Bill Gates once said “Content is king.” That quote changed life of many entrepreneurs because they started to pay attention to the content marketing.
In today’s world, the thing that makes people interested in what you have to say is content. It can be educational, motivational, entertaining, etc.
But you need to put it out there. The 2018 B2B content marketing statistics from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) show that 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing to reach customers.
And the CMI’s 2018 B2C content marketing stats reveal that 86% of B2C marketers think content marketing is a key strategy.
And I agree with them. In this guide you will discover everything you need to know about content marketing and how to do it properly.
Are you ready to go? Fine, because we are starting now…
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing shares informative content that is relevant to your audience’s needs, pains, wants, and desires…
There are four types of content:
- Written word (blog, social media, etc.)
- Images (social media, infographics, etc.)
- Videos (webinars, courses, etc.)
- Audio (podcast)
When it comes to content marketing, your goal is to help them, improve their life in some way that will impact their future and lead them to success.Tweet
You should understand each of these categories. Today, I‘m going to cover two of them with the exception of podcasting and video content because I don’t have any podcast and I rarely do videos.
And the last thing I want is to provide you information that is based on thought and not any results.
Now, when you know what content marketing is, let’s dive into the strategy.
Creating A Content Strategy
PointVisible agrees. Their research shows that 60% of B2C marketers are committed to content marketing.
But many marketers don’t know how to use content marketing. According to Marketing Profs and the CMI, 63% of businesses don’t have a documented content strategy.
That is why I am going to break it down for you.
A content marketing strategy is a plan for building an audience by publishing, maintaining, and spreading frequent and consistent content that educates, entertains, or inspires to turn strangers into fans and fans into customers.Tweet
In other words, you are building relationships and solving problems.
If you create value and care about your followers and fans, you will start building relationships with them.
The more valuable the information will be and the more it will help them to achieve the desired result, the better relationship you will have and the more of them will buy.
Just think about the consumers. If you will flood them with value, this is what they will think…
“If the free content is so valuable, what about the paid stuff? Whoa, that must be great!”
The thing is that if you will build relationships with them, they will come to you…despite that there may are better solutions in the marketplace.
That is the power of good a relationship in the marketing. But, according to the CMI, 32% of marketers think their content creation workflow is fair or poor.
That is why before you start pumping out content like a machine, you need to do three things:
1. Determine Who Your Customer Is
I don’t care what type of content you are going to create, unless you know who your customer is it will be poor.
You need to be able to serve them and make sure that the things you post is exactly what they need and want to read.
The moment you will start serving your audience, your content will be three times more interesting, helpful and valuable for them.
THAT MEANS MORE THAN A LOT.
You need to thoroughly understand how your customer thinks before you can begin. You need to speak their language.Tweet
Now, let’s clarify what you need to do. You need to take your target audience and study it through and through.
What are their desires? What is their age? What industry are they in?
The more you know the better. You will be making proactive content decisions based on the model you come up with here.
2. Figure What Information They Need
Step into their shoes and see what problems are they facing. What they need to know to overcome them?
The moment you will be able to answer this question, you got a topic to cover. The more it will be hand-to-hand with their needs, the better.
You can easily get answers to these questions through surveys or even questions on Instagram stories and other things like that…
3. Choose How To Say It
Now you know what to create the content about, you must also know how to say it. Meaning, what format are you going to use?
The written word?
The way you determine this will be based on your research. The better you know your audience, the easier it will be.
Over time, you’ll hone in on the perfect messaging and find success with your content marketing. Get your free marketing bundle today and find your success with it now!
Building An Audience
The key to building an audience is to create extremely valuable content that your audience will love.
Because having an audience means having a lot of relationships…
In order to build an audience, you need to earn it.Tweet
Your content needs to be good enough to warrant the most important resources anyone has — their time and attention.
Putting out an average content means repelling your audience away to the competition. So, focus on creating high-value content that is better than anything else.
The CMI’s digital content marketing stats show that 72% of marketers say content marketing increases engagement. In addition, 72% say it has increased the number of leads.
You see, the audiences do not have low attention spans. They have low attention spans for average content. The kind of content everyone is throwing out into the marketplace and hoping that they will get some attention.
Remember, there is always room for the best.Tweet
So, the first step is to create high-quality content. But just posting it isn’t enough. You need to show it to the people.
You need to drive in traffic. You see, you can have the best content in the world, but when nobody sees it…
…you are doomed.
Ask yourself, “Where is my audience spending time? Where are they in this moment?”
Once you know that place, you need to master it and start posting your content there. It can be social media, google, whatever…
But you need to get in front of them at all cost. Which brings us to another option – paid advertising.
The benefit here is that you can put your content directly in front of a highly targeted audience.
But the downside is that it costs money (obviously) and it still isn’t guaranteed to build your audience.
Putting your content in front of someone doesn’t mean that they’ll like it or want to read it in the first place.
The last way to get traffic is to borrow it from your Dream 100 (The people that have an audience already and are serving them well.)
That is done by asking them to share your content or if you can be a host on their podcast, write a guest blog post, etc.
Just to get your word in front of them, so that you will be able to borrow their traffic. But their audience needs to be similar and you should always keep that in mind.
Now, let’s go through the different content channels that you can use…
Blogging (Written Word)
The latest content marketing lead generation statistics show that most marketers use blogging as a key content marketing tactic. OKDork’s data shows blog posts are among the most shared content online.
That’s likely why blog content creation is a top priority for 53% of marketers, according to the State of Inbound report.
Blogging is the most spread and popular form of content marketing that exists.Tweet
In a nutshell, blogging is where you, as a thought leader or topic-matter expert, write about relevant topics to your audience on a regular basis. Blogs can take all kinds of shapes and forms, and no two are exactly the same. Anyone can have one.
When most people think about a blog, they think of a misunderstood hipster sharing their thoughts and feelings with the world from their bedroom.
That is now what I am talking about here. I am talking about strategic funnel-based blog posting that will eventually turn the readers into buyers.
We’re focused on using a blog to earn an audience, build relatioships, and market and grow your content.Tweet
A blog should have its nest on your website. And from there it should take any fired-up readers to your landing pages where you will start selling them.
A typical blog consists of three components:
The post is your actual written text. Think of it as a single episode or unit of content. There’s usually one topic that gets explored throughout the length of the post.
A hot topic here is length. How long should your post be? The longer the better, right?
Not necessarily. It all depends on the goal of the post and what you’re trying to accomplish.
For example, this post is already 500 words longer than that. So, that is not a necessary number to stick to.
But, for SEO purposes, the longer the post the better. Just never try to flood the blog post with fluff and crap to increase its length. User experience is the priority…
But the rule of thumb is:
Create what you would want to consume.Tweet
Remember, your content should be authentic and entertaining.
Now, let’s talk about SEO. That is one of the main ways you will start driving traffic to your blog and it is necessary.
If you have no experience with it, you should better pay attention, because this will blow you away…
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
One of your main priorities should be to make your content rank #1 on Google. That itself can make you a big pile of money…
And that is the whole purpose of SEO.
Skyword’s research says the best content marketers focus more on engagement and conversions than traffic. But you still need traffic so people will see your content.
Content is worth optimizing because 95% of people only look at the first page of search results. So if your content appears on the second page or after, most people won’t see it.
But even a first-page position is no indicator of success. As Ignite Visibility reveals, half of the clicks on SERPs go to the top 3 results.
So, how do you optimize the content for SEO?
There are three kinds of optimizations:
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
- Technical SEO
All of them are important. Here, I’m going to give you a deep insight into on-page SEO which matters the most, and a slight insight into off-page, and technical SEO…
On-Page SEO is all about the content of your page and it has two major goals.
To help you create content that satisfies the user intent and give you guidelines on how to
create SEO friendly content that is easily understood by search engines.
Optimize Your Page Title
Page title optimization is the most important SEO factor. In your title, you should include
your target keywords as this helps both search engines and users get an idea of what the
page content is all about.
Besides using keywords in the title, you should also follow these best practices:
• Each and every page of your website should have a unique title tag
• A page title should accurately describe the page content
• Titles should be brief and informative (typically less than 60 characters)
Optimize Your Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are shown in the search results and it’s a great opportunity to ‘advertise’
your page to users.
Good meta descriptions can increase your CTR (click-through rate) and get you more search engine traffic by utilizing your existing content and rankings.Tweet
Check And Optimize The H1 Tag For All Pages
One of the on-page SEO elements that are easy to optimize is the H1 Tag.
The H1 tag is the first important element shown on a page and it usually has the same value as the page title.
H1 Tag SEO is easy:
• The H1 tag should be the same or slightly different than the page title
• Make sure that your H1 tag is visible and not hidden to users
• Style your H1 tag differently than the rest of the headings
• Use only one h1 tag per page
Check And Optimize Your Page Headings
Besides the H1 tag, you also need to optimize the other headings of your post. That’s usually the H2 and H3 headings.
SEO guidelines to follow:
- Don’t use heading tags when other tags such as bold or italic are more appropriate.
- Don’t overdo it with the use of headings. Use headings when it matters for structure, navigation purposes and to make the page content easier to read.
- You don’t have to use all heading types on a page. You can have the h1 and only h2s, depending on the length and type of your content.
- Having a balance between the use of headings and other formatting elements is always the best approach.
Make Sure That Your Target Keyword Is Included In Your Opening Paragraph
This is one of the basic principles of SEO content. Having the keywords, you want a page to
be known for on Google in your opening paragraph makes your page more relevant for
those keywords, for both search engines and users.
You don’t have to overdo it, mentioning your target keyword once or twice is enough.
Add Text Content To Accompany Your Non-Text Content
Search engines can better understand text than any other element so to make their job
easier make sure that you always have text content on a page.
Having a page full of images or videos is not a good SEO practice.
Check Your Internal Linking Strategy
Internal linking is one of my favorite SEO tactics. The concept is simple, all you have to do is to interlink your website pages together, creating a small web.
Pages that have a greater number of internal links are considered by Google to be the most important pages of your site.Tweet
When adding internal links, make sure that you optimize your anchor text.
Give Credit To Other High-Quality Websites
This is actually SEO advice coming directly from Google and these are the exact words they
used. In simple terms, they are encouraging webmasters to link out to other high-quality websites on the Internet.
The reason is simple, it helps their algorithm in ranking the important websites on the top
The SEO gains from doing so for your website are the following:
- You give your users a good option to learn more about a topic
- You position your content as a good source that links out to other good sources.
Your goal with technical SEO is to help search engines find, access, crawl, interpret and
index your website without any problems.
It is called “technical” because it has nothing to do with the actual content of the website or with website promotion.
Check Your Comment Settings And Make Sure That All
Comment Links Are ‘Nofollow’
Another check to make is to ensure that any links within your comments section have the
nofollow attribute attached.
Comments are good for SEO and should be enabled on your blog but to avoid getting a
Google penalty for ‘unnatural links’, all outgoing links need to be nofollow.
A nofollow link instructs search engines not to pass any PageRank (or link juice) to the target website. The easiest way to check is to use the INSPECT option of Google developers’ tools.
Check And Improve The Loading Speed Of Your Website
As part of a technical SEO review, you need to check and improve your website loading
speed as much as possible.
Loading speed is a known Google ranking factor and a very important user experience factor.Tweet
One practical way to improve the loading speed of your site, especially on mobile is to use
Lazy loading for images and videos.
Lazy loading is a mechanism that loads images or videos only when they are in the user’s viewport.
There is much more to technical SEO, but for content marketing purposes this is everything you need to know…
Now, let’s get to off-page SEO
Your overall goal with off-page SEO is to get high-quality incoming links from other related websites on the Internet.
Links act as a ‘vote of trust’ and they are taken into account by search engine algorithms.
Make no mistake, it’s not a numbers game i.e. it’s not about having more links than your
competitors but it’s about having the right type of links that can push your rankings up.
Mistakes with off-page SEO i.e. buying links, participating in link exchanges or other actions that violate Google webmaster guidelines, can get you in trouble.Tweet
A Google penalty (either manual or algorithmic) may be imposed on your website and you
will lose your rankings and traffic.
Most SEO experts say that backlinks are more important than on-page SEO optimization. And in my opinion, they are right!
The more backlinks your website has, the higher it will rank on Google. That’s how it is!But still more than 55% of pages have zero backlinks pointing to them. So again…
Earning backlinks is just an essential component of off-site SEO optimization.
Now, that you know exactly how to rank higher on Google, let’s take a look on the copywriting part…
In both cases, those advertisements used copywriting to capture your attention and hold it for the entire length of the ad.
Copywriting is the art of using the written word to engage, compel, and persuade. Whenever you come across the written word in any form of advertising, you’re engaging with copywriting.
But what the hell that has to do with content marketing?
Well, A LOT.
After all, you’re just writing a blog. You don’t need to know anything about writing good copy do you?
Becoming a skilled copywriter is one of the fastest and most effective ways to improve the results of your content marketing. It’s the difference between a reader getting bored or frantically sharing your content with everyone they know.Tweet
There’s no way I’ll be able to cover everything you need to know about copywriting in this blog post. It’s simply too broad and deep of a topic.
However, I can share some of the essential elements of good copy that you can use to start improving your content right away.
Copywriter know that the headlines are important.
Usually, it is the only way to drag them into reading the message, so you must pay a special attention to it.
On average, a whopping 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of 10 will go on to read the rest. (Copyblogger)
The headline should be simple, leverage curiosity gap, include a promise, and speak directly to the target audience.
Give Them A Huge Promise
In order to hook the reader and persuade them to read the blog post, you need to give them a massive promise in the headline.Tweet
Tell them what will they get when they will read the blog post. Tell them that they are going to make massive amount of income, make their dog live longer, improve the kids marks in school…whatever!
But you need to include that big promise.
Here is an example of no-promise headline:
“Discover Our New Product!”
Well, you wouldn’t read a post with a headline like this, would you? I wouldn’t. If I would be on the web, I would click off the page and go somewhere else…
A headline from an experienced copywriter that includes massive promise would look like this…
“Discover How This Astonishing Formula Can Increase Your Income By 300% And Free You From All Frustrating Obligations You Just Can’t Stand!”
You would read a blog post with a headline like this, wouldn’t you? (Of course, for SEO purposes it should be shorter.)
Leverage Curiosity Gap
Sparking curiosity is one of the most powerful things in the whole copywriting.
According to Copyhackers, breaching curiosity gap can increase click-through rates by 927%.Tweet
This gap is the space between what you know and what you need to know.
Your prospect wants to fill the information gap, and your job as a copywriter is to delay filling the gap for as long as possible to keep your readers engaged.
You can ask a question that arouses curiosity, like:
“Do You Already Know This Shocking, Secret Formula? According To Apple You Can…”
Do you see how this headline arouses curiosity? I would bet that you would read the post that continues after the headline.
Write To Someone Specific
Copywriting is all about understanding the emotional and psychological state of the reader. You have to be able to get inside their heads and join the conversation.
One way to do this is to write to someone very specific. This could be an avatar of your ideal customer that you’ve created, or it could be a real person who fits the bill of your target audience.
Either way, picture this person as you write. What do they struggle with? What are there experiences? How would you talk to them if you were sitting on the couch at a coffee shop together?
Once you are clear on this, write to them…
Keep It Simple
One of the worst things that you can do is to make things complex. That is a sure-fire way to turn off your readers.
In simplicity lies the beauty. And that is the truth.Tweet
Good copy is all about breaking things down so that your reader can easily and quickly understand what you’re talking about. This means not using complicated words, insider speak, technical jargon, and long, perfectly structured sentences.
That only confuses the reader and you don’t want that. So, keep things as simple as possible and the reader will thank you for that.
Creating content isn’t easy. Creating content that’s actually worth anyone’s attention is even harder.
But the reward is worth it. You’ll build a loyal following of readers who resonate with you, your brand, and your values. You’ll earn their attention and trust, which are both critical prerequisites to building an incredible online business.
Next, let’s look at content marketing on social media…
Content Marketing On Social Media
Even though you hear about the same few social networks all of the time, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any others out there.
Content is whatever you are posting. It can be a Facebook status update, a photo on Instagram, a tweet, something to pin on a board on Pinterest, and so on.Tweet
The graphic already showed you that content comes in many different forms and that you need to custom-tailor it to each platform. What’s even more important than content, though, is context.
For deeper insight on how to succeed on social media, here are two guides I have created for you:
By now, they’re a very common form that people use to add meta information on almost all social media channels. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest all use hashtags to let you describe the topic of your content or mark it as part of current trends.
They make your content easy for users to discover and therefore more likely that they’ll share it.
Shares are the currency of the social media world. Shares are all that matters on social media.
People will keep talking to you about impressions, click-through rates, and potential reach. But none of these tell you whether people actually pass on what you have to say.
When people engage and interact with your content, that’s good. But, when they share it, that is the time when you celebrate.
This is a general term that means that people interact with the content that you produce. It can be a like, a reaction, a comment, or a share. All of these are good, but the shares are where it’s at.
Now that we’ve covered some definitions, let’s take a look at some social media marketing trends.
Organic Reach is Down
Once upon a time, a social media user could post compelling content and easily grow their social media following.
After a few months, they’d receive loads of friend requests, comments, shares, and “likes,” all because of their amazing content.
But today, that’s not so much the case.
In fact, most social media platforms are making it increasingly difficult to build an organic following.
And it’s not unintentional.
You guessed it: ad spend.
Of course, that’s just Facebook. But the truth is that it’s the same for every social media platform. They make it more difficult for users to grow their own organic platform so that businesses spend more money on advertisements.
In fact, one change that Facebook made caused a 52% drop in organic reach per post in just a few months.
Remember: Social media platforms are businesses.
And they do that by connecting you with paying customers. Ideally, they do that well. But ultimately, they are each in it for the money. So you have to watch out and measure your own efforts to see what works and what doesn’t.
Social is Becoming ‘Pay to Play’
As organic reach becomes more difficult, businesses have to pay to play.
They can no longer trust savvy content marketing efforts to build a following.
The more that social media algorithms prioritize advertisements, the more that businesses are willing to pay.
That’s not very surprising, really.
It makes sense when you find out that social media companies make practically all of their money from advertisements.
In other words, social media is only free for users because advertisers are paying loads of money to reach those users.
The user is the product.
But to reach them, you have to pay.
Fortunately, if you choose the right social media platform for your business to invest money into, that won’t be too big of a problem.
Most social media sites still have very reasonable advertising costs, particularly if you have thought through your advertisements well.
After all, the better your ads, the less you’ll spend.
Channels Are Merging
As entrepreneurs create social media websites, the possibilities become increasingly endless.
And that trend isn’t slowing down. As new ways of communicating, reaching customers, and pulling leads develop, so do strategies that are equally innovative.
Now, however, Facebook Messenger and a swath of other messaging platforms are equally viable.
So, what’s the point of all this?
Channels are changing, and the way marketers use them is changing even more.Tweet
As more and more social media sites find their footing, expect the merging of different marketing channels to happen even more than it already has.
Tools Are Merging
But it’s not just the channels that are merging. The social media tools I use are also merging.
How many times this week, for example, have you logged in to a SaaS product with Google or Facebook instead of creating new login credentials?
As more tools flood the Internet, all of it becomes cluttered for the users of those tools.
Fortunately, marketing tools all around the Internet are working to integrate seamlessly with the giants of advertising.
Take MailChimp, for example.
With MailChimp, an email marketing software, users can create Facebook Ads natively from their MailChimp accounts.
They can do so to target their email subscribers or create a lookalike audience from their current subscribers.
The more that this happens between social media platforms and SaaS companies, the easier time you’ll have marketing to your target audience.
Really, this merging of online tools is a good thing for your business.
And, more than likely, it isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.