You haven’t been living under a rock — you’ve heard about content marketing and how it’s one of the best ways to connect with an audience these days. You’ve seen the statistics that demonstrate that content marketing is more effective, less expensive, and just plain better than other forms of marketing and advertising. These are just come of the top content marketing lessons.
But perhaps you have no idea how to get started, or what the best approach is to take. You’re concerned you’ll make a mistake and end up wasting time and money.
What you need is someone to take you by the hand and give you content marketing lessons. In that case, today is your lucky day. Consider this Content Marketing 101 — everything you’ve wanted to know about it, but were afraid to ask.
Understanding What Content Marketing Is
Although there are almost as many different explanations or definitions of content marketing as there are people doing it, there is a simple way to explain and understand what it is.
Content marketing involves the creation of interesting, relevant, and useful content in order to connect with an audience and have that audience take some sort of action. That action can be making a purchase, but content marketing doesn’t have to be purely about sales.
The type of content you can create runs the gamut from lengthy, research-heavy articles to short and funny videos. You can also produce infographics, photo collages, podcasts, and slideshows.
Understanding What Content Marketing Does
One way to look at content marketing is as an inbound strategy. You’re not interrupting people’s activities or day-to-day lives with the content you produce. Instead, you’re getting them to come to you when they have a problem that needs solving.
Content marketing helps to establish you and your brand as an authority on a subject. When done right, it convinces people that you’re a reliable source of information.
How to Approach Content Marketing
One of the most important content marketing lessons to learn is how to approach it. A successful content marketing campaign involves more than simply producing some blog posts or a video.
Before you even start creating content, there are a few things you need to figure out. One is what your goal is for the campaign, or what you want the content to do for you. Taking a goal-centered approach will help you determine whether or not your campaign is working, since you’ll have an idea of what you’re trying to accomplish.
Another thing to consider as you put together a content marketing strategy is who your audience is, where you’ll find them, and what they want. Creating buyer personas (which define each type or member of your audience) is a critical step early in the content marketing process.
Common Beginner Content Marketing Mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes, especially when they are trying something for the first time. Knowing what the more common beginner content marketing mistakes are can help you avoid making them:
Not knowing what type of content to create.
If you know who your audience is and what it wants, you’ll have a good idea of what type of content will be most effective.
Not sticking to a consistent publishing schedule.
When you’re new to content marketing, it can be tricky to commit to publishing daily or a few times a week, and tricky to produce the content you need. Creating a calendar and assigning each member of your team specific tasks will help you get the ball rolling and improve consistency.
Copying everyone else.
The more original your content is, the more you’ll stand out in a crowded field. Sure, pay attention to what other people are doing — but make sure any content you produce is 100 percent original.
Not promoting content.
Producing and publishing content are just two spokes on the wheel of content marketing. You also need to promote it if you want people to see and interact with what you’ve created.
Not measuring your results.
How do you know if your content marketing is working? You need to measure the results, such as the number of shares, your website traffic, number of leads generated, or whatever metric lines up with your goal. Otherwise, you’re just tossing stuff out there and hoping for the best.
Learn From the Best
When you’re just getting your feet wet with content marketing, it’s helpful to look at a few companies that have mastered the form to get a sense of what works. Some great examples of successful content marketing include:
While taking a close look at content marketing from other brands can help you figure out what works and what doesn’t, be sure that you don’t copy those other brands exactly. You want your own content marketing to be unique, and to specifically address your audience’s needs.