Content Marketing: Definition, Strategies, Tools, Examples

Content marketing is one of the best ways to improve your brand, increase organic traffic, and raise your profits online. Content marketing strategies that work well help your brand reach the buyer at every stage of the buying process.

Content marketing is a crucial part of any successful SEO campaign, and this guide will show you what content marketing is, how it works, and why you need it. 

Key takeaways:

  • 81% of marketers say content is critical to their strategy.
  • Keyword-rich content published regularly will increase your search engine rankings.
  • Plan with a great content marketing strategy.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is a marketing technique that involves strategically planning, creating, publishing, and promoting content to improve branding and stimulate interest in the company’s products and services. 

Content marketing aims to attract, engage, and retain audiences by delivering insightful, relevant, entertaining, and helpful content.

The top content formats used in content marketing are: 

  • Text.
  • Audio.
  • Video.
  • Image.

Content marketing is about leveraging those four formats to reach audiences across different digital platforms.

Content marketing statistics

Here are the top content marketing stats you need to know to understand the popularity and significance of content marketing:

In addition, the cost of content marketing is 62% less than traditional marketing, and 66% of marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget more than their 2021 budget.

The importance of content marketing

Content marketing is a crucial element of your online marketing strategy, from raising brand or product awareness to generating direct sales. Here are some of the top reasons that show the effectiveness of content marketing:

1. Improves ranking

The best way to get more people to visit and buy from your business is to be at the top of search engine results pages for keywords related to your business. Writing unique, keyword-rich content and publishing it can help your website rank higher in search engines. 

When you rank higher for top industry terms, you get more high-quality traffic, which can later turn into customers and bring in more money. According to Ahrefs, pages ranking in the #1 spot will also rank in the top 10 for almost 1000 relevant keywords.

2. Builds trust and loyalty

Understanding your audience’s problems and offering solutions via content improves credibility and authority in your industry, building trust with your customers. 52% of organisations are using content marketing to improve customer loyalty.

If you can provide the right type of content at the right place and time, people will start following your brand and stay loyal to you. As a business owner, it’s important to note that around 80% of consumers say user-generated content greatly influences their purchasing decision.

3. Boost traffic and conversions

The more traffic you bring to your website, the more people you can convert to sales. You can pull more traffic by delivering high-quality and informative content around your industry, explicitly targeting those ready to buy. People who constantly follow your content are more likely to purchase from you. 

4. Position your brand as an industry expert

People trust the information on websites that are known to be reliable. By regularly publishing valuable content that shows your expertise, you can stand out from the crowd and make your website an authority in your niche.

The more information you give and the more you show people how your products or services solve their problems, the more reputable you will be within the industry.

Some examples of content marketing 

Content marketing is a powerful marketing tactic to build trust among your followers. You want to give them helpful information while discussing their difficulties or pain points. Here are some examples of brands that have used content marketing to increase brand awareness.

Example 1: Zomato 

Zomato is an app for online food delivery. It uses inventive and clever content marketing strategies to engage people and gain positive attention. And when it comes to email marketing, Zomato is an expert at marketing content.

Their Briyani CV strategy is the best example of email content marketing that attracts clicks to their main website. As you can see in the marketing example below, Zomato understands and employs every type of content marketing approach, from signature tongue-in-cheek posts to beautiful food stories.

Source 

Example 2: Indeed 

Content that isn’t usually considered “funny” can sometimes make the biggest impression. For example, Indeed is a platform that tries hard to help people find jobs and helps businesses find the right people for the job. The organisation is known for its excellent content marketing, which often takes an educational approach.

Indeed’s “New Beginning” commercial focuses on B2B businesses and lets their potential customers know that Indeed is a reliable platform for the hiring process. Check out the video below.

Source: Youtube

Example 3: Zendesk

Zendesk is a SaaS company that has developed world-class customer support software and prides itself on ethics and integrity. When Zendesk noticed that people were looking for Zendesk alternatives, there were two traditional options: manage it or ignore it. 

That wasn’t enough for Zendesk, though, and instead, they capitalised on it by creating a mini-site and video based on the “Zendesk alternative.” As a result, Zendesk ranked for that search term.

Source: OptinMonster

How to create a content marketing strategy?

Before you start content marketing, you need to plan it, including your target audience and what promotion tactics you will use. The following six steps will help you create a content marketing strategy that aligns with your business needs and gets results fast:

Step 1: Create a buyer persona

Identifying and understanding your audience is the base for creating an impeccable content marketing strategy. A buyer persona is a detailed description of your target audience and should include.

  • Age.
  • Location.
  • Interest or hobby.
  • Business or job.
  • Earning.
  • Biggest fear.
  • Challenges.
  • Goals.

You might even have two-three different buyer personas. Even the most subtle detail about your audience is valuable and helps enhance the effectiveness of your strategy. Search for buyer persona templates online to make this step easier.

Step 2: Identify your business goal and determine your KPI

After creating your buyer persona, identify your goal and metrics to measure results. The most common content marketing business goals are:

  • Improving brand awareness.
  • Increasing sales and conversion.
  • Enhancing brand loyalty.
  • Increasing customer engagement.
  • Building rapport with the customer.

Use the SMART goal framework to set goals. It helps you organise, push, and give direction. Choose the KPI metrics to track, measure, and analyse your content marketing performance.

  • To improve brand awareness, you must focus on KPIs such as site traffic, social media followers, and sign-ups.
  • Focus on conversion rate and cart abandonment rate KPIs to improve sales and conversion.
  • To enhance brand loyalty, focus on KPIs such as product reviews, testimonials, referrals, and returning customers.
  • To improve customer engagement, focus on KPIs such as likes, shares, mentions, and backlinks. 
  • To build rapport with customers, focus on KPIs such as followers and returning customers.

Step 3:  Create an editorial calendar

An editorial calendar will store and manage content ideas, track content types, plan promotion techniques, publish dates, etc. It helps you post content consistently and track results easily. Here’s how to create the perfect editorial calendar:

Find content ideas

To create content, you need ideas so start with ideas relevant to your industry. Then, add those ideas to your editorial calendar. If you’re unsure where to start, talk to your customers directly and determine how your products could make their lives easier.

You could also:

  • Use tools like Quora, Reddit, and Answer The Public to collect highly searched content topics by your audience. People ask questions on Quora and Reddit because they can’t find any relevant answers to their queries. Using those questions and creating content from your expertise can quickly improve your site visibility, ranking, and traffic.
  • Do competitor research to find content ideas and keywords they’re ranking for, and check their content performance.
  • Use tools such as Buzzsumo and SEMrush to find your industry’s trending topics.
  • Follow your competitors and influencers’ youtube and podcast channels to pull more exciting topics to cover.
How to Use Asana as an Editorial Calendar

Source: Nira

Do keyword research

Do keyword research after collecting the content ideas relevant to your industry and goals. Your target audience uses specific keywords and phrases to research information about the products and services you sell. 

One key thing you can do that many of your competitors won’t be doing is to additionally use semantic keywords, I.e. micro keywords that are related to your primary keyword. At Earned Media, one article that we produce will often contain approximately 80-120 micro keywords, which helps increase the chances of a piece of content ranking on page 1 of Google.

Plan content production

Once you have ideas and keywords, plan the type of content you want to write (blogs, videos, infographics, or podcasts) and determine where you want to publish the content (website, social media, email).

Content marketing is a team effort, so you need to ensure everyone is on board. To write blogs, you need content writers. To create infographics or videos, you need graphic designers. You can do podcasts independently or ask team members to do them.

Plan your schedule wisely. Consider the target audience and the most active platforms, then think about strategy. For example, if your target audience is between the 20 – 30 age group and is more active on Youtube, focus on creating video content.

Step 4: Content creation

Now it’s time to develop your content and you’ll need to decide if you are going to write the content yourself (in-house), use freelance writers, or a content marketing agency. After you have decided on how you will create the content, the next step is to create a writer brief and a content marketing plan.

A Practical Guide To B2B Content Marketing

Source: Semrush

Find the content gap

Find the content gap, or holes, in existing content and base your content around that, rather than providing the same information your competitors have used. Create unique content. 

Use real-life examples to help your audience understand if the topic is complex, and use a specific style and tone that suits your brand. It would also help if you came up with a unique content angle by analysing the types of content that are already ranking on page 1 for your targeted keyword — and come up with a unique angle that has not been covered before.

Repurpose content

If you have content that your audience loves, repurpose it. In other words, you should re-write or redevelop the content to suit another platform. Repurposing content will save you time and help you keep posting consistently. Some examples include turning blog posts into:

  • Podcasts.
  • Infographics.
  • Social media content.
  • White papers.
  • Viral videos on your YouTube channel.
  • Digital PR.
Readability

Your content readability must be between the Flesch Kincaid scale level of 60-70. To improve your readability:

  • Leave white space.
  • Mention H1, H2, and H3 tags on your heading and subheadings.
  • Write short paragraphs.
  • Have mixed sentences that vary in length.
User experience (UX)

User experience plays a crucial role in content marketing. Your website should:

  • Excite the audience.
  • Have an easy-to-read font.
  • Include graphics.
  • Work well on all devices.
  • Take no longer than 3 seconds to load.
Visuals

90% of the information processed by the brain is visual, and 80% of people remember what they see compared to what they hear or read. As such, it’s safe to say that adding infographics and videos to your blogs can help people grasp the information quickly. 

To achieve higher ranking visuals:

  • Make sure you name your content using keywords.
  • Add alt text to your images.

Step 5: Distribution and promotion

Once you have your content, it’s time to distribute and promote it. According to Semrush, 69% of businesses use social media to promote their content, 44% use organic search, 24% of companies use events like webinars to promote their content, and 24% use PPC campaigns. 

You can choose any content distribution channel based on your buyer persona and business goals. Determine where your audience spends more time, and plan your distribution strategy accordingly.

AARRR vs. RARRA: Which is Better? | CleverTap

Source: CleverTap

You may also want to consider social media marketing by running paid ads to improve the reach and visibility of your content and amplify your brand’s reach.

Step 6: Track, analyse, evaluate, revamp, repeat

Documenting, analysing, and evaluating your content marketing strategy is best to stay in the loop of what worked and what didn’t. 43% of B2B marketers document their strategy. Without analysing your results, you could be putting a lot of effort into tasks that don’t bring success.

By tracking your content, you can find the strategy that works and revamp your marketing methods in general by pulling out techniques that didn’t work.

The advantages of content marketing

  • Builds brand awareness.
  • Educates people.
  • Improves search engine optimisation (SEO).
  • Increases engagement.
  • Attracts qualified traffic through inbound marketing.
  • Increases the lifetime value of the customer.
  • Reduces customer acquisition cost.
  • Improves domain authority.
  • Cultivates loyalty among the target audiences.
  • Increases sales and profits.
  • Drives traffic.
  • Content marketing works perfectly with paid advertising to engage your audience.
  • Get leads with landing pages and downloadable assets. 
  • Content marketing can be used in conjunction with AB tests to optimise campaigns.
  • It increases the linkability of assets, which makes it easier for link building teams to acquire high-quality links.

Disadvantages of content marketing

  • It takes time to show results.
  • Requires an investment in time, money, and resources.
  • It can be hard to come up with content marketing campaigns.
  • Lack of experience might lead to not producing content that leads to zero traffic.
  • You should refresh content every year to keep it fresh; stale content loses rankings in the long run.
  • Some strategies that may have worked well in the past, may not work today.
  • Lead generation. It may generate unqualified leads.

Content marketing tools

Here are some of the best content marketing tools to make your content writing and promotion task easier:

Google Docs

Google Docs is cloud-based software that saves your work automatically, so there’s no risk of losing your content. In addition, it is free and easy to use. It has a range of beneficial features for writers, such as allowing you to access your content from anywhere (phone, tablet, desktop), offering real-time collaboration, tracking document changes, and reverting to pre-edited versions of any document.

You can easily share documents with your team or receive documents from your team, and by having edit access, you can offer suggestions and comments on the article and get it done instantly. 

Grammarly

Want to alleviate your content editing pain? Last-minute proofreading, spotting grammatical errors, sentence structure, passive voice, and more can be rectified and sorted out instantly using Grammarly. 

The extension is available on Chrome, Safari, and Firefox, as well as in Microsoft Word. Or, you can use the program directly on your computer. You can sign up and use the free version to sort out the basic grammatical errors or opt for their premium version for more advanced suggestions.

BuzzSumo

Buzzsumo is a multipurpose content marketing research tool that allows you to identify the number of social shares and backlinks for content pieces related to your search term. 

Source: BuzzSumo

With this tool, you can find the trending topics and the kind of headlines that are receiving excellent traction to write your next masterpiece. Buzzsumo also has great influencer reports to see the thought leaders in a specific topic area.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the perfect tool to measure your content performance and understand your audience. It is a free and easy-to-use tool that helps you understand who visits your website, which page brings more traffic, which page has a tremendous conversion rate, which blog performs well, etc.

Canva

Canva is a powerful and simple drag and drops tool that allows you to create your marketing material or designs for free. However, if you want access to stock images or more advanced design options, you must opt for a premium version.

Source: Canva

You can use Canva to create content marketing imagery, social media posts, blog cover images, infographics, Twitter cover photos, Instagram photos, etc.

Google Sheets

Google Sheets is a simple tool to manage your editorial calendar. Like Google docs, it is a cloud-based software that can be shared with several people. It has an excellent user interface, and you can easily access, analyse, visualise, and share data with your team.

Quuu Promote

With Quuu Promote you can pay the platform to share your content across LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. From experience, we’ve seen some articles gain hundred of social shares. The user interface is also simplistic, and very easy to use. It is an effective content marketing tool that you can add to your digital marketing toolbox.

Source: Quuu Promote

Summing up

Content marketing is the process of creating and sharing relevant, valuable, insightful, engaging, and entertaining content to reach your business goals. When used effectively, content marketing helps customers recognise and remember brands. It attracts, engages and retains an audience.

As a strategy, content marketing helps brands get leads across various marketing channels. Successful content marketing integrates well into the wider marketing team, such as PR, SEO, content, social, and advertising teams. It helps brands get leads across a variety of marketing channels.

Earned Media content marketing solutions

At Earned Media, we understand the importance of content marketing, and we know how content marketing can help your brand get ahead of the competition. We can help with the following:

  • Creating engaging content to attract leads.
  • Linkable asset and image creation.
  • Link building and digital PR.
  • Keyword research.
  • Influencer outreach.

Want to find out more? We’ve helped plenty of businesses, and we can help your business too. Schedule a quick 15-minute call with Nick Brogden, the founder of Earned Media, by clicking on the blue button in the right-hand corner. It takes just 30 seconds to set up a meeting.


Content marketing FAQs

1. How can content marketing benefit my business?

Content marketing helps you grow your business in plenty of ways. For example, it can help you improve your brand awareness, improve your sales and revenue, bring in more traffic to your website, etc. But, of course, it all depends on your goals and the type of content you create.

2. What are the most common content marketing mistakes businesses make?

Three common mistakes businesses make while using content marketing are:

  • Not having a clear goal.
  • Creating content without a strategy.
  • Not measuring results.

3. What content type should I create to bring in more leads?

The key to bringing in more leads is to reach buyers at different stages of the purchase journey, so you should aim to create various pieces of content targeting the audience’s pain points at different buyer journey stages. 

Don’t forget to create content to bring in more qualified prospects ready to buy. For instance, you can write comparison style content pieces to convert prospects, like the ZenDesk sample mentioned in the article above.

4. When can I see the results from my content marketing efforts?

Content marketing is a long-term strategy. Don’t expect to see results overnight. If you are using content marketing for SEO, it should take around six months to start attracting clicks and traffic to your website. 

In the long-term, your site should continue to increase traffic from the existing content pieces as they grow popular. However, you should continue to refresh your content and acquire backlinks to strengthen your domain reputation to get the best results.