Content Marketing For Beginners: Complete Guide

If you're new to content marketing and you
want to learn how to use it for your business, then keep watching because in this tutorial,
I'm going to walk you through a complete guide to content marketing for beginners. Stay tuned. [music] Alright, so let's start with the basics and
talk about what content marketing is. Simply put, content marketing is the process
of creating and distributing content to attract and retain customers. Meaning, you're creating blog posts, videos,
podcasts, or whatever, promoting it, and your content's job is to lead people towards
a profitable action. Now, if you've never really bought this whole
idea of "content that sells," this concept might not make a whole lot of sense
or just sound cliche. So to help you better understand, I want
to tell you about this piece of metal. This is a jungle gym gymnastics bar
for kids that I bought recently. Now, in order to understand why I bought this
product, and how content influenced me to buy it…let's rewind.

Over the past year or so, the city of
Toronto has locked down three times. And this was the second time that they
closed down playgrounds. Now, when you have young children that are
being forced to stay at home, they literally climb everything. So my wife and I started researching. We searched on Google for things like "best
home climbing equipment for kids." We read some articles, and scrolled through
the different types of products. Well… this slide would get boring quick
and we already have a bunch of tunnels.

And then we saw this: a mini jungle gym. So now we were heading in the right direction. So we went back to Google and searched
for "best jungle gyms." We read through some more blog posts, narrowed
our search down to items we might want to buy, watched some videos only to realize that
our oldest child would be too big for the toy. So we went to Amazon to look at more options,
found something like this, read the reviews, and then we bought it. We had a problem, searched for solutions,
and content from blogs, videos, and reviews led us through our entire purchasing journey. And if you think about why and how you made
your last purchase that wasn't a necessity like groceries, or clothes, I bet content
was involved along the way. With so much information available at the
tip of our fingers, we as consumers will be influenced by content. Now, the content we read and watched
was from multiple sites and creators.

And the Amazon seller who got our hundred
bucks just happened to luck out. But through the power of content marketing,
you can intentionally integrate your company and products within these purchasing journeys. Let me show you an example of
what we've done at Ahrefs. If you're unfamiliar with our company,
we sell a suite of SEO tools. And in that suite is a keyword research
tool called Keywords Explorer. So let's say you decided to use SEO in your
digital marketing strategy and you wanted to find a keyword research tool to use. You might go to Google and search for
"list of keyword research tools." You click on the first result, scroll through
the list, click on a few here and there, but you're still not ready to make a purchase
because you realized… "I don't even know how to do keyword research." So you go back to Google and search
for "how to do keyword research." Sure enough, you recognize one of the names
from the previous article you read plus, they're ranking high in Google.

So you click through to their guide. You skim through the guide and you're impressed. You're also introduced to our tool,
Keywords Explorer. But you gotta head out to the gym, pick up
the kids, and get dinner prepared so life goes on as usual. A few days later, you decide to look for
more keyword research tutorials. So you go to YouTube and search for
"keyword research." Sure enough, you see that same brand
that just won't quit. You click on the video, you're impressed
by the likes to dislikes ratio, so you look at the comments and see a lot
of positive ones. So you keep watching. Mesmerized by the presenter's wisdom, you
start taking notes and figure out how to do keyword research. And throughout the time you spent learning
how to do keyword research, you learned how to do it using our tools. So not only have you been exposed to our brand
and products numerous times through free content, you've now been brought into our ecosystem
through various searches simply because we were there when you needed us.

So naturally, you'd be more inclined to purchase
our tools because you've been educated on them. Content marketing helps to creates awareness
and attracts potential customers to your content. Your content engages them and builds credibility
for your brand, it converts visitors into customers, it allows you to build a loyal following. And for a software product like ours, it helps
retain customers because they learn how to do new things with our tools leading
to increased usage. Best of all, your revenue compounds because
unlike advertising where your ads stop appearing the minute you stop paying, content that surfaces
where and when your customers are searching, is consistent. And it's important to note that no matter
how good your content is, if your products aren't up to scratch, then content won't
save you at least for the long haul.

So with all the flexing out of the way, let's talk
about how you can do this for your business. Now, the two main parts of content marketing
is to create content and distribute or promote it. And whatever you create, should have the goal
of attracting and/or retaining customers. Let's talk about the content creation
side of things. Your content can be in various formats.

So that might be blog posts, podcasts, videos,
online courses, infographics, free tools, templates, ebooks, checklists, you name it. As long as there's demand from your target
audience for that type of content then pretty much anything is fair game. Now, the type of content you choose will
depend on the topic of your content piece. For example, a recipe would work well as a
blog post and video, but it probably wouldn't be great as a podcast. Whereas an interview with Gordan Ramsay
could work as a podcast, video or even blog post, but it probably wouldn't be very
valuable as a checklist.

As a general rule of thumb, start with one
format that work for you and rinse and repeat. Then, consider exploring another channel. For us, we started with blog posts and then
eventually branched out to videos as our team grew. Now, creating content alone isn't enough because
content isn't the same as content marketing. And unfortunately, the notion of "if you build
it and they will come" couldn't be further from the truth. And that's why it's important to have an idea
of where you'll be distributing this content. Some common distribution channels would include
search which can be done through search engine optimization or paid ads, social media networks,
forums and communities or email newsletters. For example, if you have a recipes site, then
you'd probably want to optimize your content for Google search, YouTube and/or Pinterest
because these are channels where lots of people are actively looking for recipes every month.

Now, if you have a site on golf, you might want
to consider YouTube, Google Search, and forums and communities because these are all places
where your target audience would actively be looking for information on the topic. Again, a general rule of thumb would be
to pick 2 to 3 networks to work on and get really good at them. For Ahrefs, our two main content distribution
channels are Google search via. SEO and YouTube. And our website get over a million visits from
Google Search every month and had nearly 600,000 views on YouTube in March. And because these are two channels we've
been able to get great results from, let's spend the rest of our time on how to create and
promote content on these channels.

Let's talk about blog content first. The two most popular distribution channels
will be social media and search. When you create content with social media
as your primary distribution channel, you're taking on a lot of risk. Getting your blog content to blow up on
social media is very unpredictable. And while there are tools that can help you
see how many times a post gets shared, you don't know why they were shared. I mean, did they do outreach to get
influencers to share their content? Do the creators of that content already
have large existing audiences? Or are all of these shares fake because they
were purchased to inflate popularity? There are way too many variables which is
one of the reasons why we stay away from trying to create "viral" type content.

Plus, social media traffic tends to start
with a big spike, but it ends up flatlining, leaving your content dead in the water. As for SEO traffic, it's much easier to create
predictable and consistent results that will stand the test of time. And there are 3 basic steps to this process. The first step is to find topics that are
relevant to your business. And this step is often referred to
as keyword research. To get started, use a keyword research tool
like Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer and enter some topics that are broadly related to your niche. So assuming you have a site that sells an
online course on parenting, you might search for "parenting" and "toddler." Next, go to the Questions report, which will
show you keywords phrased as questions as well as the search volume for those keywords.

And questions are often problems that
your target audience may be facing. Now, since we're selling an online course,
you'll want to look for topics that are closely or at least somewhat related to your product. So something like, "how to discipline a toddler" might
be a good fit since you sell a parenting course. The next step is to create the "right"
type of content. Google tries to surface the most relevant
content for any given query.

So the "right" type of content from an SEO
perspective, is one that meets the searchers needs. This is called search intent, which represents
the reason behind a searcher's query. And you can determine this by looking at the
top-ranking results or if you're using Keywords Explorer, you can hit the SERP button to see
the top 10 pages along with their SEO metrics. In this case, they're all informational blog posts
where many have gone with the "tactical" angle. So you'd probably want to go this route too
to have a fighting chance at ranking. And the last step is to promote your content. Promotion can take many forms and it's best
if you go with an inside out approach, meaning, start with channels closest to you and then
move outwards to reach new audiences.

So you might start by posting on your social
media accounts and sending new content to your email newsletter. Then you may want to branch out to
communities you're involved in. That might be Reddit, Quora, or social
groups that allow link sharing. And finally, you'll want to do some blogger
outreach to get backlinks. And this is what you'll need to do to get
your pages ranking higher on Google. Now, we've only scratched the surface here
with Google SEO, so if you want to learn more, then check out the playlist in our description
to our completely free SEO training course where you can learn how to get organic
traffic from search month over month.

As for YouTube content, there are three
main ways we select topics for content. The first way is for YouTube organic
search views. To do that, go to Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer,
select the YouTube tab to get YouTube search data, and enter a broad keyword related
to your niche. Next, go to the Phrase match report. Now, since YouTube content is almost always
informational you can skim this report and look for relevant keywords to your business. For example, "parenting styles" might be interesting
because again, our hypothetical site sells an online course on parenting. And people searching for this would
probably be interested in it. So I'll take that keyword and type it
into YouTube search. Again, I'll look at the top 3 videos and see if
there are any commonalities and do my best to create a video that matches searcher intent. We have a full video on doing YouTube SEO
which has been a major factor in our channel's growth, so I'll link that up in the description. The second way is to create content on unique
topics that might draw in your target audience.

Now, the reason why we do this is because
YouTube is both a search and social platform. And because there is that "social" aspect
to YouTube, their algorithm rewards videos that attract a lot of clicks that lead
to high watch times. So by creating content on a popular topic
in your niche that no one else has really talked about, you can potentially get a ton
of clicks and if your content is good enough, people will watch it for long periods of time,
leading to YouTube promoting your content to similar audiences. Now, coming up with your own ideas
will come down to creativity.

But a simple formula you can use is
[main topic] plus [main attractor]. For example, we created this video called
"Link Building with Google Ads." Our main topic is "link building," which
is a popular SEO strategy. And the main attractor is "with Google ads." And that's because no one was really talking
about how to use Google ads to actually get backlinks to your site. So we created our own case study where we shared
all of the details with complete transparency. And the third way is to create a series.

Series work well because they're meant
to be watched in sequential order. This can lead to overall longer watch times
across your entire channel. And the longer people are watching your content,
the more YouTube will promote your videos. But the biggest benefit is that if your content
integrates your offerings in an organic way, there's a significant amount of exposure
to your products. For example, our SEO for beginners course
teaches how to do SEO and naturally, we use both our free and paid tools in it. And this series has accumulated well over
10,000 hours of watch time in under 2 months. To put this into perspective, that's about 426.6 days
or 1.17 years of continuous content consumption. So potential series ideas might be courses, case
studies, building something in public, or if you want to go with more of an entertainment
angle, vlogs and shows work well too, depending on your niche.

Now, as for the promotion side of things,
YouTube does a great job at promoting relevant content on their homepage and sidebar suggestions. But if you don't have an existing audience,
it can be tough to get that initial traction. I won't get into that here because we have
full tutorials on how to get more views on YouTube when you're just starting out as well
as a video on how to get more subscribers, which will teach you a lot about
how YouTube works. Again, links in description. Now, content marketing isn't exactly
a fast process.

It's an ongoing one. And I think this is why people often avoid it
because we're used to this idea of immediate results, so we turn to things like advertising
and direct mail. And, there's nothing wrong with more traditional
methods of marketing, but content marketing is unique in the sense that it continues to
contribute to your bottom line over time. So I want you to think of content marketing
like planting seeds. If you want to grow an apple tree, it can
take up to 8 years for it to bear fruit. But that same tree will continually put
food on the table for years to come. And the longer you wait to plant that seed,
the longer it'll take to start reaping the rewards.

So if SEO interests you, then I highly recommend
taking our free SEO course for beginners. Or if YouTube is the channel you want to
focus on, then check out our playlist on YouTube marketing. And if you enjoyed this video, make sure to
like, share, and subscribe for more actionable marketing videos like this one. I'll see you in the next tutorial..

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