What is content marketing and why is it important for your online business success? This guide will teach you everything you need to know about content marketing.
Content marketing is a hot topic right now.
Even Google reports a significant increase in the number of people who are researching the phrase over the past few decades.
But what’s all the fuss about?
What is content marketing?
Why is it important?
And how can you use it to grow your business?
That’s what we’re going to cover in this guide.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing refers to the process of creating and distributing content (blog posts, videos, memes, podcasts, etc) for the purpose of building brand awareness.
For someone who’s new to content marketing, though, that definition creates more questions than it answers.
There are a near-infinite number of ways to create and distribute content.
And crafting that content so that it drives people to take a specific action?
That’s even more complex.
Most people have consumed a very small percentage of all that content… because we’re all consuming the same content — namely, the content that goes viral.
For that reason, the businesses that succeed at content marketing collect big winnings.
Here are some examples.
The Real, Undeniable Power of Content Marketing
Perhaps the most compelling content marketing statistic is this…
Year-over-year growth in unique site traffic is 7.8 times higher for content marketing leaders than for other websites.
The fact is, the more content you publish, the more people who see that content, the more traffic you’re going to drive.
One example of content marketing’s power comes from Lawrence of Morocco. On the back of Game Of Thrones popularity, they created a real-life map of every location where the show was filmed.
They then sent this infographic to various journalists and it spread like wildfire, generating more than 11,000 visits in just two weeks.
This was the perfect content marketing campaign for Lawrence of Morocco. They offer travel adventures in many of the Game Of Thrones filming destinations, which allowed that infographic traffic to easily turn into business revenue.
Ideally, the content you create will also drive people toward taking an action that benefits your business.
Here are a few more content marketing stats to illustrate its power…
- Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads. (Source)
- 78% of CMOs believe custom content is the future of marketing. (Source)
- Conversion rates are nearly 6 times higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters. (Source)
So yeah… content marketing is very powerful.
And while viral content drives the vast majority of traffic, there’s still plenty of room for the little guy… the person who’s just getting started.
In fact, content marketing is full of opportunity.
New keyword phrases are constantly popping up in Google, new social media trends allow for quick and easy virality, and consumers are always looking for fresh, exciting content.
Your job is to consistently create quality content that appeals to your target market and drives meaningful action.
That’s what we’re going to show you how to do.
First, let’s talk about the most powerful content marketing platforms of 2020.
6 Top Content Marketing Platforms Of 2020 (& What Works Well On Each)
Not all platforms are created equal.
Especially when you consider your niche.
In fact, you should just choose the platform where your target market most likes to hang out. That’ll make reaching the right people a whole lot easier.
So here are the 5 best platforms for content marketing so far in 2020 and what sort of content works well on each.
There’s no shortage of controversy surrounding the origins of TikTok.
Born and raised in China, people are questioning the integrity of TikTok’s data collection, security, and privacy.
Still, the platform has made an undeniable splash in the social media world and it’s probably not going anywhere soon, despite government warnings.
After all, the platform has collected 800 million users, just three years after its inception in 2017. And it’s difficult to stop that kind of momentum outright.
Demographically speaking, 41% of TikTok users are between ages 16 and 24.
But adults are flocking to the app with surprising speed…
But perhaps the best part about TikTok is that it’s easy to grow an organic following on the platform (for now).
Whereas Facebook and Instagram have all but killed business’ abilities to organically build an audience, TikTok remains untainted. By joining in on the most recent trends — for which there are plenty — using the appropriate hashtags, and creating genuinely entertaining videos, you can quickly get views and build a following… even go viral.
Videos of people being honest about their personal challenges and sharing life advice seem to do quite well. Good comedy is always a winner. And even clips of video game streamers rack up views.
Above all else, TikTok users seem to value authenticity.
The videos that perform best on the platform aren’t just touching, funny, or compelling… they feel real and authentic.
Already, she’s amassed a following of over 300,000 followers.
The video is pretty simple.
It’s comical, interesting to her audience (in this case, moms on TikTok), short, and entertaining.
Even dentists, lawyers, and doctors are using TikTok to build a following and promote their businesses.
Is this the right platform for you?
When you think of content marketing, Google might not immediately come to mind.
After all, you can’t publish content directly to Google and you can’t entirely control what Google shows to people who search for a given phrase.
But you can control the optimization of your own website’s content as it relates to Google.
That is, you can optimize your blog posts and pages to rank for high-value keyword phrases. And if you get to page one, you can drive hundreds or thousands of website visits every single month. This is the primary content marketing strategy that Jacob McMillen, a wildly successful freelance writer and coach, uses.
A quick search in Ahrefs — a popular SEO tool — reveals that Jacob’s site is driving 12,000 visits per month just through SEO.
That’s pretty surprising until we see all the high-volume keyword phrases that he’s ranking for in Google…
And that traffic isn’t just hot air.
Every month, he’s getting thousands of new subscribers to his email list purely because of SEO.
In other words, the power of SEO for driving traffic is undeniable.
But that doesn’t mean it’s easy or quick.
In fact, time is still the most influential SEO factor. The longer that a piece of content exists, the more likely it is to rank on page one.
According to Ahrefs research, the average age of content on page one of search results is between 650 and 950 days.
Of course, less competitive phrases — long-tail phrases with few high-authority sites gunning for them — will take less time to see results.
The best thing that a new website can do to make SEO progress is target low-volume, low-competition, high-quality keyword phrases.
Instead of targeting “Copywriter”, for example, maybe you target “Copywriting jobs”, which still has significant volume but much lower competition.
You’ll drive fewer visits, but those visits will be from your target market and you’ll see results faster.
Then as your website builds authority, you can target more competitive phrases.
Check out our SEO guide over here to learn more.
LinkedIn used to be a ghost town.
But ever since Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016, the platform has been bubbling with potential for content marketers.
LinkedIn has become the social media platform where people go to talk about all things work-related — advice, challenges, and comical anecdotes.
And if you’re consistent, it’s still relatively easy to build an organic following on the platform.
The other bonus to using LinkedIn is that you are attracting and socializing with people who are focussed on their work, their businesses, or their careers.
This makes LinkedIn particularly effective for promoting B2B businesses, or consulting, coaching, and freelance services.
Liam Carnahan, for example, a content strategist and copywriter, uses LinkedIn to share free advice and promote his services.
Here’s one more of his most successful posts…
The great thing about LinkedIn is that you don’t have to directly promote your services.
Instead, you can consistently share free advice with your audience and, since LinkedIn users are business focussed, they’ll start to see you as an expert at whatever it is you do.
Eventually, they’ll visit your profile to learn more and they might even message you or hire you.
LinkedIn is remarkable at generating leads for B2B businesses — which is probably why 89% of B2B businesses use LinkedIn for lead generation and 62% of B2B marketers say that LinkedIn consistently generates leads.
Is LinkedIn right for your business?
The bulk of YouTube’s popularity and power can be attributed to one simple fact.
And there’s no denying it: consumers love video more than any other type of content. 85% of all internet users watch video content monthly, 54% of consumers want to see more video content from brands that they support, and 87% of marketers use video in their campaigns.
YouTube is the second most-used search engine in the world.
The most successful YouTubers are people who create a lot of content, consistently.
But consistency seems to trump all else — many creators have lost the attention of large audiences after not publishing for just a few months.
However, publishing content consistently on YouTube isn’t just about fulfilling your follower’s expectations, it’s also about getting found more often in YouTube’s search engine.
As it turns out, sticking to a strict publishing schedule can help your rankings.
Here’s how one YouTuber explains it…
“Personally, I’d say that consistency isn’t so much about your audience anymore, it’s more about the youtube algorithm. Videos on youtube tend to have more of a chance of reaching a wider audience if they do well within the first day or two of being uploaded. That means you want to get as many people to see that video as possible straight out of the gate. If your subscribers know that you always release a video at 8pm on a Wednesday, then that could help your video get off to a great start. Even if those people miss all your tweets and posts about your new video, they’re still going to know one is going up and hopefully hop on to watch it.”
As for video quality, we recommend focussing on quality of content over quality of production.
Obviously, if you have money to produce high-quality videos, then go for it… but never at the cost of the content’s quality.
People on YouTube care far more about the actual content of the videos than they do about the quality of the production.
Garrett J. White — personal growth coach and consultant for men — uses YouTube to offer free advice and promote his brand.
His most popular content seems to be long-from interview-style episodes. Here’s an example.
Natalie Hodson, on the other hand — a popular fitness blogger for women — has 18,000 subscribers on YouTube and her most successful videos seem to be short clips offering quick tips and advice.
Here’s an example…
Ultimately, on YouTube, consistency and content quality matter more than anything else.
Unlike some generalist social media platforms (*COUGH* Facebook and Instagram *COUGH*), Pinterest has a pretty specific demographic.
The vast majority of Pinterest users — 7 in 10 — are women.
Additionally, most Pinterest users are between ages 30 and 49.
As for the type of content that does well on Pinterest, here are top categories…
If your business primarily targets women aged between 30 and 49 and operates in one of the above industries, then Pinterest is probably a great place for your content marketing!As an example, Tamera Pflug over at Personal Development Zone uses Pinterest to build brand awareness and share ideas.
Here are some of her most popular pins…
Our 5-Step Content Marketing Strategy [For Dummies]
Now that you know how powerful content marketing can be for your business and what types of content perform best on which platforms, let’s talk about how to get started.
Here’s our 5-step content marketing strategy that anyone can follow.
Step 1. Build Your Email List Sales Funnel
Content marketing should always have a purpose.
Creating blog posts or podcasts or videos without an end-goal is like building a business without a product… it’s a waste of resources.
Consider the goal of this blog post, for example.
Why did we write this article about content marketing? So that we can genuinely help entrepreneurs like yourself and get you to trust our brand. Moreso, we’re hoping that you’ll enjoy this article enough to opt-in to our email list or take a free 14-day ClickFunnels trial.
(That’s why there are CTAs throughout this page and it’s why there’s an exit-intent pop-up when you go to leave).
So what is your content marketing goal?
Typically, content marketing is a top-of-the-funnel tactic that is great for driving people to your email list where you can then build a relationship with them, follow up, and sell them your products or services.
But if you’re going to consistently get content visitors on your email list, then you’re going to need to point them toward a sales funnel built to convert.
Fortunately, this isn’t as complicated as it sounds.
The simplest sales funnels for building your email list is what we call the Squeeze Page Funnel.
This email-collecting sales funnel only consists of two pages: the sales page and the “thank you” page.
But rather than just asking people to join your email list, you’ll have far more success by offering a free gift in return.
Here’s an example…
Typically, this free gift — known as a “lead magnet” — is some sort of free downloadable resource that draws your prospects to give you their email address (like a magnet) and become a lead.. It might be a PDF or a mini-course or an audio lesson.
But what you offer is far more important than what type of content you’re offering.
Ask yourself what it is that your audience wants most… and then give that to them for free.
Then you’ll not only get their email address, but you’ll build trust, provide value, and create anticipation and excitement for your future offers.
Each piece of content should try to drive people to this sales funnel.
We recommend using in-content forms…
…and exit-intent pop-ups…
Step 2. Choose Your Main Platform
Once you’re ready to start producing content and driving traffic to your new lead magnet, here’s what you shouldn’t do…
Do NOT try to consistently create content for multiple platforms right out of the gate.
Remember the famous 80/20 rule — 20% of the work produces 80% of the results.
And to start, you want to focus only on the platform where your target market is most active.
Going to where your dream customers already congregate (rather than making them come to you) will give your content marketing efforts a greater chance of success.
Go to the previous section and choose one platform that you’re going to start creating content for.
You can expand and repurpose that content for other platforms later on.
But right now… just choose one.
Step 3. Create Your Schedule
Being consistent is an extremely important part of content marketing success.
This is something that influencers and content marketing “gurus” swear by, many of them attributing their success to years of hard-fought consistency.
But I like the way that Ross Simmonds puts it…
And a little bit of planning can go a long way toward helping you be consistent.
As much as possible, share this schedule with your audience and be consistent about when you publish so that they know when to expect new content.
As for how often you should create content, that really depends on the platform you’ve chosen and your business’ bandwidth.
Once a week is a good cadence for YouTube and Google, but once per day might be more fitting for LinkedIn, and several times per day is probably best on Pinterest and TikTok.
CoSchedule has a great article (over here) that reveals how often you should post on each social media platform, according to research.
Step 4. Consider These Tools
Successful marketers use a few simple tools to increase the effectiveness, efficiency, and impact of their content.
Here are five tools every content marketer should consider using…
1. Crazy Egg
You can use Crazy Egg to better understand how people engage with your blog content or sales pages.
This tool is easy to set up and allows you to view recordings of visitor’s interactions, heatmaps, clickmaps, and more.
Before you start creating and publishing content on your website, Google Analytics is absolutely vital.
This free tool offers tons of valuable information about how your website visitors are engaging with your content. It’ll reveal your bounce rate, average time-on-page, number of new visitors, which pages are driving the most traffic, and lots more.
This is arguably the most useful tool available to content marketers right now.
BuzzSumo is a paid content marketing tool with multiple uses.
It’s most useful for finding content ideas, researching competitor content performance, and discovering influencer marketing opportunities.
Ahrefs is the go-to SEO tool for most content marketers.
It’ll tell you everything you could ever want to know about your content’s performance and your SEO rankings.
It’s particularly useful for doing SEO research, finding keyword opportunities, and tracking your website’s ranking progress.
Social media is an important part of content marketing. But posting on social media consistently without scrolling and getting distracted is a feat of its own.
Buffer allows you to schedule posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Instagram Stories, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. That way, you can create all of your social media content at once rather than throughout the week.
Step 5. Keep Going!
Content marketing is rarely an overnight game-changer.
Sure — some content might go viral and increase your audience size by thousands overnight.
But that’ll only last so long… and the real key to content marketing success is longevity, consistency, and quality.
That is, consistently producing high-quality content over a long period of time.
Doing so is a sure-fire way to build brand awareness, grow your email list, and increase business revenue.
Because the more that people see high-quality content from your brand, the more that they’re going to trust you and the more that they’re going to consider buying from you.
In the eyes of your dream customers, it’s kind of like this… one great piece of content is a mistake, two is a coincidence, three is a calculated effort, and four is a masterpiece.
You get the point.
You want to show your audience that you are consistent in offering free value — that you’re a leader — and you want to show them that you’re committed to a certain level of quality.
Your audience will naturally associate your content quality and consistency with the value that your products and services provide… which translates into either a loyal customer-base or a high churn-rate down the road.
So create a content schedule, answer your target market’s burning questions, and stick to it.
How Will Content Marketing Impact Your Business?
I’ve yet to find an industry where content marketing is ineffective.
In every niche, it’s a great way to build brand awareness, connect with your target market, drive traffic, and even make sales.
The only question now is… how will content marketing impact your business?
You can only answer that question by taking action and seeing for yourself.
Create content, learn from the response you receive and results you drive, and then keep creating content.
Over time, your content will improve and your business will grow.