What is Content Marketing? A Step-by-Step Guide in 2020

‘What is Content Marketing’ is an effort to simplify the concept for people who would like to promote their content online.

Businesses or Content Creators make promotional videos, blog posts, social media posts, complimentary magazines etc. When they talk about them online or offline to customers, that is Content Marketing. Now that is a very simple definition. In our complex, increasingly digitized world, the definition is more layered, more nuanced.

A nuanced definition is creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. Relevant because you can’t pitch guitars to a firefighter, valuable because your blog post on Guitars should bring out unique information that adds value to what customers already know about Guitars. And consistent because if you stop engaging with your audience, it is likely that they will take their attention and dollar bills to similar businesses in the market.

Defining your target audience is equally important because a business would not want to pitch to people who are least interested in their product or service offerings. 

The important question to ask is why do people use Content Marketing (CM)? Simply put, to get more traffic to their websites, to get more social shares and high-quality backlinks. Ultimately, to attract more customers to their online business and physical store.

Below is a listicle aimed at educating digital marketing enthusiasts on ‘What is Content Marketing” and how to succeed at it in 2020.

Find a niche (a subject you truly love and understand)

A Human Rights lawyer can’t perform the duties of a Neurosurgeon, right? For long term success and sustainability, it is important that you love and understand what you are going to write about. Ask yourself these simple questions before you choose a niche subject to write on: 

  1. Do I understand this topic?
  2. Does this topic interest me enough that I can write 2300-word articles on it? (Ideal post length to rank on Google’s first page is 2300 words!)
  3. Are people searching for this topic and will it do well? You can quickly check your competitor’s websites to see which of their posts have done really well and take inspiration before you start writing on a topic. Google Trends and Online Groups are also ways to find out if a topic will do well or is trending on the internet. 

Find relevant Keywords

Now that you have decided on the topic, it’s time to figure out which are the relevant Search terms or Keywords for your topic.

Keywords from YouTube Search

Some of the tried and tested methods for Keyword research are YouTube and Google Search Suggestions.

Below is a screenshot of how YouTube suggests keywords for your topic or Search Term:

I typed my topic “Content Marketing” and look how YouTube has suggested all the relevant search terms that people have used for content marketing. Make sure you write these down and frame your blogpost around them.

Keywords from Google Search Suggestions

Likewise when you do a Google Search for “Content Marketing” these are the Keyword suggestions that appear at the bottom of the page. These are the two very credible sources of high-quality keywords as they come straight from Google.

Decide on the Content Format

Your content format can change depending on what you enjoy doing. Do you enjoy long posts, well, write an awesome 2000-word article. If you love being in front of the camera, you might want to record a video. If you are a creative designer, you would want to design an Infographic. So depending on what formats you love and are skilled at, you can create wonderful content for Digital Marketing.

Create Great Content

You’ve arrived at a topic, completed your keyword research and decided on the format. Now is the time to create great content. By great I mean content that truly inspires action. Your content should be such that people grasp it in minutes and start implementing the steps right away. One reason why Google products have such high adoption is because these are utterly simple and people breeze through the User experience. A Step-by-Step guide, lots of practical examples inspire people to use the content right away. Examples also make learning easier and relatable, you are already seeing someone succeeding with those steps. 

User Experience (UX)

Any content, be it blog posts, videos, podcasts has user experience to it. If your blogpost does not have ‘Headings’ and ‘Subheadings’, chances are readers will not be able to scan your content for learning or a quick revision. Let’s say the podcasts don’t have good quality audio, your listeners won’t enjoy them. If your videos are blurry, viewers will likely abandon them. So you have to ensure that User experience is kept in mind at each step of production.

Attractive Title Tag

Did you know that “in search rankings, how many clicked on your title and went to your page” is one of the factors used by Google to rank your blogpost”. So if the Click-through-rate (CTR) is high for your blogpost, your post will likely be ranked higher than similar posts with less CTR. For that to happen, your Title Tag (the post header) has to be compellingly attractive. For example, I have used the Focus Keyphrase as “What is Content Marketing” and the words “A Step-By-Step Guide” is intended to attract readers who wish to read in detail and take  those steps themselves to achieve their goal.

Outbound Links

Have you noticed how I have provided links for Wikipedia pages, Facebook Groups, Google Trends, Google Search and moz.com pages? External linking to authority sites helps your readers understand the concepts you have mentioned, in a better way. It would not be possible for me to explain Keywords, Title Tags and CTR in this post without deviating from the current topic. Hence it is advised that you insert links to sites who have explained these concepts. It is a well-established fact that Outbound Links boost your ranking in Search Results.

Promoting Your Blog Post

A very obvious thing to do is share your blog post on multiple social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. This increases the visibility and reach of your post. For example, the Instagram page for my blog smartshoppingindia.in has 41 followers in 4 days of launching it. So you must share your blogs on social media. Also promoting it on Facebook Groups for Digital Marketing (especially with a large no of members) is recommended.

Not only social media, if you happen to maintain a database of your email subscribers, send your new blog posts in an email newsletter. That way thousands of subscribers will read it and if they happen to like it, possibly share it with their family and friends on social media.

Tracking Reach and Performance

There is a WordPress Plugin called Social Snap, with a few clicks one can easily share the posts on social media. This plugin allows you to display the number of followers you have on each social media platform. It also tracks and displays how many times a post was shared, how many likes it received over a period of time. So do check it out to track your post and blog reach and performance. 

If you have conversion goals with regards to your courses etc that can be easily tracked in Google Analytics, the number one analytics tool for Content Marketers.

Hope you liked this 9 point “Content Marketing Strategy”, I would love to hear from you, what you liked best about this write-up and what is the first thing you are going to implement on your blog. If you found the post valuable, please share it on social media and don’t forget to check out our posts on Google Ads and Instagram Marketing.

Follow our Instagram handle for the latest posts on Digital Marketing.