Content Marketing 101: Everything You Need to Know

As the digital world disrupts many formerly tried-and-true marketing channels, content marketing has become increasingly important. But what is it, exactly? And how can you incorporate various types of content into your overall marketing strategy?

Read on for everything you need to know about content marketing. But first, let’s start with the basics.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing encompasses two major components: content creation and the distribution of that content through various channels, like social media, emails, or websites. Pieces of content can include written, spoken, and visually produced materials that often support the goals of a company or nonprofit. 

Content marketers basically have the same overall goal: to produce quality information about their company and get it into the hands of current and potential clients. They want to create content, ideally create engaging content, that gets to the right people. So they create a strategic marketing approach to get this content out to guarantee profitable customer action.

But the way that each content marketing team achieves that result might look significantly different. One content marketer might rely heavily on social media marketing incorporating user-generated content into their strategy. Another might depend on well-researched white papers that they will distribute through an email network. 

The content marketing industry

The specifics of your content marketing plan don’t really matter, and they’ll probably evolve. Newer industry trends might also influence your content marketing strategy. But as long as you understand your message and create material about your message, other people receive, understand, and take action, you’re doing it right.

Nearly 90% of all marketing agencies have dedicated content marketing teams. So the content marketing world can be a pretty vast network of people. And given that most content marketers anticipate their budgets to increase this year, according to a 2021 study by the Content Marketing Institute, this type of marketing will continue to matter in the coming years.

What is the role of content marketing?

Content marketing efforts provide a meaningful way for brands to interact with their customers through various forms of content. Content ideas and actions will look different depending on the types of customers brands want to reach and where these users are in their customer journey. For example, an eye-catching social post might be ideal for attracting new customers, but it’s probably not the type of content you want to use for more established customers who have been depending on your insights for years.

The benefits of content marketing are pretty numerous, including increased brand awareness, a better understanding of your corporate goals and offerings, and information that compels the readers to take action. 

How do you do content marketing?

basics of content marketing
5 Components of Content Marketing

There’s not necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach to content marketing. But no matter how you do it, there are five steps to help you master the basics of content marketing.

  1. Know your business. You need to understand your product or business and determine what your overall goals might be.
  2. Know your audience. Who are your potential clients, and how can you reach them? 
  3. Create the right marketing assets for that audience. You might need different assets and content types for various buyer personas.
  4. Distribute those assets through the right channels. You’ve got to get your compelling content in the places your audience will be.
  5. Analyze your results. What’s working and what’s not? 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re sending regular newsletters over email or cute reels on Instagram. If your target audience engages with your brand, you’re doing it right! 

What are some content marketing examples?

While blogs and articles are the most frequently discussed forms of content in “content marketing,” content could encompass anything from infographics to videos or even podcasts.

Here are a few of the most common forms of content marketing, all of which can be highly beneficial marketing tools as part of your overall content strategy. Especially if you’re just starting, don’t be afraid to try out several forms of content marketing to see what works for your brand and audience. 

Blogs

These can be short or long and are a great interactive way for customers to interact with a new potential customer or faithful, loyal customers. Sometimes companies will use blogs to answer customer questions. Other times, they’ll write evergreen content related to a critical issue the audience cares about.

Long-form content

You can describe anything over 1,000 words as “long-form content.” This data often lives on blogs, articles, and white papers. Long-form content gives readers a more in-depth look at specific insights or goals a company has and has become increasingly important for search engine optimization. It’s an excellent way for brands to showcase their unique insights and expertise.

A few tips for content marketing tips for written forms 

No matter where you are in the blogging or writing process, here are a few tips to make sure your blogging efforts are effective content marketing for your brand and audience.

  • Post consistently on topics related to your business that your audience cares about. You’re better off posting a few quality blogs that are well-researched and engaging and posting once a week or so, than posting sub-par information.
  • You can post educational content related to your subject area or brand to let your readers know your expertise. 
  • Optimize your blog for search engines. You want to make sure new users are learning about your blog.
  • Your posts should address common questions your readers have regarding your product and industry.
  • Aim for quality over quantity. Writing can be such an effective content marketing tool, but bad writing will cripple any content marketing campaign. 

Videos

Whether they’re expert interviews or short animated explainer clips, video can be valuable content to have in your arsenal. Be smart about using video as part of your overall content marketing strategy. Video can be a compelling form of content marketing, but a poorly produced or conceived video can backfire. You don’t have to invest in ridiculous editing equipment for high production quality, but your videos need to look good and make sense. 

When done well, video has the power to explain complex concepts or showcase products in ways that can be highly appealing and relatable to potential customers. 

Infographics

These specific images with details or charts about the company can exist within other types of channels, like a blog or white paper. Other times, they’ll stand independently as a post on a social media channel. But regardless of where you find an infographic, it’s a powerful way to convey complex data in a simple format. It’s also a tremendous business asset that you can place on several forms, from PowerPoint presentations to LinkedIn posts or even within a promotional video. 

Content marketing channels

How do you let people know about all of your great content? Through one of many content marketing channels. Most effective content strategies will utilize several of these channels to achieve their business goals. 

If you’re not sure where to start, set up a company website and social media account on platforms that are relevant to your business. That way, potential customers can and your content marketing materials online. 

Website

 Your website doesn’t have to be fancy with many videos and graphics. If anything, those bells and whistles might actually slow down your site speed and detract from your overall content marketing work. But a simple and effective website, complete with sections discussing your company and vision, how people can reach you, and even including a blog with more informative pieces, can be an ideal content marketing channel. 

Email campaigns

If you have the email addresses of loyal customers or even purchase email lists, you can send your digital marketing materials to that list. Use discretion when sending email and especially if you use a paid list. Many users only feel annoyed to receive an unwanted daily newsletter in their inbox from a brand they might never have heard of. On the other hand, loyal customers who have invested in your brand might really love special offers and announcements from your company. 

Direct mail

This form of traditional marketing has been around for years and can be a very effective strategy for marketers. It involves sending letters, catalogs, coupons, or any written and visual content marketing materials to your targeted audience.  

Social media

Whether you’re sharing an infographic on Instagram, a short video on TikTok, or an article on LinkedIn, social media platforms offer many helpful ways of distributing your valuable content.

They help you develop a strong relationship with your consumers since social posts tend to be more interactive than other content channels. Not only are customers engaging with your brand, but they’re also interacting with each other and building a sense of community. If appropriate, you can also incorporate user-generated content into your social media post. It will give your content a more authentic feel.

basics-of-content-marketing
Share your content across social media channels.

Which social channels are the right ones for your business? 

Clearly, the right content marketing forms on social media differ depending on the platform, audience, and marketing goals. A B2B financial company will probably have better success running a LinkedIn campaign with quality long-form content and infographics than it would from a campaign with silly TikTok videos trying too hard to be hip.

When considering social media channels for content marketing, content marketers should first consider these questions.

  • What is the goal of my marketing campaign?
  • Do I have a clearly defined audience, and what types of social media is that audience engaging with?
  • What’s the best fit for my audience? 

There’s nothing wrong with trying out several different content marketing strategies. Just be sure you’re measuring those results to see where you should spend time and what’s not helping you get your message across. 

Paid marketing campaigns

You can run a paid marketing campaign across any of these channels, and they can be a fantastic way to supplement your content marketing efforts. Whether you boost your blog articles on Facebook, promote your app in an app store, or sponsor an ad in a podcast, paid advertising campaigns can help to supplement your existing content marketing efforts. 

While these tactics can be effective, especially on search advertising, organic results almost always outperform paid search. That’s not to say paid searches can’t be extremely helpful at increasing your distribution, but the overwhelming majority of searchers click on the first organic link.

What do you share for a paid campaign? Start by looking at what’s already performing well among your loyal supporters. What worked on social? Which emails have high click-through rates? Then refine that and bring it to a broad audience through your paid campaign. 

What is good content marketing?

Any content marketing that connects with your target audience counts as “good content marketing.”

But while several types of content marketing can be effective, quality content marketing efforts generally include the following. 

  1. Fresh content posted on a regular basis. It’s not enough to write one blog post and hope it goes viral. Your brand and content should stay fresh in your prospective and existing customers’ minds.
  2. Incorporates editorial calendars. Don’t just haphazardly add articles to your blog. Set aside some time each month to make a monthly content calendar that allows you to create relevant content across strategic topic areas.
  3. Utilizes an effective email marketing strategy. When used strategically, email lists can be a fantastic way to reach your target audience. 
  4. Effective use of visuals. A picture is worth 1,000 words, and visual content can be an extremely effective marketing technique. Just remember to add relevant titles and labels to your photos for search engine optimization. 
  5. SEO-Optimized content. Organic search can be a wonderful way to get users to your site, and your content marketing strategy needs to consider technical elements of SEO that support your great writing and articles.
  6. Evaluated consistently with analytics. There’s no shortage of tools or analytical metrics for digital marketing efforts. Check out how many people are opening your emails, and which ones have a better open rate. Which piece of content is getting to the top of SERPs, and how are users responding after coming to your website? Are you getting strong conversions from inbound marketing efforts? 

Extra content marketing resources

Creating content can be a struggle for even the most seasoned content marketers. Making consistent content that resonates with your target audience and has the highest reach across digital media channels can be even more challenging.

But content marketing success is possible, especially if you have the right help! If you need additional resources to create high-quality content that gets seen on search engines and connects with your audience, give the experts at rellify a call. They combine the best of human knowledge with machine learning that’s specifically tailored for your business so that you can take your content marketing efforts to the next level.