Basic content marketing – How to get started

Basic Content Marketing How To

The basics of creating high-quality content and marketing it to your target audience

Content marketing is now an essential part of marketing strategy and is an industry which is still in growth. The global content marketing industry is estimated to be worth $407 billion in 2022 according to Absolute Reports, so there is no better time to start your content marketing adventure.

In the following article, we will explore why content marketing is important and how to get started with basic content marketing:

What is content marketing and why is it important?

Wikipedia defines content marketing as “a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online.”

However, this excludes one of the main precepts of content marketing. The tent is that by creating valuable, credible and relevant content consistently, will result in our target audience doing business with us and will engender loyalty to our brand.

Since the pandemic, there has been a huge uptick in the number of brands utilising content marketing to reach their customers, so this space is growing but is becoming even more competitive. There are types of content marketing, but there are now more than 1 billion blogs in the world which means that there is a blog for every 7.5 people in the world (source: Neil Patel).

This is important because it is no longer easy to create a simple blog and get a load of free traffic from Google Search. Your approach has to be more sophisticated and aligned with your target audience. But don’t worry, read on, and we will show you the basics of content marketing that will bring results.

What are the basic content marketing principles?

If you want to be successful with content marketing, there are some basic principles that you need to follow. These are:

Research and know your audience

Take the time to research your audience and develop a better understanding of what they’re looking for, what they need help with, and how you can add value to their lives. When you know your audience well, you can create content that speaks directly to their needs and pain points and does so in language that is helpful and credible.

Build a strategy

Before embarking on a content marketing programme it is critical to understand how and why you are undertaking this. Maybe your revenue is declining or you are launching a new product, in each of these examples your strategy will be wildly different depending on your business goals. If you need help defining a strategy we have content marketing services that can help.

Align your marketing channels to the ones your audience use

A TV executive once said to me “Content is King, but Distribution is King Kong”. The best content in the world is useless if your audience never sees it. People have become used to content finding them, rather than them having to find the right content.

Therefore, you must ensure that you align your content with the marketing channels your audience uses most. This means understanding what platforms they use (e.g., social media, search, email marketing, etc.), as well as the formats that they prefer to consume (e.g., articles, videos, etc.).

Create a human tone of voice for your brand

This is one of the most overlooked but crucial areas of content marketing, as our content needs to have a human voice that is relatable and trustworthy. This is relatively easy to create if you have brand pillars or a strategic brand triangle. if not it might be a good idea to work out what your brand or business stands for and build a brand personality.

brand strategy triangle 1200
Image Credit: Big-picture branding

Either way to build an editorial tone of voice it is important to consider what language you will use, and more importantly, what language you won’t use as well as what topics and conversations you will engage with. To formalise this it is quite often useful to create a content playbook.

Be Consistent

One of the main principles of content marketing is to be consistent with your messaging, frequency and quality. This can be challenging if you are a small team or business, but there are ways to make this easier. Perhaps you can build a bank of evergreen content that can be used as a resource when things get busy, or you might want to consider using a content calendar to help plan and organise your content in advance.

Also, consider starting with a very low frequency, and building the volume over time once you understand what types and topics of content work best for your audience.

Whatever approach you take, the most important thing is to be consistent with your content marketing, as this is what will help you gain the trust of your audience and keep them coming back for more. Sign up here to get our free content marketing pdf.

How to create high-quality content

Now we have covered the why, who and how of content marketing, it is time to start creating content. This is probably the most important aspect of content marketing. Your content needs to be valuable and relevant.

To ensure that it is, refer back to your research and make sure that each piece is tackling a problem or pain your audience has or is fulfilling a need for them to achieve something. An example might be to create a tool that simplifies a complex task (yes this is content), and it might have a better value long-term than just publishing an article on the subject.

To do this, refer back to your research and gain consensus within your business on the biggest pains your customers have. Rank these pains in order of importance. This is your initial list of content ideas.

Once ranked you can then have an ideation session to work out what content will be most relevant and useful for each pain. From this process, a natural path should become clear in terms of the format, structure and channel for the piece of content.

You maybe be able to produce content in-house with your existing team, or you may need to hire an agency or freelancers to help you with writing, design, and video production. There are many ways to resource this, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Also, refer back to your strategy to see what makes sense and is viable for your business.

Finally here are 8 content examples from small brands that we can learn from.

How to start marketing content

Remember the quote about King Kong? Content doesn’t just appear on people’s radars. You need to put content in front of your target audience at the right time in the buying cycle. There are a number of ways you can do this, but social media and email marketing are two of the most cost-effective.

Email marketing

Email marketing may seem a bit outdated channel, but in fact, HubSpot cited Litmus’ research in its recent State of Marketing Report (2022) as returning “$42 for every $1 spent”, which is an incredible 4,200% ROI. It is clear that it is still one of the most powerful channels for promoting content. The key benefit is that it allows you to reach a wide audience with your message, can be highly targeted and is relatively low cost.

When emailing your list, make sure that you segment it so that you are only sending relevant content to those who will find it useful. No one wants to receive emails that are not relevant to them, and this will just lead to people unsubscribing from your list.

Social media

Social media is a great way to amplify your content and reach a wider audience. It allows you to connect with your audience and build relationships with them. Most platforms now have both organic and paid-for services.

Organic reach on social media has definitely been declining but that doesn’t mean that if you are on a limited budget, you shouldn’t explore this route. However, you will need to ensure that your content is optimised for each platform and is able to be consumed on-platform, rather than redirecting users off the network. Often newer social networks will have greater organic reach per follower than older ones.

Tip: Take advantage of new services or post types and use them because these will receive more reach than older formats.

Paid Social is a very complex area, and to cover everything in this article would take too much of your time. The best methodology is to start small with small budgets and then test and learn as you go. We provide paid social marketing services, so drop us a line if you would like to learn more.

Tip: Check each platform’s promotion options and bidding strategy and ensure that they are optimised for your content goals (i.e. do you want users to engage with the content, raise brand awareness, or undertake a specific action for example sign up for an event.) It will also depend on your overarching strategy as to whether you are marketing to new audiences or warming up an existing audience.

Finally, when promoting your content on social media, make sure that you are active and engaging with your audience. Don’t just post and run, take the time to respond to comments and answer any questions people have. Also, use it as a way to research your audience in more depth. Validate your content ideas before creating content and find out what your audience’s most pressing pains and needs are.

Both email marketing and social media are great ways to get your content in front of your target audience, but there are other channels you can explore as well. These include:

  • Search engine marketing
  • Guest blogging
  • Online communities
  • Forums
  • Q&A websites
  • Native advertising platforms

Measuring success

There are a number of ways that you can measure the success of your content marketing campaign. These include:

  • Website traffic
  • Social media engagement
  • Lead generation
  • Conversions (Sales)

Website traffic

One of the most basic indicators of content marketing success is website traffic. This can be measured in terms of the number of visitors to your website, the number of page views, or the amount of time spent on your site.

To get a more detailed picture of which content is performing well, you can use Google Analytics to see which pieces of content are generating the most traffic. This will give you an idea of which content is being viewed the most and is, therefore, more popular with your audience.

You can also use Google Analytics to track other metrics such as the average time spent on a page, the bounce rate, or the number of pages per session. These can all give you insights into how users are interacting with your content and whether they are finding it valuable.

Social Media Engagement

Another way to measure content marketing success is through social media engagement. This can be tracked in a number of ways, including the number of likes, shares, and comments on a piece of content, as well as the reach (the number of people who have seen the content).

Both Facebook and Twitter have their own native analytics platforms that can give you detailed insights into the performance of your content. You can also use third-party tools such as Hootsuite Insights or BuzzSumo to track social media engagement.

Lead Generation

If your content marketing campaign is focused on generating leads, then you’ll want to track the number of leads that you’re able to generate. This can be done using a tool such as Google Analytics, which will allow you to track the number of conversions (leads) that you’re able to generate from your content.

You can also use third-party lead generation tools such as LeadPages or Unbounce to track and measure the performance of your content in terms of lead generation.

Conversions (Sales)

If your content marketing campaign is focused on generating sales, then you’ll want to track the number of sales that you’re able to generate. This can be done using a tool such as Google Analytics, which will allow you to track the number of conversions (sales) that you’re able to generate from your content.

You can also use third-party sales tracking tools such as Salesforce or HubSpot Sales to track and measure the performance of your content in terms of sales.

Content marketing is a basic, but essential, marketing tactic. It involves creating and sharing valuable content with your target audience in order to attract and retain customers. In order to get started with content marketing, you’ll need to develop a content strategy, create high-quality content, and promote it through social media and other channels.

Conclusion

When creating an effective content marketing programme, there are a few things to remember. First, you’ll need to identify your target audience and what needs and wants they have. Once you know this, you can create content that is tailored to their needs and wants. Additionally, you’ll need to promote your content through social media and other channels in order to reach your target audience. Finally, you can measure the success of your content marketing campaign by tracking metrics such as website traffic, social media engagement, lead generation, and conversions.

If you would like to learn more about content marketing strategy please just drop us a line.