Last Updated on May 16, 2021 by Tracy Jackson
Your audience members are not going to turn into customers as soon as you put your product out on the market.
Hard as it may be to swallow, your target audience isn’t interested in your product.
They’re interested in themselves.
It’s tough to hold the attention of your target audience in such a fast-paced world – unless you offer them value.
If you want someone to invest the time to look at how great your product is, you need to meet them where they’re at. Let them know you care about them and the problems they face. Help solve some of their smaller problems so that you can build trust.
That’s where content marketing steps in.
Content marketing is the process of using quality content, such as articles, videos, pictures, and any other form of multimedia, to drive traffic to a website or social media page.
Without a sound content marketing strategy in place, you will not see the kind of growth you want to see in your business.
To be successful with content marketing, you must also understand search engine optimization (SEO) and how to build a following on social media pages. With the sheer quantity of content available online, yours must rise to the top of the heap to have a chance of success.
However, once it does, your income possibilities are limitless, as there is no cap on the number of people who can visit your online space.
According to Statista, there are 4.66 billion active internet users across the globe!
In this beginner’s guide to content marketing, we will learn everything from the benefits of content marketing, the different types of content marketing you can do for your business, the benefits of content marketing, how you can create a content marketing strategy, and how content marketing can help you make money online.
Excited? Let’s begin!
Disclaimer: If you buy something using the links in this article, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Know that I only promote stuff that I use and trust for the sake of my readers and the reputation of this site.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing in the simplest of terms is the marketing of a business by using content.
Content is information that educates the audience. It can be of many different forms:
- Written content (blog posts, whitepapers, case studies, etc.),
- Audio content (podcasts), or
- Visual content (videos, infographics, etc.)
Marketing is done by reaching the content to its intended audience. This means distributing the content to channels such as social media and email so that it reaches your target audience and educates them about your company.
Unlike most forms of marketing, content marketing is inbound. That means your audience looks for information and finds your content instead of you reaching out to them (outbound marketing) to tell them about your company and its products or services.
Quality content is authentic, relevant, and optimized for search engines (SEO). That makes it easier for your content to reach your target audience and provide them value so that they learn about your business.
Effective content marketing helps you:
- Attract your target audience
- Educate them about your industry and product or service
- Tell them about your business and how it can help them
- Capture leads and sends them through your marketing funnel
- Convert leads into customers and raving fans of your business
Traditional Marketing vs Content Marketing
Traditional marketing includes advertising on TV, newspapers and magazines, billboards, and cold calling. When compared to traditional marketing, what are the benefits of content marketing?
1. Content marketing provides value to the target audience
Unlike traditional forms of advertising that are disruptive and intrusive, content marketing offers true value to your customers. People looking for a guide or resources find your content and engage with it because you are giving them exactly what they are searching for at that point in their customer journey.
2. Content marketing educates the customer about the product
If you follow content marketing best practices like creating brand content keeping your customers in mind, you will be able to tell them about your product in a way that is not ‘salesy’.
You will be able to highlight your value proposition in a way that appeals to your customers. This will make them more likely to follow your brand and convert into customers.
3. Content marketing builds trust with the audience
If you take a look at some of the best content marketing examples in your niche, you will find that they have one thing in common – EAT.
EAT stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. The resources you create must be in line with your brand and must project you as an expert in your field.
4. Content marketing has a low investment, but high ROI
Compared to paid advertising and other marketing methods, content marketing has low investment.
When done right, your content marketing strategy can have a very high Return On Investment. There is no limit to what you can do with content marketing. From capturing leads for your email marketing campaign to leading customers down your marketing funnel, content marketing can be a versatile tool in your marketing arsenal.
5. Content marketing improves SEO
When you plan out a content strategy, you create the type of content that your audience is looking for online. This helps you gain valuable traffic through search engines.
Optimizing your content for search engines helps you put out great content that your audience wants. This in turn will boost your SEO. It’s like a cycle that keeps growing!
6. Content marketing increase website traffic
Improving your SEO directly affects your website traffic. When your content starts appearing on search engines, people start clicking on your links and land up on your website.
The more people land up on your website, the easier it is to convert those visitors into customers by optimizing your website for conversions.
7. Content marketing targets the right audience
With content marketing, you need to focus on one target audience or buyer persona to make it work. That means content marketing sharpens all your other marketing efforts since you are able to pinpoint the right audience and focus on them.
How do you do content marketing?
There are different types of content marketing you could do for your business:
Blog posts are inbound content marketing. With blog content, you can promote other types of content, link to important pages on your website, and provide your customers with valuable information.
B2B companies that have a blog get 67% more leads than companies that don’t blog.
Infographics are an effective way of presenting information in a visually pleasing manner. Visuals are easier to understand and remember than text, which makes it such a popular form of content.
Take a look at this infographic about infographics:
Ebooks are valuable resources that can be downloaded by your audience. You could create an eBook on any topic – like a guide for content marketing, for example.
Social Media Content
79% of Americans have a social media account. Social media is a great platform to provide valuable information to your audience while promoting your products and business events.
A popular form of audio content, podcasts are all the rage these days. Create a podcast to reach out to your customers while they drive to work.
Creating video tutorials or other informative videos can help you get likes and shares online. People are more drawn towards video content than written content, and videos can be an effective means to reach your customers.
93% of marketers say that video is a crucial part of their marketing strategy.
How Do You Create a Content Marketing Strategy That Works?
1. Establish clear goals for your content.
Before you begin your content marketing efforts, you need to set clear goals for your content. That means setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) goals.
Charting out your broader content strategy as well as a strategy for each piece of content will help you create content with a purpose.
That way you are not randomly creating content according to ‘trends’, but are mindfully creating each piece of content with a goal in mind. You can then measure the results of these pieces of content and make changes to them when you need to.
2. Study your target audience.
Another crucial prerequisite to a successful content strategy is a clearly defined audience.
Knowing who you are marketing to will help you tailor your content to be more effective. When you truly understand your target audience, you will be more relevant to them and resonate with them better.
You can use demographics data from your website, social media platforms, and email list, to get an idea about the age, gender, profession, and background of your target audience.
This will help you in creating and distributing valuable content that results in content marketing success.
3. Plan out your content creation process.
A solid content creation process will allow you to channel your content marketing efforts in the right direction.
Assign clearly defined roles to each member of your content team.
For example, if you are running a blog, a few writers could be in charge of creating fresh blog content, while others can refresh older blog content to update them and keep them relevant.
You can have a content strategist plan out the editorial calendar on a monthly or quarterly basis and an editor to make sure each blog post is ready to be published and contains the right links, images, or videos.
Plan out a publishing schedule and a blog content workflow that allows you to streamline the content process.
4. Research keywords to target.
When you are creating your editorial calendar, you need to plan out which keywords to target. There are many great SEO tools you can use to do this such as SurferSEO and Ahrefs.
Great content is of no use if you are not giving your audience what they are searching for. No matter what type of content you plan to create, you need to make your content easily found by your audience members.
SEO is a great way to do this. Researching keywords helps you to create content marketing campaigns that fulfill your marketing goals for your brand.
Here’s a helpful video on keyword research:
5. Create content.
It’s time to get started creating relevant content that will attract and engage your customers and create brand awareness.
Valuable content needs to be easily found, so SEO is very crucial. There are many SEO tools that help you create high-quality content that is written for both your audience and search engines.
Use long-tail keywords in your blog posts. This helps you easily reach your target market since long-tail keywords are more specific. People who type long-tail keywords in search engines are looking for something very specific, and if your blog turns up in the search results, it could mean a ton of valuable traffic for you since your blog has relevant content.
6. Plan out content clusters.
SEO is long-term. That means marketers need to plan out content in a way that brings in traffic from their target markets for years to come.
Content clusters, or topic clusters as they are sometimes called, are a great way to do this. They allow you to create free content that focuses on one main topic. A content cluster has one main piece of content, called the pillar content that focuses on one high-competition keyword that is crucial to your niche.
Around the pillar content, you need to create many other pieces of supporting content. This builds your expertise on the topic in the eyes of your target audience as well as search engines. You look more like an industry leader when you plan out content clusters for your blog.
7. Create a lead magnet and marketing funnel.
A great way to capture leads with your content is to create a lead magnet for your target audience members.
A lead magnet could be resources such as downloadable pdf guides, video content in the form of a free online course, or any other type of content that builds brand awareness, adds value to your customers, and helps you reach your business goals.
Once you get started capturing leads through your lead magnet, you can send them into a marketing funnel. A marketing funnel takes your customers on a journey that ultimately leads to them buying your product or service or taking another beneficial customer action.
You can join our free email course to learn more about setting up a blog, creating an email list, and building a marketing funnel for your business.
8. Promote your content on various channels.
When it comes to choice, there’s no limit to the marketing campaign channels that are available today. From social media platforms to email marketing, there are many ways you can reach your customers and promote your brand content.
Study your target market and choose the right channels to promote your pieces of content. No matter what type of content you create, when you have a strong content strategy in place, you can increase brand awareness and engage your audience members.
Paid advertising channels such as Google Ads are another way by which you can promote your brand content.
You can also reach out to a bigger brand in your niche (that is not your direct competitor) and ask them to link back to your content. This is called link building and is a content strategy that can greatly improve your SEO.
9. Track, Analyze, and Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy
You have created great resources for your audience, published and promoted different types of content, and are working on increasing your brand awareness.
A marketers’ work does not stop there. You need to constantly keep an eye on the performance of each type of content and how your customers are responding to these types of content.
Keep tweaking your content strategy by looking at other great content marketing examples for inspiration.
Look at blogs or YouTube channels in your niche and see what they are doing to build their brand. Ask yourself – what are examples of content marketing that are doing really well in my niche? Model your content strategies after them and keep improving.
How Content Marketing Helps You Make Money
Marketing, by definition, is anything that facilitates exchange. When consumers see marketing material, it is supposed to prompt them to make a purchase.
Traditional marketing techniques used offline, such as billboards, newspaper inserts, television commercials, etc., reach about 10% of the population. However, a good portion of that 10% has no interest in the product or service being offered, making the advertisement feel like spam. As such, the actual exchange induced by some marketing efforts can be very low.
In addition to being significantly cheaper to create, online content marketing crushes traditional marketing on several facets, leading to a much higher conversion rate and eye-popping return on investment.
Online content marketing works on the premise that there are billions of people across the world, always searching for answers and entertainment on the Internet. If you have content that sufficiently satisfies these search efforts, then those searching online will be directed toward
The power in content marketing is that if people are searching for specific content on the Internet, then they are at least mildly interested in making a purchase in that realm.
Furthermore, with the ability to reach anyone in the world with an Internet connection, your content can be satisfying a vast audience—a vast audience that is the right audience.
To help demonstrate how content marketing makes you money online, let’s create a hypothetical software-as-a-service (SAAS) website that discusses the various software subscription offerings that can help small businesses.
1. Affiliate Revenues
This is the most common way to make money through content marketing. Essentially, you create enticing content that draws searchers to your site.
Once at your site, the searcher then follows links to make purchases, with the owner of the site getting a percentage of the purchase as a sort of referral fee, which can be as little as 1% for low-margin products such as books, to 20% or more for high-margin products, such as the aforementioned exercise equipment.
Using our hypothetical example, you think of SAAS-related questions that people might search for. For instance, you think that “What is a software subscription that all small businesses must have?” is a question many people might want to be answered. You do your research on SAAS, small business, and software subscriptions for small businesses and make an informative blog post that answers this and similar questions. Within the post, you include a couple of links to software options that your research has found to be extremely helpful for small businesses.
If a reader likes your article, follows your link, and purchases the recommended software subscription, then you will get a percentage of the sale directed back to you. Say the company is offering a referral bonus of 20%, and the software product sold for $300, then you captured $60 thanks to your content.
The good news about affiliate revenue is that virtually anyone can do it. While it helps to be an expert in an area, or to create content that directs sales back to your own business, if you are willing to do research and partner with affiliate marketing companies, there is no limit to the products you can create content for.
2. Paid Advertisements
Paid advertisements are pretty straightforward; this is when a company or business pays you a direct fee for posting ads on your page.
In our hypothetical example, a SAAS provider may see your post, like it, and offer $XXX to post a banner ad on the page to try and get those reading the post to choose their specific offering.
It may be challenging to get paid advertisements in the early stages of your website, but once your content starts consistently moving to the top of searches and is known to have a vast amount of traffic, companies will likely start lining up and paying good money to advertise on your page.
3. Secondary Products
This will likely occur once you have established a strong online presence and become a trusted source of information.
One idea is creating a book or how-to guide for purchase that compiles all of your content and can serve as a reference for those extremely interested in your content area. Another idea, if you are indeed an expert in the area you create content on, is to offer talks and seminars for a fee that goes into greater, more specific detail than what is available for free on your site.
Best Practices for Monetizing Content Marketing
While the income possibilities for online content marketing are limitless, many will never get their efforts off the ground. The following best practices are critical for those who want to make a serious push toward monetizing their content:
– SEO is Key
Putting content out there is not enough. You have to be putting out the right content. The bottom line is that people are only going to click on the top handful of results on any search, so if your content is buried ten pages deep, there is no chance of you ever making money.
Fortunately, there are many SEO analytics tools out there that can help you identify trending keywords and areas of focus. If SEO remains confusing to you, and you want to focus strictly on creating content, then it will be worth your time to consider consulting with a digital marketing professional to help you build your online presence.
– Quality Over Quantity
This old cliché holds true, even in the game of online content marketing. Poor content that is unhelpful, rambling, and littered with grammar/spelling errors will quickly make your content irrelevant. Furthermore, particularly strong and/or helpful posts stand a much higher chance of getting shared online, enhancing the likelihood of viral growth.
However, when writing for the Internet, you also want to be mindful of writing too well. Content that is too arcane and academic will quickly scare off readers, while creative descriptions of setting or minor details are best left for the novels.
A good rule of thumb when creating online content is to be 75% professional, 25% casual/personal/conversational.
– But Quantity, Too
While quality is more important than quantity, quantity is definitely very important in the content marketing game. Simply put, the more quality posts you make, the higher likelihood that someone will find your page and start clicking around.
Furthermore, as posting online content is virtually free, there should be nothing limiting you from posting as often as possible.
– Be Specific
The power of content marketing is that it quickly connects you to the right worldwide audience. Therefore, if you are making a website about a specific software category, stick to writing about it. If you post one day about software subscriptions and then follow that up with an unrelated post about pop culture, you will quickly confuse both the search engines and your target audience.
Content marketing is a powerful way to connect with a worldwide audience by creating content that satisfies its needs. As traffic to your website and/or social media pages grows, you can monetize your content through affiliate revenues, paid advertisements, and secondary products, creating potentially limitless income potential if executed correctly.
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