If you Google “content marketing”, you will likely find tons of content marketing resources that all seem to promise you one thing: increased organic traffic. If you want increased organic traffic and improved SEO for your website and want to go about it the proper way, you are in the right place.
In this article, you will learn what content marketing is, why you should care about it and how to build an effective strategy. We’ll also provide you with tons of useful content marketing resources (both free and paid) that can help you regardless of whether you have already invested in content marketing or are just starting out.
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Table of Contents
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a strategic form of marketing that aims to create lucrative, long-lasting relationships with your audience by creating and distributing valuable and relevant content. Simply put, content marketing involves enticing storytelling while providing value to the audience.
Why is content marketing important?
Apart from the obvious increase in traffic when people visit your site to consume the content and hence learn about your business, content marketing has plenty of other benefits. Great content will lead to editorial links, which will, in turn, lead to increased authority and improved SEO. This will help you get even more traffic as your site appears in SERPs for relevant search queries.
If you offer your audience educational content that they can truly derive value from, they will trust you more and more over time.
And in business, trust is priceless.
Effective content marketing drives businesses to turn to you whenever they need a product or service you provide. In other words, content marketing helps you nurture and grow customer loyalty, leading to consumers trusting you over your competitors.
Content marketing can also help you establish brand awareness. Case and point, you might already know “Neil Patel” as the go-to resource when you think about digital marketing. He has created so much content on the subject that you almost certainly can’t search Google and not see one of his articles pop up. Many people have learned digital marketing from his content and even more, have shared his blogs, talked about him on social media, and admire him because without ever even buying his services.
Thus, the saying “content is king” can prove to be very true if you produce quality content. No, scratch that – for today’s businesses, content marketing is king.
Some examples or types of content
Let’s run through some forms of content marketing, how they work, and see some examples.
Infographics are great visual content that often captures your audience’s attention more effectively than text. If you create high-quality infographics, they may be featured in blogs of highly authoritative websites and lead to traffic coming in from there.
You can also share infographics on social media easily, consequently increasing your social sharing. Here are 15 free infographic templates to get you started from one of the most prolific content marketing companies out there, Hubspot.
Create valuable blogs that will compel your readers to share on social media and link to your blogs in their site’s blog posts. Blog posts are of course largely “content”, but they also act as a medium for images, videos, and other highly compelling visuals like screenshots or annotations. Check out these 4 templates from Ahrefs, a popular SEO tracking platform, to get some ideas.
We’ve all seen cat memes and other annoying, but incredibly popular, animated GIFs floating around the web. But there are also tasteful ways to create viral memes, like black Friday memes, that can help you connect with your younger audience and help them relate to your brand. Check out Buffer’s guide to branded memes here.
Creating a quality video is a lot more work than writing a 2000 word article like this one. But even though videos require a higher investment than other content types, they’re worth it. A whopping 87 percent of video marketers say videos have increased traffic to their site. Use videos within your written content or as video popup CTA’s to boost reader engagement. For instance, you could use nature background footage to add a calming and visually pleasing element to your video, which could help keep viewers engaged and interested. See how digital marketing expert Shane Barker thinks about video as a content marketing format in his Medium article.
People respond to experience more than advice. And case studies are one of the best ways to share real experiences with your clients. This can help prospective customers understand how other companies got desired results and benefits from your services. Case studies as content marketing typically work better at the consideration stage of the sales process, but it’s something you can still start early. Popular marketing automation software company, Marketo, has done some compelling case studies that might be worth looking at.
How can you build a solid content marketing strategy?
Step 1: Visualize the end results you want to achieve
Just like in most areas of your life, having goals is important to decide on a solid content marketing strategy. If you do not have clear goals defined from the get-go, you may get confused when conflicting situations arise. You’ll then find yourself scrambling to decide which factors are the most important for your company’s content marketing strategy to pay off.
Having clear goals that are specific to your company and audience can help you navigate through such situations. Start by envisioning how you want your company to be in approximately 5 years and set goals accordingly.
Goals allow you to weigh different factors and prioritize them to make maximum progress towards your primary objective.
However, sometimes, these goals may need to change. Keep in mind that flexibility and adaptability are important as your company grows.
Step 2: Learn about your audience
You need to research your audience to know who you are catering to with your content. Find out their demographics, i.e., age, gender, lifestyle interests, location, etc. You can check out Google Analytics Demographics and Interests for this information.
Sort by different metrics such as bounce rates, unique page views, or average time on page. With your content, you should aim to minimize bounce rates and maximize unique page views and average time on page.
Information such as what other websites they visit frequently, what social media platforms they are mainly on, what kind of opinion leaders or influencers they pay the most heed to, etc., can help a lot.
Step 3: Content audit: Take a look at your existing content
A content audit is an essential step in building your content marketing strategy.
Start with either manually going through your content (which should not be too difficult if you have little existing content) or using a crawler such as Screaming Frog, which is more appropriate for websites with a large amount of existing content.
Then, take note of what topics your content mostly revolves around. See if your audience has engaged more with informative and didactic content or with content that focuses on your products and services.
Also, take a look at the length of the textual content that your audience has engaged with the most. This will tell you the approximate length that your audience usually reads and enjoys.
Step 4: Analyze how well your current content has done
Look at the organic traffic generated, shares, and engagement on different social media sites, and other metrics you can find with the help of Google Analytics, like average time on page, bounce rates, and assisted conversions.
Compare the numbers with the goals you set for your previous content and see how well that did.
Also, look for gaps in your existing content. For example, you may have done a series of blogs on backlinks, from what they are, why backlinks are important, to how to get new links through white hat link building.
However, one piece of crucial content that may be missing on your blog section is backlink checkers that can help a site owner assess the quality of their backlink profile. Readers of other articles of this series are highly likely to find this information helpful.
Thus, taking inventory of your current content helps you analyze which types of content have done well in the past and generate new content ideas. Based on your analysis, decide on the topics and type of content you want to produce and publish.
We will talk about content marketing resources that will help you develop great new content ideas later on in this article, so keep on reading!
Step 5: Publish new content
After deciding on the types of content marketing, you should come up with new ideas and plan how you will publish your content.
You should decide when you will publish which piece of content in advance so that all the keywords you want to target are covered and your blog section is organized. You can also look for free templates of editorial calendars online.
Next, publish your content on various social media sites where your audience is most active. Employ a social media post scheduler to make life easier for you.
Make sure you’re engaging with your followers, be it on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter.
Step 6: Crunch the numbers
Like you did for your previous content, you need to assess and evaluate metrics. As before, look at the average time on page, bounce rate, and unique pageviews using Google Analytics.
Compare them to see if they are up to your standards. You can also check page values to allocate values to specific pieces of content.
Assess which types of content convinced readers to stay a little longer. Also, see which ones caused them to bounce almost right away and take corrective action. If there is a larger pattern, it may indicate that your audience is not receptive to content of that type or topic.
Or, it may also be that the title and the meta tag were misleading, and they did not find what they hoped to upon loading the page.
You can also see how many conversions happened through social media shares, using metrics such as assisted social conversions and last interaction social conversions.
Google Analytics will help you find all these data. Check out this article by Neil Patel to learn more about how to use different Google Analytics metrics to evaluate the performance of your content.
These are just some of the many insights you can derive from Google Analytics. There are more measures of performance available depending on how in-depth an evaluation you want to do.
Some more content marketing resources to help you produce top-notch content
To ramp up your content marketing game, here are a couple of resources that have made the lives of many content marketers easier.
Sites that can help you come up with new content ideas
1. HubSpot Blog Ideas Generator: Simply add up to 5 nouns to get started with this simple, easy-to-use idea generator.
Figure: 1 of the 5 results for the nouns “Backlinks” and “Link building”
3. Answer The Public: Generate an abundance of new ideas based on popular Google searches. Have a direct, unfiltered peek into the minds of your customers.
4. Content Row: Type in a topic to generate compelling title ideas.
You can filter categories and remove the clickbait titles if you do not want to be penalized by Facebook’s algorithm when sharing your business’s content.
5. Forekast: Did you know that there is a Pina Colada day? Thanks to Forekast, now you do. This fun tool helps you keep track of ‘days’ like this. It also tells you when popular series such as the NBA finals start or famous upcoming movies like Marvel’s Black Widow premiere. All this will help you plan content and launch marketing campaigns for days relevant to your business.
6. AllTop: This lists the most commonly read stories online, arranged by publication. It helps you see what people are talking about nowadays.
Content marketing resources to ensure high quality for your written content
1. Grammarly: Grammarly is a free grammar checker that will help you ensure that your written content is grammatically accurate and conveys the desired tone too. It also gives recommendations for better word usage and more.
Because Grammarly works on a freemium model, you can get started with the free version and later switch to the premium version if you want to.
2. Notion: Staying organized is the key to producing great, coherent, and timely content. Notion calls itself the “All-in-one workspace”, and frankly, we cannot disagree.
From project management to maintaining team wikis to taking notes, Notion will help you keep your things organized. You can also collaborate with team members.
Tools to assist you in producing gorgeous visuals
1. Canva: Canva is an increasingly popular graphic designing tool that will help you produce stunning posters for your visual content. There are many free templates for you to use.
You can also access icons and innumerable images if you subscribe to Canva Pro.
Moreover, Canva has a content planner and allows you to create teams to facilitate collaboration.
Pro Tip: You can also create memes using Canva.
2. Unsplash: Find royalty-free, high-resolution photos on Unsplash to add to your content.
3. All The Free Stock: Find free stock videos and sound effects. You can also find stock images here.
4. Flaticon: Find free vector icons and stickers to add details and enhance your visual content.
Content marketing resources to help you understand how to evaluate returns on content marketing
1. Everything Marketers Need to Measure and Prove Content ROI: This tells you what metrics to track and how to calculate your ROI.
2. Content Marketing ROI: How To Measure Your Success: This article talks about KPIs for different content types and calculating ROI.
Miscellaneous content marketing resources
1. 10 Ways to Never Run Out of Blog Ideas Again: This article contains useful tips and tricks to induce new content ideas that help you always maintain a flow of fresh, relevant content.
2. 13 of the Best Canva Alternatives for Easy Graphic Design: If Canva is not your cup of tea and you want to explore other easy-to-use graphic designing tools, go through this list.
3. Digital Marketer’s Customer Avatar Worksheet: Create a buyer persona from scratch and know who you’re creating content for from the get-go. The article explains how to use a customer avatar worksheet in detail.
Ready to step up your content marketing game?
It is clear by now that content marketing can help you consistently draw organic traffic and improve sales. Of course, it is no walk in the park, but with all the content marketing resources we’ve listed here, rest assured you have all the help you need. Make the most of these resources and bring out your A-game!