Content Marketing – The Ultimate Cheat Sheet

You and I live in an era when creating and distributing content have become democratized. The axiom “Build it and they will come” has been changed to “Provide compelling content and they will come“. If you are creating or marketing a white paper, Ebook or any other type of content, you probably have already heard all the buzz about Content Marketing and are wondering

  • What is Content Marketing?
  • Why should I care about Content Marketing?
  • Where do I get started?
  • How do I apply “Content Marketing” concepts in creating and marketing White Papers or Ebooks?

What is Content Marketing?

Wikipedia page for Content Marketing says “Marketers may use content marketing as a means of achieving a variety of business goals, such as thought leadership, lead generation, increasing direct sales, improving retention and more.”

Content marketing’s agenda is to educate and inform customers and prospects. Content Marketing’s slogan is – “Don’t pitch. Don’t sell. Don’t interrupt. Educate, inform and provide value to customers and prospects. Your business will grow.

Content marketing must focus on what is valuable to the customer and must solve their informational needs.

Why should you care about content marketing?

Buying decisions for customers in today’s digital era don’t follow the traditional “customer journey purchase funnel”. Your prospects seek information from multiple sources before making a purchase decision. That is why businesses and individuals are increasingly using valuable content as a great marketing tool. Given this paradigm shift, it is in your best interest to selflessly provide customers useful information to influence buying decisions.

Where do you start?

In order to learn what are the ideas behind Content Marketing and how to leverage these ideas for creating and marketing your content, I highly recommend getting started with these following set of blogs written by thought leaders who are championing Content Marketing.

White Paper Blogs

A white paper addresses customer’s problems and how to solve them. White papers may be used to: educate customers and prospects, generate sales leads, establish thought leadership, make a business case and help customers and prospects in making intelligent buying decisions. White paper should always focus on the reader’s needs rather than the product or service. Many research studies have shown that white papers are very powerful marketing tools.

There are three excellent blogs that have great advice and tips on how to write and market white papers which in turn will lead to business growth.

Michael Stelzner’s Writing White Papers

Jonathan Kantor’s White Paper Pundit

Philip Dunn’s Quality Writer

Jim Lodico’s White Paper Solution

CopyWriting Blogs

In today’s Content world, Copywriting skills are essential to help you succeed both as a writer and marketer because you need to convey your ideas clearly in order to influence your readers.

There are two great blogs that speak about all things related to copywriting including blogs, landing pages, ebooks, emails etc. There are many valuable lessons from both these blogs about persuasive writing.

Brian Clark’s Copyblogger offers tips on how to write content for marketing success.

Robert Bly’s CopyWriting has advise on copywriting and direct marketing.

Content Marketing Blogs

I have collected a list of content marketing blogs below. Each of these blogs teaches you how to create compelling content of different flavors(B2B marketing, viral marketing, community building, social media) to drive business growth.

Joe Pulizzi’s Junta42 is a go to place for all things related to content marketing.

Newt Barrett’s ContentMarketingToday share ideas on how to connect with your customers.

David Meerman Scott’s WebinkNow discusses viral marketing strategies using blogs & ebooks.

Ardath Albee’s MarketingInteractions gives advice on customer-focused eMarketing Strategies for B2Bs.

Patsi Krakoff’s WritingontheWeb offers ideas on how to write content on your business blogs that not only provides great information but also builds relationships, and converts readers to clients.

Mark Nagurski’s ReallyPractial focuses on marketing ideas that lead directly to increased sales by bringing together sound marketing practice, business development strategies and sales techniques.

Chris Brogans’ Blog shares ideas on leveraging social media and building community.

Bob Gilbreath talks about how to add value to customers at MarketingwithMeaning.

You can stay tuned about content marketing news at Alltop’s Content Marketing portal and at Junta42’s Top 42 Content Marketing blogs.

Great Blogs Posts on Content Marketing

I have also collected a great list of blog posts that are experts’ insights into Content Marketing.

Internet has democratized publishing like never before. Joe Pulizzi talks about this and how content is more valued now than ever before in his blog post Everyone is a Publisher…and Why this Really Matters .

What do the three little pigs have to do with Content marketing? Mark Nagurski uses this great analogy to show how marketing a business through traditional marketing methods isn’t going to work any more in his post on What the Three Little Pigs Can Teach You About Content Marketing.

Sonia Simone’s blog post on The Matrix Guide to Content Marketing is not just applicable to bloggers. You can use her advise even if you are writing a white paper or ebook.

  1. Tell stories that show how you’ve helped your readers with what matters most to them.
  2. Deep dives to explore benefits that are especially relevant to your content community.
  3. Create case studies for each type of customer you serve, and show specifically how your product or service benefits those customers.

Understanding the new breed of buyers and using an effective content marketing strategy is key in this new content era. Read Newt Barrett’s post on The Secret to Online Marketing in the 21st Century : It’s the Content, Stupid!

Chris Brogan points out why it is important to embrace content marketing and lays out the steps in his post How Content Marketing Will Shake the Tree.

Joe Pulizzi shares 10 key points on the changing face of marketing in his post Seth Godin: “Content Marketing is the Only Marketing Left” and 10 New Marketing Lessons.

How do you get started on content marketing? Tips for Getting Your Content Marketing Initiative Started post has great advice on setting up content marketing initiative right from establishing a budget to planning ahead for ongoing content development.

Joe Pulizzi gathers Content Marketing thoughts from Newt Barrett, Chris Brogan and Paul Gillin in his post Striking Content Marketing Gold – Direct from the Content Experts

How do you apply “Content Marketing” concepts?

10 Key Content Marketing lessons to apply to creating and marketing white paper and Ebooks.

  1. Plan in advance so your white paper or Ebook fits well into your intergrated content marketing strategy.
  2. Find 3 strategic goals you want to meet with your white paper or Ebook.
  3. Find out who is your target audience before you start.
  4. Think about how you can influence your readers. e.g., case studies, ROI calculations, research, surveys.
  5. Understand the informational needs of your prospects and customers and create what matters most to them.
  6. Connect with you prospects and customers. Listen. Hold two-way conversations.
  7. Use social media to leverage for your investment in producing white papers or Ebooks.
  8. Have an ongoing update plan for your white paper or Ebook. Delivering consistently is important to building a relationship with your customer.
  9. Use analytics to evaluate how readers engage with your white paper or Ebook.
  10. Use metrics to measure what is the ROI(Return on Investment) for your white paper or Ebook. Use these metrics to fine-tune your content strategy.

Over to you…

No list is by any means exhaustive. Feel free to add to the lists above.

What are your favorite content marketing blogs and blog posts?

What content marketing concepts are you using in your business?

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