Content Marketing for Beginners (2023): Easy & Simple Guide

Do you know about late-night talk shows? The one where the host interviews a guest and tells you a funny, relatable story. And then they show you a video clip on their most recent film or project. Or perhaps they also do a short and memorable comedic skit. All this entertainment just for free?

That’s content marketing.

Just like plugging the latest movies on a talk show (which are then be broadcasted on TV, YouTube, TikTok, and more), content marketing is all about creating and tailoring your content so that people can find you through search engines, social media platforms, and other communication channels.

With the rise of content marketing, Content Marketing Institute reports that 81% of marketers view content as a core business strategy.

It's no wonder many businesses are trying to create their own unique content. If you're also looking to dive into this form of marketing, this guide can help you learn something new and kickstart your very own content marketing campaign.

What is Content Marketing
What is Content Marketing, different from paid ad content marketing

What is Content Marketing?

The simple explanation:

Content marketing is all about producing content that lets consumers make their own choices.

But what does that mean?

Here’s an example: you're a business selling a product online. But instead of just throwing paid ads at your customers that say “Buy It Now!” — content marketing aims to inform the customer first. It explains to the customer: “Why is your product better” and “What’s so good about your product”. Then, the customer gets to choose a product to buy. 

So if your content marketing is done well, the customer should be choosing you.

The in-depth explanation:

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on repeated, consistent efforts to converse with customers.

It's about creating content that forms an instant connection with your customers and doesn't make them feel like they are being targeted.

In fact, 70% of internet users said they prefer to explore a brand via content, not ads.

It's similar to "indirect selling" or "long-term selling" because you're not explicitly selling anything. Instead, content marketing places a stronger emphasis on building awareness.

You're ultimately providing something of value to your target audience and positioning your brand in a desirable way through content marketing efforts.

what is Content Marketing, Content Marketing Services

Why is Content Marketing Effective?

Current content marketing efforts that make it effective

What exactly makes content marketing effective? Well, here’s a simple analogy. Some call it the "plumber's theory”. 

You have a broken sink and 2 plumbers, Mario and Luigi.

In the first scenario, Mario comes in, fixes the sink, collects his money, and leaves. The sink works, no problem.

In the second case, Luigi enters and explains what went wrong, how to correct it, and how to prevent it from breaking again. He tells you the name of the part you should buy and urges you to remember to drain the water from the pipes before attempting a DIY repair on your own.

Who would you hire the next time? 

Luigi, 100% of the time.

Theoretically, Luigi did the same job with the same quality. However, he is perceived as more of an expert because he made an effort to explain himself. He also provided great customer service by educating the customer.

In summary, Luigi solved the initial problem you called him for, solved a problem you didn't know you had and provided valuable information. All of which benefits you, his target audience.

That's why content marketing works. It's a way to build trust and establish a relationship with potential customers while educating them about a problem they didn't know they had.

Luigi - Winner for Content Marketing

What are the Basics of a Successful Content Marketing Strategy?

1. Avoid Being
Pushy

People hate ads.

According to Hubspot Research, online users dislike ads on their mobile phones almost 2 times as much as they do for tv ads.

Your target market is getting pickier, more distrustful, and less likely to respond to ads that sell them something unless it's a product they have shown initial interest in.

With traditional advertising, the message was straightforward: "Here’s a problem, and we have a solution".

Today, the marketing landscape has changed. You need to know how to define your target audience and create content that speaks directly to the consumer by aligning with their values, wants, and needs without being too pushy.

2. Create Valuable Content

Content marketing is about distributing valuable and relevant content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

Some examples of online content marketing efforts include simply providing helpful content, sharing exclusive information for free, and telling your company's story and why you got into your business.

In practice, this usually entails creating and distributing content that meets the needs of your target audience by either informing, educating, or entertaining (often a combination of these three things). For instance, it would be better for a company to provide a guide that answers the query, "How do I replace a faucet?" rather than only having an e-commerce page that displays a list of faucets.

3. Understand Your Audience

Be where your audience is.

Your content should be a solution to your audience's problems rather than an advertisement for your goods and services. Ask yourself this: What information can you offer that would make their lives easier?

You should also find out the channels that your audience use. Do they rely on Google searches the most? If so, focusing on SEO is probably a good place for you to start. Is social media where they spend the majority of their time? If the answer is yes, it may be time to create social media-friendly articles to pique their curiosity.

What are the 4 Pillars of Content Marketing?

Learn more about each pillar by expanding on the accordion below.

1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

If you want to build a successful content marketing strategy, SEO is often recommended and is probably the most important pillar of content marketing.

To rank higher on SERPs (search engine results pages), your website needs good SEO. This means that your website should be able to load pages quickly, have no broken links, and properly use alt tags. Your content should also contain useful website links and provide information on relevant topics and keywords based off the right search intent.

When SEO is done well, you will stand out in SERPs and generate more organic traffic. Check out more about why SEO is important for businesses and also learn more about our SEO services.

2. Unique Content Writing

Neither readers nor search engines will be impressed by low-value content. Whatever topic you choose to create content for should be unique, well-written, and error-free.

Apart from these basic requirements, a content marketing team should thoroughly research their audience to understand their preferences, needs, and preferred platforms before coming up with content ideas.

Content marketers or writers must have a solid understanding of the topics before writing and publishing them. Internet users generally prefer content that answers questions beyond the surface to address any queries they have.

3. Content Calendars 

A content calendar is a written schedule of when and where you plan to publish upcoming content.

It helps you to keep your content marketing campaigns in check and ensures that content is organised, created, and published regularly without delays. They typically include upcoming blog posts, status updates, planned promotional events, and updates to existing content.

Every effective content calendar is driven by objectives and ensures that your content-related tasks are actually happening on schedule. In other words, it ensures that nothing falls between the cracks. They also make it much easier to collaborate and communicate with your team.

Get Help from: Content Marketing Agency 

4. Reflect and Upgrade

The fourth and last pillar of a successful content marketing strategy is looking back and reflecting on your work.

KPIs should be decided early on as they are the best indicators in deciding if the content created is successful. Some examples of KPIs can be content click-through rates (CTR), social media likes, and follower growth.

Content marketers should use the information gathered through analytics to decide if they hit their KPIs and refine their content marketing strategies accordingly.

In truth, content marketing success is never easy and has no finish line. It's a continuous cycle that should be changed to keep up with trends and incorporate new technologies to meet the demands of your audience.

You will be rewarded with more loyal customers and new clients when this is done consistently and properly.

What are Examples of Content Marketing?

6 Types of Content Marketing Examples

There are many different types of content marketing that businesses can use to reach and engage their target audience. Out of all these examples, written content, in our opinion, is excellent because it is the least expensive and can be repurposed in various content formats, including social media posts, newsletters, infographics, ebooks, and videos.

Ultimately, you should choose whatever best suits your product or service and what you feel the most confident in creating.

Blogs

01

Blog posts are the most popular way of doing content marketing. Most businesses start with informative blog posts optimised for organic search keywords.

For example, an airline company could create informative articles on cities they fly to so you're inspired to visit. An e-commerce store could create blogs with product reviews linking to Amazon with affiliate links. 

White Papers

02

White papers are informational documents or reports promoting a product or service that is generally targeted at a B2B audience. These give high-level content away “for free” in exchange for an email address.

Videos (often YouTube)

03

Thanks to Facebook and smartphones, video content marketing is easier than ever and can be a great way to improve brand awareness.

For example, if you run a plant nursery, you could create tutorial videos on planting a garden or taking care of plants to sell more gardening products. 

If you sell smartphones, you could film an unboxing or product review video, such as "iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro Max", which is trendy and is widely searched for.

Audio (podcasts, playlists)

04

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies often create playlists For example, Summersalt, a swimwear business, made a playlist that customers could listen to while lounging by the pool while wearing bikinis. Take a look at these branded podcasts for some inspiration as well.

Webinars

05

Online seminars have recently become a popular choice for businesses. It's because they allow you to offer your target audience value right away, and are usually free and easy to access. Leaders can also impart knowledge, experience, and advice through webinars.

This helps to foster a loyal community, which in turn, boosts sales. For instance, Notion, a company that provides project management and notetaking software for businesses, has webinars available for anyone to watch and learn about their software

Free tools

06

Free resources are always welcome. Tools such as interest calculators, a spreadsheet template to track your monthly budget, or something similar, are all great examples that can indirectly build brand awareness.

For example, Hubspot offers users a variety of online tools to assist them with inbound marketing, digital marketing, and blog post ideas. They built a platform that has become a valuable resource for content marketing teams worldwide.

What are the Benefits of Content Marketing?

Pros
  • 1. Boosts your SEO: Search rankings have become very important for businesses, and having valuable content can elevate the ranking of your website to Google's first page. Ultimately, this helps brands scale and increase their profitability
  • 2. Increases search traffic: Customers look for information when they use search engines. That's where content marketing comes in to help you build an information base to attract the right customers. Content marketing constantly increases the number of new materials on your site, which adds keywords to your collection with every piece of content you publish, strengthening results for your long-tail keywords. These keywords build up over time and generate targeted search traffic for your business.
  • Strengthens brand authority: Creating high-quality content helps you to establish expertise, authority, and trust in the eyes of both the consumer and competitors. When good content is created, it positively aligns your brand and product or service with your customer's interests, who are more inclined to come to you first if they genuinely need what you're selling. Content marketing makes your brand recognisable.
  • 4. Boosts lead generation: Content marketing helps you generate leads as long as you have the right content for the right audience and your lead nurturing and conversion funnels are optimised for the buyer's journey.
  • 5. Requires a smaller budget: Content marketing helps you save costs compared to traditional advertising methods. Although the amount of work to create engaging content may be higher, content marketing tends to reach more potential customers and have a higher long-term return rate.While traditional advertising relies on your marketing team to find the best ways to promote your product, content marketing relies on readers enjoying and sharing the content for you.

What is Content Marketing Strategy?

What are the steps in a content marketing strategy?

Content marketing strategy often involves 4 main steps:

(1) Planning → (2) Creation → (3) Distribution → (4) Reflection

(1) Planning

  • Who is your target audience? Consider your audience’s main concerns, customer experience, customer journey, and where they are in the sales cycle.
  • What type of content do they respond to? Identify the types of content that consumers want. You can research keywords to determine what people are looking for. Here are some examples of content marketing
  • Which channels do they use? Think about where your customers hang out online. Once you’ve figured that out, you can consider the practical matters: the media spend and budget, the reach, and how many times you want to publicise a piece of content.
  • When are you publishing your content? Creating a schedule helps to keep your plan on track. Without it, you’ve got a map with no roads. Determine how often you want to publish new content and stick to that schedule. It’s important to your brand awareness that you create consistency—whether it’s the frequency of blog posts or the tone of your content.

(2) Creation

  • How do you communicate your brand? Consider what is being said, if it can influence an overarching behavioural change, and what’s the core insight we’re attacking with the content.
  • Which keywords will you focus on? Consider each piece of content for SEO, and research relevant keywords for your product or service. The focus should be on how your content will help you achieve your business goals.
  • How can you capture leads or generate sales from this content? Rather than simply getting views to your blog or video, you should have a plan to convert these views and perform the desired action. Conversions can be consumers becoming leads, signing up for your newsletter and basically anything that takes them a step closer in the buying cycle.

(3) Distribution

  • Where to distribute your content? You’ve created the content. Now it’s time to increase its reach. You can expand your platforms by publishing on social media sites, distributing newsletters, or even SEO optimisation (on-page and off-page). For short-term impact, social media posts are useful for gauging interest. SEO is the best for long-lasting impact and generating ROI.
  • Who to look for to distribute your content? There are a few good options available online. Building a social media following or working hand-in-hand with social media marketers, content aggregators, influencer marketers, email marketers, etc., to distribute content are all options you can use to maximise your content reach.

(4) Reflection

  • How do we know if our content marketing strategy is working? Ensure you measure short-term and long-term metrics. These can include search engine optimisation metrics such as click-through rates, impressions, and user traffic. For social media, you can track the number of likes, comments, and followers gained.
  • Should you make adjustments to the strategy? It's time to decide whether the content is effective after monitoring your performance. Learn to use data wisely. Poor click-through rates on Google searches, for instance, might be a sign that you need to change the title and description of your page to get more clicks.

What is the Best Content Marketing Strategy?

Quote Left Marks

Content is King

Bill Gates

In 1996, Bill Gates coined the term "Content is King". He predicted that money will be made by content providers on the Internet, just like in broadcasting.

Today, this idea still holds and can be applied to content marketing and SEO.

After all, we cannot deny that the success of many modern businesses on the Internet is influenced by unique, high-quality, interesting, and relevant content, which makes having a great content marketing strategy all the more important.

Such a strategy involves integrated content marketing, which creates content in many forms and repurposes them to boost readership, customer trust and loyalty. This means that a content marketer has to work with numerous departments such as sales, social media marketing, product marketing, and customer support to get their material in front of their target audience. 

With this immense potential, it’s no wonder this two-decade-old saying about content still remains true today.

Quote  Right Marks

Rule of Thumb

Spend 20% of your time creating content and 80% of your time promoting it. Just pumping out blog posts isn't going to do anything for you. 

Content Marketing [Infographic]

Content marketing infographics are visual representations of information and data related to content marketing. Ultimately, any good content marketing strategy involves a healthy mix of SEO and content production. After all, there's no use in producing great content if no one ever sees it. That's where SEO comes in.

With SEO, you can ensure that your content is more likely to show up in search results. And since users tend to trust Google's results, this can be a great way to drive more traffic to your content.

Of course, SEO is only part of the equation. Your content also needs to be interesting and relevant if you want people to stick around. But by combining content marketing with SEO, you can give your content the best chance of success.

So kickstart your journey to great content marketing today. Check out our free infographic to help you out!

Content Marketing Infographic