An Introduction to Content Marketing

Table of Contents

Introduction to Content Marketing

Chapter 1: How every business can succeed at content marketing

Chapter 2: How to develop succesful content marketing campaign

Chapter 3: Content strategies to improve your SEO

Chapter 4: Event Blogging 31

Chapter 5: Content Curation 36

Chapter 6: Photo/Video Content 45

Chapter 7: Live/Event 50

Chapter 8: Social Media & Content Marketing

Chapter 9: Putting things into perspective



An Introduction to Content Marketing

The term “content marketing” means different things to different people.

To me, content marketing is defined as the strategic creation and sharing of online content to achieve specific marketing objectives and business goals.

Successful content marketing means communicating effectively, making connections, engaging your audience, inspiring customer action, and providing something of value to your fans or followers. And, let’s not forget about the impact high quality content and a well-implemented strategy can have on your SEO—with Google’s continued algorithm updates, quality content is a first class ticket to the front of the line.

Gone are the days of businesses relying on traditional forms of advertising to reach customers. In today’s fast-paced world of instant gratification, consumers have the ability


to record and skip TV commercials, flip past print ads, and can easily ignore banners and buttons online. But, how can businesses reach their audience today?

Enter: content marketing.

In this guide, I will help you develop a better understanding of content marketing in its current state, and teach you how to utilize it to bolster your search ranking and improve your online business overall.

What is Content Marketing?

It can usually be described as a marketing technique that creates, as well distributes, useful and relevant information to a target audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action. This content could be presented in a number of formats, such as articles, images, audio formats, videos, interactive surveys, or quite possibly a combination of all of these types.

The main purpose behind content marketing is to attract and maintain customers by providing content that is both relevant and valuable to them, but with the intention of altering or enhancing their consumer behavior.

In other words, content marketing is actually engaging with customers, as opposed to an advertisement which is just trying to sell them a product or service. When customers receive information that enhances their daily lives, they will reward you – not only with their business, but also with their brand loyalty.

This ongoing process should be a part of your business marketing plan. Why? Because it’s effective. While the practice has become mainstream with all the digital publishing tools available today, the concept isn’t exactly new.


Content marketing’s first major success stories can be traced all the way back to 1895 when John Deere debuted a newsletter to help farmers called The Furrow. Since then, content marketing has been utilized in some form by a number of major brands, including Michelin, Jell-O, Sears, and P&G.

More recently, companies like Cisco, Microsoft, and Nike have launched new interactive campaigns that have fully embraced the customer engagement principles that make these strategies so powerful and effective, taking content marketing to a new level of legitimacy in the advertising world lexicon.

Is Content Marketing New?

Content marketing, as we know it today, is touted as a relatively “new” advertising strategy; however, it’s really just an amalgamation of a handful of other business practices. Content marketing combines traditional advertising, sales, social media, event planning, and branding, combining them into an all-encompassing strategy to help foster customer relationships and deliver business results.

With so many different aspects rolled into one, content marketing makes it possible for businesses to streamline their marketing efforts while also helping to create a more unified user experience.

Is Content Marketing New?

Content marketing, as we know it today, is touted as a relatively “new” advertising strategy; however, it’s really just an amalgamation of a handful of other business practices. Content marketing combines traditional advertising, sales, social media, event planning, and branding, combining them into an all-encompassing strategy to help foster customer relationships and deliver business results.

With so many different aspects rolled into one, content marketing makes it possible for businesses to streamline their marketing efforts while also helping to create a more unified user experience.


How Every Businesses Can Succeed at Content Marketing

While I have mentioned the use of content marketing strategies by major brands, let’s not forget the small business owner can also take advantage of the distribution power of the web to create powerful campaigns that drive eyeballs and potential new customers.

The Internet has made it easier than ever to create and share content. This means

small businesses can more effectively communicate and engage with their followers

or customers. However, there is a catch – because of the low barrier of entry to create and share content, it also means that businesses who fail to properly plan and execute a professional strategy will quickly get left behind.

With technology constantly evolving, the rate at which content is created and shared is alarming. Indeed, it is true that anyone with access to a computer and the web can create a company blog, for free, and start typing away.

However, creating content for “content’s sake” doesn’t create value.

In order to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive marketplace, businesses must develop and implement a robust content marketing strategy that takes advantage of various available channels in unique ways. While the tools available make it easy for us to communicate and distribute our message to potential customers, creating and maintaining that message is more important than ever before.

The benefit for a small businesses is technologies like social media create a better opportunity to connect with an interested audience. This gives marketers the ability to share more about their product or service and really tell their story. Businesses need to utilize modern content marketing techniques to connect individually and intimately with their fans and develop long and fruitful relationships.

These relationships are not forged over night or by simply slapping an advertisement on a billboard; they have to be fostered over time, through well crafted content, and reinforced consistently.

Content marketing is not a one-time effort, and those who have the ability to create an endless stream of this engagement are the brands who will ultimately reap its rewards. Every successful business owner will tell you that a key element to their long-term success is being able to connect with their audience. Understanding how this is done on an emotional level is the highest prize in marketing. This not achieved by bombarding an audience with TV or print advertisements, but rather strategically educating or entertaining them, consistently, until your brand equates to a positive feeling for them over time.

Successful content marketers will tell you that establishing this connection with an audience at the right time and place is equally important, and is one of the true awesome opportunities social media provides. By engaging with an audience and becoming a trusted source of information, you now open the door to communicate with them with an actual offer to purchase a product or service exactly when they are in “buy now” mode.

This process also empowers the customer. They get to support a brand they have grown to adore, which makes their purchase a much more powerful one by creating a feeling of individuality; instead of purchasing a product everyone has seen (and probably owns), the customer who was “wooed” by engaging content and has become brand loyal. They will feel more “special” because of their educated decision-making and will likely become a customer for life. Thus, the long-term ROI for implementing successful content marketing strategies is one any business should be hoping to achieve

Content marketing will help accomplish this goal, but there are also many other immediate and short-term benefits of utilizing content marketing.

Word-of-Mouth Recommendations—In 2013, market researcher Nielsen released a report comparing consumer trust in advertising today to 2007. What was interesting about this report is that consumer trust increased in both online advertising and traditional outlets like TV and radio. For example, online banner ads trust skyrocketed from 26% to 42%. However, the most influential factor in establishing trust was word-of-mouth recommendations. In fact, 84% of people surveyed stated word-of-mouth is the most important determination in establishing trust with a brand. Since content is considered a form of word-of- mouth marketing, a successful content marketing campaign is exactly the direction you want your brand to go to create discussion and recommendations about your products and services.

Quality Lead Generation — According to Marketing Sherpa, content marketing has the ability to convert 29 percent more organic traffic into high quality sales leads. This means targeted content marketing will drive high value customers – creating that awesome long-term ROI I mentioned before. High value customers are those who become repeat customers, as well as those who purchase more, and also become your brand advocates in the process, continuing the cycle of word-of- mouth and creating new customers in the long run.

Creating Smarter Consumers — With technology constantly at our fingertips, consumer behavior has radically changed. In fact, it’s changed in only a matter of years. For example, only around one-third of consumers had smartphones in 2011. During this time, users searched roughly 7.9 sources of information before finalizing a purchase decision. However, by 2014, over half of consumers owned a smart phone. This resulted in consumers seeking out 10.4 sources of information before making a purchase. With content marketing, you can create content consumers can use to educate themselves. The more they learn about your business, the more likely they are to make a purchase.

Establishes Authority—One of the best ways to earn the trust of potential customers is to establish yourself as a brand leader and expert in your field or industry. When you generate quality and useful content, you’re illustrating to visitors that you should be taken seriously. While this may take some time to develop, it will benefit your content marketing strategy in the long run. The moment a brand crosses the into becoming a well-respected and established authority in their industry is game-changing.

Persuade Consumer’s Decision Making—One of the appealing factors of content marketing is that brands aren’t really selling a product or service. Instead, they are providing an engaging source of material that gives consumers information. Why is this important? A survey conducted by Roper Public Affairs discovered that 80% of business decision makers prefer getting their information through articles rather than advertisements. Furthermore, 60% of decision makers claimed that content marketing helped them make better purchasing decisions. It all comes back to educating your user base and empowering them to learn as much about your business and industry as possible.

Content Marketing Assists in Native Advertising—One of the most effective ways content can reach its target audience is for it to be distributed as seeded content. This is done by utilizing paid advertising products for something called native advertising. Native advertising is a trending topic and is establishing itself as the replacement for banner advertising. It’s also one of the most misunderstood concepts you find in marketing meetings! Native advertising is simply content that is placed in a newsfeed on a social media outlet or published on relevant partner websites as a “suggested post” – this can either be a short description and link to content hosted elsewhere or can be the full content itself. For example, Dell paid for an ad in The New York Times that resembled a typical New York Times article, as opposed to a generic ad (something more and more consumers are ignoring). Chances are if it looks like an ad, people are going to completely skip over it. The native ad approach takes the content marketing blueprint and wraps it into a more formal sales pitch for an idea. Native advertising should be engaging, authentic, inspiring, and educational, just as with all of your content marketing material. It should also relate to the interests and values of your audience. Effective native ads will drive new traffic back to your content marketing inventory and the cycle of engagement begins.

Strong ROI—Since content marketing is intended to be a long-term strategy, the investment will remain relevant for the long haul. When compared to a very expensive paid advertising campaign that may last for a limited amount of time, the content you’ve created will continue to be shared and discussed for years. Basically, content marketing is free brand exposure. Studies have proven that per dollar, content marketing produces three times more leads than SEM and cost 30% less. Once an article is published, you may put effort (both paid and organic) into increasing its exposure. This short-term boost drives initial traffic that you calculate a ROI on. However, after that initial push is over, the article is still there. It continues to “do its job” every day for as long as it is there. When you take all of this into consideration, you can see how it changes the ROI of your efforts and ad spend.

The Social Media Effect — This buzzword is thrown around quite often these days, and at its core social media is just a tool in a much larger content marketing strategy, so when people are talk about a social media strategy, they should also be talking about their content marketing plan. After all, what’s the point of having people visit and interact with your social media profiles when there’s nothing to share or discuss? When creating content marketing materials, you should have social sharing and engagement planned out. In fact, social media user behavior needs to be priority when creating content streams and strategy. Social media can also assist in gaining positive word-of-mouth feedback and constructing a fan/ advocate community. For example, consider the possibilities of the hashtag. It’s an incredible tool for indexing and starting conversations with consumers. Content is the tool that educates and turns users into customers, and social media is the tool they use to share this with their circles and becomes influencers of the community.

“Youtility”—The content you’re producing or sharing should be informative, helpful, or entertaining to your target audience, so it won’t be perceived as an annoying sales pitch. In order to achieve this though, you must first establish a connection between your brand and your audience. Place the customer first by helping them, not just selling them a product or service. This tactic has been named ‘Youtility by marketing thought leader Jay Baer. This establishes trust between you and the consumer, which in time, can create repeat customers and even brand advocates. Consistently providing value through content is the fundamental step in establishing a rapport with a user. Too many brand don’t understand their strategies must focus on the user and not call as much attention to their product or service. Build a bond first, and you’ll reap the rewards of those efforts later.

Being at the Right Place at the Right Time—If you are producing and sharing timely content on a regular basis, you have a better chance of connecting with people at the right time. Again, establishing that connection and building a community is one of the main purposes of content marketing. But what does timing have to with it? A lot. What would people be more likely to search for— cassettes, CDs, or digital recordings? Most likely anything digital. So, why would you invest resources in creating content that dealt with cassettes when people are discussing the future of audio? That’s just one example of how content plays a huge role in the consumer purchase cycle. Consider how mobile users now use technology to find additional information about products. When Apple announces a new iPhone, the viewer then goes online to find additional information. If you’re a resource for Apple products and publish content regarding this news, you now have an opportunity to educate the consumer further, and expose them to Apple- related products or services concepts you find in marketing meetings! Native advertising is simply content that is placed in a newsfeed on a social media outlet or published on relevant partner websites as a “suggested post” – this can either be a short description and link to content hosted elsewhere or can be the full content itself. For example, Dell paid for an ad in The New York Times that resembled a typical New York Times article, as opposed to a generic ad (something more and more consumers are ignoring). Chances are if it looks like an ad, people are going to completely skip over it. The native ad approach takes the content marketing blueprint and wraps it into a more formal sales pitch for an idea. Native advertising should be engaging, authentic, inspiring, and educational, just as with all of your content marketing material. It should also relate to the interests and values of your audience. Effective native ads will drive new traffic back to your content marketing inventory and the cycle of engagement begins.

How SEO and Content Marketing Work Together

One of the main reasons for creating this guide was to teach you more about content marketing, successful practices, and why content is vital to your search ranking.

People may try to convince you that your content marketing campaign is competing with search engine optimization. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Both content marketing and SEO are important to your overall online marketing strategy. Think of them as milk and cookies—both can be enjoyable on their own, but when together, it’s an unbeatable combination.

Content marketing and SEO are intrinsically linked, and even more so as Google continues to make additions and alterations to its search ranking algorithm. It’s important to remember that Google’s chief aim is to help users find exactly what they’re looking for and as quickly as possible. Google is on a constant search for great content that provides value to their users, and it rewards sites that create and share high quality content.

For example, Google now takes social sharing and link buzz into account, which essentially determines how engaging and shareable your content is. Google heavily favors content that is relevant to its users, so this should be a main focus of your content creation process.

Ultimately, consistently creating amazing content helps your site rank in search engines, but in order to get good results, you need to optimize your content to suit your objectives. Businesses or websites that are looking to improve their search rankings should start by creating and sharing content that they know their audience will absolutely love and will want to share.

10 Essential Tips to Remember About Content Marketing

Before you fully launch a content marketing campaign, it’s important to consider these do’s and don’ts:

Only share quality content – don’t waste your time with spammy nonsense.

Don’t give up that quality for quantity – again it’s all about building value.

Engage with your audience in comments and on social media.

Keep the sales pitches out of your informative content – let the customer come to you.

Make sure to document your research through linking.

Know you stuff – don’t make up stuff out of thin air.

Showcase your personality in how you deliver the content and message. Set the reader up to engage or want to do something (like subscribing to your future reads)

Never copy or plagiarize a competitor’s work – make yours fresh and better than theirs.

Cater your content to your target audience and to their specific needs.

Never keyword stuff your articles – write your content for people AND search engines.


How to Develop a Successful Content Marketing Campaign

Content marketing is a multi-faceted endeavor, and as such, running a successful campaign requires a well-thought out approach and a strategic execution of your plan. Many layers go into a great content marketing campaign, and in order to get the most out of your efforts, you must pay close attention to each and every detail so you are able to make appropriate adjustments along the way.

In this section, I will break down the different aspects of a successful content marketing campaign and coach you through the process of setting up your own.

Project Management – Outline Your Objectives

There are a lot of marketers who, before they even get started, approach content marketing from the wrong perspective. Many marketers seem to believe “if you build it they will come”, but with so much noise and competition online, that’s simply not the case anymore. You can’t expect people to just stumble onto your content or site and forge a meaningful relationship with your brand.

Thus, the all-important first step of creating a great campaign is to outline your business objectives and to think of the best possible ways to accomplish them.

Whether you’re looking for more Facebook “likes,” trying to drive more traffic, or wanting to generate more conversions, you need to understand what types of content will be effective in accomplishing your goals. Never start creating content until you have a clear idea of what you intend on accomplishing with it and an outline of how to do so.

Creating content for the sake of content is an exercise in futility. You’re wasting your time because only a few people are likely to see it, and even fewer will engage with it. However, if you’re creating content with a purpose and have well-defined goals that you want to achieve, you’re much more likely to succeed.

Assembling a Content Marketing Dream Team

Being able to implement and develop a professional and effective content marketing strategy is very difficult to take on alone. In order to penetrate the various social media channels that are going to drive in traffic (and eventually create your brand- loyal customer base), you’re going to need to assemble a team of writers, editors, and designers in order to create the best content to take your content marketing efforts to the next level.

Obviously the budget you have will determine the size of your team and quality of professionals you will be able to hire in order to get your content strategy off the ground. Smaller budgets will obviously be limited in the types of content they can create. Before you begin searching for help, you’re going to want to ask yourself how much you personally can write in a given period of time, and if you have an existing team of experts and professionals you will need to figure out a productive way to get consistent content created.

Quality is more important than quantity, so if your team can only gets a few articles or blog posts completed in a month, then that’s the baseline you start with. In time your process will become more efficient and your production will increase.

Again, depending on the size of your budget, you’ll want to hire additional help in the writing department so you can create consistent content for your audience. Obviously, you will be able to find lower quality writing at an affordable rate using websites like Craigslist and Odesk. While you may find writers who can work on the cheap (and this may be a good strategy to start with), it will require additional work on your end to make sure the content these freelance writers create is up to par with the value your audience is seeking.

Seasoned writers and content providers will cost more money, but also add an additional level of value to the message are creating. Even larger budgets and partnerships will allow for infographic or video content creation. Just remember, the higher the level of quality you bring to your content, the more receptive your audience will be, and the more successful your content marketing efforts will be.

Every business has their own needs and every content marketing team is developed accordingly. However, once your content marketing team is in place and your discovery and editorial processes are in motion, your content machine will become a very valuable asset to your business and brand. It’s very important to understand that assembling

this content team is one of the most important things to helping you get your content marketing campaigns off the ground and ready for the long haul!

Understand Your Audience

If outlining your business objectives is the first step in creating a successful content strategy, then understanding and catering to your audience is a very important second step in the process.

Content marketing is all about creating a shared experience—one that’s fun, informative, and/or entertaining to your followers. In order to create that exciting and engaging experience, you need to know exactly what your audience is into and the types of content that they are most likely to interact with.

The best way to do this is to use tools and analytics data to identify your audience and create a clearer picture of their preferences, interests, online behaviors, and purchase patterns. Once you have gathered various data points, you need to think critically about the ways in which you can cater to them.

For example, if you’re a blogger that writes about movies, you can review the latest box office smash and tell your readers why they should or shouldn’t go see that movie. After posting your article, you could create a cool graphic or a funny meme that’s relevant

to the movie and share it on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media channels. If your audience is truly interested in that movie and your take on it, then they are more likely to spread your content to their networks and further your brand awareness.

Create Targeted, High Quality Content

The third and final step in developing your content marketing strategy is the actual content creation and sharing process itself. That’s right, the content is the last piece of the puzzle, and you shouldn’t be concerned with it until you have properly laid out your goals and identified and studied your target audience. In order to see success with content marketing, it’s essential to figure out who you’re talking to and why you’re creating that content in the first place.

Approach content marketing the way that you would approach meeting a new person— know that in order to form a real bond with them, you must bring something of value to the table. Your ultimate goal should be to give your audience something that interests them, entertains them, provides answers to their questions or solutions to their problems. Content marketing should be rooted in a greater purpose and driven by the needs of your target audience.

A great place to start when you’re getting ready to create new content is to look around and identify the types of content that are working for similar businesses, especially your competitors. New technologies and Internet trends are constantly popping up and evolving, so the type of content that works today might not work tomorrow.

It’s important to do some self-evaluation as well. Take a detailed look at the types

of content you’ve already put out and pay attention to which ones have been most successful. By doing both of these things, you should have a good grasp on the type of content you’ll want to create, and a great start down your path to success.

Once you have done your research and developed your ideas, it’s time to start thinking about design and the actual type of content you want or need. Will you create a YouTube video? Will a blog post be the best option? Can curating other peoples’ content work

for you, or do you need to step outside of the box entirely and come up with something that’s never been done before?

There are many different ways to create and share content, and it can be overwhelming if you’re new to content marketing. The key is to focus on creating content for a specific channel that is targeted for your specific audience and objectives. Keep in mind, though, that different types of content yield different results. For example, text-based content is quick and easy to produce and often works well on networks like LinkedIn and Twitter. Video content, on the other hand, takes much more time to produce and is more difficult to share, however, video often yields the deepest engagement and greatest ROI. These are all things that you need to think about before you start creating and sharing content.

Creating Content That Achieves Your Objectives

Creating engaging content is critical to your success and should be a top priority. You should strive to create things that will achieve your business objectives that you have set forth. In this section we’ll take a look at how to build a campaign that does just that, and help you answer the burning question, “What should I make content about?”

When it comes to content marketing, the most effective thing that you can do is simply expand upon what’s working. Essentially, you should take the things that have been successful for your business in the past and highlight them.

After you’ve gone through and taken an analytical look at the content that’s been successful for you, you should have a better understanding of what will work best for your brand. Finding your strong suit and rolling with it will not only make it easier for you to create content, but it will ensure that you are always putting your best foot forward.

Identifying Content That Drives Results

To identify what types of content works best for you, you should review your website’s analytics and look at the pieces that have generated the most traffic, leads, sales, or other desirable metrics.

Look at the topics that have generated the most interest and engagement from your audience and try to center your new efforts on creating similar pieces. Building additional content around these popular topics will not only have a significant impact on your overall user experience, but it will also give your SEO a noticeable boost.


Content Strategies To Improve Your SEO

Becoming an expert or a respected source for specific types of content is one of the best ways to improve your search ranking. Search engines view sites that have multiple pages of in-depth coverage on a particular topic as more valuable because they present users with a greater chance of finding the information that they’re looking for.

Search engines look for “content clusters” on websites to determine their relevance to a specific search query. Sites that have lots of quality content focused on a single subject are likely to rank higher. For sites covering multiple topics, it’s important to organize based on themes, main subjects, or terms, otherwise known as “siloing,” to help increase your ranking. Organizing related elements of your website into “silos” of information helps search engines recognize related content, and can be easily done in your main navigation.

Another popular (and often successful) strategy is creating content around a keyword or keyword phrase that has shown high levels of engagement on your site. If you know that a certain keyword draws a lot of traffic to your site, then you should focus your efforts

on creating more content around that term. This will help you reinforce your relevance and boost your search ranking for that particular term. This should hopefully lead to more traffic and monetization opportunities for your efforts.

Blogging & Content Marketing

Having a blog is a necessity for content marketing. If you want to be taken seriously in the digital marketing space, you have to maintain a blog and keep your followers coming back to your site for more. This is an obvious truth for online publishers and bloggers, but many big brands neglect their blogs or lack them altogether.

According to a 2013 HubSpot report, 79% of companies with a blog experienced a positive ROI for inbound marketing, compared to just 20% of companies without a blog. Clearly there’s a big discrepancy between those numbers that serves as an obvious indicator of the importance of a blog.

In 2014, a brand’s blog should be the front line of their content marketing strategy. It’s their own customizable domain to share relevant information, tell their story, and provide followers with great branded content. Essentially, a business’s blog is where the content marketing journey starts.

As the critical foundation for your content marketing endeavors, you should take the time to focus on the design and layout of your blog and ensure that all of the existing content is of the highest quality possible. Your blog will serve as the single most important place for your content strategy, and as such, it should provide an unbeatable user experience.

While having a great blog of your own will be a cornerstone of your content marketing strategy, it doesn’t mean that you have to limit yourself to creating and sharing information solely on your blog. In fact, it’s equally important to try and contribute to other related sites in order to get your brand and your message in front of your target audience.

Having your brand appear on neutral publications will help build your fan base and legitimize your business while also helping to establish your reputation as an expert in your niche. When your followers and potential customers recognize your brand on other sites, it helps them build trust and reinforces your company’s relationship with them as consumers. On the other hand, guest blogging serves as a great opportunity to evangelize your company to new audience members and gives you a new platform to further share your story.

Blogging For Content Marketing

Running your own blog requires a lot of time, effort, and resources. As such, you should look at your blog as an investment. One of the best ways to ensure that you get a return on your investment is to focus on optimizing your blog and your content for search. Ultimately, your search ranking will help you generate more organic traffic, reach a larger audience, and bring in extra revenue.

So what are some tips for getting your content noticed by search engines?

First, you should spend a lot of time crafting the headlines of your articles. When it comes to content marketing, having a catchy headline is more than half the battle. In fact, most content creators spend more time coming up with headlines than they do on the body of content itself—it’s that important!

Here are a few guidelines to help you write better headlines:

Be Concise —Internet users want to be able to gather as much information with as little effort and in as short amount of time as possible. Thus, your headlines need to be short and to the point. Typically, headlines with 8 words or less perform best.

Use Numbers—Starting your headline with a number tells readers exactly what they can expect to find inside and tends to attract more attention as a result. Titles such as “10 Expert SEO Tips” or “5 Unbelievable Marketing Videos” will garner more clicks and help your content be recognized by search engines.

Offer Benefits—Use words that promise some sort of benefit to your readers. For example, the phrase “How to” typically gets a great response because it quickly indicates to your readers that they can learn something new from your piece.

Optimize for Search—This may seem like a no-brainer, but you should try to include your keyword or keyword phrase in your headline. Search engines will look at the title of your article to determine its relevance to a search query, so it’s important that you include the term or subject of your article in the title. Use tools to learn what people are searching for and find a way to include that specific term in your headline.

Tease Your Readers—Titles that are mysterious or play to the curiosity of your audience will also perform well. The key to this type of headline is to write something short that hints at what makes the article helpful, controversial, interesting, or funny. Don’t give all of the information of your article away in the title; rather, make readers click to find out.

Writing catchy headlines plays a huge part in the success of your content strategy, but

so does your subject matter. Real content marketing success is the result of combining a great topic with high quality content, a great headline, and then getting creative with how you share it with your audience.

Try using these guidelines for choosing great subject matter and getting the most out of each and every post:

Choose Timeless Topics—Just like there are timeless songs that we all know and love regardless of their age, there are timeless topics that no matter what year it is, people will still be interested in them. Some great examples are celebrities, technology, food, and entertainment. Finding ways to tie timeless elements into your articles will help extend their shelf life and their relevance to your readers over time.

Expand On Your Previous Posts—A great way to keep your momentum moving forward is to study your previous posts, find out which ones performed best, and then build on those topics. This is an effective strategy for targeting your audience and nurturing a new content cluster, which search engines will view as being authoritative.

Update Older Posts—You don’t always have to create and share brand-new content. Extend the life of your existing posts by updating the most popular

posts from your archives. Take a look at your analytics, find some posts that have performed well in the past, and give them a modern makeover. Don’t rewrite your posts, as that could have damaging effects on your SEO. Simply give them a bit of an update so that they are relevant to your new audience members.

Stay On Top Of Trends—Blog posts are inherently short-lived and generally news-y, which is why it’s a great idea to stay atop trends and cover topics in your niche that are popular at the moment. These types of posts can be quickly created and shared, and result in quick and easy spikes in traffic, which will boost your search ranking. As public interest grows in a trending topic, there’s often a short period of time where marketers can create related content and ride the wave of popularity. You can expand the reach of your brand by sharing timely posts or developing entire campaigns around trending topics.

Your blog gives you total control over your brand’s image and should act as the foundation for all of your content marketing efforts. Your brand identity and voice should be strongest on your blog because after all, it’s your home turf. The most important thing to remember is that this is where your content marketing strategy will start, so you need to take the time to optimize it, both in terms of design and content. Understanding who your audience is and what they’re interested is a big part of creating a blog and content that will be successful.


Guest Blogging

We briefly mentioned the effectiveness of guest blogging in the section above, but in this segment we‘ll explore different ways you can use guest blogging to reach new audiences and strengthen your content marketing strategy.

Reaching New Audiences

Guest blogging is great for a number of reasons, but arguably the biggest advantage it offers is the ability to reach new audiences and tap into new networks. Not only does guest blogging help get your content in front of new viewers, but it’s also an effective way to meet other professionals in your vertical and build relationships with bloggers in your space.

Inviting others to write for your blog is a useful tactic for leveraging your existing relationships as well as expanding your reach to an audience outside of your own network. As a blogger or a brand you should always be looking to make new connections and build relationships online, whether it’s with like-minded professionals or prospective customers. A great way to network with bloggers and consumers alike is to reach out to bloggers with relevant, but varied networks and offer them the opportunity to write for your audience.

Tips for Guest Blogging

Guest blogging can have some great benefits on your site, both in terms of SEO and business relationships, however, it’s important to understand that if you don’t approach guest blogging from the right perspective, it can do more harm than good. So, in order to help you get the most out of your guest blogging efforts and to cultivate great working relationships with bloggers in your niche, we’ve compiled this short list of tips to guide you along the way.

1. Understand What Search Engines Want—Guest blogging will only be beneficial to your SEO strategy if you understand exactly what the search engines are looking for and cater to those things. According to Matt Cutts and Google’s search quality team, things like subject matter, keyword density, originality, and moderation factor into your search ranking when it comes to guest blogging. Search engines want to see that you’re writing content on relevant topics, and that backlinks aren’t stuffed full of keywords. Furthermore, search engines want to see that you’re creating unique content that is valuable to readers and that you aren’t gaming the system by guest blogging too frequently.

2. Forge Blogging Partnerships—One of the best ways to capitalize on the powers of guest blogging is to forge partnerships with other bloggers in your space and trade content with them. A great way to make lasting relationships with other bloggers is to brainstorm new topics together, create content that’s appropriate for their site, and thank them for the opportunity. Guest blogging is a mutually beneficial relationship because it not only gets your name in front of a new crowd, but it also adds value to your colleague’s site by bringing in a fresh and respected new voice. Once you’ve shared content with another blogger, ask them if they would be interested in doing the same and try to set up some sort of routine. This will help both sites grow and strengthen your SEO all at once!

3. Invite People to Contribute—Guest blogging doesn’t have to mean working exclusively with people you know. In fact, one of the best ways to bring in a more diverse audience is to publicly invite people to contribute to your site. No, this doesn’t mean that everybody who asks to write will get published, however, inviting people to contribute to your site can help you meet new writers and continue to grow your personal blogging network. And best of all, this doesn’t have to be difficult! One great waytogoaboutitistosetupapage on your blog, perhaps titled “Write For Us” or “Contribute” and allow interested writers to contact you via this page. From there you can send an email, share writing samples, and communicate the goals of your blog and decide whether or not you’d like to work together. Again, this can serve as a great way to meet and network with other bloggers in your niche.

4. Conduct Interviews—Interviews can serve as a great forum for getting to know others in your niche and are an easy form of content to produce. Some of the strongest online content comes from simple interviews because it’s not only valuable information that is talked about and shared, but it also helps connect professionals and consumers in a specific niche. Asking others for a written interview takes little time and is almost like extending the olive branch to the interesting people that you want to get to know. Plus, once you have shared their story on your site, you can always ask them to share an interview with you on theirs to introduce yourself to their audience. It’s a win-win situation that can’t get any easier!


Content Curation

Creating original content can be time consuming and difficult, and depending on the type of site you’re running, doing it in a certain capacity or volume may actually be unnecessary. That’s where content curation comes into play. As a content curator, you don’t have to be a “go-to expert”; rather, you act as a content aggregater, bringing together the best, most relevant, or interesting content for your followers.

So, what exactly is content curating?

Content curation is the process of finding, organizing, contextualizing, and sharing relevant, high quality content with your audience. In the context of content marketing, curation should be done with the objective of collecting and sharing content that will ultimately advance your business, whether that means generating leads, expanding your audience, or becoming a thought leader.

Content curation is an undeniable result of the Internet age in which we live. Because information is constantly being shared across multiple online platforms, content curation can actually be a highly successful practice for many businesses that don’t have the experience, skills, or resources to create their own original content.

Being a curator alleviates you from the responsibility of having to constantly produce your own original content, and instead, enables you to share only the best digital content with your followers. As a content curator, you can use other blogger’s content to spark conversation and engagement amongst your fans.

The question then becomes, how do you decide whether to be a content creator or a

Building Relationships—Content marketing campaigns should always be focused on building relationships, be it with other bloggers, potential customers, or regular readers, and content curation is no different. Content curation can help you enhance your relationships with the press or blogging partners, as you’re helping them spread their content to a larger audience. This kind of relationship can help get your blog or website noticed by larger publications,

or at the very least encourage those sites to share your original content in the future. Think of it as a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” arrangement where you can both benefit from collaborating and sharing each other’s work.

Become an Information Destination—Curating quality content can be an incredibly effective way to generate loads of traffic for your blog or website. Being a destination site for niche content can help you establish a reputation as a great resource in your field, and even help you become a thought leader in your vertical. And, if you take the extra step to add your own short commentary, you can help improve your SEO. This can lead to more traffic from organic search and help you achieve your overall business objectives. It’s important to understand that people at all levels read blogs and use social media on a daily basis, so becoming an information destination where people find their daily content is a powerful role to take on.

Do Less Work and Have More Impact—Another advantage of content curation is that it requires less time and fewer resources, but it can have an equal, if not more significant, impact on your audience than creating your own original content. Why? Because content curation allows you to handpick the most relevant, interesting, and familiar pieces of content and share them with your audience. This allows you to share things that are valuable and/or trending, and are more likely to generate clicks and traffic. Why would you spend a bunch of time and money creating your own content when you could get better results sharing others’ content? As long as you spend the time to find and share content that is relevant and high quality, content curation can be successful at saving your money and generating more traffic.

Tips for Curating Content

Curating content enables you to highlight the best stuff from around the web while also providing a number of other benefits to your website in terms of SEO, traffic, and engagement. However, in order to reap the rewards that can come with content curation, you have to do it right and you have to do it well. Search engine guidelines, ethics, and the interests of your audience will all factor into what “quality content curation” means for your brand, and it’s vitally important to understand the effect of these different factors. The ultimate goal of your content curation strategy should be to provide your audience with interesting and valuable content that will serve your overall business objectives.

Here are some tips for curating content:

1. Curate to Your Blog—Your blog is the ideal place to start curating content. It’s the perfect platform for you to aggregate the best content from around the Internet and post it under your brand name. The key, however, is to find and share content that is targeted and specific to your audience and serves your overarching business objectives.

Try to narrow the focus of your content or subject matter. This will help make your work easier to manage and also help you establish laser-focused expertise on a particular topic. Moreover, sharing narrowly focused content will make it easier for people and search engines to find your site, which should translate to a higher search ranking and more traffic.

You want search engines to perceive your site as a thought leader and an expert in your field, and curating a lot of hyper-specific content will help them pinpoint you as the most relevant resource for your vertical, and ultimately, send you more traffic.

2. Collect Content That Teaches—People search the Internet for quick answers to their questions and/or easy solutions to their problems, so curating content that teaches them how to do things or provides them with helpful information is one of the best ways to approach content curation. Find “how to” articles or content that offer tips for accomplishing certain tasks that your audience is interested in and share them on your various channels.

3. Curate User-Generated Content—One of the easiest and most effective ways to get your audience more involved with your brand or website is through the use of user-generated content. If you have engaged users that are sharing questions or information on your blog or social channels, you can curate their contributions into a post. This is a great opportunity to interact with your fans while also helping you create quick and easy content. One great way to assemble some interesting user-generated content is to brainstorm a topic that your followers would be interested in and ask for their opinions or reactions via the comments section on your blog, in a Tweet, or on a Facebook status. Once you’ve had some responses trickle in you can gather some of the most interesting ones, curate them into a post, and share the results with your fans. This type of content is a great way to involve your followers in your brand and not have to devote too much time, energy, or resources to creating original content.

4. Curate a 360-degree Perspective—One of the biggest advantages of being a content curator is that you get to use other people’s content to tell a balanced and unbiased story. You aren’t limited to any one viewpoint, opinion, or perspective, and you can be somewhat ambiguous when it comes to sharing your own personal viewpoints. This often works best when there is a controversial or trending topic in your niche that people are interested in and are talking about. For example, if you’re in the health and beauty space and there is a brand new diet craze out on the market, you can curate various types of content to inform people without taking a particular stance. Naturally, people are going to be interested in learning about this new diet and the benefits it claims to have, but there will probably also be people who claim that it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. As a content curator, you can pull together both sides of the argument and present unbiased information to your audience so that they can educate themselves and make their own decisions.

5. Don’t Automate Your Curated Content—Although automating your content may seem like an easy way to populate your blog with lots of great stuff, it’s actually a big no-no in the eyes of Google and will ultimately hurt your SEO. The reason for this is automated curation focuses on keywords, using RSS feeds and other technology to automatically find content that mentions certain keywords, regardless of whether or not they’re actually relevant to your niche. Essentially, your site will end up having heaps of random duplicated content, which search engines will punish because of its lack of added value for your audience.

Ultimately, auto-generating links or duplicating content will earn you search engine penalties and end up costing you readers rather than helping you gain more. It’s worth your while to hand pick content that’s relevant to your readers and add value via your own commentary and analysis if you want to see SEO benefits.


Photo/Video Content

Photos and videos are a staple of any good content strategy. These types of visual content tend to create much more excitement and engagement with your audience, making them a powerful marketing tool for your brand. Videos, for example, are arguably the most personal form of interaction between you and your followers outside of being in the same room with them. However, with video being such a powerful tool for connecting with your followers, it’s crucial that your video production, as well as its content, is of the highest possible quality. A video is powerful because it’s visual, and its impact will be proportional to the quality of its appearance.

The Advantages of Visual Content

Humans are naturally social creatures and we gravitate towards things that we’re familiar with. We’re hardwired to relate to objects that we can see, hear, and recognize, which is why visual content is such a powerful tool for marketers. Both photo and video content enable your audience to put a face to a name, which makes it easier for them to get to know you and your brand better. This fosters a much more personal and much deeper connection than any text-based content could ever dream of.

Plus, visual content just works better for certain things. For example, you can describe a movie by writing a review, but a movie poster, a video trailer, or a snippet of the film itself are almost guaranteed to drum up more interest, excitement, and engagement. Visual content is often much more effective than text because it’s more entertaining, it requires less of your audience, and it has more emotional impact.

Why Invest in Visual Content?

Aside from the powerful nature and general marketing potential mentioned above, visual content can be highly beneficial to your content marketing strategy in a number of ways. There are many reasons why you should invest your time and resources into making visual content a part of your content marketing strategy, and these are the ones that stand out:

1. Personality—In comparison to text-based content, visual content, especially video, allows you to better express your brand’s personality and show your audience who you truly are. Important attributes like sentiment, earnestness, bod

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