How to Start Using Content Marketing in 2018

  • Content Marketing

Are you using content marketing as effectively as possible to reach your customers and build your business?

These days, content marketing is one of the best ways to raise brand awareness among a targeted audience, as well as increase your online authority, web traffic, leads, and sales.

However, without the right content marketing strategy, tactics, and tools, you won’t get any of those benefits.

In this article, we’ll be going over the tools, tactics and strategies to get your audience’s attention and make them want to connect with you. This will mean more leads and sales down the road.

But first…

What Is Content Marketing?

Content Marketing

Content marketing is marketing your business with content.

That description makes it sound simple, but there is actually a lot that goes into content marketing to make it all work.

First off, there’s the content part. This is your blog posts, articles, podcasts, videos, and so on. It’s information in written, audible, or visual form.

Second, there’s the marketing part. This is about telling your target audience about your products and services so they want to become your customers. With content marketing, you do this with content.

There is one major difference from the old days of marketing: with content marketing, you generally attract people to you, as opposed to you going out to chase them.

Content marketers create, curate, share, and distribute quality content. Quality content is content that’s relevant, accurate, optimized for search, and it delivers what your audience wants.

Quality content helps marketers to attract a defined audience, inform that audience about the business, engage and educate them, generate leads and sales, and eventually turn that audience into customers, fans, and advocates.

Content Marketing Statistics – Does It Really Work?

Many people and businesses use content when trying to build an audience for one simple reason: to reach the 4 billion people that are online.

However, there have been major changes as to how people consume content. More than 75% of people online use mobile devices and social media. This fact can have major implications for your marketing efforts.

The best way to reach these people is through content that comes straight to mobile devices and social networks they’re using. You want your content to be where the people are looking for information.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, 72% of marketers say that content marketing increases engagement and is a fantastic lead generation tool.

You are here because you want to get your share of those leads for your online business, so let’s start by defining your content marketing strategy.

How To Create a Content Marketing Strategy

Create a Content Marketing Strategy

Creating content without a plan is a lot like driving without a GPS: you may eventually get to your destination, but you’ll likely make a few wrong turns on the way there. You could end up wandering aimlessly, getting frustrated, and potentially wasting a lot of time and money.

There are actually a lot of challenges that can present themselves with content marketing:

  • 63% of businesses don’t have a content marketing strategy
  • 64% of marketers need help to build a better content strategy
  • 60% of marketers find it difficult to produce content consistently
  • 65% of businesses find it challenging to produce engaging content
  • 62% of businesses don’t know how to measure the ROI of their campaigns.

To help you avoid falling into these traps, here are some tips to help you build your content marketing strategy.

1. Set Out Your Mission, Goals, and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Key Performance Indicators

One of the first steps you want to take is work out your content marketing mission. This is a brief statement of:

  • Who your audience is
  • How you’ll reach your audience, and…
  • What they’ll gain from your content.

Here is a quick framework 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 a critical part of this process. They set out what your business will gain from your content marketing efforts.

Typical content marketing goals include:

  • Improving sales
  • Getting more leads
  • Increasing Traffic

This makreing mission framework can also work for B2C marketing, because your target audience always has goals. For example, a B2C health business could create articles (type of content) for women over 50 (target audience) to help them survive menopause (goal).

You will also need to say how you’ll measure success. These are your KPI’s, and they can include:

  • Revenue targets
  • Number of subscribers
  • Increased visitor numbers
  • Get more signups
  • Improve your search ranking
  • Improve social media engagement
  • Be invited to participate in key industry events
  • …and more.

2. Know Your Audience

Who Is Your Audience?

A vital step in any content marketing strategy is knowing the audience to whom you are marketing. This will help you target your content appropriately. This is key because content marketing only works at its highest potential when it’s relevant to that audience.

If you try to create content for everyone, you won’t create it for anyone.

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

You can also get feedback from your customers to help you understand their priorities, decide where to reach them, and to flesh out your buyer personas.

Your buyer personas will bring these two sets of information together so you know what content you want to create, how that content will help your audience, and what will make your audience care about that content.

3. Plan Your Process

Content Marketing Plan

It’s vital to plan your content process. You need to know:

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

4. Start a Blog


Your blog is the centerpiece of any content marketing strategy. It provides a hub for all of your other content marketing efforts. If you don’t already have a blog, start one immediately.

Some blogging content ideas that have been known to work well are:

  • How-to guides
  • Tutorials
  • Industry news and insights
  • Checklists
  • Case studies
  • Interviews
  • Expert advice
  • …and more.

You want your blog posts to be:

  • Useful
  • Educational
  • Fun
  • Controversial

5. Audit Your Existing Content

Content Audit

If you have content already, it’s important to figure out if it’s meeting your goals and delivering on those KPIs we discussed earlier.

This is a 3 step process:

  1. Log what you have
  2. Assess whether or not it’s working
  3. Find content gaps

One good tool for logging your content is Screaming Frog. This is an SEO tool that helps you quickly grab all the URLs from your site, find duplicate pages, and identify missing titles and descriptions.

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

Once you have your data, you can see what’s working, what needs to be improved, and what needs to be replaced. You can also identify content gaps, where creating new content can help you reach your stated goals.

6. Do Your Keyword Research and Create Your Content

Keyword Research

One critical part of creating content is doing keyword research for that content. You want to do this to maximize the chances of people finding your content so they visit your site.

Keywords are the terms people use to search for content, as well as the terms that search engines use to identify what your content is about.

There are 3 basic types of keywords to include in your content:

  • “Short Tail” – These keywords identify a broad concept or group of items, like “socks”
  • “Medium Tail” – These are 2-3 word phrases that narrow down the concept, like “women‘s socks”
  • “Long Tail” – longert, more specific phrases, like “women’s cotton hiking socks”

Generally, the more specific any marketing targets an audience, the less people you communicate to, but the more effective that message is to each member of that audience. This also holds true in content marketing and keyword research.

Keywords in content also help searchers and Google match your content to what they’re looking for. This is called search intent.

There are 4 types of search intent:

  • Navigational, where people are searching from a specific site
  • Informational, where they trying to get an answer to a specific question
  • Investigational, where they are narrowing down pre-purchase options
  • Transactional, where searchers have their credit card in hand and are ready to buy

Researching keywords for content marketing involves the following:

  • Brainstorming ideas
  • Checking Google Analytics and Google Search Console to see what keywords already bring searchers to your site
  • Using keyword research tools to find the right keywords to include in your content. One good tool is the Keyword Magic Tool from SEMRush.

Once you have the keywords you want to use, you’ll need to include them in your content. Some places to place them are:

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

Length of Your Content
Although Google doesn’t cite content length as an SEO ranking factor, research has shown that longer, more in-depth content gets more top-ten searches. Specifically, Articles that are 2,500 words tend to get the highest ranked.

Longer posts also get more links and shares, adding social signals to boost your content’s ranking even higher.

Optimize your content by sprinkling keyword phrases where appropriate. Just don’t overdo it and get penalized for keyword stuffing.

7. Decide on Your Lead Magnet

Lead Magnets

One way to get more leads with your content is to create a lead magnet. You want your lead magnet to:

  • Solve a real problem for your leads and customers
  • Give a solution that’s quick and easy to implement
  • Be simultaneously valuable and easy to digest
  • Show your expertise

Here are some lead magnet ideas to get you started:

  • Ebooks
  • Case studies
  • Webinars
  • Checklists
  • Lists of resources
  • Reports
  • Free trials
  • Quizzes
  • Mini-courses

8. Promote Your Content

Content Promotion

Another important piece of your content marketing strategy is promoting your content. There are several ways to do this, including:

  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Link building

Content Marketing Tactics

Content Marketing Strategy

There are several tactics that are proven to help businesses market more effectively to their audience. Here, we’re going to be covering some of those tactics.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is a key way to improve SEO and get more from your content marketing efforts. It’s actually a key part of your content marketing funnel. This goes in 4 steps

  1. Off-site thought leadership
  2. On-site thought leadership
  3. Gated content
  4. Continuous engagement

Guest blogging can help you:

  • Raise awareness for your brand
  • Attract more inbound links
  • Build trust in your brand
  • Get new visitors and subscribers

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

  • Choose the right sites to contribute to
  • Pitch and write a great topic
  • Use your bio effectively
  • Respond to comments and shares
  • Promote your content and measure your results

Gated Content

The only thing better than putting your blog content out there for free is to hide some of it away to entice visitors to subscribe and become a lead.

Apart from blog posts and pages, you can also gate:

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

Gating your content can be a fast and effective 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 assets.

To gate content effectively, you will need the following:

  • Your content
  • A landing page
  • An effective call to action

Content Upgrades

You can create additional content that’s related to a particular blog post and use it as a content upgrade to interest people in subscribing.

Content Repurposing

Content repurposing is about taking one piece of content and reusing it in another format. This helps you extend the reach of your content, to let you generate more leads and make more sales.

Here are a few ways you can repurpose your content:

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

Content Curation

You can benefit from great content without having to create it yourself. This 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

Even better, some of the best content curation tools available 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 creation tool
  • Pinterest, which lets you curate content via pins and boards


FOMO (or “Fear of Missing Out”) is one of the best ways to make your visitors anxious to download your lead magnet and buy your stuff. We as human beings are psychologically hardwired to respond to this. In marketing, FOMO is about triggering this psychological programming to make your audience more responsive.

Some ways to include FOMO in your content include:

  • Letting readers know there’s the potential to miss an opportunity in your messaging
  • Use time-sensitive content
  • Offering a content upgrade
  • Reward visitors for making an early decision to subscribe or buy from you


Urgency is similar to FOMO, and works only if you are marketing something useful, valuable, or important.

To make full use of urgency in your content marketing campaigns:

  • Don’t overuse it or it will lose impact.
  • You can use language to evoke time, speed, scarcity, and a sale
  • Use active, urgent language in your call to action (like “Book Now”)
  • Repeat urgent language in your email subject lines and preheader text

One example of using urgency is to include a countdown timer on your offer page.


Geomarketing allows you to deliver content and messages that are 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, as well as social media users (many of whom use mobile devices)
  • Create hyper-targeted content

Another crucial part of geotargeted content marketing is local SEO content optimization. This includes utilizing schema markup and building localized landing pages.

The Best Types of Content to Wow Your Audience

Excited Audience

It’s vital to use the right pieces of content if you really want to maximize your content strategy, and achieve real results that boost your leads and sales.

Not all content types will appeal to all of your visitors, so you’ll need to mix it up a little bit.

There are other content formats (besides blog posts) that you can use to get results for your business. Here are some you can use:

Case Studies

If you want to win new business, consider making customer case studies. Case studies allow you to:

  • Highlight the benefits of your products or services
  • Create content that is specific to a niche you would like to target
  • Build trust with your potential customers
  • Show your advantages over your competitors
  • Build even better relations with the customers that you feature


Ebooks can make for fantastic lead magnets, as mentioned earlier.

However, if you want to succeed with your ebooks, you will need:

  • Content that meets readers’ needs and has one specific purpose
  • An outline that puts your content in a logical, easy-to-follow order
  • Delivery in a format that your audience wants, like a PDF for a Kindle book
  • Rich, well-researched, and well-written content.

Remember, just because your audience is getting this content for free doesn’t mean it should look like it’s free.


Video is one of the hottest content formats around. Not only do most people watch videos, it’s also proven that videos generate leads and help make sales.

In fact, half of 18-34 year old YouTube Subscribers would drop what they’re doing to watch a new video from their favorite YouTube creator.

Those who use video marketing get upwards of 66% more leads a year, according to Aberdeen Group. Also, 81% of marketers using video saw an increase in sales, according to Wyzowl.

You can create many types of video, like explainer videos, product or service showcases, or even tutorials. Even better, you can easily get started creating videos with a mobile device and a YouTube account.

Live video is becoming increasingly popular as well, so once you get the hang of shooting videos, take the leap and go live.


Webinars are another huge way to generate qualified leads. In fact, according to ReadyTalk, up to 40% of people who attend webinars become qualified leads.

Even better, according to the Branded Solopreneur, up to 5% could make a purchase. Some people have earned millions of dollars by hosting webinars.

To get started, build a presentation you can show, and get ready for a brief Q&A session after that presentation ends. You will need a webinar signup landing page and a tool to let you host the webinar.

How to Measure Content Marketing ROI

Return on Investment

Surprisingly, a lot of marketers have no idea what an effective content marketing program looks like.

So, in this section, we’ll be looking at content marketing Return on Investment (ROI), meaning how much you earn from your content marketing efforts compared with the amount you spend.

 To work out this figure, you want to track:

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

After you get those figures, use this formula to work out your ROI:

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

In other words, if you spend $5,000 on creating a piece of content, and get leads that are worth $20,000, then your ROI is 300%.

  • $20,000 – $5,000 = $15,000
  • $15,000 / $5,000 = 3
  • 3 x 100% = 300%

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

However, Measuring content marketing marketing success isn’t about the money alone. There are some other areas that are worth paying attention to, such as:

  • Whether or not your content is generating leads.
  • If your content is generating sales, which you can measure using Google Analytics and your eCommerce platform
  • Traffic and onsite engagement
  • Social media success
  • SEO, and getting better positions in the search results
  • Prominence and authority, both online and offline

Content Marketing Tools

Content Marketing Tools

According to Content Marketing Institute, 92% of marketers need help with content marketing, as only 8% of marketers feel they are doing a great job with it. However, if you use the right tools you can get much better results.

Here are some of those tools that will help you with your content marketing efforts:


OptinMonster’s marketing software can help you get more subscribers by showing campaigns at the right time so more of your visitors can take action.


With 15% of people listening to podcasts, this content format is hard to ignore.


BuzzSumo is a great tool for tracking social shares and trending content. It’s also useful for influencer marketing and headline inspiration.


Feedly tracks sites and topics you want to follow. It allows you to stay current so you can constantly add new stuff to your content calendar.

Headline Analyzer

CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer helps you determine if your headline is great… or if it needs some more work.


MailChimp is a good place to start with email marketing. You get free access for your first 2,000 subscribers.


MonsterInsights lets you keep track of your blog and web traffic from your WordPress dashboard. It gives you the metrics you need to see what’s working and what needs changes.


OpenSiteExplorer tracks page authority and page authority for websites. This tool is great for guest blogging and other content marketing outreach.


OutReachPlus is a content promotion tool that will help you find prospects worth nurturing. It will help you build better connections, and get more leads and sales.


WPForms lets you design your own forms, polls, and surveys to get to know your customers at a deeper level.

Visual Content Creation Tools

The best way to take your content visibility to the next level is to go visual.

Content with images gets more views and more shares. All ages love video, and at the current rate video will account for 82% of online traffic by 2021.

Below are some visual content tools to help you make the most out of this trend:


Animaker is a surprisingly affordable tool that allows you to make animated videos. It has a range of video types, and you can even build infographic videos.


Boomerang lets you create quick stop-motion videos for Facebook and Instagram.


With Canva, it’s easy to make blog post headers, social media graphics, and also ebook covers.


CloudApp lets you capture your screen and share recordings. You can also create animated GIFs with it.

You can create infographics with built-in templates and charts, so you can have an appealing infographic within minutes.


Giphy is a popular choice for messaging platforms to share GIFs, and Giphy’s own GIF creator lets you make your own.

Meme Generator

Meme Generator, well… generates memes. Search for an image, add your text, and share. It’s as simple as that.


Pixlr is a robust browser-based image editor. It comes in three variations depending on how much you want to do.


Prezi make it easy for non-designers to make stunning presentations. You can get viewing stats for your presentations as well.


The Soapbox Chrome extension lets you create and share videos right from your Chrome browser.

Wrapping It Up

There is a lot of information that we covered in this article, and it can be overwhelming to do alone. From the planning of your content, to using the tools, to the keyword research, it can be a lot for someone to learn and do alone.

Let us take the burden off of your shoulders so you can handle the things that only you can do in your business. Click here to schedule a strategy session with us today.

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