Friday, October 9, 2020

Content Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide

Content Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide

Content Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide
Content Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide

This, my friend, is one of the greatest examples of content marketing of all time.

I bet that when you hear “content marketing,” you think about blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and viral YouTube videos.

But content marketing has been around far longer than the Internet.


Because content marketing is all about storytelling, and humans have told stories for as long as they could speak. Our attention will always go to those who tell great stories.

That’s the reason why blogs like.

It’s the reason why movies like The Last Jedi did were so popular.

They wanted to create what Kenner Toy Company’s Star Wars action figures already had: A rich backstory for their action figures.

Within two months of releasing the first comic book, about 20% of their target audience, boys between the ages of five and twelve, had two or more G.I. Joe toys.  And at that point, the comic book only had two stories.

Seven years later, the series was one of Marvel’s strongest titles, and two out of three boys in the same age category owned at least one G.I. Joe action figure.

How’s that for using content to market a product?

A lot has changed since then, and what worked back in the 80s won’t necessarily work today.  However, with new marketing channels like social media popping up almost daily, opportunity is knocking.

So, let’s take a look at what content marketing means now in my content marketing guide. Feel free to skip ahead if one topic catches your eye:





Why content marketing? 

Content mapping based on customers journey


The content marketing institutedefines content  marketing as:

a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

Their definition is solid in my opinion. But it could use some clarity.

It means that content marketing is a long term strategy that focuses on building a strong relationship with your target audience by giving them high-quality content that is very relevant to them on a consistent basis.

Eventually, when customers make a purchase decision, their loyalty already lies with you. They will purchase your product and prefer it over competitors’ options.

In contrast to one-off advertising, content marketing shows that you actually care about your customers.

Today, more than ever before, people want to feel like you care about them. The world is louder and noisier than ever before, and attention is our most valuable resource.

Keep that in mind as we take a look at some of the different types of content marketing.


When Joe Pulizzi founded the content Marketing institute in 2010, I don’t think he knew exactly how spot-on he would be, let alone how successful CMI would become.

In 2017, they were one of the top resources when it came to content marketing statistics. And, they’ve created a great video overview of the evolution of content marketing:

ince the foundation of content marketing is simply high-quality content and storytelling, you can already see that the activity has been around longer than the term itself.

There’s still plenty to learn from thosefirst offline content marketing activities that pre-date the Internet, social media, and the like.

However, any successful content marketing campaign today can hardly ignore the online part.

Because storytelling has changed over the years, the attention of people stretches to more places than a few years ago, and marketers have to make sure that they tell stories in the year we actually live in.

Well, now that you have a good idea what content marketing stands for, you might wonder, “How can I succeed at content marketing myself?”

I’m glad you asked!

There are three major categories where you can put content marketing efforts these days: online, offline, and hybrids.

The best way to learn how to be a great content marketer is by example.

That’s why I’ll show you 15 great examples of content marketing in all categories. Then, you can model them, tweak them, and apply them to your own businesses.

First, though, I’m going to show you how you can create a content marketing strategy. Then, you can use the examples at the end for inspiration.


Tons of different content marketing strategies exist today.

In the beginning of the content marketing world, that wasn’t the case. 

At one time, marketers had few options. They essentially only had bandit signs, magazines, and newspaper ads.

Even in those days, however, they had a variety of different custom choices.

They could play with the words in their advertisements, the picture they showed, the placement of it, and the CTA.

In other words, although there were few content marketing methods, the options were still remarkably vast.

Today, more content marketing mediums and methods exist than ever before in the history of the world. That means that the number of strategies is even greater.

One online publication suggests using the 3D content model, for instance.

Basically, it’s three individual steps.

  1. Map the content to the pain point.
  2. Then use the right type of content for that problem.
  3. Finally, map the content to the buying cycle of the people who have that problem.

This strategy is a way to move the focus away from the marketer and to the person that the marketer is trying to reach.

That, after all, is an incredibly important step to take in your own content marketing strategy.

If your content doesn’t cater to the right people with the right problem that your product solves, then your content marketing efforts are all for not.

Of course, you’ll probably want to adapt this to fit your own audience and marketing theories.

Whatever the case, though, you should always start with your audience.

You must create content for that audience. Then, and only then, will the right people pay attention to you.

According to the source itself  Content Marketing Institute here are the tips you should follow when creating a content marketing strategies. 

Notice, in particular, this tip: “Your strategy should outline your key business and customer needs, and how your content efforts will address them.”

What does that mean?

It means that you need to understand your customers, prospects, and audience. Once you do, you can then create content that solves their problems and grows your business.

The ultimate goal of content marketing, of course, is to grow your business.

But again, you can’t do that unless you first attract paying customers.

In a world with social media, endless Internet space, self-publishing companies, and free graphic design tools, the strategies you can use to attract paying customers are as varied as the fish in the sea.

Here’s one list, for example, that Hubspot put together. It shows you just a few of the conten marketing formats you can use.

So yeah, there are a ton of options.

But don’t get overwhelmed.

You’re here to learn about the benefits of each option and when to use which one. While there’s only one goal of content marketing (to increase business revenue), there are many ways to do that.

But before we can jump in and see how you can create your own strategy, you should first understand a bit of content marketing’s history.

Where did it come from? Why has it lingered? And why is it so popular today?

We’ll turn to those questions next.


How old would you guess that content marketing is?

When someone first asked me that question a few years ago, I thought it had been around for maybe 50, 70, or perhaps even 90 years.

But I was wrong. I was very wrong.

The year is 1732, and a man by the name of Benjamin Franklin just published the first version of his annual Poor Richard’s Almanack.

Why did he do it?

Did he do it for fun because he liked writing and expressing his ideas?

Nope, that wasn’t it at all.

He did it because he wanted to advertise the new printing business that he had created. He figured the best way to do this was to print his own Almanack and potentially encourage others to print there too.

According to Content marketing institute timeline, this is the very first occurrence of true content marketing.

I’m willing to bet you didn’t think that content marketing started with Benjamin Franklin in the 1700s. It’s possible that you’re more insightful than I was a few years back and you guessed it from the gate.

Most of you, though, probably didn’t.

And that’s because content marketing feels like a modern development.

But, while the term is fairly new, the practice isn’t.

For years, businesses and individuals alike have tried to attract attention by creating free or cheap content.

he tractor company, did something similar to Franklin in 1895 when they produced a lifestyle magazine for farmers that they called.

As you can see in the bottom left-hand corner, the magazine was complimentary.

Now, you might be able to argue that John Deere did this out of the kindness of their heart. 

Perhaps they simply wanted to help people and didn’t realize the effect that this publication would have on the business’s revenue.

More than likely, though, that wasn’t the case.

John Deere did this because they understood the heart of content marketing: what goes around comes around.

Or basically, if you produce free and helpful content for your target market, they will engage with you, spread your message, and probably even buy from you.

Jello-O was another company that recognized this early on in their marketing journey.

Content marketing efforts have been around here and there over the last few hundred years.

Of course, content marketing has now fully found its footing, and it’s taking the Internet by storm in articles.

Even though the methods for content marketing have changed over the years, the formula for great content has stayed largely the same.

It’s the same formula for getting people to buy your products.

  1. Push on the person’s paint point.
  2. Agitate that pain.
  3. Solve their problem.

Here’s a more modern content marketing ad that implements that same strategy.

Now, of course, this happens in videos and pictures and blog posts and infographics.

As you can see, content marketing has come a long way in the last few centuries.

One shining example of modern content marketing is Blendtec’s “Will It Blend?” series on YouTube.

Here’s a video where they blend an iPhone. You have to see it to believe it.

Why do businesses do this kind of content marketing, though?

After all, they aren’t outright selling their products. They are generating attention, sure. But does that really matter?

The short answer is yes. In today’s world, attention is as good as dollar bills.

However, that’s only true if it’s the right attention.

And content marketing often does a remarkable job of drawing the eyes of people who care about your product and are willing to buy it.

Why content marketing?

OK. Content marketing is popular. Lots of businesses use it, and they’ve used it for hundreds of years.

But is content marketing right for your business?

Just because content marketing worked for early adopters, that doesn’t mean it’s going to work for your modern-day business. And just because massive B2B and B2C businesses use it today also, that doesn’t mean that it’s right for you.

To find out, let’s take a look at some recent and relevant content marketing data.

In the end, we’ll try to answer the question two questions: Is content marketing right for you? And should you invest bandwidth and budget into it?

Let’s start with the fact that the top priority for B2C content creators is to create more engaging content. Next in line is a desire to understand what kind of content is effective and what isn’t.

People are trying to create more and more content every year because great, mediocre, and terrible blog posts, videos, and infographics are increasingly cluttering the online environment.

You could use that clutter as an excuse to not create content for your business.

Or, you could take it as a sign that content marketing is well worth your time. You’ll just have to invest more energy into it to stand apart from the crowd.

So the answer is still unclear.

But remember this: Even though a lot of businesses are struggling with their content creation, many also understand the current power of their strategies.

After all, just because those businesses are dissatisfied, it doesn’t mean that their content marketing efforts are falling dead.

It might just mean that those businesses have extraordinarily high standards for success.

In truth, paid advertising — sort of the antithesis of content marketing — is the most overrated tactic in the marketing world while blogging, SEO, and even social media are far less overrated.

Yes, the content marketing world is more competitive than it has ever been before. Every time you Google something, millions and millions of results present themselves.

And yet, you only see the top ten.

That means that searches are only seeing a few people for that keyword.

You, of course, get to decide if content marketing is a fit for your business.

But I hope you’ll see here that it’s a fit for almost every business.

Whether you’re a tractor company, a coffee house, or a blender manufacturer, there’s a content marketing strategy that can benefit your ROI.

But how can you stand above all of the online noise?

That’s what we’re going to talk about next.

Content mapping based on the customer journey

Have you heard of content mapping before?

If you haven’t, it’s about time that you do.

It’s remarkably valuable and important for your own content marketing strategy.

Content mapping is the act of understanding your audience so well that you can then create content for each stage of their journey toward buying your product.

As you well know, few people go straight from discovery to buying.

Instead, they usually discover your website, think about your product, spend a few months thinking, see a retargeting ad, and then buy.

  • At least, it goes something like that.

  • The point is that people take a lot of time to buy.

If, on the other hand, you guide your prospects through the buying journey with helpfulness, kindness, and availability, they are much more likely to love you.

And when people love you, they tell their friends about you.

The point is that your customers want a remarkable experience, and your content marketing efforts can give that to them. But you have to understand the way that people buy and then create content for each stage.

There are three basic stages:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Decision

And each stage requires a different kind of content marketing.

Awareness stage content

The first stage of a buyer’s journey is awareness.

They simply become aware of your business. They aren’t necessarily ready to buy yet or even ready to opt-in to your email list or newsletter. But because of the content you created, they now know who you are.

Why is that valuable to your business?

Naturally, if people don’t know who you are, they can’t join your audience or, most importantly, buy from you.

People must first learn about your business.

And for that, content marketing is perhaps your best ally.

For example, I conducted a search for “How to write a great blog post” on Google. This is what came up.

When you do that, be sure to be specific. You want to pretend that your entire audience is a single person with individual desires, goals, pains, and demographics.

  • Then, and only then, will your content do a far better job of talking to the people who matter.

  • You can’t do that if you don’t start by understanding who your ideal customer is.

  • The better that you understand your customers, the better you can make their buying journey from traffic to prospect to sale.

  • And that can directly impact your revenue.

In fact, 55% of consumers would pay more for a better customer experience, and 86% of B2B buyers would pay more. To further show the importance of this, 89% of people have stopped doing business with a company because of a poor experience.

  • But you know as well I do that we don’t live in a perfect world.

  • We live in a world where everyone is a bit different, and the real reason that someone buys a product is often quite fleeting.

  • Did they buy because of the advertisement they saw or because of the article they read a week before?

It’s hard to tell.

Of course, us marketers can still work with what we have at our disposal. That ambiguity isn’t an excuse to ignore the identity of our customers.

  • Still, the better we know our customers, the more effective our content marketing strategy will end up being.

  • One of the best ways to do that is by creating a customer avatar. It should look something like this.

  • That is to say, content marketing builds brand awareness, engagement, and evangelism.

  • But in terms of conversions, revenue, and ROI… well, that’s hard to measure.

I’m definitely not saying that content marketing is helpless when it comes to meaningful business events. I’m simply saying that measuring the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy is particularly difficult.

Think about it.

People see your content, and then they know who you are. But if they don’t join your email list or opt into something, then you don’t know who they are.

That further means that you have no way to track how many people actually bought your product because they learned about your business from the content you created.

For that reason, the effectiveness of content marketing can be a bit ambiguous.

In a perfect world, content marketing strategy would guide people like this.

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