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Content Marketing: The Definitive Guide

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One of the first things you need to know about your blog readers to create amazing, engaging, and useful content is, who exactly is your target market?

Knowing who your target market is will let you know the content you develop more than anything else. {It can also help you create products and services easier.}

To define your target audience, please answer these questions as best you can.

What Is Their Demographic? – Knowing your customers – how much they earn, where they live, and these types of things – are very important. If you aren’t sure, you can choose the audience you want to target by developing an audience persona that you believe you’d like to work with. If you have already sold products and or services, then look to your analytics to find out your audience demographics.

What Are Their Values? – This can be harder to determine but it’s an important question because it will determine the type of people your target market wants to buy from. You don’t want to be fake, but if you want to attract a certain crowd you’ll need to ensure that you share their values and that it’s demonstrated by the content you share.

Where Do They Get Their Information? – This is sort of a “where do they hang out” question.

  • Which publications do they read?
  • What groups do they hang out in?
  • Who do they look up to and follow on social media?

This can help you find your audience faster by going straight to where they are to distribute the content you create rather than simply waiting for them to find you.

What Type of Content Do They Prefer?

  • Does your audience like written content, video, podcasts a combo of the above?
  • Do they love infographics or something else?

You may not be sure right away, therefore, if you want to repurpose the content you create two different formats so that you can collect stats regarding which types of content your audience likes most.

What Are Their Problems? — If you know their problems you’ll have an easier time creating products, content, and solutions for them. You’ll be able to get to their level and talk to them as human beings and not just a faceless person.

That’s going to make content creation so much easier. When you answer these questions, you’ll have an easier time understanding who your target market is. This is the audience you’re going to create all your content for as well as every product and every service for.

You’ll also eventually create subsets of this audience (segmenting) which will make content creation even easier.

Where Is Your Target Market?

This may seem like a strange question to ask. Isn’t your audience everywhere?

Well, no they’re not.

The more you can narrow down your target market the better. The reason is that when you’re creating content for your audience you want to have a specific person in mind so that you know who you’re creating it for. Once you know who they are, you really need to know where they hang out too. Knowing where they hang out will help you know where to spend your time.

Social Media Platforms – There are many different social platforms that you can become involved with. However, you don’t need to be everywhere and you shouldn’t be everywhere. You should be where your audience hangs out. Which social platforms do they use? For example, food bloggers belong on Instagram for sure, as does anyone involved with the fashion industry.

Publications – What books, magazines, and publications do your target market like to read? If you know this information you can place ads in those publications or even write articles for them. Getting your name known via one of these publications will do wonders for your authority factor.

Groups & Forums – Today, online is all about groups and forums, especially right now Facebook Groups. If you know where your audience is hanging out on Facebook you should be there. Don’t spam groups but join groups that your target market joins and become an open resource. They will contact you.

Podcasters They Like – Who do they love to listen to? Can you become a guest on that show? If you can become a guest you’ll end up on their radar. This will work especially well if you can also offer a gift via a special landing page for that audience.

YouTubers They Like – Today, you can advertise on YouTube including specific YouTube accounts. This is a great way to tap into an existing audience that is like your target market in a fast way. Make sure you have something to offer that they’ll respond to.

Other Bloggers They Follow – When you can find out who your audience respects and follows try to find a way to get that blogger to mention you even if you must pay them to influence their audience. This is another shortcut to getting in touch with your target market.

Events They Enjoy – There are many offline and online events that your target market probably attends and enjoys. Find out what these events are and make sure that you go to them. The biggest mistake for events is going to events that only colleagues attend. Go to events that your audience attends, make sure you have something to offer them so they get on your email list.

No matter where your audience hangs out, it’s imperative to figure it out. It might take some trial and error if you’re not a member of your own target audience. You may need to research further to find out where they hang out.

One great tool to use to find your specific keywords being mentioned is to set up a Google Alert regarding the topic. You’ll then get information sent to your inbox that can help you find ongoing discussions by your target market that you can join.

Content On Your Site vs. Content On Other Sites

When you start creating content you probably wonder where the content should go.
Most of the time the content should be on your site but sometimes you’re going to want to put content on other sites too. Putting content on other sites by guest blogging or linking will help you become more well-known, build your audience larger, and help establish authority in your niche.
Let’s define a couple terms quickly.
Search Engine Optimization – SEO is the process by which you optimize the content you publish to ensure the most targeted website visitors and traffic are going to your offers. There are two types of SEO, on page SEO and off page SEO.
On Page SEO – Anything you do on your website or blog to improve search engine results. That includes all the content you put on your site including blog posts, articles, images, keywords, titles, subheadings, and more. If it’s an adjustment to your property (your website) that is designed to get more visitors then it’s on page SEO.
Off Page SEO – Anything you do to improve the content in all its forms on third party websites including social media is considered off-page SEO. For example, if you improve your LinkedIn profile so that it better describes you and links you back to your website it’s off page SEO. Likewise publishing your website on other sites is considered off-page SEO.
Both types of SEO are important to ensure that you maximize the traffic that comes to your site, spread brand awareness, and build relationships with your audience. There are a few different thoughts about how to do this most productively.
One school states that you should publish everything on your website first. Then either link back to it or rework it for other sites. The other says that it’s okay to push out content to other sites once you’ve published it on your website as is, otherwise called content syndication. The truth is both ways work.
But of course, there is a right way to republish content so be careful.
Ensure that if you let any publication republish your content that they use the right source code to tell Google that your site deserves all the credit for the content and not to index their version of the article.
If you re-write / re-work the content you don’t need to do this step but if you want to avoid that work that’s really all you do to ensure that you do not suffer a duplicate content penalty. Yoast has a great article explaining what a canonical URL is and how it works.

Your Site First

Your focus should always be on putting content on your own property first. But, publishing content on other platforms helps with SEO too as it can help establish you as an authority. Whether it’s publishing on LinkedIn.com, guest blogging for someone, using a platform like Medium.com, or syndicating your content via a syndication system like Outbrain.com it’s important to study and understand the effects on search.
Publishing content off of your site onto other platforms can help with SEO by providing links back to your site while tapping into an entirely new audience but make sure that you understand the ramifications of how you’re doing it before you get started.

Let’s Talk About Content Syndication

If you want to ensure that the content you’re creating is getting maximum exposure a great way to do that is to syndicate your content. When you syndicate your content, you push your content out onto third-party sites. The content can appear in full, as a snippet or even a link. Content syndication when done right can boost views and thus increase your audience as well as your revenues.

Creating Your Syndication Plan

To get results from content syndication you need a thorough understanding the goals you have for your content. For example, if you’re trying to get more leads you really want your audience to come back to your website to sign up for your mailing list, therefore you may not want to syndicate the entire article. Instead, you may want to syndicate the headline, maybe even a blurb from the content, then link directly to the content on your website.
If your goal is to spread awareness, you may have great results syndicating entire articles to publications that are a step above yours so that you can attract new audience members. This works well if you’re allowed to have an author box. In that case, link to a landing page specific to that audience.
That brings us to ensuring that you pick the right syndication partner because each one requires different types of feeds. Some will require RSS feeds, custom URLs, thumbnails, titles, snippets or excerpts. Therefore, know your goals before you look for a partner.

Picking the Right Syndication Partner

The next step is to pick the right syndication partner. There are free syndication services as well as paid services. Some of the more well-known paid versions are Outbrain.com and Taboola.com. On these, you’ll pay by click anywhere from 20 cents and up, per click.
You can find free syndication options too in various industries. You’ll have to research your industry to find those opportunities.
Choosing the right partner requires that you know your goals, understand how the technology works, and have enough content to make it worth it. Whether you want to manually syndicate content via sites like Reddit.com, or Medium.com or you want to pay for play via one of the paid options is completely informed by your goals, your budget, and the content you publish.

Attention Grabbing Headlines For Your Content

Headlines are an important part of the content that you create. A good headline will improve click-through rates ensuring that more of your audience gets the benefit of your content. A bad headline may distract your audience and cause them not to click through, or worse, click through and then leave without using your content.
Keep it Simple – Headlines don’t need to be complicated. The most direct and simple headlines that you can create will usually perform better than trying to think outside the box too much. Strong, descriptive, verbs and words will improve clicks exponentially.
Don’t Be Too Clever – A good headline should match what’s inside the article. You don’t want people to just click and not read past the first paragraph, right? Therefore, don’t try to be tricky or use puns unless it makes sense for the article. The more straightforward you are in your headline the better. After all, the content you’re creating is for your target market and they want to read your information.
Use Active Voice – When you use active voice in a headline it will help your audience feel active and encourage them to act. Active headlines will get more attention and clicks. The verbs give energy to the headline and when you choose a single action it’s a lot more direct, descriptive and effective.
Capitalize Appropriately – Proper nouns should be capitalized, anything after a colon unless it’s only one word. It’s best not to capitalize every word because you want to break up the view for the reader. However, if it’s proper for every word to be capitalized then that’s okay.
Use Numbers – Don’t spell out the number in a headline even though it is less than ten, use the symbol for the number. The number looks better online than words because it helps break it up in the viewer’s mind. If you can, put it first in the headline. If you have data as well, you want to try to compose a headline mentioning that data.
Watch the Length – Depending on where the headline is going to go, watch the length. What will the search result look like? What will it look like in an email? What is picked up in shares? All of that is important to check. You can check some of this by using a plugin for your self-hosted WordPress website like Yoast SEO.
What’s Inside? – Stating what’s in the article such as tips, reasons, lessons, facts and so forth can also help your headline become more productive. This way you don’t lead them astray. They know what they are getting. Here’s an example:

7 Tips to Write Blog Headlines Expertly”

Creating attention-grabbing headlines for your content takes a little practice. But realize that you can adjust titles after you’ve finished the article. Starting with a title to help guide your content and then changing it to make it more SEO friendly later is the best course of action. Because once the article is written and edited you’ll have a clearer picture of what the content will mean to the reader which will enable you to create a better headline.

An Explanation Of Different Content Formats

The great thing about creating content is that when you start one thing it can be repurposed into many other content formats. Therefore, one piece of content can be turned into at least three other content formats which help you do less work. Understanding the different content formats will help you know how to repurpose and create content that your audience will consume and respond to.
Text Content – Anything that you type out is text content. A blog post, an article, a white paper, an eBook and so forth. This is all text-based content that people will need to read to be able to consume it. This type of content can be repurposed into many other formats of content mentioned in this article.
Illustrations, Graphics & Images – Humans are mostly very visual creatures. They respond more to colorful images that draw their attention. Any images you use should add to the content for better understanding. It will break up your content and can also be used on social media as the main content format.
Infographics – If you have a big data-driven post it’s perfect to use to create an infographic. Infographics are great ways to expose your audience to a lot of data and statistics in a more palatable way than a long blog post or eBook.
Video – Today, using video online as part of your content marketing efforts is practically a necessity. You have YouTube, Facebook Live, Periscope and other video platforms that want your content and that your audience probably uses. What’s more, video can be transcribed and turned into even more forms of content.
Audio – Even though video is popular, so are podcasts. Podcasts are audio only and are essential content that can travel with your audience regardless of what they’re doing. They can listen on a job, in the car, and even in the bed before falling asleep. All your content can be turned into audio with just a few tweaks.
Charts, Graphs & Diagrams – Whenever you can put something into a chart, graph or diagram you can help them understand an idea even more. Helping your audience develop more understanding of the topic is always a good thing. Plus, charts, graphs, and diagrams look great within the content online.
Checklists – If you write an action-oriented post, why not include a downloadable checklist with it? That way your audience can get something usable from the post that they can easily follow and you get more content for your site that helps encourage signing up for your list.
Interactive Content – Including quizzes, apps, and gamification on your site is easier than ever due to the different types of software you can buy. People love taking an interesting test that will give them information about themselves. Think about all the tests you’ve taken on Facebook even though people claim they’re grabbing your information. You do it anyway. Your site visitors will too.
GIFs – If you don’t know, a GIF, pronounced like a popular peanut butter brand, is a short video clip that is on a loop. This is a wonderful content format when you want to explain something to your audience that they need to do to complete something. For example, you might want to include a GIF on your site where they need to perform a task that is hard to explain with words.
If you start with a content marketing plan you’ll know in advance the formats each type of content will be created in. For example, if you start with a “How to” blog post you can then turn that into a video post. Alternatively, you can expand on it, adding images, charts, and graphs and turn it into a longer form of content such as an eBook.

Your Content Needs A Purpose

One of the reasons many people claim that they have trouble creating content is that they don’t understand why they’re creating it. Every piece of content you create needs a reason for being, otherwise, you’re wasting your efforts. Let’s look at some common reasons you need to create content.
To narrow down the purpose of any type of content you’re creating you want to ask yourself a few questions.

image showing an illustration of content marketing elements

Who Are You Creating the Content For?

Use your audience persona, or a customer persona to help you focus yourself on the content you’re creating. The content you create for people on your list will depend on how they signed up for the list, which freebie they downloaded, which product they purchased, and what your goals are for that list segment. The content you create for the audience you have that has never purchased or converted in any way will be different.

Where is The Content Going?

Where you’re publishing the content makes a big difference too. If you’re publishing it on your blog it will be different than if you’re sending it via email. A blog post can be very long, while an email shouldn’t be. Also, the page it’s going on your site is important too. Is it a blog post, part of your about me page, or another page? What is the purpose of the page it’s going on or the list it’s going to?

What Are You Trying to Communicate?

When you sit down to create the content ask yourself this question and start brainstorming the answers. That way you can keep looking at that as you’re creating the content. Try to keep it to one topic instead of spreading it too thin. You should have one overarching message you want the viewer to take away from the content you’ve created.

How Does the Content Fit with What You Have?

Before creating any new content, you should always go through the content you already have so that you can find out what you’ve already published about that topic. You may be able to take bits and pieces of content you’ve already created to make it into something new. If it’s totally new content with a totally new angle how does it fit in with what you have and make it better?

What is The Goal of the Content?

Every bit of content you publish needs a point. Do you want to educate, inform, inspire or engage with your audience or a combination of these options? When you think about the goal of the content you will have an easier time creating it to do what you want it to do.

What Do You Want Viewers to Do?

Finally, you want to know exactly what you want your viewer to do once they’ve consumed the content. You need to remember the call to action throughout the content, especially at the end by directing them in what you want them to do by telling them what to do. Don’t hint, don’t just put a sign-up box at the end, instead tell them what you want them to do.
Once these questions are answered you’ll have a much better idea about the direction to go with every piece of content you create because it’s going to fit in with your overall “big hairy” goal as well as the goal you have for the individual piece of content such as list building for example.

How To Come Up With A Content Schedule

Creating a content schedule doesn’t have to be super difficult or overwhelming. You can start slow and build on your efforts as you get used to each new platform you use while creating systems that make it easier. To make a workable content schedule follow these steps.

Understand Your Sales Cycle

How often do you plan to launch new products or services? This is an important factor in determining how much content you should create and when you should publish it. If you have just one product or service then you’ll be able to create an entirely different type of calendar than someone who continuously launches new products.

Know the Platforms You’re Using

Each platform you use has different content publishing preferences. For example, on Twitter, you will want to share things more often and repeatedly than you will on Facebook. Although, due to Facebook changing their algorithm where you cannot get to your entire audience every post you can post the same information more than once there too. Look for analytics on the platform that will tell you the best times and frequency to post.

Identify Your Audience

Of course, you should know your audience before creating any content but you should think of your audience as you create your schedule. That way you will understand their tolerance for content. You’re better off creating more content than less but some audiences will not be tolerant of being sold to several times a day. You may need to test it out to find out what happens.

Determine Your Topics

When you know that information you’ll want to choose the topics that you’ll create content for based on your launch schedule. If you only have one product then the best thing to do is start from the beginning and work on creating pillar content from which all the rest is derived.

Schedule Publishing, Due Dates & Promotion

When you determine a topic go ahead and schedule due dates for research, creation, outsourcing, publication, and promotion. Each day is look at your calendar to find out what you need to do that day. Make sure to build in time for outsourcing, you can’t do everything. Be realistic when you schedule to ensure that you really can meet your goals.

Track & Tweak

Nothing is ever complete until the tracking and tweaking is done. Once you’ve published give the content some time to start getting results then look at your analytics. When you notice anything amiss you can correct it on the fly. Maybe you need to tweak the headline or the images to get a better response.
When you create your content schedule if you’ve ensured that the goals you’ve created are realistic you shouldn’t have much problem reaching your goals with content marketing. Use a spreadsheet and a good naming convention to keep track. Remember to utilize cloud storage so that you never lose all your hard work.

Are You Repurposing Your Content?

If you feel like you can’t keep up with content creation there is a possibility that you’re not making use of the content you already have by repurposing it. There is no reason to do all that research, work hard on an article, and then not use it again.
Let’s look at some of the ways you can repurpose your content.
Webinars – If you host a webinar you can get it transcribed and then the transcription can be used to create a variety of other types of content. If you can share it via audio only (meaning it doesn’t have a lot of need for visuals) you can make a podcast out of it. You can take the transcript and turn it into an eBook, blog posts, or a case study. You can even repurpose the webinar as is, by putting it on YouTube.com.
Slideshows – If you created a slideshow for your webinar you can upload it to sharing sites like slideshare.net. You can also use the slides as the basis for a book, blog, or article outline. Anything you create about a topic can be used again.
Images – Be sure to read the rules for your image purchases and downloads but most of the time you can use an image more than once. You can turn images that are inside a report into a meme with adding text overlay on it using online software like Canva. If you create a meme first, you can use it inside a report or a slideshow.
Infographics – Once you create an infographic you have lots of data that you can use for blog post ideas. Each point on your infographic can be a separate blog post or article. Combined it can become a book. You can also use the infographic as the basis for a webinar or YouTube.com video.
Articles – Anytime you write an article, or buy one such as with PLR content, you have a great opportunity to recreate it differently. If you have an article with 8 points, that can become a slide show. It can also become 8 blog posts, or 8 emails, or 8 videos covering each point in more detail.
Blog Posts – Your blog posts are all fodder for extra content if you think about it. A blog post can become an email, combine a lot of posts and they can become an eBook. Any blog post can be the basis of a YouTube video or webinar.
Podcasts – It might seem difficult to do anything with a podcast but you can. Have it transcribed, cleaned up and expanded and you’ll have plenty of material for many blog posts, case studies, and more.
Facebook Live – Once you do a FB live you can download it, put it as is on YouTube, and you can transcribe it to get it into text format to use in different ways such as articles, blog posts, eBooks, and reports.
Live Events – Anytime you have a live event if you get permission to video and record everyone there you can use that information and transform it into a new content format. You can even sell the recordings to the attendees or those who could not attend the live event.
If you give some thought to how you’ll use every piece of content that you create including how you’ll repurpose it, you’ll find that creating enough content for your audience is so much simpler than you thought. Proper reuse will go far in building trust, expanding your audience, and making more sales too.

Using The Same Content In Multiple Formats

It may seem like cheating but once you realize that you can use any content you create many times by transforming it into multiple content formats you will suddenly realize that creating the content you need for your business doesn’t have to be hard. It really can be simple if you think about your process before you get started.
Let’s start with a webinar. When you conduct a webinar you usually have a niche, a goal, and some sort of offer in mind. This is great because it will keep the information cohesive even if you have several speakers or interviews happening the information gleaned from the webinar can be used in many ways.

Repost on YouTube

Once your webinar is complete, you can use one of the automatic webinar services to replay as live the webinar at many different times. You can also repost it as is, on YouTube. Be sure to put a lot of information in the description box so that viewers can link to the sales page easily. With video, you don’t have to worry about duplicate content. You may want to rename the video of the webinar to be more findable by the YouTube audience.

Transcribe the Webinar

Another way to reuse the webinar is to have it transcribed. You can sell the transcript as is along with the video as a product or you can clean up the transcript and turn it into other types of content such as an eReport, pillar website content, blog posts, email messages, and even guest articles and posts. The transcription can also be posted with the YouTube video so that it has more search options.

Imagine the Possibilities

As you can see, starting from just one type of content, in this case, webinars, you can create all other forms of content from it. If you think about that from day one, you’ll be able to plan your content marketing creation efforts in a more streamlined way.

Get Started

If you’ve not been repurposing your content yet, start with your most popular content to date and repurpose it in some way to find out the amazing results you can enjoy from repurposing content. You can find out which content is being effective via your analytics. If you don’t have analytics on your website or blog yet, you should get it immediately so that you know what’s working best for your audience.

What’s Your Goal With Each Piece Of Content?

One way that you can make content creation simpler is by understanding what your goals are for each piece of content that you create. Understanding the goal will help you create the right content for the person you’re creating it for as you’ll better be able to guide them toward the actions you want them to take.
Let’s look at some potential goals that you might have for the content you create and publish.
Brand Awareness – Some content that you publish needs to be to get more people aware of your brand. The types of content that can do this range from publishing books, webinars, and even blog posts. If this type of content goes viral then that’s even better. This content is not created to necessarily make sales, but it probably will. At the end of this type of content, you’ll ask your audience to like, comment, and share.
List Building – Some of your content should be devoted to list building if you have your business. List building is the one way you have online to create an asset for yourself that can go with you no matter what happens to the technology you currently use. This type of content may consist of a freebie (lead magnet) of some kind plus a landing page and sign up form.
Engagement – Most of the content you put on social media will be to increase engagement between you and your audience but also your audience with themselves. You might use surveys, questionnaires, and discussion starters for this type of content.
Driving Traffic – Traffic driving content will consist of both on and off-site content. You may guest blog for someone who serves your audience, or you might pay an influencer to mention your site and drive traffic to it with a gift for their readers. A great way to drive traffic is to host an affiliate contest too. Providing content for them is also part of your content creation needs.
Generating Leads – The best way to get leads is to use list building strategies such as giving away a freebie or hosting a webinar. The key is to ensure that the freebie is really something only your audience will want and that the webinar is on a topic only your niche audience needs to know about.
Making Sales – If your goal is to make sales, ask for the sale. This may be done with a blog post, an article, or a sales page. Either way, the content should focus on benefits over features and then ask for the sale. Ask them to buy right now by providing an easy way to do it.
Improving Customer Retention – If you people to stick with you, once they buy from you, it’s imperative that your follow-up series via your autoresponder is well thought out. This is where segmentation can help tremendously.
Making Repeat Sales – Depending on what type of things you sell, you may want them to buy more of it, or you may want them to buy something else. The content you send to them via email will help guide them toward that end.
When making a goal for the content you create it’s best to choose only one goal for the content so that your audience knows exactly what to do once they consume the content.

Use Content Upgrades To Build Your List

A great way to build your list is to use content upgrades. What’s wonderful about content upgrades is that it doesn’t take that much work. You can create your own, use PLR, or use something you already have freely available on your site but as a download with a wall between the audience and the content that requires an email address to get access.

Get Started

To get started using content upgrades the best way to do it is to find out which content you have now that is getting a lot of viewers. Make a list of these pages of your site matching them with a resource you already have or can easily create to make that content more meaningful and useful. Then add that resource to your site available by download when they give you an email address directly to the original content.


The best way to find out which content is doing best on your website is to use Google Analytics. Look at the data to find out which content is performing and then start with that content. In the future and going forward try to plan content upgrades for each piece you publish. Remember you can use the same content upgrade more than once if it’s relevant and useful.

The Technology

This can be accomplished easily by linking to a form that will pop up when clicked asking for the email address and then taking them directly to the download. You can use landing page software or you can use your email autoresponder alone or together to handle delivery of the content upgrade.

Update the Content

Now that you’ve picked which content you’re going to use to post a content upgrade for list building, go ahead and update the content. If anything is out of date just edit the content, add new pictures, improve the SEO, and decide where you’ll place the content upgrade choice.

Make it Stand Out

Within the content that your audience is already reading on your site make it very clear that you’re offering the content upgrade. Put a box around it, change the color, add an image, make it stand out so that they’ll click on it. When they click it the form should pop up and allow them to fill out the form and then go back to reading without having to go to a few other pages.
Content upgrades will build your list faster. Many people are reporting 10x the results once they implement this strategy for list building. But, the results that you get will be in the follow-up. Ensure that you have a good follow-up series in your autoresponder based on the content upgrade that they download.

Wrapping It Up

Make a plan and make sure you dedicate some time and resources to content marketing each month going forward. (Last but not least, don’t forget to continue to repurpose and recycle everything you create.)
And check out next week’s post for the third and final part of The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing for Bloggers.

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