Become A Content Marketing Pro – How To Guide

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INTRODUCTION

7 BILLION PEOPLE. YOUR CONTENT.

WHO READS IT?

Content marketing is BIG.

It is becoming an even bigger buzzword.

However, not many people or businesses know the importance of doing the content marketing the right way.

The point is to not stuff page after page with redundant content but to add value to the readers that is relevant and something your audience will value.  And, the content has to meet the requirement of the prospects as s/he moves through the marketing funnel.

But the problem is, what to write about?

What content to add that can be considered relevant? How to make content that is truly cherished and adds great value?

It is time to take the guesswork out and put knowledge, strategy and execution into your content marketing.

We, with this content marketing guide, will make you a PRO at content marketing.

We will show you how to develop your content strategy, generate leads and get some serious business growth. We will give you some actionable advice that will help you understand your audience and build strong business based on content marketing.

WHY DID WE WRITE THIS GUIDE?

We wanted to give you the most insightful strategies and details around content marketing and how you can begin to understand and apply the power of content engineering using existing assets — as well as new ones that you create.

WHO IS THIS GUIDE FOR?

This is for business owners, marketers, PR and growth hackers that need additional strategies for boosting traffic, engagement and conversions online. If you have struggled with driving more targeted eyeballs to your website and other online assets, this guide is for you.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Chapter 1: Getting The Basics Right – Awareness” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1459203852540{margin-top: 20px !important;margin-right: 120px !important;margin-bottom: 10px !important;margin-left: 120px !important;padding-top: 10px !important;padding-right: 10px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;padding-left: 10px !important;}”]

the-content-marketing-cycle

Figure1: The Content Marketing Cycle

Content marketing is somewhat ubiquitous these days.

People are talking about it, companies are obsessing over it, there are bloggers being added to the virtual space by the minute.

But what is it about some site that make them so catchy while others die an unnatural death in the sea of all these websites?

What is it that they do different for their readers that they are being so well received?

What makes one content piece not so helpful while others are appreciated?

Content is different things to different people.

What is of value to you may be inconsequential to someone else.

But the whole point of good content is to both find (SEO) and serve the right audience. There is an organic mix between the two and content creation and content marketing is the process that brings them together.

Content marketing, in the traditional sense of the word, can be defined as a program that is all about creating, publishing and distributing informative content for your target audience.

The goal of this form of marketing is to feed information to existing customers and attract new ones into the fold.

Content marketing – the content behind the marketing

Simply put, content marketing is the media-type content that the customers actually trade for the permission to market a service or a product to them.

The end goal is some engagement, and typically a conversion (sale).

This type of marketing is more engaging, informative and something that the customers actually want. Instead of pestering the target audience with interruptive ads, the content marketing produces blogs, podcasts, infographics, eBook guides and YouTube videos that are made freely available on the internet.

The value provided by this content meets two purposes, educational and/or entertainment. You’ve heard the term edutainment, right?

Your customers don’t mind receiving the content in either form because it is accessible for free and offers valuable information of some kind.

Now the question is, why should one go to all this length to reach the target audience when they have traditional advertising for that?

Good question… because you are going to get bowled over by the answer!

Here are some advantages of content marketing and why you should opt for it over the conventional marketing tactics.

Content marketing focuses on value that the traditional ads do not

When you use the traditional means of advertising such as TV, radio or print, the customers have the option of flipping over the page, switching the channels or turning off the radio!

However, with content marketing, the content is tailored to suit the needs of the customers. When they read your blogs or guides, they have actually invested a couple of hours of their time and believe it or not, while they were intently reading your blogs a relationship was being forged!

You can actually educate the customer fully to the point where they are willing to buy your product

Have you seen how even after minutes of contemplating, the buying decision wasn’t made?

Did you ever wonder why?

They did seem interested though!

The reason is that your customer didn’t know the value that product/service can add to their lives.

When companies send direct emails to the customers, it either lands into their spam folder or is often deleted as yet another desperate attempt to sell something. This is the worst thing that one can do to your hard thought out marketing strategy!

However, media type content such as YouTube and blogs can educate the customers about how the product is helpful and what value it will bring to the customer when he buys it.

Customers want to thank you for all the informative content you have provided

You have selflessly poured information after information for your hungry readers, feeding them with valuable research and data, asking for nothing in return.

But your customers have not forgotten what you gave to them!

After taking help from your free content, your readers will reach a point where they would like to reciprocate the benefit. If you have a product or service underlying the media-type content, then the chances are that they will buy from you just to thank you for all your efforts in providing them with so much information.

Get new customers for free

Did you know that if you used the traditional advertising, it is much costlier to acquire you new clients than to retain the old ones?

However, with content marketing, you can actually get new customers and that too for free! The only thing you need to do is write strategic content for your business and attract organic attention to your website/page.

The content that you create is an asset and people can come back to it, refer others to it, share it and make it popular without you spending even a penny.

Advertising is an expense that can be used for something better.

Get the Search Engine Optimization Benefit

When you publish new blog posts frequently, your new post gets indexed by Google.

This means, that every time you add a blog to your page, your website becomes much likelier to appear in the Google’s search pages.

Which means that by posting regular content, you can actually drive traffic and that too an organic one that is genuinely in need of the information that you are publishing.

This kind of traffic is always good for business and for your website.

Increase your web traffic

When you use tools like podcasts, apart from blogs and YouTube, you expand your reach to customers that enjoy this form of media.

If your content is of value to them, you can find these listeners linking back to your site.

Think about the exposure your voice can have when showing up in the top ranks of iTunes!

Expand your reach

Everything said and done, free and all, but the single most important thing that makes content marketing so valuable today is that it is highly targeted.

The most important goal of any marketing initiative is to reach maximum number of people and get your message out to as many people as possible.

When you have a larger audience, more people will know about you which will lead to larger conversions.

Content marketing is so specific that you will only develop content that is suitable for your customers.

This is precisely the reason why your customers keep coming back to your website. If you haven’t already made up half a mind for incorporating content marketing into your strategy, then perhaps the next section will convince you further!

Let us discuss the importance of content marketing for the business.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Chapter 2: Getting the Best Out of It – Importance” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1459202777898{margin-top: 20px !important;margin-right: 120px !important;margin-bottom: 10px !important;margin-left: 120px !important;padding-top: 10px !important;padding-right: 10px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;padding-left: 10px !important;}”]By now it is safe to assume that you are pretty much sold on the benefits of content marketing.

If you are wondering how to get the most from this strategy, then let’s take things a notch higher.

We will now share with you the tips to develop the content so that it unleashes all the benefits we discussed before. In absence of powerful content, your content marketing becomes just marketing which is even worse than traditional advertising!

Here are some strategies to develop good quality content:

  1. Give your customers what they wantDo not, and we repeat, do not make your blogs about your business. When you self-promote your business, you end up looking desperate, and you know what they say about neediness! The thing about your customers is that they don’t really care about you, all they care about is themselves. However, rather than feeling hurt here, you can actually use this to your advantage. Build them something they really want. You can trade their attention for the content that gives them what they need. You don’t have to make your content seem like a sermon or a class teaching. It has to be educating but who says it can’t be fun? You can create how-to articles or create entertaining podcasts, make an exciting video or write a guide with in-depth knowledge. You can make anything that will make your audience exchange their attention for what you are offering.
  1. Don’t make it about promotion of your products, focus on informationValue is created only if the demand and supply meet organically. If you push your blogs into the face of your readers and then push your products even harder, you are defeating the purpose of media-type content. If you have something of value, the need will be created automatically and that too naturally. You can promote your products but use caution and do so in a way that it doesn’t look like a desperate attempt to hard sell. People enjoy posts that are fun, informative and awesome. If you give them that, you can get the benefit of genuinely interested customers with their 100% attention!
  1. Write content that can categorizedAlso known as cornerstone content, this type of media content can be categorized which will be of incredible importance as the content gets old. Who wants to search for that one blog that they read months ago from the list of hundreds of blogs? Give them a category to look into. Nothing works better than information that is sorted and is easily accessible. You can also get greater ROI on all the content that you produce over time.
  1. Research, research and do some more researchWhen you are in the field of content marketing, thinking ahead never fails you. While you are working on your current content, having ideas about some new ones can be a great way to keep the wheels churning. The best way to see what is trending is by searching the sites that belong to the same niche as you. Check out the blogs that are popular amongst readers and build your content around something that has gained a lot of attention.

To write content is one thing and to write engaging content is another.

There is a sea of difference between the two and this difference can actually make or break your strategy. What fun is all this effort if it fails to ring with the audience?

So what should you build that it entices the readers to not only read but discuss, share, publish and distribute to all those they know! Read the section below to answer that question.

Tips to Write Engaging Content

Content marketing has become so popular that it is almost being added into the marketing mix as an impulse.

Marketers today are trying to take the onus of developing interesting content and to attract the attention of their customers. By doing so, they are not only building an awareness for their brand but also create a loyal preference while expanding their reach to more potential buyers at a far lesser cost.

However, there is no need to caption the obvious. There is a fierce competition to get the attention of your customers. Marketers can be seen pumping more and more money into advertising so that they can retain the customers they have and attract the new ones too. But the real problem is that the human attention span is getting shorter by the day. Brands are clamoring for buyers to notice, doing their best to engage their customers into building a relationship on a more 1:1 level.

As much as we would like to lay the world in the feet of our customers, our budgets are finite, the challenge is unspeakable, the competition is intense and the customers are already losing their attention span.

Between all this, your only saving grace is to have their genuine focus.

How is that possible? Here’s how!

Focus on video based content

Did you know that videos are in general 3 x more effective than plain text?

When you are planning to write a blog next time, think about integrating some videos into it. Now don’t get all worked up! You don’t have to get out there and create videos of your own.

Instead, use the existing ones that are relevant to your content and make your blogs more engaging.

Get your community involved

The best way to engage your readers is to make them a part of the strategy.

You can either ask your readers to contribute to your content in some way or integrate a forum sort of platform that allows the users to discuss.

Always be Responsive

Any form of marketing is a two-way process, more so with content marketing which is almost like a conversation, only digital. It is a good thing that your audience want to leave comments, it would be even better if you respond to these comments.

If you are not sure how to spark a conversation, include a call to action like ask your readers to discuss or share their opinion.

It is the best way to show that you care about what your readers think.

Engage your customers on all the channels

Blogging is just one very small part of the whole content marketing strategy.

If you need good content, you need audience for that good content.

The problem with content marketing is that since your readers are presumably busy, it is unlikely for them to visit your site/blog regularly.

This is why you need to have presence across as many channels as possible so that your followers can find you on the portal they frequent the most.

Make your content conversational

If you want loyalty from your readers, the most underrated tip is to treat your content like you are speaking or advising a friend. However, what if writing feels like a burden?

Make it fun, make it about interesting stuff, make it reader-friendly, these components alone will help you develop some exciting content.

Don’t overthink

The reason why blogging has become such a crucial part of content marketing is that it is supposedly effortless. Do you think ten times about what to say to a friend? We think not! This is what content marketing is built on.

You need to stop worrying and need to pour your heart out to your friends (read audience) by weaving magic through your words. If you are effortless in your writing and observe friendly tone, you will find many readers that will be happy to connect with you.

Use compelling photos

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is to not include images in their blog posts.

It is common knowledge that humans are driven by visuals.

No matter what type of content you are creating for your content marketing, always make sure that you add some photos and good ones at that!

Quit Selling

This is one the most valuable suggestions you will ever get.

Your customers are so tired with all the selling and products being pushed in their face that they just simply condemn anyone or anything that tries to do that.

You may not realize this but the harder you try to pitch your target audience, the more aggressive the marketing becomes. Just stick to providing free and valuable information through your content and avoid the temptation to sell.

When you earn yourself a suitable following, it will become easier to gently introduce a product or service without looking too desperate.

Hot tip here is to stop selling and become more engaging. If you are able to influence people in your industry, the consumers will be happy to do business with you.

The main ideas should be to educate and create awareness.

If you have a good product and/or service, everything will just fall into place, without you going out of your way to sell it![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Chapter 3: Getting the Business – Lead Generation” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1459203195840{margin-top: 20px !important;margin-right: 120px !important;margin-bottom: 10px !important;margin-left: 120px !important;padding-top: 10px !important;padding-right: 10px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;padding-left: 10px !important;}”]So you are happy to hop onto the content marketer bandwagon and you created awesome content after spending hours, you just put your heart and soul into it and it is all set to be released to the world.

But then what?

Nothing. Silence.

It is deafening that your best creation did not create more than 4 new visitors. Certainly no virality.

Your posts didn’t get any attention; your website didn’t get traffic. So, you must be wondering, what is the next step?

The thing about creating buzz worthy content is that no matter what form of media you choose it should always fulfill a business purpose.

Needless to say, for most marketers it is to generate the leads. However, what type of content will create the desired effect on your target audience and set the wheels in motion?

This has to be one of the most commonly asked question that we are happy to answer!

You may be able to generate a lot of leads with your efforts in content marketing.

However, the competition has become so aggressive in this space that it has become difficult to get high quality leads that can be converted into genuine business.

While content marketing is definitely becoming a stable business model for driving results, many companies and websites are looking the content way to boost leads and enhance their website’s overall performance. Use the following hacks to help your content generate business leads.

Go Deep vs. Wide

Google is always changing its search algorithms and no one really knows what metrics make a page rank better than another.

However, it is easy to guess that with all the pages being created relentlessly on the internet, Google is showing particular inclination towards content that runs bone deep and provides greater insight. In fact, your customers will benefit more from all this information that your content provides.

To get to the root of your article, you are obviously required to do some serious research for your topic.

Creating such valued content is as good as writing a marketing plan. It may be time consuming too but rest assured that you will be able to generate positive ROI for your effort. You will definitely get more leads if your article or other media-type content takes the trouble of actually solving a common problem!

Engage your customers to unlock the creative block

Are you feeling stuck as to what more you can add to your content repository? Get your answers directly from the horse’s mouth! You will not only be engaging your readers/customers in a way where they feel valued but will also be able to generate some new ideas along the way!

Repurpose what you already have

No matter how creative you are, at some point, you are going to run out of ideas. If that happens, what will you do? Stop publishing content? Neglect the audience that you built with so much effort?

The good news is you don’t always need brand new ideas. You have the option of repurposing the old content.

To repurpose means taking key takeaways from your existing content and integrating it into another form. It can be anything from a podcast to an infographic, from a blog to a presentation etc.

If you are working on a B2B model, you can make a webinar or eBook out of it.

Always Help your Readers to Respond in Some Way

The best way to generate leads from your content is to add a call to action. Believe it or not, your blog or podcast as good a source as any when it comes to potent lead generation. You can increase your content’s effectiveness by inserting built in forms or call to actions that will convert the traffic that is coming to your page.

Make your content platform friendly

The biggest mistake you can make today with your content is to make it suitable for only one format. You will sabotage all the leads you could have generated if you did not make your website mobile friendly. If the statistics are to be believed, you cannot ignore the number of mobile users while building your content marketing strategy. When you are creating content, it should be accessible on mobile devices too.

Videos are a great way to reach larger audience and is being encouraged on all the platforms. Other mobile friendly content is podcast, blog posts, presentations etc. Explore as many mediums as possible so that you are able to convert mobile traffic too.

Use Inviting Headlines and Clear Images

If you want to grab the attention of your target audience, the old and boring ways will not make the cut. Your media content should have interesting headlines, title image should be enticing enough for people to share it and of course the content itself should be stellar, justifying the picture and the headline.

Once your content is out there, don’t forget to monitor its effectiveness and subsequent conversion rate. If it is not creating the effect you wanted it to create, then you need to rework the combination of title + image + body until you are able to attract enough attention.

Use the power of Social Media

Your content marketing strategy can be broken or made single-handedly by social media.

The social network these days is extremely crucial for the success of your content distribution. It offers you the most organic metrics to judge the success of your content, likes and shares. The larger number of fans or followers you have, the more you would be able to distribute the content.

The best way to handle social media content marketing is to do monthly reporting. Soon you will be able to see the patterns emerge. If you are analyzing your content’s effectiveness closely then you will be able to see what works and what doesn’t. By adding content regularly in the beginning, you would be able to address problems/plateaus at an early stage before they become bigger.

In fact, close tracking made easy on social media can be used to determine the success of some content over other. Obviously, you can repeat the content type that performed better than others and eliminate the ones that didn’t.

The most important thing about content marketing, content creation and why you create it is the way it influences the lives of people it is being created for. If you have what genuinely helps people, then its marketing will come naturally to you. In fact, it is very crucial for the success of all your marketing and lead generation efforts.

If your content is not adding any genuine value to the readers, then dressing it up in fancy media forms will not get you anywhere.

The best way to implement genuine content marketing to make some serious leads is to think the way your business impacts the lives of people. Every time you are building content, just ask a simple question ‘why’ and then build on it.

The whole purpose of content creation is to bring free value to the people until the trust is built in you as well as your brand. You have to step out of the shoes of a marketer and wear that of an advisor.

Helping your prospects for free in the beginning will help them place their trust in your hands more easily.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Conclusion” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1459203290753{margin-top: 20px !important;margin-right: 120px !important;margin-bottom: 10px !important;margin-left: 120px !important;padding-top: 10px !important;padding-right: 10px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;padding-left: 10px !important;}”]When you are a content marketer, you not only have to create unique and fresh content every time but also market it in a way that gets you audience leads.

It is not a one-man job!

This guide is precisely that.

We took the job of a team and put it together in a form that will help you understand the if’s and but’s of content marketing.

By the end of it, you will know exactly when and how to incorporate content strategy into your marketing mix.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]