs would be a crime; never forget that.
6. Better Visibility Via SEO
High-quality and consistent content go hand in hand with better-performing SEO. Your brand can be displayed at higher ranks on Google’s result pages, boosting visibility and authority to draw new audiences.
Start with intriguing and common topics that surely draw the eyes; there is no better way for readers to associate great content/ articles with your label.
Aside from content quality, a good optimization strategy is recommended, too. The cluster or pillar model, for instance, can drive your content to the top of any search engine.
And more than just high-rank blog articles, good content strategies increase the brand’s awareness. Your content would be automatically suggested by Google algorithms anytime customers seek or discuss similar products.
7. More Authority In The Industry
SEOs can buy visibility – even for low-graded content, on certain occasions – but not authority; the latter can only be achieved through credible and resourceful information that customers cannot find on any similar website.
As an industry expert, you would receive immense respect from customers and other brands alike, further cementing the company’s position in the market.
Always strive to demonstrate as much expertise as possible through valuable, practical answers to customers’ questions. Spend at least twice a week assessing the content quality through varied metrics (content scoring tools, for example, can be one of them) to improve/measure marketing performances and offer greater reader values.
Paid advertisements and exorbitant video marketing can be a blow for small start-ups or business firms. Regular, high-quality content uploaded on a daily basis is not.
Hence, pooling a part of your budget to hire full-time writers to produce consistent content is a far better move than turning to freelance, outsourced creators for short-period campaigns.
Sure, the results might not come immediately, and we understand your impatience and frustration. However, good efforts always pay off; soon, you will find your blogs and websites flooded with organic traffic and impressive sales conversion.
What Is Content Marketing Guide for Beginners? Steps to Get Started
Though detailed planning and strategy establishments will vary across different fields and sectors, there is still a general guideline that all marketers and content creators must follow. Check out each step:
Step 1. Establish Your KPIs and Goals
Every marketing plan starts with concrete objectives and goals. Recent surveys of B2B marketers reveal interesting numbers:
- Clear goals help 80% raise brand awareness
- 75% build better credibility and customer trust
- 70% educate their customers.
Ask yourself which exactly you wish to achieve via this content marketing plan, and start jotting down ideas. If you do not know where to begin, here are some common aims:
- Generating leads/demands
- Nurturing leads/subscribers/audience
- Driving more attendance to a particular event (in-person or virtual)
- Generating revenues/sales
- Supporting new product launches
Each goal should have one KPI (minimum) to assess the campaign or project’s performance. Feel free to use social media metrics like conversion, engagement, and reach to evaluate consumer loyalty and return rates.
Step 2. Decide Your Target Demographics
The next phase is to think about the target audience, which, in most cases, often already aligns with your social media or buyer personas.
However, for businesses with multiple audience types, it would be best to match specific content types and topics to each group. Take your time; there is no need to rush here.
Step 3. Audit The Current Content
Launching your marketing immediately without considering where to start is a bad idea. Content audits are the best solution to tackle such dilemmas, making content assessment a breeze during earlier stages.
For starters, document all your existing articles, contents, and clips. Does that sound overwhelming? Then reduce the limit to every three or six months. Regardless of the schedule you opt for, ensure you have a great data set for further investigation.
Once done, run the content audit on every blog post to locate duplicate topics or existing content you never knew about.
Many audit third-party tools are even designed exclusively for a particular platform (ex: Facebook or Instagram), which you can use to streamline the working process. And for ambitious people, we see no reason not to add some competitors to the audit; that will help benchmark your marketing content even further!
While you are at it, determine the following aspects:
- Topic: What have you (or your competitors) been posting about?
- Type: What content types have you been uploading?
- Channels: Where do you share the content?
- Performances: How are these posts performing so far?
Once completing the documentation, you will realize trends, patterns, and certain content that seems to perform much better than the rest. Store these information tidbits away to use for upcoming plans.
Step 4. Identify Suitable Channels for Your Content
Usually, marketers would love to start their marketing brands from distribution channels with an already large and engaged presence. If the brand has no such channels, rely on the above audit process to locate trends and channels that suit your content best.
For more data, investigate the site’s analytics to confirm the origin of your referral sources:
- Do people visit your blog posts via a viral social media article or newsletter?
- Or do they discover your blog via organic search?
Knowing where the audience comes from will help narrow your scope and guide you to better channels to focus your time and effort.
Step 5. Decide Your Content Types
Not every content type performs equally: some work better for certain channels, while others take more time and money to create. So a smart marketing strategy should consider different content categories and formats instead of highlighting only one.
Common content categories include:
- Blog posts
- User-generated content
Review your marketing funnel stages (TOFU, MOFU, or BOFU) and demographic targets to categorize the content.
Step 6. Determine Resources, Tools, and Budgets
An important part of adjusting and developing marketing plans is understanding what resources are available to work from. These include:
- Available tools
- Freelancers or staff that might get involved
How about remote content production? The process might be more challenging, but that does not mean it is impossible. In such cases, confirm what resources and tools you already get access to and which you will need in the future (the latter may require manager/ authority approval, by the way).
Most marketing plans will need:
- Content creators: Who creates the content?
- CMS (Content managing system): Where you and your team will store, plan, and publish the content?
- Content managers: Who controls the topics and their production?
- Data collection: Content reports, analyzers, or other digital tools needed for content marketing
Step 7. Make Your Content Calendar or Schedule
Content calendars play a vital role in any marketing strategy. A good and well-planned calendar should help you and your team:
- Plan out the contact: tracking which and when to post
- Track the content’s status, distribution, responsible staff, and eventual performance
The market introduces numerous amazing calendar templates that brands can use immediately in the early planning stages. Check them out to decide what template/spreadsheet goes best with your working style and preference.
Step 8. Create Your Content
Here comes the most awaited step: creating actual content to share on your website and social media. At this stage, you should already have a detailed concept in mind of the content channels and types to utilize. From there, go on to create, develop, and polish your content accordingly.
Step 9. Publish The Content and Promote It
Once your calendar is established and related content has already been created, you know what to do next: publish those content and promote them on the channel your brand wants to put more focus on.
What about multiple-channel promotion? In that case, it would be best to have a clear and transparent bird’s eye perspective of the publishing calendar. You may turn to third-party publishing tools, which often arrive with simplified asset management and easy access to manage different sites and channels within one dashboard.
For content that performs especially well without relating to any time-specific occasion or holiday, we highly recommend repurposing such content into other formats or channels. To save time and effort, do not hesitate to re-share your content pieces in different creative ways!
Step 10. Measure Your Results
Investigating and analyzing is the final big stone in a great marketing plan. Without data collection, you will never know whether the goals (which you set in Step 1) have been achieved.
- For specialized channels like websites or newsletters, Google Analytics (and any similarly-designed native analytic tools) can be your best friend.
- For social performance, use analytic tools tailored to social media.
With their post-performance reports, you can better grasp how each content piece is executed based on engagement numbers, likes, and impressions. From there, track down the overall efficiency of your content and which posts have been performing best.
What Is Content Marketing Advice? Extra Tips to Be Successful
Our guide above only provides marketers with a general framework to abide by. To experience explosive success with your brand, you must do much more than that. Keep in mind these golden tips anytime you start planning out your marketing:
Tip #1 Make Your Content Immersive
Popular myths have been circulating that human attention lasts only eight seconds. Anyone binge-watching Netflix for hours or days would know such beliefs are untrue. Studies have pointed out FOUR attention types, including:
- Sustained: Focus on just one activity for prolonged periods
- Selective: Concentrate on just one activity with distractions around
- Alternating: Switch focus from one task to another
- Divided: Multi-tasking
However, human selective and sustained attention is admittedly decreasing in recent decades. What does it imply for our content creation? Simple: to captivate longer attention, brands must create a more immersive and engaging experience – with higher-quality content that involves:
- Infographics/ lots of visualized stimuli
- Interactive webinars and other interactivity
- Intriguing quizzes and questions
Shorter attention never means people have stopped being interested in long articles and content. You only need to work (much) harder to keep these target audiences on board.
Tip #2 Make Content Publication Your Highlight Reels
A great marketing plan must cover different content types.
Still, regardless of what format you go for, each content element must prioritize HELPING instead of SELLING, assigning educative and informative purposes as your best highlight reels.
Also, remember to balance quality and frequency; high-quality content posted once per month would unlikely draw new customers.
Let’s delve further into reach content type:
a. Original Content
One of the biggest and most common mistakes is to plug your service or product into anything you write. We review content marketing plans daily – and realize the best content for optimal enjoyment is never salesy; they focus purely on entertaining or educating.
You might ask, how can we convert such content into sales?
We agree that such a question is valid; brand awareness has always been critical. Nevertheless, remember that people LOATHE advertisements; after all, they must see at least 6000 ads of all types on a daily basis.
If you wish to be different and cut through the cluster, do not turn your content into another annoying advertisement. We never say you cannot fit your service/product into blogging; just make sure such content is relevant and further highlights your role as a source of reliable, expert knowledge in your niche.
To sum it up: do not just write something without thinking. Only publish great content that would fill you with pride anytime you look back at it.
If you struggle with content topics, repurposing existing content that has been performing well is a good way to tackle the dilemma. We have listed out a few common ways to transform your older posts:
- Report -> Infographic
- Blog post -> Podcast
- Webinar -> Video tutorial
- Internal data -> Case study
- Statistics -> tweets
b. Curated Content
Although original content should be among your priority, it does not hurt to use different/mixed sources from time to time! Let us introduce you to the concept of Content Curation, which involves sharing, selecting, and finding relevant content created by others.
Still, be selective; just like with your original content, only choose to upload high-quality curated articles. These pointers can help you do it better:
- Do not post anything you find; only choose ones with inspirational, educational, and entertaining content.
- Mix them up using various content types (reports, articles, videos, or podcasts)
- Never stick with only one template; it will get boring soon.
- Optimize the content for specific social networks (for instance, Twitter has character limits for each tweet; be mindful of that during posting)
- Choose the best time to post your articles and reach optimal engagement.
- Most importantly: Credit your curating source and add your own insight to give the article some personal twists.
Tip #3 Connect With Your Audience
Your audience might be “users” or “customers” on paper. However, in real life, they are just ordinary people with personal interests and feelings – like us. Thus, your content must be genuine and cater to their experience. How to do that, though?
For starters, create the “buyer persona” – detailed descriptions of a person representing your audience. Analyzing and investigating this persona is a great way to remind yourself to prioritize their needs over yours.
Give the “persona” a name and delve further into their behavioral traits, interests, and demographic groups. From there, summarize their pain points, buying journey, goals, and desires.
Assess user experience, testimonials, and sales funnel to collect data and plan for future improvements from there. You may source and gather data via common tools such as:
- Social media analytic
- Google analytic
- Your customer database or CRM
Once thoroughly digging your “buyer persona” and audience insight, your brand can have a much better chance of creating relevant, great content that strikes a chord with buyers.
Still need a more concrete guideline? This short bullet point list will sum up the seven critical stages for you:
- Do research
- Analyze your competition
- Create your “buyer persona.”
- Connect with your clients personally
- Track your comments and mentions (social listening)
- Observe external social behaviors (which do not necessarily concern your business or brand)
- Send direct surveys via email
And do not forget to interact with other people (even though they might not belong to your current demographic); such tactics will help you show personality and build better relationships.
In this regard, Nike is definitely among the best in the game. Its reputable 1988 campaign, “Just Do It” encourages people to push their limits and chase after their dreams regardless of social background and race.
And it still serves as a stellar example of how businesses should dig into the buyer persona and connect with their audience from a more personal/emotional perspective.
Tip #4 Use Content Calendars and Always Track Results
The guidelines in our previous sections have briefly mentioned the role of a good content calendar; we would like to delve further into it in this section.
Content calendars are the best and most visual ways to ensure your plan stays on track. There is no fixed rule regarding ways to establish a content calendar; it can either be very simple or very complex, depending on your preference and working ethics. Take an editorial calendar, for example; each entry can (or cannot) include the following features:
- Exact time and date to publish content
- Which account and social network will upload it
- Any creative and copy additions (ex: videos or photos)
- Tags and links that must or might be included
- Extra relevant information if there is any (ex: Instagram story or feed?)
To track the posts’ performances, measuring their metrics is critical. Like content calendars, these metrics can either be complicated or straightforward according to your business demands. Here are some examples of common, popular metrics to utilize for your brandings:
- Consumptions: Open rates, traffic, Google Analytics
- Sharing: Shares, likes, retweets
- Sales: CRM, deals
- Lead: Leads generated
Tip #5 Use Keyword Research As SEO Backbone
It is not exaggerating to say that any successful marketing plan starts with investigative keyword research.
Otherwise, how can you write great and relevant content when you and your team have no idea what search terms have the best volumes? If nobody searches what you write about, your website will never get any Google traffic; it is simple as that.
Aside from keywords, take into consideration:
- Headlines that contain keywords
- Content length (longer content, roughly 2500 words, usually performs better).
- Link-building/Backlinks: (other websites linking to your site in their posts). Trust us; search engines like backlinks! Writing high-quality guest posts is another great way to strengthen link-building.
Once you have a general idea of utilizing these critical elements, start building a more cohesive strategy for keyword research:
- Create lists of phrases and words you wish to rank.
- Use common research tools (Keyword Explorer, Google Trends, etc.) to display alternatives and how these phrases will likely perform.
- Narrow the choices (this step depends on your time and team size)
- Assess costs and values in spreadsheets.
- Pick the best and highest-rated keywords and work from there.
Investing in keyword studies will give your content/ brand better opportunities to raise visibility and public awareness, and it seems market giants like Amazon understand that sentiment better than most.
The brand employs multiple keyword research tactics to improve its rankings, singling out common phrases with the highest search volumes to boost the product’s visibility.
That explains why most Amazon product links will likely be displayed at the top of Google’s result page – whether you wish to buy an umbrella or install a brand-new microwave.
Tip #6 Mix Evergreen and Trending Content In The Marketing Strategy
Most content arrives in three categories: trending, evergreen, and something between the two.
- Trending: current events or sensations that will be outdated soon. (ex: video rundowns, Superbowl advertisements for a particular year).
- Evergreen: sustainable and timeless content, which explains its name! A good example is “How to knot your tie.”
Industries and topics change over time, so it would be best to include both evergreen and trending content to remain relevant. Find a great angle for these content types, and your brand will surely stand out.
Tip #7 Use Simple and Conversational Language
Mobile phones and devices account for 50% of worldwide traffic – an important reminder to include in your marketing strategy. While a 50-page report or 6000-word article might look amazing on huge desktop screens, reading them on a tiny iPhone is a different story.
Structured, clear formats – with tons of accompanying visuals – are strongly advised to give readers’ eyes their well-deserved breaks. And do not underestimate the power of short sentences, whose compelling, sharp, and clear formats make your copy look like an intimate letter to a close friend.
Here are some tips to capture attention:
- Fuse words (this is = this’s)
- Remove unnecessary jargon
- Address readers directly
- Write like how you usually talk
High-end, luxury brands might struggle to familiarize themselves with this concept, claiming flowery and sophisticated words should be the way to go for it. However, our society is transforming, and conversational copies are taking over. Take this opportunity to bring your brand closer to the audience!
Giants like Durex have definitely taken this game to the next level. Their copies mostly are single, very short sentences (never more than 10 words) – accompanied by intriguing visuals:
“Go out with a bang”
“One just ain’t enough”
And yet, these content pieces go insanely viral every single time, setting a perfect example of how to sell your services without being wordy.
Tip #8 Utilize Social Media to Promote Your Content And Raise Awareness
People only share your blog posts and articles if they even know your brand exists in the first place, which directs us to this burning question: How to increase business visibility? Here are ways to do so:
a. Engagement on Social Media
A strong presence on social media would set you miles apart from brands and competitors; never leave out engagement metrics off your marketing plans.
- Interact with others
- Provide valuable feedback and insightful inquiries.
- Never copy/paste the same reply to all your readers. Take time to listen to their ideas, visit their podcasts, or read their full comments. Your audience will treat you the same way you treat them.
Social media influencers (especially on Instagram and TikTok) have turned to this simple strategy for years to gain followers and build a loyal fanbase. There are no reasons a business or brand cannot adopt the same method.
Look no further than Wendy’s, the most popular U.S. fast food chain to date. The brand has long established its reputation with humor and wittiness, always engaging and responding to customers’ comments through funny and clever comebacks. No wonder the interaction metrics on their social media posts are explosive!
b. Content Promotion
Ask yourself: what strategy do you currently use to promote content pieces? Does it involve:
- Sending the articles to customer emails?
- Trying influencer outreach?
- Using content promotion tools?
- Doing nothing and praying for traffic?
You could probably do better than that by adopting these old but gold social-share promotions:
- Sharing the content on various social platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, etc.
- Uploading informative or entertaining content into relevant groups and inviting them to follow you for similar posts
- Linking to your existing content when replying to a particular comment (ex: I have written about this topic in one of my previous blog posts; you can read it here).
Tip #9 Always Update Your Marketing Strategy
And here comes one of the most important (yet terribly underrated) steps: always staying updated.
As mentioned, industries are transforming – a process further sped up by constant new inventions and technologies. They change how people interact, make buying decisions, and search for products to resolve their pain points.
A strategy that brought terrific results last year might hit different in the next. Remind yourself to move along with the trends, read books and guides, and always stay alert.
Still, despite overnight shifts within the industry, one thing will never change; content marketing must stay customer-focused and personalized. Keeping audiences happy and satisfied allows your business to develop together with them.
What is content marketing? How to optimize your marketing strategies without breaking the bank?
These guidelines, hopefully, can address your current concerns. For more support, contact us at Leading Digital Agency; with years of marketing expertise, we promise to increase your revenue within 30 days with a well-thought-out marketing strategy.