What is Content Marketing? How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy?

What is content marketing? Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creati...

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is 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.
The key word here is “valuable.” It’s what changes this definition from one that could describe almost any form of advertising or marketing.

So what is content marketing actually?

A type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services: "social media is an integral part of content marketing" · "an effective content marketing strategy" Source: Oxford Dictionary

Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.

What is content marketing strategy?

What is Content Marketing
A content marketing strategy (not to be confused with a content strategy) analyzes the different ways content marketing can be used across the buyer’s journey, the customer life cycle and/or the different customer (experience) touchpoints but it goes beyond that. Essentially a content marketing strategy looks how content marketing (not content) can be used in a strategic way as such and for and with other marketing, customer and sales strategies.

The Benefits of Content Marketing

So let’s break down how your content will actually get your leads to the point where your sales team is ready to convert them into customers. The following are some of the benefits that your content will provide that will assist in obtaining high quality leads for your sales team:

  • Increase Brand Awareness – Obviously you want as many people to know about your company as possible. The more often you release content on your website, the more exposure you’ll be providing for your company. If someone reads a piece that they enjoy, they’ll probably come back to read more, thereby becoming more familiar with your brand. There’s also a chance that they will share that content with friends and family. Their friends and family could turn around and share the content with their social circles – and so on. Not to mention that the more quality content you release, the higher your web ranking will be, exposing you to more potential web traffic.

  • Increase Brand Trust and Loyalty – There are some businesses out there that release a tremendous amount of content in an attempt to draw in more traffic. But if you are writing crappy content, then who is going to read it? Readers will be able to tell if your content is bad by the opening paragraph – and there’s no way they are going to waste their time finishing it. And they’re definitely not going to come back to your website. Your content has to be good. In order to be good, it has to provide value to your readers. By giving them something they want or need, you’ll help to build both trust and loyalty over time.

  • Establish Yourself as a Leading Authority – Another reason that you should focus on the quality of your content is the fact that you’ll eventually establish a reputation for knowing what you’re talking about. Not only does this help build trust and loyalty in your brand, it also helps foster a reputation as being an authority within your industry. You know you’re putting out some good stuff if other websites begin linking your content to their website. Those links are going to help tell search engines like Google that your content is good, which will boost your website in search results.

  • Increase Social Engagement – By putting up a blog on your website, you’ll allow readers to comment on your content. Even if someone disagrees with your content, it’s a great way to get people talking.

  • Increase Lead Captures – Good content will eventually convince readers to fill out your conversion forms, thereby capturing them as leads. This isn’t happening if they don’t trust you or your content is just bad. And obviously, the more leads you are capturing, the more potential customers you’re getting. Read: How to Write a Quality Contents for Blogs

How to Design Engaging Content

  • Design means much more than color schemes and stock photos. The process will look different for every marketing team, and even for every team’s various content pieces.
  • In general, design starts at the very beginning, as you map out a content marketing strategy. Understanding the brand’s personas and marketing goals will shape the basic style of each design—each should be useful to your personas, and true to your brand voice. A strong content marketing strategy includes a variety of content types, so as individual pieces begin to take shape, there are some specific things to keep in mind:

Blog Posts

  • Distill your content marketing strategy into your blog schedule/strategy. The company blog can and should be used to cross-promote other content, which will help keep posts on a consistent schedule. If you don’t have a marketing team member who is familiar with SEO, this is one area where you might want to consult a professional.


  • Ebook content should follow some sort of narrative structure, and include a lot of good, visual design. The goal of an ebook is to educate (rather than entertain), but make sure to keep the language conversational if that is consistent with your brand and personas.

Cheat Sheets

  • These are short (two or three pages at most). That means there won’t be a lot of room for big images, so you’ll want to use text formatting to make them easy for a reader to quickly scan through. Link or point to other resources for more in-depth learning.

Workbooks and Templates

  • A great way to keep your brand in front of buyers, while also being really helpful. These resources should be designed for print and made as interactive and practical as possible.

Whitepapers and Reports

  • These are similar to an ebook in that they are primarily educational materials, but whitepapers and reports are generally less graphically designed and use language that is a little more professional. They can also create opportunities to partner with other organizations.


  • The name says it all: just give readers info and graphics. Use as little text as possible for the former, and let the latter tell the story. If you don’t have a killer graphics artist in-house, this is one for which you might want to work with a professional.

Slide Decks

  • Slide decks are a great format for breaking down complex ideas into simple steps or bite-sized pieces. Keep the slides simple: minimal text in one font throughout, and use big images & graphics.


  • The trick to effectively using video as part of a content strategy is keeping it as timeless as possible. Otherwise, you risk wasting resources (time and money) updating videos every year. High-quality video content can also be used to expose your brand to YouTube’s large and active audience.

Case Studies

  • Build case studies with real numbers and complete stories. This will help keep the content focused on the value and results, not the brand.

Content Marketing strategy and SEO

In the same way that you take a couple extra steps to help your content succeed on social, take a couple more to help your content succeed with search engines. Weaving some SEO best practices into your content will help make a good impression with Google and move your website up the rankings list.

  • Use keywords (naturally): Identify your main keyword for the content, a few synonyms, and a few related keywords. Then make sure you’re actually using them in your content, headers, and page content. Don’t over-do it, though. Search engines have been cracking down on content that is “stuffed” with one or two keywords. Write for the reader, but do make sure those important words are present.
  • Earn natural links: Links from spammy sources can actually hurt your site with search engines. Build relationships with industry professionals who will share your content, and link to their primary resources in return. Links from high-quality websites will give yours a boost.
  • Media: Include images and video (with descriptive titles and alt text) on blog posts and landing pages. They improve the user experience, which decreases bounce rates and improves your standing with Google.
  • The strength of a good content marketing strategy is in providing the information and answers that your target audience is looking for, but your hard work is all for nought if they can’t find it! Make sure you’re creating content for the user, but that search engines will also favor.

Why Content Marketing Is Integral to Inbound Marketing

To answer this question, I should probably explain exactly what inbound marketing is. So, a long, long time ago – before the existence of the “Internet” – businesses relied on outbound marketing to attract customers. Outbound marketing is a nice term for basically shoving information into the faces of unsuspecting consumers. Examples would be TV commercials, radio ads, print ads, flyers and – the absolute worst offender of them all – phone calls. There was nothing quite like having dinner interrupted by someone attempting to sell you insurance. When it comes down to it, outbound marketing is the equivalent of being informed about a product or service without having asked to be informed about it.

This is where inbound marketing differs. Inbound marketing allows the consumer to do the research by him or herself. The process goes like this: you put your company out there and expose your brand and offerings so that it’s easy for consumers to find you. Once they do find you, you provide them with information about your company and your products or services that they can educate themselves on their own time. You supply them with the information they need to make an informed purchasing decision on their own. You are not informing them about your products or services, they are informing themselves. This has proven to be an incredibly effective way to market to consumers since it takes away the pressure levied against them to buy right away. Instead, you’re nurturing them before, throughout and after the sales process, which leads to more long-term customers – exactly what you want. 

Now you’re probably wondering, “what does content marketing strategy have to do with all of this?” Because your prospects are more informed, it’s easier for your sales team to have a meaningful conversation with them. You are basically setting up more than half of the sale. Your content helps to attract readers, educate them, and exchange some information or a special offer for their personal information (such as name and email address). This means that your sales team doesn’t have to waste resources on pitching a product to someone who not only knows nothing about your solution or product – but has no interest in it either. Instead, your sales team will be dealing with educated prospects. All because of your content! This also brings us back to “human being optimization”. The quality of your content has everything to do with the person reading it. Content is no longer just about the keywords you use being tracked by search engine algorithms. What is more important is what you are writing and whom you are writing for.

Content Marketing and Social Media

Content Marketing Strategy
Social media and content marketing may have seemed interchangeable, but they are actually quite different. While any organization can use social media to listen — and there is no downside to that — before you actively set up your social media presence, you need some things in place:

  1. A content hub: Your blog or website should be a key component of your content marketing strategy (as well as your social media strategy), as this is where you would direct followers to forge a deeper relationship on a media platform that you own.
  2. Adequate resources to keep up a consistent presence: Having an outdated presence on a social platform looks far worse that not having a presence there at all. Before committing to a platform, make sure you have the resources you need to consistently update your content there.
  3. A content plan: You need to understand why you are communicating on a given platform, and what you will deliver there. More details on the key elements of the plan are below.
Key tip: If you are new to aligning your content marketing strategy and social media efforts, it’s best to start small. Consider the top social platforms (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube), and see where the largest concentration of your target audience members are congregating.

Email Content Marketing Strategy

Email Marketing strikes many as old-fashioned to content marketing strategy. More fashionable venues like social media and mobile marketing get all the attention, and some people will even try to tell you that email marketing is dead. Unfortunately, reality doesn’t agree. In fact, with a strong content marketing approach, email is more powerful than ever thanks to social media.
Because it moves the conversation about your business to a more personal environment — the in-box. 
Email provides you the most direct line of communication for conversion to sales … which is why the most savvy online marketers have no intention of giving it up any time soon.It’s also amazingly cost-effective. With an ROI of around 4,300% (according to the Direct Marketing Association), email practically pays for itself … and saves a tree or two. It’s what you use when you want to move from “conversation to commerce.”

Essential Elements of an Effective Call-to-Action

Use actionable language

When you're designing CTAs, effective copy all boils down to using action-oriented, second-person verbs. Use verbs like "discover, unearth, find" instead of ones like "be smarter." In the Call to Action below, notice how we began sentences with "Learn" and "Download." Besides empowering your readers a tad to click on your Call to Action, you're also shortening your copy -- which all boils down to a more effective and concise call-to-action.


Align Call To Action copy with landing page copy

When you're creating Call to Action copy, you also want to make sure your Call to Action copy and your landing page copy align. The name of the thing you are promoting -- whether it's a free ebook, whitepaper, template, guide, crash course, or presentation -- should align with the name of it on the landing page.

Make the button look clickable.

Most things you can click online look like they can be clicked. Usually, they have some sort of shading or contouring that makes them look like a button you could press in real life. So if you want your CTAs to be clicked, it makes sense to make it look like something people are already familiar with clicking ... right? Use your design program to add shadows and borders to not only give your CTA an extra design finish -- but also make it look functional. 

Call to Action Words

However cliche it may seem, action words are still a powerful way in driving your readers to doing what you want them to do. Here’s a list of action words that are meant to help you out in your Booby-Trap Content from Authoritydomains:

Free Cut Quick
New Ultimate Easy
Sale Best Buy Buy
Genuine Final Powerful
Buy-today Last Don’t
Save Vital Lowest
Download Free Trial Last Chance Most
Sale Ends Tomorrow Money Off Now is Your Chance
Buy Today and Save __% Marked Down You Should
Offer Ends Soon Price Cut Discover Your Potential
Hurry Complimentary Make Money Now
Reduce Potent Faster
Discover Cut Make __ Per Week
Retire Show Wider Variety
Improve Change Discount
Boost Great Most Comprehensive
Enhance Decrease Lowest Price
Increase Best Free Sample
Avoid The Best __Made me __
Uncover Buy and Get Buy Now
Eliminate _% Off Beat
Prevent Care Get
Cheap Learn Certified
Sale Lower Prices Smash
Limited Time Prime Tell
Say Raw Try
Gain Seize Want
Provide Refinance Develop
Leverage Donate Create
Extend Cash Score
Achieve Guarantee Find
Accelerate Take Advantage Drive
Build Generate Join
Obtain Profit
Critical Note: Action words’ effectivity is minimized if you don’t build it up through the story and context.

Content marketing strategy isn’t a nice to have, it’s a requirement. Recent research from the Content Marketing Institute found that more than 80% of B2B marketers say they have a content marketing strategy, but only a third have documented that very same content marketing strategy. 

Past Days of Content Marketing

Online content is king: the portal way

Bill Gates was the first to use the saying ‘content is king’ online in a 1996 article. Using the WayBack Machine (an online site that is an archive of the Web and never lies), you can still read that article by Gates, called ‘Content is King‘. In it, Gates said content is where he expected the real money would be made on the Internet. Part of the article could certainly be used in a content marketing strategy context. Most is about the monetization of content on the Web, however. Interesting phrase: ‘those who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products-a marketplace of content‘. Note the word experiences and think customer experiences.

Future of Content Marketing

Brands will begin to lead with their purpose and values in marketing content as a means to establish deeper and more authentic connections with their audience. Many are now learning that merely publishing is not enough—they need to be sharing a unique perspective on the world they’re trying to create. Content marketers will increasingly leverage internal data and original research to publish original insights. Industry studies quickly become picked over, and republishing the same content with a new take holds decreasing value. The best marketers will establish strong connections and communication with the analysts and data scientists in their company, and cultivate strong data journalism skills in their team to tell these stories. The content marketing industry as a whole will establish commonly accepted frameworks for content marketing strategy. Many brands have complex strategies but struggle to execute. Others have scattered execution of ideas that don’t align to a central strategy. Simplifying content strategy will aid in getting organizations aligned in their efforts and relieve the pressure to do everything.

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