Content marketing is a hot topic. According to Google Trends, searches for “content marketing” have increased 150% in the past two years. 90% of companies now use content marketing, and collectively they will spent $135 million on digital marketing content this year.
Yet marketers still have many questions about content marketing strategy and tactics. How do you create a content marketing strategy? What role does visual content play? How should success be measured? Is there too much content being produced?
Find the answers to those questions and more here in 22 noteworthy content marketing guides. While some of these posts date back the beginning of 2014, all remain relevant and useful.
10 Things You Must Know About Your Audience! by The Marketing Nut
***** 5 STARS
Writing that “You must know who your audience is, who you are and how you can help them solve problems. It’s only after you have this foundational knowledge that you can determine your social strategy and approach for building your social media plan,” frequent best-of honoree Pam Moore offers a free audience analysis worksheet and suggests 10 key questions to ask when developing content plans, starting with questions to identify your audience and key pain points and concluding with the emotional reasons customers buy from you.
How to measure content marketing success by iMedia Connection
Michael Estrin shares half a dozen insights on effectively measuring content marketing success, such as “business goals still matter” (views and engagement are nice, but is your audience following through by taking a targeted action?) and while numbers matter, so does quality (content “will fail if it doesn’t align with a larger strategy”).
Optimize Content Marketing Strategy in 7 Steps by Business2Community
Angela Hausman expounds on an infographic which illustrates “how to optimize content marketing strategy” in seven steps, starting with setting goals and conducting research, and progressing through promoting your content and analyzing results (“Use the KPI’s created earlier to monitor your performance. Keep doing things that work and tweak things that DON’T work or get rid of them”).
what is awesome content and why do you need it? by bowden2bowden blog
Randy Bowden outlines a four-step process for creating awesome client, from identifying and getting to know your audience (“In order to capture the attention of your readers, you need to know how to capture their attention. In order to know how to capture their attention, you need to get to know them“) to including a call to action in the conclusion of your content.
The 5 biggest myths about content marketing by iMedia Connection
Tom Foran debunks “five of the most common myths and (tries) to set the record straight for marketers.” For example, “Myth No. 2: Creating content is the hard part.” Actually, according to Foran, most of the work is in promotion. “Creating the content first and figuring out where it should go later sounds like a surefire way to waste time and resources. Marketers should instead consider starting with a distribution strategy that answers…key questions.”
Rebekah Radice offers a dozen tips for “creating compelling content that engages your audience and inspires them to share that content,” from analyzing competitors and knowing your ideal reader (starting with a customer persona) through sharing success stories, sharing newsworthy content, and building an email list.
While acknowledging that “there is too much of some types of content,” the brilliant and prolific Sonia Simone makes the case that despite the deluge of online content today, content marketing is far from dead, as “There is no glut of quality content…we are a long way from the day when too much high-quality, Rainmaker-style content is being created…there is not a glut of content that is useful, passionate, individual, and interesting.”
What You Absolutely Need To Know About Content Marketing by The B Squared Media Blog
Brooke Ballard explains three “must-knows” about content marketing, starting with “Content Marketing Always Starts With A Strategy…everything starts with a ‘why.’ Why are we creating this blog post / eBook / status update? What do we want people to do with this piece of content; what’s the purpose?” Each point also includes several “things to consider,” such as “Can you repurpose old content for use in the future?”
Content Marketing Editorial Calendar Template by The Marketing Nut
Pam Moore (again) offers practical, actionable guidance on how to organize and create a content marketing editorial calendar, complete with a downloadable template and all of the elements that should be part of the calendar (from weekly and monthly themes through primary keywords and categories to supporting media and syndication.
After sharing some compelling statistics–“the content marketing industry (has) grown to a $44 billion industry…93% of B2B brands and 90% of B2C brands are now using content marketing to educate consumers about their brands. (Yet) despite the overwhelming interest in content marketing, 55% of B2B content marketers think their campaigns are ineffective”—Benjy Boxer contends that content marketing efforts need to show ROI, and provides an example worksheet.
The 3 C’s of Successful Content Marketing by iMedia Connection
Nate Holmes outlines the “3C’s” of content marketing execution, starting with create [italix]: “Creating quality content is the heart of content marketing. Relevant, valuable content is what will make your audience stop to think and behave differently…There must be a purpose to content creation; a goal…Understand who your audience is and what they want to know…Offer what no one else can.”
5 Content Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2014 by Web Content Blog
For the most part, these predictions from Gazalla Gaya will hold true for 2015 as well. For each trend here, she also lists several helpful related ideas for content marketing success, among them “Create a definite social media strategy in place to promote your blog posts, whitepapers, case studies and seminars” and “Outline a strategy that works for different devices.”
10 Reasons Visual Content will Dominate 2014 by Advanced Lead Generation Marketing Blog
James Scherer outlines 10 reasons to incorporate videos and images into content marketing efforts, including both stats you’ve likely seen before (e.g., “videos on landing pages increase average page conversion rates by 86%) and a few you may not have (“67% of consumers consider clear, detailed images to carry more weight than product information or customer ratings”).
Drew Williams presents the concept of the “engagement ladder,” which helps map marketing content to all phases of the buying decision process, from solution education (such as analyst reports or industry studies) through vendor education and vendor consideration to decision support (e.g., an offer of an assessment or ROI calculator).
31 Content Marketing Ideas that Will Revolutionize Your Business by Marketo Content Marketing Blog
Joe Pulizzi (who knows just a bit about content marketing) shares a “list of 31 ideas and thoughts, which I believe will make an immediate impact on your content marketing, even if you only execute a few,” such as launching content marketing projects together with partners; keeping your social media influencer list up to date; and setting up editorial calendars for each of your key markets or products.
Content Marketing in 2014: Are You Prepared? by HubSpot
Kieran Flanagan writes that content marketing has largely replaced link building as a primary SEO tactic, then explores processes for proving the value of content, scaling content, and promoting content: “When it comes to distribution, marketers need to focus on increasing the size of their available audience (by increasing their blog readership, email lists, and number of social followers), but also increasing the number of distribution channels they have,” coordinating promotion efforts across all of the channels in the web presence optimization (WPO) model.
The 3 Goals For Your Content Marketing by B2B Marketing Insider
Given that buyers now complete 60-70% of their purchase process before contacting a vendor sales rep, Michael Brenner believes it’s critical to reach buyers through content marketing, and that all content marketing programs should be based on the same three fundamental goals, starting with reach: “reach measures can be criticized as vanity metrics. But it’s important to be building a healthy audience of the right people and to track those measures over time.”
3 Types of Schema Markup Content Marketers Should Know by Small Business Trends
Observing that “It’s harder and harder to get above-the-fold Google rankings, especially for the competitive queries,” frequent best-of honoree Ann Smarty delves into how Schema markup works, and three types that content marketers should be aware of: VideoObject schema, Review schema, and Article schema.
7 Ways to Boost SEO Results for Your Video Content Marketing by B2B PR Sense Blog
Noting that “71% of businesses across a variety of industries have increased company funding for online video marketing budgets,” Oren Smith looks at more than half a dozen ways to improve video SEO, such as targeting the right keywords and using supporting images and text: “images, links, and accompanying text all assist search engines with determining page quality. In a ranking sense, a page with nothing but video content on it isn’t attractive.”
Written a year ago but still timely, Tommy Walker shares his five-step process to make “content more strategic, efficient and powerful,” starting with creating “content for a small group of real people” and progressing through fleshing out a content calendar, complete with examples.
In another older but still relevant post, Stephanie Chang delves into four key content marketing trends, including “Determining the key metrics to measure content’s success will be more important,” an exploration of the varied metrics available for determining success and which are most valuable.
Want to be a Better Content Marketer? Think Like a Journalist by Blue Kite Marketing
After showcasing an example from her alma mater’s journalism school, Laura Click writes “companies that are doing brand journalism well aren’t just throwing a blog on their website. They are creating an entirely new destination for readers that looks less like a corporate website and more like a news magazine. This gives companies the opportunity to be the go-to resource in their industry.” She then serves up six practical tips for thinking like a journalist.