The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing: Insider Tips for Success

7 June 2023
13 minutes

In short

Content marketing is a cost-effective way to reach key marketing goals, such as boosting conversion. There are many content marketing options, including blogging, social media, video and live events. Use content to connect with your audiences and win them over to your brand.

Content is king and the present – and future – of marketing

If you work in marketing, you’ve probably heard the common catchphrase “content is king.” This quote from technology trailblazer Bill Gates shows just how important content has become in the world of digital marketing. In fact, 82% of marketers say they actively use content marketing.

If you’re new to content marketing, you probably have a lot of questions. Like all areas of marketing, content marketing has its own terminology and definitions. It can be a lot to take in, so we’ve created this insider’s guide to content marketing to get you and your team up to speed.
Below, you’ll learn the ins and outs of content marketing. This includes important insider tips on topics like these:

  • What does content marketing mean?
  • How content marketing works
  • The latest content marketing trends
  • Tips for a content marketing schedule
  • How to create a content marketing strategy
  • Which content marketing methods you can use
Two people working together in the field of content marketing, working on a laptop and a notebook.

What is content marketing? (Definition content marketing)

So, what does content marketing mean? Let’s start with a simple content marketing definition:

  • Content marketing means using written text, videos and other forms of content to attract attention to your brand.

Each brand has its own reasons for using content marketing. The most important reasons are:

  • Boosting sales and conversion
  • Lead generation
  • Raising brand awareness
  • Enhancing your brand’s identity or positioning (for example, positioning your brand as a thought leader in your industry)
  • Enriching the customer experience
  • Boosting customer loyalty and retention
  • Increasing organic web traffic
  • Employer branding

The types of content you can use in content marketing also vary. Some of the most common types of content used in content marketing are:

  • Online articles and blog posts
  • Long-form content like whitepapers, eBooks and books
  • Press releases, news stories and newsletters
  • Social media posts
  • Videos and images
  • Infographics
  • Magazine articles
  • Guest blog posts
  • Webinars and live events

Content marketing in digital marketing takes place online, but most leading brands use a combination of online and offline content marketing methods in their content marketing strategy.

Why is content marketing important?

Content marketing is a powerful tool for achieving many of your marketing goals. It is important because you are far more likely to reach your audience with informative, engaging content than with ads.

Most consumers are bombarded with 1,000s of ads each day, which has resulted in information overload. Consumer research shows that as many as 93% of online ads are simply ignored.

In contrast, content marketing lets you serve your audiences exactly the information they are looking for. This makes content marketing methods the foundation of any inbound marketing strategy.

With inbound marketing, you make information available to your audiences on demand. They search the internet for answers to important questions, and your content is there to help them when they are looking for it.

Based on this principle, the average marketing team now devotes around one quarter of its annual budget to content marketing in digital marketing.

Infographic about how consumer research shows that many once ads are ignored

Benefits of content marketing

Marketing teams embrace content marketing because it provides many key benefits. Here are just some of the advantages of content marketing you can expect when you adopt an effective content marketing strategy for your marketing campaigns:

  • Cost-effective: Marketing content is much cheaper that traditional ads
  • Full ownership: You generally post content via your own channels, which gives you full creative control over how it looks.
  • Data collection: Since your content is posted on your own website, it can enable you to collect valuable first-party data when visitors to your website consent to your cookies or provide data such as their email address.
  • Sustainable: Your content lives forever and you can continually update it over time, instead of having to create all-new content from scratch. This means it continues to add value throughout its entire life cycle.

Steps to create an effective content marketing strategy

Now that you know the basic content marketing definition and some of its benefits, let’s look at how you can get started with content marketing. The content of a marketing strategy always depends on the goals you’re trying to reach, your budget, your team size and other factors.

Below, we’ll explain what a content marketing strategy is and break down the steps to creating your first successful content marketing campaign.

Step 1. Identify your goals for content marketing

First, decide what you want your content to achieve. Most marketers consider conversion and lead generation to be among the most important content marketing goals. But other goals like raising brand awareness or enhancing the customer experience are also important. Often, you can achieve multiple goals with the same campaign.

The goal of your campaign should always be aligned with your company’s business needs. For example, if your business is growing fast, you’ll want to be sure to have plenty of sales-enablement content such as case studies, informative blog posts and FAQs to help your sales team drive conversations with potential customers.

Also, remember to choose metrics for measuring the success and ROI of your content marketing campaign. If you start with clear KPIs in mind from the beginning, this helps you monitor and correct your course later.

Step 2. Choose your content types and channels

Next, choose the content marketing methods you want to work with. The different types of content (blog posts, infographics, videos, etc.) are sometimes called assets. Different assets can help with reaching different goals, but the choice of assets can be quite flexible. Here are a few examples:

Infographic about marketing goals and marketing assets

The types of content you create should be aligned, above all else, with your customers’ preferences. If you’re a B2B marketer, for example, and you know that LinkedIn is the most popular social media platform among your target audience, you’ll definitely want to include LinkedIn posts in your content marketing campaigns.

Other factors, like your budget and team size, will influence the types of content you create. If you’re working with a smaller budget, you may be unable to produce video content, for example. This makes blogging and social media a more realistic content marketing option for your team.

Step 3. Create your content marketing campaign

Once you’ve decided which types of content you want to create, it’s time to get to work on content creation. Larger companies generally always outsource some or all of their content creation, as working with creative agencies and freelance platforms is by far faster and more cost-effective than hiring full-time content creators.

If you choose to handle the content creation in-house, you’ll need to devote lots of time to the content creation process.

If you choose to outsource, be sure to work with a partner that has proven experience in your industry. Creative platforms like Contentoo are a better option than traditional creative agencies, because they enable you to interact directly with your content creator. This results in a more collaborative content creation process, which means the quality of the content is better.

Step 4. Track your content marketing performance

Once your content is published, use your marketing analytics tools to track its KPIs, which you defined in Step 1.

Step 5. Optimise your content

Based on your content’s performance, continue to optimise it, so you get even more value out of it over time. This can include strategic tasks like a content refresh, in which you realign your content to include new keywords, for example.

The process is never really finished, because you can always go back and update or revamp your existing content. It takes some experimentation at first to find out which approach works best for your audience and your content marketing goals.

What are the 4 key elements of content marketing creation?

Now that you’re ready to create a content marketing campaign, you may be wondering: how can I make sure my campaign is a success? We recommend that you always remember these 4 key content marketing strategy elements when starting a new campaign for content marketing in digital marketing.

Why you should localise your content marketing efforts

If you’re looking for ways to make B2B content marketing more impactful, content localisation is a great place to start. With localisation, you translate and realign your content so that it resonates with audiences in different languages and cultures. This is crucial as nearly three quarters of internet users say they primarily visit websites in their own language, and the same number say they prefer to buy from online stores that speak their own language.

Localisation is a crucial part of any content marketing strategy for companies with an international audience. It’s one of the best content marketing strategies around, because it helps you get more reach out of your existing content, without having to create all-new marketing content for each market you’re targeting.

5 common types of content marketing

There are many different content marketing methods to choose from, which depend largely on the goals you’re trying to reach. Here are 5 of the most popular—and effective—types of content marketing:

1. Blogging
2. Social media posts
3. Long-form text (like eBooks and whitepapers)
4. Videos
5. Webinars and live events

Two people working in the field of content marketing, having a hand shake

Content mapping based on the customer journey

One of the best content marketing strategies is to align your content marketing with the customer journey. This is also one of the best ways to make B2B content marketing more impactful. With a customer journey-focused content marketing strategy, you create different types of content to meet the needs of customers at different stages of the journey towards conversion.

One of the most common content marketing frameworks based on customer journeys is known as the AIDA approach, which we will discuss in detail below.

AIDA and content marketing

The AIDA approach helps you identify and serve potential customers’ needs at every stage of the customer journey. AIDA is an abbreviation that stands for the 4 stages of the typical customer journey:

  • Awareness
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

While there are several common content marketing frameworks, AIDA is widely regarded as one of the best content marketing strategies around. It helps you choose the content marketing methods that work best for moving your potential customers along their journey until they convert.

Awareness stage for content marketing

The awareness stage is about answering the question ‘What is it?’ At this stage, potential customers do not yet know what your product or solution is, so you can help inform and educate them by creating general knowledge content, such as informative blog posts.

Interest stage for content marketing

Once you’ve informed your audience about what your solution is and what it can do, you’ve sparked their interest. Now, your potential customers enter the ‘interest’ stage. It’s essential at this stage to provide more information about the benefits of your solution. That means showcasing what’s in it for them.

Customer cases, in which you highlight how your solution helps other customers, are a great asset to use during this stage.

Desire stage for content marketing

Once you’ve satisfied the customer’s interest, they move into a stage in which they show desire for your product or solution. To reinforce that desire, you can now offer them more product-focused content, such as an informative video showing your product in action, or a long-form article about your company’s unique approach.

Action stage for content marketing

Now it’s time to seal the deal. The content you use to target audiences at this stage of the customer journey should be your most value-added content. Offer content with unique insights, such as original market research, or inspiring thought leadership pieces. Always include a strong call to action at this stage, as your potential customer is already very interested and likely to convert.

Content marketing examples

The best way to describe content marketing methods is to show some examples. This will give you an idea of which content marketing methods you might want to include in your next campaign.

A tablet used in the field of content marketing with a written text of online marketing

Online content marketing examples

Most of the strategies of content marketing today focus on online marketing content or digital marketing. With online content marketing, you enjoy a number of key advantages, including:

  • Lower costs of publishing
  • Faster go-to-market
  • Ability to continually update and optimise
  • Ability to collect first-party customer data

While we often think of blog content marketing when we talk about online content, there are actually many different approaches. Most online content marketing campaigns consist of multiple assets—not just blog posts. Here are some classic examples:

1. Build a social media campaign around your new asset: You publish a new asset, such as a blog post or video, then post it on all your social media channels to draw attention.
2. Gated content: With gated content, you ask potential customers to provide their data (such as their email address) in exchange for free content, like a whitepaper or market research report. This method only works if the content you’re offering really provides value. So, be sure to reserve this method for your highest-quality content.
3. Spin-off content: Create a campaign of short, related blog posts to support and drive traffic to your gated content. These spin-off posts will end with strong CTA inviting your reader to learn more by downloading the full gated report or whitepaper.

Offline content marketing examples

Content marketing takes on many forms. There are also many powerful offline content marketing methods that can help you reach your goals. These depend largely on your industry and the audience you want to reach.

Here are some popular offline content marketing examples:

  • Sponsored or guest articles in trade magazines or publications
  • Your own newsletter or magazine
  • Flyers and brochures
  • Live events, such as trade fair booths or keynote speeches

In any case, online content marketing has a much broader reach than offline. That’s why most marketers today combine offline media with online: you should always integrate an online social media campaign into any offline marketing activity you undertake.

Social media content marketing

Social media content marketing is one of the best ways to engage with your audiences on platforms that they already use every day.

We’re all used to seeing social media posts from consumer brands on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. But even B2B brands conduct successful content marketing campaigns on social media.

You’ll want to focus on the social media platforms that are most popular in your industry and among your target audience. For B2B brands, LinkedIn is often the best way to reach potential new customers via social media.

Here are some tips on using LinkedIn for content marketing:

  • Post content that your audience will relate to, instead of just showing off what your product is about.
  • Include pictures, especially of people.
  • Use hashtags to make your posts more findable.
  • Monitor engagement and adjust your content to maximise its performance.

Be sure to read this article to learn more tips on using LinkedIn for content marketing.

A woman recording a video for content marketing

Video for content marketing

Using video for content marketing has been one of the biggest content marketing trends of the past few years. Customers have increasingly short attention spans, and many now prefer the ease of watching a 30-second video over reading a 5-minute blog post. Eighty-percent of marketers say their ROI on video content is positive. Video has also been found to deflect customer support calls, because explanatory videos help customers self-support more easily.

Video production presents some challenges compared to more traditional content marketing methods like blog content marketing, for example. You’ll need access to the right skills to produce professional-quality video, which means you’ll generally be working with external agencies or talent platforms. This may be off-limits to teams with smaller budgets.

However, video content can take many forms. In the age of virtual meetings and webinars, audiences are increasingly open to watching playback from video interviews and panel discussions, for example. So, if you host a live webinar, consider taking short clips from the video recording to use as social media posts or to incorporate into your blog posts. Long videos, like keynote speeches, can also be condensed into a quick blog post or infographic.

Content marketing vs. paid advertising

A key advantage of content marketing is that it delivers a much higher ROI than traditional paid advertising. This is because it is much cheaper to produce and publish, but also because it is highly effective at attracting new leads. In fact, research in the US shows that the average ROI for content marketing is $44 USD in revenue for every $1 USD spent. Compare that to the ROI for traditional advertising, which is $17 USD per $1 USD spent.

SEO and content marketing

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a vital component of any effective content marketing strategy. Since the entire strategy depends on potential customers finding your content online, it’s important to do all you can to make your content findable.

There are many content marketing techniques that you can use to improve SEO. Most importantly, it is necessary to conduct thorough keyword research. Be sure to include competitive keywords in your content’s headings and subheadings.

Google also prioritises higher-quality content. Be sure your content is designed to answer real questions that your customers are asking. Always double-check to ensure your content is factually correct and free of spelling and grammar errors. The more engaging your content is, the longer people are likely to view your pages. This helps boost your website’s domain authority, which increases your page’s search engine ranking. The higher you rank, the more organic traffic your page generates, which in turn boosts your ranking even higher.

Lastly, technical issues like dead links and slow page load times can increase the bounce rate on your page. This is the rate at which visitors leave your site before it actually loads. A high bounce rate negatively impacts your page’s search engine results page (SERP) ranking, which makes you less visible to customers. That’s why it’s important to use software to regularly monitor internal links on your page, for example.

Content measurement and analysis

There are many key metrics that marketers rely on to evaluate their content’s performance. Here are some of the main metrics to track:

  • On-page conversion: Does the content persuade the visitor to convert?
  • Click-through rate: Does the content inspire the visitor to explore multiple pages on your website?
  • Open rate: For email marketing, does the header inspire the recipient to open your message?
  • Page view time: Are visitors spending a long time viewing your page?
  • Engagement: On social media, are your posts getting a lot of likes and shares?

By tracking metrics like these, you can identify which content marketing approaches are successful for your brand, so you can continually fine-tune your approach. Always carefully analyse your content’s performance to find out what works and what doesn’t, so you can repeat your successes and avoid failures.

Best resources for content marketers

The content marketing community is highly active online, and there is a vast market for information, events and software tools available to content marketers.

HubSpot is the pioneer in the field of inbound marketing and hosts an insightful blog with many useful tips and tricks for content marketers. The Content Marketing Institute is another valuable resource which hosts regular live events and webinars in addition to its informative blog.

Many content marketers also use a range of software tools, including new AI solutions. Be sure to read our blog post on how to use AI to generate content to learn more about those tools.

Leverage all the benefits of content marketing

Now that you’ve learned the basics of content marketing terminology, strategies, metrics and more, you’re all set to get started. Just remember that quality is the decisive factor behind any successful content marketing campaign. Be sure to use your content to add value for your customers at whichever stage of their journey they are at.

By putting your audience and their needs ahead of your product, you can create a strong bond with your customers and create content that will have a lasting impact.

Content marketing FAQs

How does content marketing work?

Content marketing works by serving information to potential customers when they request it instead of directly trying to sell them something through advertising. It is more customer-friendly and cost-effective than traditional ads, because it lets the customer decide when and how they want to receive information about your brand. It is also less expensive to produce and publish than traditional ads.

What are the latest content marketing trends?

Some of the latest content marketing trends are:

  • AI content marketing
  • Video content marketing
  • Podcasting
  • Webinars
  • Original market research reports
  • Customer cases (including video interviews)

Why are copywriters key for a successful content marketing strategy?

To increase your website’s domain authority and SERP ranking, it’s important to post content regularly and frequently. This can result in a high workload which may be unrealistic for a small marketing team.

Working with external copywriters helps you keep up with your content marketing schedule. It also helps improve quality, as freelance copywriters build their entire career around creating engaging content.

Please also read our blog post on the topic to learn some helpful tips for a content marketing schedule and this article on why copywriters are the key to successful content marketing.

Why should you use collaborative content marketing?

By working with a collaborative content marketing partner, you increase efficiency and produce better-quality content. Traditional agencies prevent you from interacting directly with content creators. Creative platforms enable you to work collaboratively and integrate your content creators fully into your team culture and workflows.

Read this article to learn more about why you should use collaborative content marketing.

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