What is Content Marketing? A Step by Step Guide for 2022

In the ever-changing landscape of business, one thing remains constant: content is king.

If you want to succeed in today's market, you need to produce high-quality content that will engage and educate your audience.

Content marketing is a strategic approach to creating and distributing valuable content to attract and retain customers.

In this guide, we will discuss what content marketing is, how you can use it to improve your business and some tips for getting started!

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a type of digital marketing that focuses on creating and distributing valuable content in exchange for an audience who will enjoy what they see or read - ultimately resulting in customer engagement.

With content marketing, businesses are able to create long-term relationships with their customers by providing relevant and valuable information.

By consistently providing valuable information to buyers, businesses earn the trust and attention of their target audience. And eventually, when these prospects are ready to buy, they’ll think of the business first. 

Content marketing is not about selling. It’s about building trust and relationships.

When done correctly, your content marketing efforts will eventually result in sales, but that’s not the goal. The goal of content marketing is to build a relationship with your target audience by providing them with valuable and relevant information.

If you focus on selling, you will repel your audience. But if you focus on building trust, you will eventually have customers for life.

Whether you have a content marketing team or do it yourself, you need to implement this now!

What Are the Benefits of Content Marketing?

When done correctly, a content marketing campaign can provide numerous benefits, including:

  • Helping you attract new customers by providing them with valuable information that they’re searching for
  • Building trust and credibility with your target audience by Positioning yourself as a thought leader in your industry 
  • Increasing website traffic and engagement by providing users with compelling content that encourages them to stay on your site longer 
  • Generating leads and sales by nurturing prospects with targeted content that moves them through the sales funnel 
  • Growing brand awareness by increasing your reach and frequency 
  • Saving money by reducing your need for paid advertising

Content marketing is an essential piece of any comprehensive marketing strategy. By understanding the role it plays in driving business results, you can ensure that your company reaps all the benefits content marketing has to offer.

How Content Marketing Works

Using content marketing for your business is a three-step process that includes awareness, consideration, and closing. These are all distinct stages in the buyer’s journey, and your content marketing strategy should reflect that.

Awareness

The first stage in the buyer’s journey is awareness, during which prospects become aware of their problem or need.

At this stage, they are not yet considering solutions or providers. Your goal in the awareness stage is to educate your audience about their problem or need and position your company as a thought leader in your industry. To do this, you should create content that is informative and helpful, such as blog posts, infographics, eBooks, etc.

Consideration

The next stage in the buyer’s journey is consideration, during which prospects are actively searching for solutions to their problem or need.

At this stage, they are evaluating their options and considering different providers. Your goal in the consideration stage is to build trust and credibility with your audience by providing them with helpful information that will assist them in making a decision. To do this, you should create content that is comparative and unbiased, such as product comparisons, buyer’s guides, case studies, etc.

Closing

The final stage in the buyer’s journey is closing, during which prospects have decided on a solution and are ready to purchase. At this stage, your goal is to help them make the best decision for their needs by providing them with relevant and timely information. 

To do this, you should create content that is persuasive and pushes them to take action, such as coupons, free trials, demos, etc.

As you can see, each stage of the buyer’s journey requires a different type of content. By understanding the role that content marketing plays in each stage, you can create a strategy that is tailored to your business goals and ensures that you are providing your audience with the information they need when they need it.

Good content marketers understand this concept and do this over and over again and tweak when necessary.

How do you Create a Successful Content Marketing Strategy?

Now that you understand what content marketing is and why it’s important, you may be wondering how to get started. Creating a content marketing strategy can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are the steps to help you get started:

1. Who is Your Audience?

In order to create effective content, you need to first understand who your target audience is. Consider their demographics, such as age, gender, location, etc. but also think about their interests and needs.

What are they searching for? What problems do they need to be solved? Once you have a good understanding of your audience, you can create content that is tailored to them.

2. What are Your Goals?

The next step is to identify your goals.

What do you want to achieve with your content marketing strategy? Do you want to increase brand awareness? Drive traffic to your website? Generate leads or sales?

Once you know what you want to achieve, you can create content that is aligned with those goals.

3. Consider the Buyers Journey

There is something in marketing called a marketing funnel, or buyer's journey. This journey is the process that your potential customers go through when they are considering a purchase.

People will normally start at the top of the funnel, (TOFU) which is the awareness stage. They will then move down further in the funnel to the middle of the funnel (MOFU) and then the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) which is the conversion stage.

You need to create content for each stage of the funnel, as people will be at different stages in their journey.

For example, someone who is at the top of the funnel may not be ready to buy yet, but they might be interested in learning more about your product or service. Someone who is at the bottom of the funnel, on the other hand, is ready to buy and just needs that final push.

Top of the Funnel (TOFU)

People in this stage are just becoming aware of their problem or need. They don’t know much about it yet and are just starting to do some research.

At this stage, your goal is to educate them about their problem or need and show them how your product or service can help. So here you would create content that would be a "how-to" or "what-is" type article. If you are on YouTube, then you would make a video with helpful content.

Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)

People in this stage are aware of their problem or need and are now doing more research to find a solution. They know what they want and are comparing different options.

So at this stage, you would want to create content that is comparative, such as product comparisons or buyer’s guides. You want to show them why your product or service is the best option for them.

Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)

People in this stage are ready to buy and just need that final push. They have already made their decision and now they are just looking for a place to buy it from.

So at this stage, you want to create content that is focused on your product or service, such as product videos or reviews. You want to show them why your product is the best and encourage them to make a purchase.

4. What Type of Content will You Create?

Now that you know who your audience is, what your goals are, and what stage of the funnel they are in, you can start to create content.

But what type of content should you create? There are many different types of content, such as blog posts, videos, infographics, e-books, etc. It really depends on your audience and what type of content they prefer.

For example, if your target audience is millennials, then they might prefer videos over blog posts.

Some ideas for content include:

  • Blog Posts
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • E-Books
  • Product Comparisons
  • Buyer’s Guides

Once you have an idea of what type of content you want to create, it’s time to move on to the next step.

5. Create a Content Calendar

Now that you know what type of content you want to create, it’s time to start creating a content calendar.

This will help you plan and organize your content so that you can be consistent with your posting. It’s important to be consistent with your content so that your audience knows when to expect new content from you.

Some things to consider when creating your content calendar:

  • What days of the week will you post?
  • What time of day will you post?
  • How often will you post?
  • What holidays or events are coming up that you can tie your content to?
  • What type of content will you post each day?

Once you have a plan for your content calendar, it’s time to start creating your content.

6. Create Your Content

Now it’s time to start creating your content. This is where the rubber meets the road and you actually have to sit down and do the work. But don’t worry, if you’ve followed the steps up to this point, then you should have a good idea of what you need to do.

Some tips for creating your content:

  • Make sure your content is high quality and error-free
  • Use images, infographics, and videos to break up your text and make your content more engaging
  • Make sure your content is shareable by adding social sharing buttons
  • Include calls to action in your content to encourage your readers to take the next step

7. Ensure Your Content is SEO- Friendly

One of the most important things you can do for your content is to make sure it is SEO-friendly.

This means making sure your content includes relevant keywords, is properly formatted, and is easy to share. SEO stands for search engine optimization and it basically means giving your articles the best chance to rank in search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing.

Some tips for making your content SEO-friendly:

  • Do keyword research to find the right keywords to target. If your blog is new, focus on longtail keywords at first and then move on to the more difficult keywords once you have established yourself.
  • Include those keywords in your URL. title, metadata, and throughout your article but do not keyword stuff.
  • Format your articles using proper headings and subheadings.
  • Make sure your articles are easy to read by using short paragraphs and bullet points.
  • Write your articles to match search intent. To this, enter in the keyword and see what type of articles are ranking for that keyword. Does your content match what people are searching for?
  • Consider backlinking. This is when you include links to other high-quality websites in your articles. This helps improve your SEO and can also help build relationships with other bloggers.
  • If you're making videos for YouTube, follow best practices for YouTube SEO and also be sure you understand how the YouTube algorithm works. This will give your videos a boost and be seen by more people.

8. Promote Your Content

Now that you have created some great content, it’s time to start promoting it. There are many different ways to promote your content, such as social media, email marketing, paid advertising, etc. It really depends on your audience and where they are spending their time online.

Some ideas for promoting your content:

  • Social Media: Share your content on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Email Marketing: Send an email to your subscribers with a link to your latest blog post or video.
  • Paid Advertising: Use paid advertising platforms like Google AdWords or Facebook Ads to promote your content to a wider audience.

9. Analyze and Optimize Your Content

Once you have started promoting your content, it’s important to track your results so that you can see what’s working and what’s not.

There are many different metrics you can track, such as traffic, leads, and sales. But it’s important to focus on the metrics that are most important to your business goals.

Some ideas for analyzing your content:

  • Google Analytics: Use Google Analytics to track your website traffic and see where your visitors are coming from.
  • Lead Tracking: Use a lead tracking tool like HubSpot or Marketo to track how many leads you’re generating from your content.
  • Sales Tracking: Use a sales tracking tool like Salesforce or Pipedrive to track how many sales you’re generating from your content.

Once you have analyzed your content, it’s time to start making changes and optimization. This could mean changing the frequency of your posting, the type of content you’re creating, or the way you’re promoting your content.

10. Rinse and Repeat

The final step in this process is to rinse and repeat. This means that you will continue to create and promote content on a regular basis. It’s important to keep up with your content so that you can stay top-of-mind with your audience.

If you follow these steps, then you should be well on your way to success with your content marketing strategy. Just remember to be patient, consistent, and always be willing to adjust and improve your strategy as you go.

Content Formats For Content Marketing

There are several different formats you can use for your content marketing. The format you choose should be based on your audience and what type of content they prefer to consume.

Some common content formats include:

1. Blog Posts

Blog posts are a great way to share your thoughts and ideas on a certain topic. They are also a great way to drive traffic to your website and generate leads.

When it comes to content marketing, one of the most effective ways to reach your target audience is through blog posts. But what makes a good blog post? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure your topic is relevant to your niche. Your readers should be able to see how your post ties in with your overall message.
  • Keep your post focused and on point. ramble on about unrelated topics will only lose your reader's attention.
  • Use strong headlines that grab attention and make people want to read more. Be creative- try to avoid generic phrases like "5 Tips for XYZ" or "How to Do ABC."
  • Use rich media such as images, infographics, and videos to break up your text and add visual interest.

2. Video Marketing

Video is one of the most powerful tools available for content marketing. When used effectively, it can help you to engage your audience, build trust, and drive conversions.

Here are a few tips for using video to achieve your content marketing goals:

  • Make sure that your videos are unique and informative. Your audience should be able to learn something from watching your videos, so avoid simply repurposing old blog posts or sales pitches. 
  • Promote your videos across all of your channels. Don't just post them on YouTube and call it a day - share them on social media, embed them in blog posts, and send them out in email newsletters. 
  • Use video analytics to track your results. Pay attention to things like watch time, average view duration, and completion rate to get an idea of how your audience is interacting with your content. With these insights in hand, you can adjust your strategy and produce even more successful videos.

3. Infographics

Using infographics is another great way to capture your audience's attention and communicate complex information in a visually appealing way.

When creating an infographic, there are a few things you should keep in mind: 

  • Make sure that your data is accurate and up-to-date. Nothing will lose your audience's trust faster than outdated or incorrect information. 
  • Use strong visuals to tell your story. A well-designed infographic will be both visually appealing and easy to understand. 
  • Promote your infographic across all of your channels. Just like with videos, you'll want to share them on social media, embed them in blog posts, and include them in email newsletters. And don't forget to add a call-to-action so that your audience knows what to do next!

Where can you create an infographic?

You can hire someone from Fiverr to do this for you. Or, you can get a tool like Canva that has a ton of prebuilt infographic templates that you can customize to your liking.

Here's a sample of an infographic from Canva. You can use this one as a template to create your own. There are dozens of infographic templates found on canva.

4. Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to reach a wide audience with your content. They are also a great way to build relationships with influencers and thought leaders in your industry.

When starting a podcast, there are a few things you should keep in mind: 

  • Choose a topic that is relevant to your niche and will be of interest to your target audience. 
  • Find the right format for your show. You can interview guests, host roundtable discussions, or simply record a monologue. 
  • Promote your podcast across all of your channels. Share each episode on social media, embed them in blog posts, and send them out in email newsletters. You can also submit your podcast to directories like iTunes and Stitcher. 
  • Use analytics to track your results. Pay attention to things like downloads, listener retention, and average listen duration to get an idea of how your audience is interacting with your content. With these insights in hand, you can adjust your strategy and produce even more successful episodes.

5. Social Media Posts

Social media platforms can be used to publish your content. Doing this will help increase your reach and engagement.

When creating social media posts, there are a few things you should keep in mind: 

  • Create original and impactful content. Your audience should be able to learn something from reading your posts, so avoid simply repurposing old blog posts or sales pitches. 
  • Use strong visuals to tell your story. A well-designed image or video can be worth a thousand words. 
  • Promote your content across all of your channels. Don't just post it on one platform and call it a day.

6. Email Marketing

Content marketing and email marketing go hand-in-hand. After all, what's the point of creating great content if no one is ever going to see it?

When incorporating content marketing into your email marketing strategy, there are a few things you should keep in mind: 

  • Create original content. Your audience should be able to learn something from reading your emails, so avoid simply repurposing old blog posts or sales pitches. 
  • You should also be segmenting your emails so that you're only sending relevant information to those who are actually interested in it. 
  • Understand where your customer is in their journey. For example, if they're just starting out, you'll want to send them educational content. If they're ready to buy, you'll want to send them promotional offers.

If someone subscribes to your list, the strategy you should use is called the Soap Opera Sequence. This is where you send a series of emails that tell a story and build up to a climax.

Conversely, you would use the Seinfeld Email Sequence if someone purchases something from you. This is where you send a series of emails that are all related to the same thing (e.g., tips on how to use the product, case studies, etc.).

Both of these strategies are great ways to keep your audience engaged with your content and improve your open and click-through rates.

7. Webinars

Doing a webinar is a great way to showcase your knowledge and build relationships with potential customers.

A webinar can be used to:

  • Generate leads
  • Build relationships with customers and prospects
  • Showcase your knowledge and expertise
  • Position yourself as an authority in your industry

When planning a webinar, ensure that you have an agenda and that your content is well-researched and informative. You should also allow a Q&A session at the end so that attendees can ask questions and get more information from you.

To promote your webinar, use email marketing, social media, and paid ads. You can also reach out to relevant influencers and ask them to promote your webinar to their audience.

8. Paid Ad Content Marketing

I personally don't like the paid ad model when it comes to content marketing because there is no better way to reach your audience than with organic content. However, I understand that some businesses need to use paid ads to reach their audience.

If your blog or website is new, you may not have a large enough following to organically reach your target audience. In this case, you can use paid ads. Paid ads can help a new business get launched, build brand recognition, and reach its target audience.

Conclusion

I hope this article has given you an insight into what is content marketing. You should now be able to implement a content marketing strategy that will help improve your business.

Whether you run a blog or an ecommerce business, content marketing needs to be an integral part of your business.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

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Drew Mann

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