Content Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide

Content Marketing
What is Content Marketing? What are the benefits of Content Marketing?

By the end of this article 'Content Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide', you will be better informed on content marketing and how to go about content marketing for beginners.

And as always, for any one-on-one consulting and assistance, you may mail me at tariq@bloggersbloom.com
Tariq Digital Marketing Consultant
Tariq SP
Blogger & Digital Marketing Consultant

There are lots of misconceptions out there about what content marketing is and how it works. I’ll clarify everything you need to know about content marketing for beginners below.

Content marketing is a buzzword that has dominated the digital marketing industry over the past five years or so. It’s not a brand new concept by any stretch, but many marketers and business owners are still getting their feet wet with content marketing.

The reality is this; you need to have a content marketing strategy to stay relevant in 2020.

This can feel like a daunting task if you’ve never done it before, which is why I created this guide for you. The Internet is flooded with advanced content marketing tactics but lacks information for true beginners.

In fact, I’ve been doing content marketing before people even had a proper name for it.

There are lots of misconceptions out there about what content marketing is and how it works. I’ll clarify everything you need to know about content marketing for beginners below.

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Content marketing is the practice of creating and distributing digital touchpoints online. These pieces of content act as an alternative way to market your brand, products, and services.

The type of content you create with a content marketing strategy can be presented in written, visual, or audible formats.

You’ll be creating content that consumers are actually interested in, as opposed to forcing an advertisement down their throat. In short, you’re creating content that customers want in exchange for the ability to market your brand to them.

This content is typically delivered in one of two ways:

  • Educational information
  • Entertainment

Regardless of the content structure, you’re still providing free access to content that adds value to the consumer.

Content marketing has become a very popular way for businesses and companies to reach the audience and engage them.

That can only be done by providing your audience with useful content and educate them about your products and services.

Also, show them how those products and services effectively solve their pain points and challenges. You can increase conversions, improve brand awareness, boost revenue, and much more.

  • What Is Content Marketing?
  • Content Marketing Examples
  • Content Marketing Strategy

Sound interesting? Keep reading to learn about the ways your business can implement content marketing tactics and strategies to connect with your audience.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is the process of planning, creating, distributing, sharing, and publishing content to reach your target audience.

As a business, this tact can help you recognize your brand awareness, boost sales, connect with your target audience, and engage prospects and customers.

Benefits of Content Marketing

Content marketing is so versatile. Just take a look at the wide range of marketing goals brands were able to achieve after implementing a content marketing strategy.

Aside from the results that you can generate from content marketing, here are some of the quick advantages of using content marketing.

  • Content marketing is free.
  • Content marketing educates qualified leads.
  • Value is provided to consumers who are interested in your products or services.
  • A feeling of reciprocity is established between brands and consumers.
  • Content is highly shareable.
  • Content marketing provides excellent SEO benefits.

Since customers are actively searching for content, it’s highly targeted.

While the concept of content marketing is quite simple, proper implementation is a bit more complex. I’ll help you establish a winning content marketing formula for beginners as we continue.

How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy

You need to establish a clear content marketing strategy before you do anything else.

This is the most common problem I see with businesses who are creating content for the first time. They are so excited to get started; they just start producing content without any sense of direction. But this can be a waste of valuable time and resources.

Without a content strategy, you can end up producing content that’s irrelevant to your audience. Just because custom infographics work for one business, it doesn’t mean that it will work for another.

Just 42% of marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.

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Create a Content Strategy

Taking the time to formalize your content strategy will give you an advantage over half of your competition. The entire process can be broken down into five simple steps, which I’ve covered in greater depth below.

Step 1: Define Your Target Audience

It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many businesses skip this step. Without defining your target audience, it’s impossible to know what type of content to create.

The type of content you create will vary depending on the distribution platform.
Here’s an example. A B2C business targeting females between the age of 18 and 26, would have success creating content for Instagram, such as a story or a traditional in-feed photo.

But a B2B company would not have the same success creating content for that platform. They would benefit from creating Linkedin-friendly content or content that can be shared in an email campaign.

Blogs are great for SEO value, so every business should be blogging. But with that said, blogs alone won’t be enough if your target market would rather watch videos or listen to a podcast about a topic.

Without a clear definition of your target market, you can’t create and distribute content effectively. You’re basically just guessing, which is never a good idea.

Step 2: Audit Your Existing Content

Unless you’re starting from zero, there’s a good chance that you’ve already produced some content. Whether it’s a blog post or social media image, it’s essential to take a look at everything you’ve previously published on the web.

Here’s what you should be doing during your content audit:

  • Determine what type of content you have
  • Segment your content into categories
  • Assess what’s working and what’s not
  • Identify any content gaps

Leverage online tools like Screaming Frog or SEMRush to see how your content is performing from an SEO standpoint.

You might learn that certain types of content are driving tons of organic traffic to your website. In which case, you can leave those pages as is. Keep track of your top-performing content so you can find ways to replicate it moving forward.
In other instances, you can potentially remove old content that’s not performing well.

I recently consulted with a company that was using software to publish a blog post on their website every time they posted an update on Facebook. This resulted in low-quality and low-value blog posts.

Things like this can be deleted altogether.

After you’ve realized what works, what needs improvement, and what can be replaced, you’ll be able to identify any gaps in your content. This will give you a better idea of what type of content needs to be produced first.

Step 3: Define Your Success Metrics and KPIs

Now that you have a firm grasp of how to proceed with your content creation, you need to define what will make your content successful.

What makes a blog post good? Is it traffic? Pageviews? Average time-on-page? Conversions?

There is no right or wrong answer here. It all depends on what you’re trying to achieve. But the only way to know how well your content is doing is if you know what KPIs to track.

I like to break down KPIs into different categories, based on each stage of the customer journey or conversion funnel.

Realistically, there are dozens of KPIs you can track at each stage. But start with the top four or five that matter the most to you. You can use the graphic above as a template.

The reason why it’s important to separate your KPIs into categories is that it will help you improve your process and content strategy down the road.

For example, let’s say you have an e-commerce business. You create new content and your site traffic skyrockets. Engagement is high, time spent on your site has tripled, and the number of articles viewed per user has quadrupled.
But your revenue remains stagnant. What’s wrong?

These metrics tell you that you need to improve your content strategy to entice action from your website visitors. It’s harder to identify this if you’re just tracking sales and nothing else.

Step 4: Set Goals

Once you know what to track and how to track it, you must establish clear goals. Again, this will look different for every business.

Set goals related to your KPIs, then set content goals that will get you there. Here’s an example.

If you want to have…

  • 100,000 unique monthly visitors
  • Double your social media engagement
  • Double your monthly brand mentions

Then you need to start…

  • Publishing 10 blogs per week.
  • Posting on social media 1-2x per day.

Find two new guest posting opportunities every month.

Without goals, your content strategy will never improve.

Don’t make assumptions. You could spend two days writing a blog post and pouring your heart into it. When it’s done, you might think it’s the best blog post ever written. But you won’t know until you track your KPIs to see if they are meeting your goals.

Formalize your content goals. Write everything down, so your entire organization knows what you are trying to achieve.

Content Goals.

Writing down your content marketing goals drastically increases your chances of reaching them.

Step 5: Create and Distribute Content

Only create content once you’ve gone through the first four steps. Now that you know who your audience is, what content performs well, and what you’re trying to achieve, you’ll be able to produce content with your goals in mind.

Create a content plan and schedule. Determine what days of the week and month each type of content will be published and created.

But without an actionable plan for how, when, and where you’ll create and distribute it, those are just words. Platforms like Trello are a great way to stay organized. You can also use one of the many content calendar templates online.

I hope you found value in this article.

Please do share your views and feedback in the comments section below. It will only help me improve and in turn, help me in bringing out quality content for you.

Thank you!

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