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What Is Content Marketing? (And How Does Content Marketing Work?) [Guide]
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What Is Content Marketing? (And How Does Content Marketing Work?) [Guide]

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is a type of marketing used by more than 50% of companies that focuses on creating and sharing resources like blog posts, infographics, and videos to help readers learn about a topic, product, or business.

In this content marketing guide, we’ll discuss the content marketing definition, how content marketing works, and share some tips for creating great content.

Key Takeaways

  • The content marketing definition is: Content marketing is the creation and distribution of online material like blog posts, videos, and guides to attract, engage, and educate readers about a topic, product, or business.
  • Content marketing works by creating relevant content in different formats, like videos, blog posts, ebooks, infographics, and even tools.
  • There are various types of content marketing including blogs, videos, ebooks, infographics, webinars, and online guides

Need help creating valuable content that ranks in search results and engages your audience?

Contact us online or call us today at 888-601-5359 to learn more about our content marketing plans.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the creation and distribution of online material like blog posts, videos, and guides to attract, engage, and educate readers about a topic, product, or business. Distribution methods for content marketing include social media, paid advertising, and search engine optimization (SEO).

How does content marketing work?

Content marketing works by creating relevant content in different formats, like videos, blog posts, ebooks, infographics, and even tools. Typically, a content marketing strategy will target different stages of the funnel (awareness, consideration, and decision) with different types content topics and formats.

Why is content marketing important?

You know the content marketing definition, but what about its benefits? Content marketing is important for a few reasons, including:

  1. Doubles website conversion rates (Source)
  2. Generates three times more leads than traditional marketing (Source)
  3. Produces six times more conversions for businesses that use it than companies that don’t (Source)

Additional benefits of content marketing include:

  • Reach your target audience. Your audience is already searching for information, so why not provide it to them? By creating content, you improve your business’s reach to your target audience and give them the information they need to move through the buying funnel.
  • Build your brand awareness. When you share valuable information with your audience, they spend time getting familiar with your brand. They’ll get to know your company and your brand, which helps nurture these visitors into leads and eventually clients.
  • Increase your close rate. With content marketing, you can create a content library for your website visitors, plus for your sales team, which they can share with qualified leads to help close the deal.

Jumpstart your content and discover post ideas with our free content toolkit.

Where can you use content marketing?

Everywhere! You can use content marketing in almost all digital marketing strategies, including:

  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • SEO
  • Social media marketing
  • And more

Check out the examples below to see how content marketing works in different strategies!

What is an example of content marketing?

A content marketing example comes from the search “kinds of Christmas trees,” which focuses on learning about the different types of Christmas trees. Pro Flowers ranks first with a blog post explaining the 16 types of trees.

Pro Flowers’ content has a few goals:

  1. Educate readers about the type of Christmas trees
  2. Help readers choose the best type of Christmas tree for their needs
  3. Provide readers an option for purchasing the type of Christmas tree they want (Pro Flowers sells live mini Christmas trees)

What’s important to note with this content marketing example is the content has goals — Pro Flowers didn’t write the blog post just to write it. They wrote it because they researched their audience needs and how they (Pro Flowers) could meet them.

What are the types of content marketing?

When most people think of content, they only thing of blogging. While blogging is an effective way to produce and share content, many other mediums fall under content marketing, too. Here are some of the most popular types of content marketing:

Blogs

Blogs are a popular way to share information with your audience. When you create a blog, you write and post content on a regular basis. It’s a great way to drive traffic to your site. Every industry, from dentists to florists, can use a blog as a marketing strategy.

Videos

As platforms like YouTube continue to rise in popularity, videos continually grow as a popular way for businesses to market online. Video marketing is an excellent medium for sharing an abundance of information quickly.

Ebooks

Ebooks provide your audience with everything they need to know about a topic. This content is in-depth, so you’ll cover all the bases of your topic to ensure your audience has a full understanding of the information. Many companies create ebooks and offer them to clients in exchange for contact information.

Infographics

Infographics are visual images that present data and information in an easily digestible format. Many companies use infographics to present statistics and help users better understand them.

SEO content

Site pages are crucial content pages you include on your site. This SEO website copy includes about us pages, pricing and product pages, and more.

Webinars

Webinars are a great opportunity for you to spread your knowledge and expertise with your audience. This content marketing strategy allows you to share information with your audience through live video.

Online guides

Guides are in-depth pieces of content that allow you to give your audience a deeper look into a subject.Many companies offer guides as downloadable content in exchange for information. This format provides your audience with a go-to source for information on a topic.

Long-form content

Long-form content provides your audience with more information on a topic. While it’s not as in-depth as online guides, it does provide your audience with more information than a standard blog post.

These are just a few of the many types of content you have at your disposal. You’ll want to use a variety of these formats to keep your content fresh and exciting for your audience.

How to get started with content marketing

Learn how to do content marketing with these steps:

1. Establish your target audience

Before you start creating content, you need to know who you’re targeting.

So, how do you determine your target audience?

The first step involves defining your audience’s attributes. Look at the type of customer that typically visits your brick-and-mortar store or your website. What are their defining characteristics?

You can document information like:

  • Demographics
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Buying habits
  • Interests
  • Hobbies
  • And more

When you know your audience better, you can create more personalized content for them.

You can figure out what topics appeal to them and provide your audience with valuable information about those topics. It helps you have a more successful content marketing strategy when you know who will probably engage with your content.

2. Consider the buyer’s journey

If you want to know how to do content marketing, start by looking at the buyer’s journey.

Here are the three main steps of the buyer’s journey:

  • Awareness: At the awareness stage, people are just discovering they have a problem or a need. They start to research and look for information or solutions.
  • Consideration: At the consideration stage, people start reviewing their options. They look at their choices and work towards figuring out which one will fit their needs best.
  • Decision: At the decision stage, people determine who provides what they need and choose the company they think is best.

It’s essential to understand the buyer’s journey so you can create content for each step. Not to mention, remaining aware of this cycle will help you deliver content at critical points when your audience needs it the most.

For example, let’s say you sell ergonomic seat cushions. You’re targeting office workers, so you want to create content for each stage of the cycle.

So, how could you create content for every stage?

  • For the awareness stage, you could create a video on why your back or butt hurts from sitting on your chair all day, how a lousy chair affects your body, and ways to resolve this pain.
  • For the consideration stage, you could create an article that shows the benefits of using an ergonomic seat cushion and how they work, plus why they’re more cost-effective than buying a new chair.
  • For the decision stage, you could create videos with reviews of your ergonomic seat cushion, highlight the features of your product, and create a call to action (CTA) that invites users to purchase one.

These different types of content help provide information for people at every stage of the funnel, allowing you to engage people no matter where they are in the funnel. When you consider the buyer’s journey, you’ll develop a more effective content marketing strategy.

3. Brainstorm content topics

Brainstorm ideas to get started with your content marketing strategy. You want to think of different subjects that your audience would like to see from your business, along with trending content marketing ideas.

When you generate ideas, make sure you stay focused on industry-related topics. It’s essential to stick to industry-related issues so that you drive the right traffic to your page. If you write about trending topics not related to your industry, you won’t drive relevant leads to your page.

Get ideas by researching what topics people in your industry cover. Come up with a list of key terms related to your business. You can even plug those keywords into a keyword research tool to find more keyword ideas!

It’s important to include keyword research in your process so you can optimize your pages to appear in relevant search results. Keywords help you focus on terms your audience is searching, which allows you to cover a topic and use the keywords your audience uses to find information about that topic.

You can plug your keywords into a tool like FAQFox to see what types of questions people ask about a topic. If you follow the step-by-step instructions on how to use FAQFox, you can find out how to scan sites to see what people want to know about a topic too.

Additionally, when you have a list of keywords, try searching around the web to see what people are writing about that topic. It will help you brainstorm ideas for what you can write and what items matter to your audience.

By brainstorming ideas, you’ll come up with more valuable content ideas you can use to attract new leads.

4. Focus on content quality over quantity

If you want to know how to do content marketing right, start by focusing on your content’s quality.

Now, that’s not to say you shouldn’t post content often, which you should (we’ll dive into that next), but if you’re going to publish content, it needs to be high quality.

Posting 10 low-quality 500-word articles isn’t going to be as effective as three high-quality, informative 1500-word articles.

If you post low-quality content, your audience isn’t going to engage with it. Users want information that gives them everything they need. When you have low-quality content, you aren’t answering your audiences’ questions, or you’re not answering them thoroughly enough.

Your audience will feel discouraged by your content because it doesn’t provide answers or give enough information to satisfy their needs. Poor content can indicate that you’re not invested in their problem, either, which leads them to believe that you don’t care.

By creating high-quality content, you’ll drive better results with your content marketing strategy.

5. Publish content regularly

You need to post content regularly to have an effective campaign. It’s not enough to create a blog post once every three months and expect success. Content marketing requires regular publishing so you can continually drive traffic to your site and keep up with competitors.

Not to mention, posting content frequently helps people discover your business from different avenues.

For example, let’s go back to the ergonomic chair company.

Say they publish one blog post for the month about the benefits of using an ergonomic chair pad. That’s the only new piece of content that’s going to drive traffic to their page. So, they’re only going to attract people researching the benefits of ergonomic chair pads.

That same company, however, could post multiple types of content in the month. They could post about how to properly adjust your chair, how to find the right chair, and more. All these types of content would drive in new traffic looking to learn more about that topic.

So, instead of bringing in traffic through one content topic, you’re bringing in traffic from multiple topics. This kind of approach to content marketing allows you to reach more people and get them to discover your business.

Help your business publish content frequently by creating a content calendar. A calendar will help you stay organized and know when you’re posting content. This tool also lets you fill any content gaps — or areas where you don’t have content.

If you want to know how to do content marketing and get the best results, post content frequently.

6. Make your site user-friendly

If you’re posting content on your website, make sure your site is user-friendly. You can have great content, but if your audience can’t access and interact with it easily, they’ll leave your site and visit a competitor’s website instead.

You can optimize your page by:

Improving your page speed

If your site doesn’t load quickly, your audience will get frustrated and leave. People expect your page to load within two seconds, so slow-loading pages are a no-go. You can use Google PageSpeed Insights or page speed services to check your site load time.

Google pagespeed insights

Making your site mobile-friendly

People will read your content on smartphones and tablets — after all, 50% of the world’s Internet traffic comes from mobile devices. You must design your pages to ensure they work on these devices and test your site’s mobile-friendliness. With responsive design, your content will adjust to each device to offer the best experience.

Mobile test for websites

Ensure your design includes white space

If your site is full of text, photos, and videos, it’s going to overwhelm your audience. By integrating white space into your page layouts and content, you’ll make it easier to view your website and browse your content.

White space example

Use high-quality video

If you decide to create video content, ensure the video content is high quality because users don’t want to watch videos that are poorly constructed or grainy. Focus on using high-quality footage for your videos to drive the best results.You can use your smartphone to take high-quality videos but watch for background noise.

Integrate relevant keywords into your content

If you want people to find your content, you need to integrate your keywords into your pages. It will help you rank in the right search results and show users that your page is relevant to their search.

Break up text into smaller paragraphs

If you’re choosing to blog, create ebooks, or guides, you need to break up the text on your content. When users see walls of text, they’ll feel discouraged and turn away from your page. If you break up the text into two- to three-sentence paragraphs, users can easily read or skim your information.

Use colors wisely

When you design infographics, be cautious with your color choices. You don’t want to use too many colors, which will make your infographic look disorganized, or ultra-bright colors, which will make your infographic unreadable. You can use color tools to help you find the right palette for your infographics.

Write for humans, not search engines

Anytime you create content, you want to write for your audience, not for search engines.

Search engines have gotten good at understanding how humans search, so you don’t need to get overly technical for your pages to rank. Focus on creating content your audience will know because it’ll drive the best results. Optimizing content for your audience will help you drive better results and attract more people to check out your content.

These are just a few of the many optimizations you can do to improve your site. By focusing on making a user-friendly website, you’ll provide a better experience when people visit your page, which will make it easier for them to complete their buyer’s journey and choose your company.

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3+ content marketing tips for getting started

Your content marketing strategy is a powerful way to get leads to find your business and choose you when they’re ready to convert. If you want to drive the right leads, you need a quality content marketing strategy that helps the right people find your business.

Here are some content marketing hacks to help you make content marketing work even better:

1. Write about industry-related topics

The purpose of content marketing is to provide your audience with relevant and informative content.

If you want to have a successful content marketing strategy, stick to industry-related topics.

Many businesses try to make content on trending topics because they want to drive traffic to their site. If the issue isn’t related to your industry, it won’t drive the valuable traffic that turns into customers for your business.

For example, a pizza restaurant wouldn’t create an article about how to make slime for kids just because creating slime is a popular activity among kids. That pizzeria wouldn’t get relevant traffic to their website because people looked for slime, not pizza. It’s best to stick to industry-related topics, so you drive the right traffic for your business.

A craft store, however, would be perfect for promoting how to make slime. If people liked their information, they could check out their supplies to make slime or pre-made slime kits. This content would prove very beneficial and relevant to a craft store.

So, how do you find industry-related topics to cover?

Keyword research will help you find relevant topics for your content. You can use keyword research tools, like KeywordsFX or Keyword Tool, to find relevant keywords for your page. When you use these keyword research tools, you find a list of relevant keywords, their search volume, their cost per click (CPC) value, and more.

Find Your CPC for any Campaign with our FREE Calculator!

By conducting keyword research, you’ll help your business find industry-related topics you can use for content. It will help you drive more relevant traffic for your business.

2. Promote your content

Content promotion helps you reach more people interested in your business. You help people find your relevant information and check out your business.

Social media is a great place to promote content.

You can share blog posts, videos, and infographics with your audience. They can quickly check out your content and share it on their own social media pages if they like it. For example, Patagonia shares a link to their YouTube channel to show off their newest content. You can also promote your content through email marketing.

If you have a list of subscribers, you can send them content based on their interests. It’s a great way to promote your content and get it out to your audience. By promoting your content, you’ll help drive more traffic to your page and get more people to check out your business.

3. Put time into your title tag

When people want content, they’ll often turn to search engines to help them find it. When they look at the search results, users determine which listings are most relevant by looking at the title tag. The title tag is the first thing your audience sees when they look in the search results.

They will use your title tag to determine page relevancy. You must make a descriptive and informative title tag, so your audience knows what to expect when they click on your article. A good title tag will get users to click on your page and check out your information.

It’s an excellent practice for helping you earn more leads for your business.

4. Create content for every stage of the funnel

When people discover your business, they don’t always convert right away. Most people take time to become familiar with your brand, products, or services and do some research to decide if you’re the best fit. These leads move through a funnel known as the sales funnel.

The sales funnel typically has four stages:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Evaluation
  4. Action

As leads get closer to the bottom of the funnel, they’re more likely to convert. So, let’s say that Person A just discovered your floor cleaning business.

Would a content piece about the benefits of your floor cleaning services help move them towards conversion? In this case, probably not.

This person doesn’t know much about your business yet, so they’re likely not ready to buy. Instead, a content piece that shares tips and tricks for getting out carpet stains may be more helpful.

On the other hand, if Person B has been engaging on your page often and has checked out your pricing page, content on your floor cleaning services’ benefits is very pertinent to that user.

It could be a piece of content that convinces them to choose your business and convert.

5. Focus on evergreen content

When you define your content marketing strategy, make sure you’re creating evergreen content.

Evergreen content is content that’s timeless and typically focuses on answering common questions in your industry. The news, for example, is not evergreen content because it focuses on current events. Evergreen content is valuable to your business because of its sustainability over time.

Whether someone sees it the day after you publish it or six months after publication, it’s still relevant to your audience. It also means that you can continually drive traffic to your content, which helps you rank better.

This type of content still may need updating occasionally, but it will maintain its relevance as you update it. Overall, evergreen content will help you have a more sustainable content marketing strategy.

6. Make your content engaging

As mentioned before, Google will recognize website pages with longer dwell times, shorter bounce rates, and ideally higher CTR’s.

To make your content more valuable, the engagement your users have will directly impact its effect on your business.

On one hand, podcasts offer valuable passive engagement that appeals to busy users who are muti-taskers. But when it comes to your email marketing, social media, and blog posts, you’ll want to give users something to engage with so they retain more information and are more likely to remember your brand.

One unique strategy to do this is to implement marketing gamification on your social media and other formats.

Additionally, including links to other related content, enabling comments and shares, and ensuring your content is mobile-friendly are all simple ways to give users the ability to expand the reach of your content with little additional effort from you.

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Want to learn more about how content marketing works?

Content marketing is a valuable tool at your business’s disposal. It’s a great way to help you attract more valuable leads to your page and get them familiar with your brand. If you aren’t sure how to get started with a content marketing strategy, our team at WebFX can help.

We have a team of over 500 content marketing-savvy experts that will help you develop a content marketing campaign that works. We’ll help you create content that resonates with your audience and gets them to engage with your business.

Want to learn more about how content marketing will help your business grow? Contact us online or call us today at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist about our content marketing plans.


FAQs about content marketing

Learn more about content marketing’s meaning and how content marketing works with these FAQs:

How much does content marketing cost?

Content marketing costs vary and depend on several factors, from the content’s format to the content’s length. Typically, small-to-midsized businesses will invest $2000 to $12,000 per month on content marketing.

Your content marketing return on investment (ROI) will vary depending on how much you spend and how optimized your content is.

What are the purposes of content marketing?

The purposes of content marketing include:

To inform your audience

People conduct searches every day, looking for valuable information. They continually ask Google questions to find information about their queries. When you provide content for your audience, you help them get more informed.

Content provides your audience with answers to their questions.

They read your article or watch your video, absorbing all the helpful information that answers their questions. When they leave your page, they’re more informed than when they started searching. Your audience will view your business in a positive light when you provide them with information. They will find your organization helpful and insightful.

To establish yourself as an authority in your field

Content poses your business as experts. If you’re sharing all this information with your audience, they will believe you’re an expert.

Content helps you establish yourself as a credible authority in your field. As an authority, people trust your business more. They know you are knowledgeable, so they feel more confident in buying your products or using your services.

For example, let’s say you’re a medical practitioner.

Your patient marketing efforts may include a blog that provides useful health and medical information for your prospeccts. When you invest in a content marketing strategy, you help your business build yourself as an authority in your field by sharing valuable information your audience seeks.

To boost brand awareness

Content marketing strategy helps new people find your business. Not everyone actively searches for your products or services. Some people are still in the initial stages of buying, where they search for information to help them become more knowledgeable about the industry.

As an example, let’s look at essential oils. In recent years, essential oils have skyrocketed in popularity.

As more people hear about them, they turn to Google to understand what they are and how they work.

If you were a retailer selling essential oils, you would create content surrounding essential oils, the benefits, varieties, and uses. So, someone in the beginning stages of researching would find this helpful information and understand essential oils better. Creating all this content increases the chances of people finding your business. It allows you to appear in more search results, which helps drive more traffic to your page.

As a result, you boost your SEO ranking because you’re driving more relevant traffic to your page. The purpose of content marketing is to help people find your brand and learn about your business. Content helps boost your SEO ranking for more people can find your business and learn about your company.

To expand your reach

Content marketing strategy plays a fundamental role in helping you expand your reach. If you solely focus on improving your SEO ranking on your home page, you’ll miss many opportunities to attract qualified leads.

Content creation helps you expand your reach and obtain more leads for your business. It’s crucial to remember that everyone is interested in your business for different reasons. Creating content helps you diversify your strategy and reach people based on their interests.

When you create content, you expand your reach to people interested in your products or services. You help more people discover your business, which drives more traffic to your page. As a result, your page’s relevancy increases and you improve your SEO, allowing you to rank higher in the search results.

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