The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing in 2021

The best way to make sales and grow your business is to build relationships with your target audience. You know this already, but try as you might; it feels as though you’re missing the point. It’s not your fault: those online gurus you’ve been listening to have never bothered to give you the secret ingredient to fostering those all-important relationships: content marketing.

Content Marketing

Today’s consumers are savvy about advertising and are largely immune from its messages. If they can’t block it, they will tune it out, forcing brands to find alternative ways of reaching them. One of those ways is content marketing.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing creates a relationship with a targeted audience through content tailored to address their pain points, needs, and desires in its most basic definition. At its core, content marketing is all about building trust between your brand and potential customers.

Other end goals of content marketing, such as increased consumer action, depend on the relationship you nurture between your brand and consumers. That’s why, according to an article on Hubspot, the most competitive businesses spend over 29% of their budget on content marketing. It’s a race to see who wins the consumers’ hearts the fastest.

Why Is Content Marketing Important?

According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing to reach customers. This number will likely increase in the years to come as more businesses turn to content marketing strategies to improve sales. Let’s explore why content marketing is a big deal for most businesses.

Trust

No one likes the try-hard, smarmy car salesperson who lays it on way too thick. On the other hand, everyone loves a salesperson who listens and genuinely wants to help them make the best choice.

Content marketing lets you show prospective customers that you care about their problems and want to provide them with a solution. Done right, it inspires warm feelings toward your brand and, in time, trust. Quality and quantity matter here; the more quality content that answers your target audience’s questions and provides them with actionable solutions, the more trust you will build with them.

From this point, it’s a short road to conversion. It’s easier to buy from a brand you trust than one whose ad disrupts your favorite TV show.

Lead Generation

Content marketing is a great way to generate high-quality leads. Rather than spend money buying leads and annoying your target audience with unsolicited emails, use content marketing to generate organic leads.

To generate high-quality leads, create high-quality content consistently that is helpful and includes a call-to-action (CTA) in it. Your CTA could be anywhere in your content. The position doesn’t matter;.however, in most blog posts, the most typical place to insert a CTA is at the bottom of the post. But don’t stress about this — just concentrate on creating killer content.

Remember, if your audience loves your content, they are more likely to click your CTA and go to your landing page.

Cultivate Brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty is the marketing jackpot every business is looking for because it is indeed the gift that keeps on giving.

When consumers develop loyalty to your brand, they not only become customers-for-life, but they also become marketers too. They convince their friends and family to patronize your business in one of the most effective marketing strategies ever — word-of-mouth marketing.

One way to turn your target audience into brand superfans is by putting out consistent, helpful content that resonates.

Become an Authority in Your Niche

Investopedia, Healthline, and Hubspot are top authorities in the financial, health and marketing industries.

Consumers trust them to put out credible information consistently. But credibility doesn’t stop at consumer trust. Once you establish credibility in your niche, search engines rank you high on search results pages (SERP). High ranking makes you visible to any searches within your industry.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? To get this ball rolling, you need to create content that isn’t only useful but answers your customers’ questions. Do this consistently and watch your brand loyalty rise.

SEO Benefits

SEO is a long-term plan but guess what makes it shorter? Content Marketing. A secondary advantage to content marketing is SEO benefits.

Content marketing strategy involves consistently creating content that is useful to consumers. This, in turn, builds customer trust. Coincidentally, search engine algorithms use these as metrics when ranking web pages.

With content marketing, you get to boost your rankings while building a relationship with your customers.

Content Marketing Saves Costs Long-Term

If there’s anything that makes businesses happy, it’s cost-effective strategies that give astronomical ROIs. Well, here you have one. Content Marketing, according to a study done by Hubspot, is the most cost-effective marketing strategy today.

Compared to paid ads and other forms of traditional marketing, content marketing is cheaper in the long run. And the best part? You get to grow and keep your audience.

With the right content marketing strategy, your business would enjoy these benefits and more.

Types of Content Marketing

There are many types of content you could use in your content marketing strategy. What you eventually choose depends on your brand and consumers.

But what type of content should you be creating? Are there content types that are more successful than others? Let’s take a look at the most standard types of content.

Blogs

A blog post is a cheap and effective way to share helpful content with your customers. It is essential when you’re putting out bulky content.

According to Hubspot, 89% of content marketers included blog posts in their 2020 content creation strategy.

The advantages are endless, but here are a few to take note of. Blog posts

  • Help you build a relationship with your customer by providing engaging content that offers value;
  • Increase traffic to your website and convert customers;
  • Keep existing customers engaged.

When creating a blog post, be sure to include helpful content that provides value to your customers. Remember that the goal with content marketing isn’t to push out your products but to develop a relationship with your customers. Also, optimize all blogs for SEO. This includes using headings, paragraphs, bulleted points and keywords where needed.

Paid Ads

Paid ads have a bit of a bad rep in the marketing world, and we understand. Display ads and pop-up ads have soured ads’ reputation, but paid ads can be a gold mine in content marketing.

When coupled with content marketing, paid ads are great at pushing your brand to a broader audience. If your business struggles with brand awareness, paid ads might be the solution.

But that’s not the best thing about using paid ads for content marketing. Paid ad platforms only show ads to people who have expressed an interest in the services offered. So you can rest assured that your ads won’t be popping up where they aren’t wanted. How awesome is that?

Infographics

A picture says a thousand words, right? When it comes to infographics, a picture does say more than a handful of words.

An infographic is visual content that highlights important information. Infographics weren’t the trendiest form of content marketing a few years ago, but in 2021, 86% of businesses say they’ll be using it more.

Why infographics?

  • They simplify complex information so that it is easy to understand at a glance.
  • They’re easy to follow when used to present a step-by-step guide.
  • They’re engaging.
  • They make brands easily recognizable.

You can use infographics alone or pair them with blog posts to condense the information presented in the blog. Just like blog posts, you must optimize infographics to get the full benefit.

Video Content

Video content has become an increasingly popular form of content marketing in the last couple of years. In 2020, Hubspot reported that videos were the most commonly used medium for content marketing. There are good reasons why this is so.

The internet has already shortened attention spans and coupled with their busy lifestyle, fewer people have the time to go through long-form blog posts. Videos provide them with short, easily digestible chunks of information.

In an industry as competitive as marketing, brands that incorporate videos into their content marketing strategies have an edge.

Types of visual content include:

  • 360 videos
  • Vlogs
  • Contests
  • Webinar
  • Animation
  • Q&A / Interview
  • Product Review
  • How-to tutorial
  • Live Streaming

You can use any of these video content forms to share valuable and helpful content with your customers.

Podcasts

Copyblogger Neil Patel and other savvy marketers endorsed podcasts for content marketing a few years ago. Today, it’s one of the fastest-growing forms of marketing.

Podcasts provide content on the go for your target audience. They can consume your content while walking their dogs, eating breakfast or working out.

About 50% of 12 to 32-year-olds are consuming hours of podcasts every week. These numbers are expected to rise, although they look good already. This should tell you something. The audience is available; you just need to provide the content.

Social Media

Any business that isn’t using social media as a core arm of its content marketing strategies is making a huge mistake.

There are billions of people around the world on social media that you can reach with your content. It’s also a more interactive content marketing approach than the other types.

Why Use Social Media?

The answer is social listening. You can learn first-hand from your customers what they want and create a piece of content that matches it perfectly. Not all social media platforms are conducive to content marketing, but the following are:

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Snapchat

How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy

Yay! We’ve finally gotten to the juicy part. Now that you know what content marketing is, the benefits and types of content marketing, the next step is to apply it. It begins with a content marketing strategy.

A content marketing strategy is a plan that encompasses the following:

  • Content creation
  • Content distribution
  • Content scoring

Every business needs to have a content marketing strategy set in place before creating any piece of content. A content marketing plan helps you know the following things:

  • What type of content to create
  • What to consider when creating content
  • Content distribution channels

We’ll be outlining 10 steps that’ll help you create the best content marketing strategy for your business.

  1. Set content marketing goals
  2. Decide on KPI’s
  3. Know your Audience
  4. Create a buyer persona
  5. Choose what type of Content to use
  6. Set a budget
  7. Create a Content Calendar
  8. Create Content
  9. Distribute content
  10. Analyze and measure results

1. Set Content Marketing Goals

Every content marketing plan is built around a goal or a set of goals.
What you hope to achieve would determine what type of content you use, when you use it and how you distribute it.

To make it easier for you, write out a statement that outlines

  • What you want for your business
  • Your target audience
  • What you have to offer
  • What your target audience would gain

2. Decide on KPIs

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the metrics used to measure any content marketing success.

Decide on the KPIs that align with your outlined goals and take note of them. Remember to be specific with figures when setting your KPIs — for example, improving your lead generation by 10X after the second quarter of the year.

3. Know Your Target Audience

In content marketing, content is the kingdom, but the audience is the king. The success of any content marketing plan hinges on how well you know your target audience. You can’t create tailored content for an audience you don’t know enough about.

Start with the demographic data. This includes age, education, income and gender. You can find out more about your target audience by using customer feedback as well.

4. Create a Buyer Persona

Next on the agenda is to create a buyer persona. Also known as an avatar, a buyer persona is an ideal customer whose pain points, desires and needs you know.

A buyer persona would help you understand your target audience and create perfectly suited content.

5. Choose What Type of Content to Use

It’s finally time for you to create content, but what kind exactly? The perfect content for your brand depends on your audience; however, a common but effective strategy puts blog posts at the center.

You start with a central blog post and then repurpose it into video content, infographics, podcasts and any other type of content you want to use. This method saves time and resources.

6. Set a budget

Content marketing is cheap, but you still have to spend some money, especially initially. For example, you’ll need to pay for a content writer, editor and obtain licensing for media, such as images to use in your blog posts. A budget would help you allocate resources effectively and avoid overextending yourself.

7. Create a Content Calendar

Things can get crazy once you’ve started creating content. Consider keeping a content calendar to keep track of your content creation and distribution process.

Use task management tools like Asana, Slack and Teamwork to delegate and schedule the content creation process.

8. Create Content

Creating a piece of content is the easy part of your content marketing plan. Based on your buyer persona, you have a fair idea of what type of content to create and what it should be about. Nevertheless, here are some tips for content creation:

  • Research. Carry out diligent research on your content and on keywords needed to optimize your content
  • Create content. Be sure to create search engine optimized content that is consistent with your brand voice.

9. Distribute and Market Content

Schedule and distribute your content. Some effective distribution channels are:

  • Social Media platforms
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Email Marketing

10. Analyze and Measure Results

Use assessment tools like Google Analytics to monitor your KPIs and analyze how effective your content strategy is.

Engage Your Target Audience With Content Marketing

Relate to your target audience today with content marketing. With a good content marketing strategy, you can build brand trust and loyalty, improve conversions and generate leads.

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