Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing in 2018

Are you using content marketing effectively to reach your customers and grow your business?

These days, content is one of the best ways to raise brand awareness among a targeted audience. Content marketing campaigns can also bring you online authority, web traffic, leads, and sales.

There’s just one problem.

Without the right content marketing strategy, tactics, and tools, you won’t get those benefits.

So how do you avoid wasting your time on the wrong content marketing approach?

Simple. Read this guide.

We’ve collected the latest content marketing best practices to help you market your business with content.

With this info, you’ll be able to get your audience’s attention and make them want to connect with you. Down the road, that means more leads and sales.

Be warned, there’s a LOT of information here. So, we’ve created a table of contents so you can go straight to the area of content marketing you want to learn about first.

Let’s start with a content marketing definition, so we’re all clear what we’re talking about.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing means marketing your business with content. It sounds deceptively simple, but there’s a lot to it.

First, there’s the content part. That’s stuff like blog posts, articles, podcasts, and videos. Basically, it’s information in written, audible, or visual form.

So, what about the marketing part? That hasn’t changed since marketing first took place in actual markets. It’s all about telling your target audience about your products and services so they want to become customers. With content marketing, you do this with content.

But there is one difference from the good ol’, bad ‘ol days. Unlike other types of sales and marketing, content marketing makes people come to you rather than you reaching out to them (though there is some overlap between the two). That’s why content marketing is part of inbound marketing.

Content marketers create, curate, share, and distribute quality content. As you’ll see, quality content is content that is relevant, accurate, optimized for search and delivers what your audience wants.

This content helps marketers:

  • Attract a defined target audience
  • Inform them about the business
  • Engage and educate them
  • Generate leads and sales
  • Turn that audience into customers, fans, and advocates

Next, let’s look at some content marketing statistics that show why this marketing method is so popular.

Content Marketing Statistics – Does It Really Work?

Why do so many people use content when trying to build an audience? One major reason is that content reaches people where they are: online.

Around the world, the digital population is about 4 billion people, says Statista. That means about half of the world is connected, which is a pretty big market.

statista digital population

But things are changing. More than 75% of those online people use mobile devices and social media, which has implications for your marketing.

And in the US, 26% of adults are almost always online.

The best way to reach people who are always online is with content that comes straight to the mobile devices and social networks they are using. After all, that’s where they’re looking for information.

That’s why content is such a popular marketing tool. The latest stats from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) show that 91% of B2B marketers and 86% of B2C marketers consider content marketing a core strategy.

And it works. According to the CMI, 72% of marketers say content marketing increases engagement and is a great lead generation tool. And nobody wants to miss out on getting more leads, right?

Ready to get your share? Let’s start with defining your content marketing strategy. (And if you want to learn more about the data supporting the use of content marketing, check out our huge roundup of content marketing statistics.)

How To Create a Content Marketing Strategy

Creating content without a plan is like driving without GPS: you may get there in the end, but you’ll definitely take a few wrong turns on the way. In fact, you could end up wandering around aimlessly, getting frustrated, and wasting time and money.

The stats show that content strategy is one of the areas marketers struggle with most:

  • 63% of businesses haven’t got a documented content strategy
  • 64% of marketers need help on building a better content strategy
  • 60% of marketers find it difficult to produce content consistently

zazzle content marketing stats

So here are some tips on creating the perfect content strategy.

1. Set Out Your Mission, Goals, And KPIs

One of the first steps is to work out your content marketing mission. It’s a brief statement of who your audience is, how you’ll reach them, and what they’ll gain from your content. A good example is this content marketing mission statement from CIO.com:

content strategy examples - cio mission

Here’s a formula you can use to create your own content marketing mission:

We provide [target audience] with [type of content] to help them [business goals].

Business goals are an important part of the process. They set out what your business will gain from content marketing. Typical content marketing goals include improving sales, getting more leads, and increasing traffic. Learn more about content marketing goals here.

This formula can also work for B2C marketing, because your target audience always has goals. For example, a B2C health brand could create informational articles (that’s the type of content) for women over 50 (target audience) to help them survive menopause (goal).

And, of course, you need to say how you’ll measure success. These are your key performance indicators (KPIs). These can include revenue targets, numbers of subscribers, increased visitor numbers, and more.

2. Know Your Audience

An essential step in any content strategy is knowing who you’re marketing to. This will help you target your content appropriately. This is important because marketing works best when it’s relevant. If you create content for everyone, you’re not creating it for anyone.

A starting point is getting demographic data via web, social, and email analytics. This will tell you the age, gender, education, and income of your target audience.

You can also collect feedback from customers to help you understand their priorities, decide where to reach them, and flesh out buyer personas. Buyer personas will bring these two sets of information together so you know what content to create, how it will help your audience, and what will make them care about it.

Learn more about understanding your audience for content marketing here.

3. Plan Your Process

It’s essential to plan a process for content creation. In particular, you should know:

  • Who’s in charge of creating content
  • Who’s in charge of maintaining and updating content
  • What resources you need for content creation
  • What your publishing schedule is
  • Who has final content approval
  • What your content production workflow is

Learn more about content marketing resource allocation here. And see our FAQs for guidance on integrating your content into a content calendar.

4. Start a Blog

Your blog is at the centerpiece of any content marketing strategy. It provides a hub for all your other content marketing efforts. In fact, it’s an essential marketing tool. So, if you don’t already have a blog, start one.

To get the most from blogging, you’ll need some blog post ideas. Some ideas that work well include:

  • How-to guides
  • Tutorials
  • Industry news and insights
  • Checklists
  • Case studies, which we’ll look at in more detail later
  • Interviews
  • Expert advice

Get some more blog post ideas in 73 types of blog posts that are proven to work.

Want to dig down into the nitty-gritty of blog post idea generation? Then consider posts that are:

  • Useful
  • Educational
  • Fun
  • Controversial

You can also publish roundups, personal stories, and lifestyle posts. Get more inspiration from our huge list of blog post ideas.

5. Audit Your Existing Content

If you’ve got content already, it’s important to work out if it’s meeting your goals and delivering on those KPIs. That’s why it makes sense to audit your content. That’s a three-step process:

  1. Log what you have
  2. Assess whether it’s working
  3. Find content gaps

A good tool for logging your content is Screaming Frog. It’s an SEO tool, but is also a great way to quickly grab all the URLs from your site. You can also easily find duplicate pages and identify missing titles and descriptions. Learn more about using Screaming Frog in our SEO guide.

Another useful tool is SEMRush. It includes a content audit tool that assesses content length, inbound links, and social shares.

Once you have the data from both of these tools, it’s easy to see what’s working, what needs to be improved, and what needs to be replaced. You can also quickly identify content gaps, where creating a new piece of content could help achieve your goals.

Learn more about auditing your content in our content strategy guide.

6. Do Keyword Research and Create Content

One crucial part of creating content is doing keyword research. That’s because you want people to find your content online so they visit your site. Keywords are the terms people use to search for content. And they’re also the terms Google uses to identify what your content is about.

There are three basic types of keywords to include in your content:

  • Short keywords that identify a broad concept or group of items, like “socks”
  • Medium keywords, which can be 2 or 3 words that narrow down a concept, like “women’s socks”
  • Long tail keywords, which are longer, more specific phrases, like “women’s cotton hiking socks”

content marketing - long tail keywords

Keywords in content also have to help searchers and Google match your content to what they’re looking for. This is called search intent, and there are four types:

  • Navigational, where people search for a specific site
  • Informational, where they’re trying to get the answer to a question
  • Investigational, where they are narrowing down pre-purchase options
  • Transactional, where searchers are ready to buy

Researching keywords for content marketing involves:

Once you’ve found the keywords you need, you’ll need to include them in your content. Some key places to use keywords are:

  • The title of your page and your content
  • The SEO title of your content or page, which may be different
  • The meta description for your content
  • Throughout the body of the content
  • In links to that piece of content and social updates about that content

How Long Should Your Content Be?

It’s worth knowing that content is one of the top SEO ranking factors, so it’s essential to get it right. Although Google doesn’t cite content length as an SEO ranking factor, the research shows that longer, more in-depth content gets more top ten search positions.

content length is a mobile seo ranking factor

It also gets more links and shares, adding social signals to boost ranking even further.

When you write longer content, the same rules apply. Optimize by sprinkling keyword phrases in where appropriate. But be sure to avoid the black hat SEO practice of keyword stuffing.

7. Decide on Your Lead Magnet

Content is an ideal lead generation tool. One way to get more leads with content is to create a lead magnet. An ideal lead magnet:

  • Solves a real problem for your customers
  • Gives a solution that’s quick and easy to implement
  • Is valuable, but easy to digest
  • Shows your expertise

Some of the best lead magnets include ebooks, case studies, and webinars. We’ll look at those later in the guide. Other effective lead magnets include:

  • Checklists and lists of resources
  • Reports
  • Free trials
  • Quizzes
  • Mini-courses

Here are some more lead magnet ideas.

For best results, deliver your lead magnet immediately. You can easily do that with OptinMonster’s success themes.

whitelist-3

Learn more about content marketing for lead generation here.

8. Promote Your Content

Another important aspect of content strategy is promoting the content you create to meet your marketing goals. There are several ways to do this. They include:

  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Link building

We’ll look at each of these in more detail in the next section.

Content Promotion Techniques

Here are some of the ways you can promote the content you create.

Social Media Marketing

As we said earlier, social networks can help improve content visibility. That’s why you can’t ignore it as a core element of content marketing. And if you happen to be targeting search traffic from Bing, it’s useful to know that social media is a ranking factor for that search engine.

Some of the techniques you use for great content creation can also make it more shareable. For example, it’s just as important to write a great headline and use an eye-catching image on social as on your blog.

And remember those keywords we talked about earlier? You can use them selectively as hashtags on social networks. They’ll help people find your content more easily.

hashtags facebook content marketing

Learn more in our guide to social media and SEO.

Here’s a tool we like for optimizing social media messages: CoSchedule’s Social Message Optimizer, mentioned in our guide to getting leads from Twitter.

Just type your message into the onscreen box, and you’ll get a score for each platform. That’ll let you tweak messages so you get the best results from each.

social optimizer initial report

And you can use Missinglettr, which we discussed in our Facebook marketing guide, to automate posting content to your social profiles throughout the year.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to market with content. Most people still read emails so it’s a great way to keep in touch with subscribers and customers to build a relationship with them. Plus email marketing is proven to earn around $40 for every dollar you spend.

email marketing has one of the best rois of any form of content marketing

That’s why it’s a content marketing must.

As we say in our article on email newsletter design, the best email marketing copy:

  • Is short
  • Is scannable
  • Has a compelling headline
  • Avoids being overly promotional

A good tip for getting started is to get inspiration from what already works. You can get a head start on reaching your audience with email content marketing ideas from Buzzsumo, Quora and Reddit.

You can use OptinMonster to grow your email list by delivering a lead magnet, gating content, and making compelling offers. For example, Trading Strategy Guides used content locking to add 11,000 new subscribers.

A content locking script restricts access to content until a reader subscribes.

We’ll look at some of these content marketing tactics later in this guide.

Link Building and Content Marketing

One great thing you can do with content is to build links. Links are an important SEO ranking factor. A good way to get started is to establish who’s already linking to you by using a tool like the SEMrush site audit tool we mentioned earlier.

When creating content, it’s important to build internal links. These help search engines and visitors navigate your site and find more content. That’s good for SEO.

Make a habit of linking to your best resources within new content. It’s also a good idea to go back to existing content from time to time and add links to more recently published content.

You should also show your site is trustworthy by linking to authoritative external sources in your own content.

And it’s essential to get a good range of inbound links. Some ways to do that include:

  • Getting reviews for your business, products or services
  • Asking people who have mentioned you to link to your site
  • Using broken link building
  • Guest blogging, which we’ll talk about in more detail later in this guide
  • Taking part in expert roundups and interviews

Learn more link building techniques here.

Content Marketing Tactics

There are several content marketing tactics proven to help businesses market more effectively to their audience. In this section, we’re going to look at some of them, including:

  • Guest blogging
  • Gated content
  • Content repurposing
  • Content curation
  • FOMO
  • Urgency
  • Geomarketing

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is a key way to improve SEO and get more from content marketing. In fact, says the Content Marketing Institute, it’s a key part of the content marketing funnel.

the-inbound-content-funnel-final

Guest blogging can help you:

  • Raise awareness of your brand
  • Attract inbound links
  • Build trust
  • Get new visitors and subscribers

To make a success of guest blogging, you’ll need to:

Learn more in our guest blogging guide.

Gated Content

You know what’s even better than putting your blog content out there for free? Hiding some of it away to entice visitors to subscribe.

That’s what gated content is all about, and it’s a content marketing tactic that’s proven to work.

Apart from blog posts, you can also gate:

  • News articles
  • White papers and research
  • Webinar and video replays
  • Checklists and cheat sheets
  • Downloadable resources and tools
  • Any lead magnet

Content gating can be a quick way to help you understand who your audience is and what matters to them. It can also help you build a relationship with them, and create more targeted marketing.

Of course, there are some disadvantages, too. For example, gated content can annoy visitors, and reduce the number of people you can connect to. But for many businesses with a large audience, the pros outweigh the cons.

To gate content effectively, you need:

You can use OptinMonster to gate content quickly and effectively with our content locking feature. This doubled email signups for Whole Whale, and got a 3806% increase in conversions for Photowebo.

photowebo

Learn how to gate content with OptinMonster here.

Content Upgrades

You can create additional content related to a particular blog post and use it as a content upgrade to get people interested in subscribing.

Kindlepreneur used this technique to boost customer retention by 72%. To do the same, get OptinMonster, then check out our list of content upgrade ideas. And learn more about attracting blog subscribers here.

kindlepreneur fullscreen optin

Content Repurposing

One technique many marketers use is content repurposing. That’s about taking existing content and reusing it in another format.

This can help solve the issue of creating new content (we’ll look at another way to do that in a minute). It can also help you extend the reach of your content, to let you generate more leads and make more sales.

Techniques you can use for content repurposing include:

  • Content syndication, where your posts appear as related content on other people’s posts, using tools like Outbrain, Zemanta, and Taboola
  • Republishing your posts on sites like Medium
  • Sharing content on sites like Reddit
  • Creating social media posts with content snippets
  • Making something new, like a presentation, infographic, video or podcast
  • Updating an old piece of content

Here are some more ways to repurpose your blog content.

Content Curation Tools

Another way to solve your content marketing woes is to use content curation. With content curation you can benefit from great content without having to create it. That saves you time, effort, and money.

With content curation tools you can:

  • Create and share personal content digests
  • Keep up with the latest on various topics
  • Automate social media content sharing

Best of all, some of the greatest content curation tools are free, including:

  • Flipboard, which lets you create your own digital magazine
  • Klout, which recommends shareable content to boost social influence
  • Listly, a list creation and sharing tool
  • Nuzzel, a newsletter content curation tool
  • Pinterest, which lets you curate content via pins and boards

content curation tools - pinterest

Check out more content curation tools here.

FOMO

Using FOMO is one of the best ways to make visitors anxious to download your lead magnet, and buy your stuff. We’re psychologically primed to respond to it. In marketing, FOMO’s about triggering this feeling to make your audience more responsive.

While FOMO affects 69% of millennials, it also affects almost half of social media users.

why fomo marketing works

So it’s pretty powerful.

Some ways to use FOMO in your content include:

  • Letting readers know there’s the potential to miss an opportunity in your messaging
  • Using expiring content
  • Offering a content upgrade, as described earlier
  • Rewarding visitors for making an early decision to subscribe or buy

You can also use OptinMonster’s exit-intent technology to offer a one time discount on a particular page. Ryan Robinson used this feature to boost subscribers by 500%.

growth hacking tools exit intent ryan robinson

Learn more about using FOMO in marketing.

Urgency

Urgency is another useful marketing tactic that plays into human psychology. Urgent situations make us want to act. Urgency’s also related to FOMO, described earlier.

Urgency only works if you’re marketing something useful, valuable, or important. Otherwise people won’t want it.

Tips for using urgency in marketing include:

  • Don’t overuse it, or it loses impact
  • As well as FOMO, you can use language to evoke time, speed, scarcity, and a sale
  • Use active, urgent language in your CTA, like “book now”
  • Repeat urgent language in email subject lines and preheader text

Some of the techniques cited for FOMO above also work for evoking urgency.

You can easily show that something’s urgent by using OptinMonster’s countdown timer functionality. This’ll give visitors a visible reminder that an offer is due to expire.

kennedy blue floating hello bar

Learn more about boosting conversions with urgency.

Geomarketing

We said earlier that it’s important to make content relevant to your customers. Geomarketing is a great way to do that. Geomarketing lets you deliver content and messages tailored to your audience’s location.

It can also help you:

  • Improve your content’s position in local search results
  • Be more visible to mobile device users (and social media users, many of whom use mobile devices)
  • Create hyper-targeted content

Another important part of geotargeted content marketing is local SEO content optimization. This includes using schema markup and the creation of local landing pages.

You can use OptinMonster’s geo-location feature to target campaigns by location. IMSource got a 6500% increase in conversions by doing this.

IMSOURCE_Lightbox_ExitIntent_Affiliate-Marketing

Learn more about using OptinMonster to geotarget your content in this guide.

The Best Types of Content to Wow Your Audience

If you want to get more from your content strategy, achieving real results that boost leads and sales, then you’ll need to use the right types of content.

Not all content types appeal to all visitors, so you need to mix it up a bit.

In this section, we’ll look at some winning content formats. Blog posts are obviously key, as mentioned earlier, but here are some more types of content you can use.

Case Studies

If you want to win new business, then consider creating customer case studies. They’re pretty effective, and we should know.

optinmonster case studies - proven types of content

Case studies let you:

  • Highlight the benefits of your product or service
  • Create content specific to a niche you want to target
  • Build trust with potential customers
  • Show your advantage over your competitors

Plus you can build an even better relationship with the customers you feature.

Learn more about creating case studies in our guide.

Ebooks

Looking for a quick lead magnet? An ebook could be just the ticket. HubSpot’s most popular lead magnet got 12,000 shares in a year.

If you’re going to succeed with ebooks, you’ll need:

  • Content that meets readers’ needs and has a specific purpose
  • An outline that puts content in a logical order
  • Delivery in a format that your audience wants, such as PDF or Kindle
  • Rich, well-researched and well-written content

Learn some of the mistakes to avoid when writing an ebook.

Videos

You can’t get away from it. Video is one of the hottest content formats around. It’s not just that most people (including millennials) watch videos; it’s also that video’s proven to generate leads and help make sales.

content marketing statistics 2018 video trends

That’s what the latest video content marketing stats say. Those who use video marketing get 66% more leads a year, says Aberdeen Group. And according to Wyzowl, 81% of those using video saw an increase in sales. You can see more stats on video marketing in our recent roundup.

You can create many types of video, including explainer videos, product or service showcases, and even tutorials. And you can create a video easily with just a mobile device and a YouTube account, so it’s not hard to get started.

Once you get the hang of it, go live, as live video is becoming even more popular.

Webinars

Webinars are another proven lead generation tool. According to ReadyTalk, up to 40% of those who attend webinars can become qualified leads.

content formats - webinars

Up to 5% could make a purchase, says the Branded Solopreneur. And some people have earned millions by hosting webinars.

Those numbers make the case for using webinars as a form of content marketing. To get started, create a presentation you can show, and get ready to have a brief Q&A afterwards. You’ll need a webinar signup landing page, and a tool like Zoom to let you host the webinar.

Learn more about webinar marketing in our guide. And check out some more useful content formats here.

How to Measure Content Marketing ROI

Believe it or not, many marketers don’t know what an effective content marketing program looks like, says the CMI.

CMI content marketing success

So, in this section, we’re going to look at content marketing ROI. Content marketing ROI is about how much you earn from content marketing compared with the amount you spend.

content marketing roi definition

To work out this figure, track:

  • What you spend on content creation
  • What you spend on content distribution
  • What you earn

Then use this formula from Convince and Convert to work out ROI:

Return minus investment, divided by investment, expressed as a percentage

So if you spend $5000 on creating a piece of content, and get leads worth $20000, then your ROI is 300%:

  • $20000-$5000 = $15000
  • $15000/$5000 = 3
  • 3 x 100% = 300%

If you earn more in sales than you spend on content production and distribution, then it’s worth it.

But as we know, measuring content marketing success isn’t just about money. Some of the other areas to pay attention to include:

  • Whether your content is generating leads. If people are responding and contacting you, then you have the prospect of making sales eventually.
  • If your content is generating sales, which you can measure in Google Analytics and your eCommerce platform
  • Traffic and onsite engagement
  • Social media success
  • SEO, and getting better content positions in SERPs
  • Prominence and authority, both online and offline

Learn more in our guide to measuring content marketing ROI.

Content Marketing Tools

According to the CMI, 92% of marketers need help with content marketing, as only 8% of marketers feel they’re doing a great job. But use the right tools, and everyone can get better results. In this section, we’re going to look at tools to help you market more successfully with content.

OptinMonster

OptinMonster’s marketing software can help you get more subscribers by showing campaigns at the right time so more of your visitors take action. It includes multiple integrations with your favorite CRM, email marketing and web and eCommerce platforms.

Learn more about OptinMonster’s solutions here.

Audacity

With 15% of people listening to podcasts, this is a content format you can’t ignore.

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is one of our favorite tools for tracking social shares and trending content online. It’s useful for influencer marketing and headline inspiration, too.

buzzsumo content marketing tool

Feedly

Feedly is an excellent tool for tracking sites and topics you want to follow. It lets you stay up to date so you can always add new stuff to your content calendar.

content marketing tools - feedly

Headline Analyzer

Want to write great headlines? Use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. It’s another favorite for the OptinMonster team. It helps you determine whether your headline is hot – or not!

coschedule headline analyzer - one of our favorite content marketing tools

MailChimp

With email subject line testing, automation, and a price tag of free for the first 2000 subscribers, MailChimp is a great place to get started with email marketing.

mailchimp

MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights gives you an easy way to keep track of your blog and web traffic from the WordPress dashboard. When you know your metrics, it’s easy to see if your strategy is working, so you can change it if you need to.

use monster insights for content marketing

OpenSiteExplorer

OpenSiteExplorer, by Moz, tracks page authority and domain authority for sites. This can be useful for guest blogging and other content marketing outreach.

open site explorer

OutreachPlus

If you’re looking for a good content promotion tool, consider OutreachPlus. It will help you find prospects worth nurturing to build better connections, and get more leads and sales.

best growth hacks for outreach

WPForms

WPForms gives you the chance to design your own forms, polls, and surveys to really get to know your customers. And it integrates with OptinMonster, too.

wpforms survey tool

See more content marketing tools here.

Visual Content Creation Tools

If you really want to ramp up content visibility, you have to go visual.

Content with images gets more views and more shares, says the research. And, as we’ve seen, all ages love video, which will represent 82% of online traffic by 2021.

Here are some visual content creation tools to help you make the most of this trend.

Animaker

Animaker lets you create an animated video without having to pay through the nose. It includes a range of video types, and you can even create infographic videos.

content creation tools - animaker

Boomerang

Animation doesn’t get much easier than the Boomerang app from Instagram. This has recently been added to Facebook Stories so you can create quick stop-motion videos for both platforms.

Boomerang from Instagram

Canva

One of our favorite image creation tools is Canva. It’s ridiculously easy to make a blog post header, social media graphic, or even an ebook cover.

content creation tools for social media imclude canva

CloudApp

If you want to capture your screen, or share a recording, then CloudApp is worth considering. Here at OptinMonster, we use it for screenshots, animated GIFs, and more.

use CloudApp for visual content creation

Easel.ly

Infographics are another popular content format. You can quickly create one with Easel.ly. With built -n templates and the ability to add images and charts, you can have an appealing infographic in a few minutes.

easelly is one of the free content creation tools

Giphy

If you’re using any sort of messaging platform with GIFs, chances are you’ve already used Giphy. But you can also use its online GIF creator to make your own.

giphy is a visual content creation tool

Meme Generator

Want to create a meme quickly? Try Meme Generator. Search for an image, add your text, and share – it doesn’t get much simpler than that.

Meme Generator for visual content creation

Pixlr

If you need to edit your images, then Pixlr is a good bet. It comes in three flavors, depending on how much you want to do, Pixlr Express is a good middle ground with easy to use editing tools and some filters.

8 Pixlr Web Apps

Prezi

These days, presentation software goes way beyond PowerPoint. One example of that is Prezi, which makes it super easy for non-designers to make stunning presentations. And you can get viewing stats, too.

Prezi

Soapbox

If you use Chrome, then consider Wistia’s Soapbox extension. It lets you quickly create and share videos right from the browser.

Soapbox by wistia

See our roundup for more visual content creation tools.

Content Promotion Tools

A key part of getting ROI on content marketing is promoting your content. Here are some tools to help you to do that.

Missinglettr

missinglettr content marketing tool

As we said earlier, Missinglettr is one of our favorite tools. Just plug in your blog’s URL, then it automatically creates a sharing campaign for your content whenever you publish new content. It works on multiple social media platforms.

Social Warfare

social warfare

SocialWarfare is one of our favorite WordPress social media plugins. It makes it easy for you to let your audience promote your work.

Sprout Social

sproutsocial

Sprout Social combines social listening with publishing. This means you can keep track of conversations related to your niche, and use that information to share relevant content.

Tailwind

Tailwind lets you schedule and share content on Pinterest and Instagram. You can also monitor content performance with its built in analytics.

tailwind

Zapier

Zapier is a great marketing automation tool. It lets you connect multiple services together, so you can easily cross-post content. And it integrates with OptinMonster, letting you connect our marketing campaign software to almost any web service.

zapier

Paid Content Promotion Tools

You can use the tools listed above for free, but any good content strategy includes a mix of organic and paid promotion.

Social media advertising platforms can help you quickly extend the reach of your content. Organic reach is declining, so these days you have to pay to play. See these links to find out how to promote your content on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest.

You can also use display ads from Google AdWords, using plain text, images, videos and more.

adwords content marketing

And you can use a tool like Outbrain to show your content on other people’s sites.

content promotion outbrain

Get more content promotion tools here.

Content Marketing Examples

It’s not always easy to keep those content marketing ideas flowing. In this section, we provide some examples of content marketing to inspire you.

HubSpot

If you’re looking for a great example of content marketing, HubSpot is a good starting point. The company uses content marketing by:

  • Writing detailed blog posts that meet their visitors’ needs
  • Uploading Facebook videos and driving traffic to them with LinkedIn
  • Using ebooks as lead magnets

GE

General Electric used Instagram for a B2B marketing campaign. The company’s not just about home appliances, but about wind turbines, jet engines, and more.

The Instagram campaign encouraged visitors to explore the company’s manufacturing plants and upload photos to Instagram, tagged with #GEInstaWalk. GE gained 3,000 new followers and got 8 million views

content marketing examples on instagram - ge

AARP

Not all content marketing happens online. For example, AARP The Magazine connects with 37 million readers and 22 million households via a print publication.

what is content marketing - check out aarp's magazine

Blendtec

Want to make a seemingly boring business interesting? Think outside the box, uh, blender. That’s what Blendtec did, increasing sales by 700% over three years with its viral Will It Blend? videos.

Charmin

How about some mobile content marketing? Charmin created the Sit or Squat app to tell its customers where to find clean bathrooms. The irreverent app is in keeping with the brand’s personality, and pretty darned useful, too.

charmin content marketing example

See more inspirational content marketing examples here.

Content Marketing Mistakes

One of the best things about a guide like this is it can save you from making disastrous content marketing mistakes. Here are a few our experts wished they hadn’t made.

Heidi Cohen took a while to start her own blog. Even when she did, she took a while to share the content. Her advice: Just do it.

heidi cohen content marketing fails

Jeff Bullas regrets not starting to build his email list earlier. That strategy cost him 100,000 subscribers.

Joel Klettke says it’s important to have a plan, otherwise you’re wasting your time.

joel klettke content marketing mistakes

It’s also essential to avoid spammy marketing practices like:

  • Not making it clear who’s behind the site by including contact information
  • Sending messages your customers and subscribers don’t want to receive
  • Buying email lists

And to avoid black hat SEO practices such as:

  • Keyword stuffing in content
  • Cloaked links and hidden text
  • Thin content

Here are some more content marketing mistakes to avoid.

FAQs About Content Marketing

Well, we’re nearly at the end of our guide. But before we go, let’s answer some common questions about content marketing.

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is any form of marketing where customers find you when they’re ready to get information or make a purchase. It contrasts with outbound marketing, which is where a company sends marketing messages to initiate conversations with customers. For example, a trade show is an example of outbound marketing.

Content marketing is a form of inbound marketing. It’s about using content to get the attention of prospective customers and subscribers before they are ready to subscribe or buy. It’s a way to start building a relationship with them and, in the long run, to turn them into fans and advocates of your business.

What is a content calendar?

A content calendar is a calendar that outlines when you plan to publish content. It allows you to keep track of your content creation workflow, as well as who’s responsible for producing content. Some content calendars also include information on the different stages of publication, such as research, writing, editing, and finding images. You can also include social media posts on a content calendar.

Where do I start with content marketing?

A good starting point for any kind of online marketing, including content marketing, is to understand who your audience is. If you know who you’re trying to reach, that makes it easier to determine the type of content, the publishing and sharing platforms, and measuring content marketing ROI. You can learn more about all of these in the earlier part of this guide. Once you know your audience, you can get started by creating and sharing content. A common starting point for content marketing is creating a blog.

How does content marketing build your business?

These days, consumers mostly do their own research. Using content marketing gives you something they can find when they search. Content brings you traffic, educates your customers, and delivers leads and sales.

What are the trends in content marketing?

Content marketing is always changing. The latest trends in content production include using video and live video, and creating more interactive content, such as polls and quizzes.

That’s it!

Now you know everything we know about content marketing. We’ll be sure to keep this guide up to date so you always have the latest information.

Next, check out our guides to email marketing, growth hacking, and SEO for even more success with marketing.

And follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more guides, tips, and tutorials.

Sharon Hurley Hall has been a professional writer for more than 25 years, and is certified in content marketing and email marketing. Her career has included stints as a journalist, blogger, university lecturer, and ghost writer.

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