The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing

There are so many approaches to effective inbound marketing. No doubt you’ve read about any number of ways to bring more leads into your business. But have you considered content marketing?

Does it seem like just another inbound marketing technique that may work for others but you don’t have the time to master?

Well, if you’re not actively engaging in content marketing, you’re missing out on a huge potential revenue stream. And the best part is, content marketing isn’t that difficult to master.

Here, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about this key inbound marketing strategy.

What Exactly Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a relationship-building approach you take with your audience. It’s an incredibly impactful approach to advertising because it’s all content-based. Content marketing is produced in a number of formats and is shared on channels such as:

  • Your business website
  • Blogs
  • Social media

When you do your content marketing consistently and correctly, it delivers remarkable results. Let’s look at how the numbers reflect this:

  1. Content marketing costs 62% less than other outbound marketing campaigns, yet brings in more than three times more leads.
  2. Businesses that engage in content marketing strategies have overall conversion rates six times higher than competitors that don’t.

Beyond that, this marketing strategy works for B2C and B2B businesses. B2C businesses that blog, on average, 11 times (or more) every month bring in four to five more qualified leads than competitors that blog less frequently or don’t blog at all.

For B2B businesses that blog at least 11 times per month, they receive more than three times more website traffic than competitors that don’t blog as often.

But in order to maximize your results, you’ll first need to master a few of the basic essentials of content marketing.

Content Marketing Tips for Beginners

If you’re brand new at content marketing, you likely have a lot of questions about how you should approach it. Here’s how to get started:

Diversify Your Approach
The audience in today’s digital market gets bored very fast and has a limited attention span. Because of this, it’s important to keep things fresh and exciting.

To do this, choose formats of content that deliver specific results for specific campaigns. As a content marketer, you’ll rely on:

  • Articles and blog posts
  • Audio recordings and podcasts
  • eBooks and whitepapers
  • Images and galleries
  • Infographics
  • Diagrams

Each format should be used to either entertain or inform your audience. It should all be given away free of charge, making the information highly beneficial while you build and establish your brand loyalty.

The content format you choose will be different for the variety of presentations and ideas that you present. You don’t need to learn this through trial and error. By understanding your customers and audience, you should have a general idea about the type of content that will appeal to them.

For example, use video to evoke emotion. For hard-to-understand information, use blog posts with infographics.

What About Overall Strategy?
If you’re planning on sitting down tomorrow and start turning out blog posts, you probably won’t succeed at content marketing. Your effects need to be carefully guided by a solid strategy.

A cohesive content strategy will give you specific reasons to create content. Your strategy should answer some pressing questions, such as “why am I doing this?” and “what are my specific goals?”

Some of your goals should be such things as:

  • Building a larger audience
  • Establishing brand awareness
  • Reaching new markets
  • Establishing yourself as a leader in your niche
  • Increasing revenue and conversions
  • Brand-building

When you understand the goals you’re attempting to fulfill, you’ll be able to more easily attract the crowd you’re looking for. You’ll also have a better understanding of the channels that will work best for each type of content marketing campaign you run.

The Quality of Your Content Is King
Contrary to what you may have heard from certain search engine optimization companies, the quality of the work you put out is more important than how much you put out. Don’t feel like you need to publish new content multiple times per day.

It’s important to have an editorial calendar and stick to it. But if you find yourself publishing pieces of mediocre work because you’re putting out content too frequently, you’re probably doing your business a major disservice.

In the not-so-distant past, the quality of content produced wasn’t a major factor in how search engine algorithms worked. However, in today’s digital world, companies like Google have changed their algorithms to promote better content quality on search results. This has resulted in a vast number of websites with poorly written content all but removed from search results.

But beyond just the changes in algorithms, the general audience has become more sophisticated and demanding. People have hundreds (if not thousands) of places to go for information in today’s world. If the content you produce doesn’t bleed quality and originality, it’ll be very hard to build an audience that’s loyal to you.

When you put together your overall strategy, take time to focus on how original your ideas are and the quality that will be required to execute on them. If you’re able to provide readers with valuable information, they’ll probably keep returning (and more importantly, buying).

Don’t Take a Static Approach
If you believe that after you’ve put together a perfect strategy and you can move on to other things, you’re probably mistaken. In fact, one of the most important lessons to learn about content marketing is that the audience’s preferences change on a constant basis.

Your current strategy might be perfect for right now, but expect that things will quickly change. It’s important to remain as flexible as possible.

New trends in content marketing emerge faster than the calendar can turn. You need to stay aware of changes if you want your strategy to succeed in the long-term.

As recently as a few years ago, it was enough to produce an engaging, fun video clip of your product. Now, users are looking for businesses to go live on Facebook, and YouTube. Content that’s generated by users has also become very popular because it gives audiences a chance to have their own voice.

Avoid getting stuck on a few approaches or formats that have already delivered. Always experiment with new approaches to see what the market is bearing today.

Track Your Performance
It’s not enough to rely on luck or chance when you’re looking to adopt new content marketing channels and formats.

Use tracking tools so keep up-to-date with how your content performs once it’s published. Google Analytics and Facebook Insights are free and simple tools you can use for this purpose.

Every experienced content marketing creator will tell you that as soon as you think you have an understanding of your audience is the exact moment that you don’t. You’ll be regularly surprised by the performance you’ll see on analytics tools. The one piece of content you thought was junk could easily be your highest performer.

Refuse to get comfortable with whatever current approach you use. Always remember that you can make changes on the fly without any repercussions. Just because you’ve nailed a few approaches doesn’t mean that your next effort, using the same techniques, will perform the same.

Test, modify, repeat.

You Can Do Content Marketing
Few marketing approaches are as effective at boosting conversion rates as content marketing. Just remember to always entertain, inform or do both. Don’t get lazy or complacent in your approach, and constantly monitor your results.

With that, you’ll be well on your way. Need additional tips or advice? Get in touch and let’s talk!

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