8 Content Marketing Tips for Beginners (2020 Guide)

Georgios Chasiotis

Written by:
Georgios Chasiotis

content marketing tips - header

The demand for content marketing services is on the rise. 

With all that noise out there, how can you know what’s true and what’s not? 

In this quick guide, I’m going to give you 8 actionable content marketing tips to help you succeed with your content marketing efforts. 

Here are some of the things we’ll be covering:

  • Why it’s important to have a content strategy
  • Why being overly obsessed with SEO can backfire
  • Why it’s important to build a list with email subscribers
  • How buying cheap content can cost you more in the long run
  • How to leverage visual content like infographics to draw attention

Let’s get right into it.

 

Tip #1: Create a Content Marketing Strategy

To begin with content marketing, you need a content marketing strategy

When I say strategy, I don’t mean a 100-slide presentation that’s full of fluff and has little to no substance whatsoever. 

You need to be specific with what you’re saying, because what you’re saying defines what you’ll be able to accomplish. 

According to the 2020 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—a North American report by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs—69% of the most successful companies have a documented content marketing strategy. 

content marketing tips - content marketing strategy infographic
Customize this infographic template and make it your own!Edit and Download

At the same time, 16% of the least successful companies report that they don’t have a documented strategy. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that a company can’t be successful if it doesn’t have a documented content marketing strategy. 

It just means that there seems to be a correlation between a successful content marketing strategy and the fact that the company may have documented its strategy.  

The question that arises then is: If a company has to have a documented strategy, what should be included in that document? 

Even though there are different answers to that question, I’ll tell you what sections/elements we include for our own clients. 

  • Analysis – with the findings of our audit.
  • Content strategy – with specific information on the objectives we have in terms of content, but also with more specific things like the content topics and formats we’ll be focusing on (e.g. case studies, webinars, podcasts, blog posts, guest posts).
  • Amplification strategy – the channels we’ll be using to promote our content. 
  • Measure – the metrics we’ll be using to measure our performance against by gathering data from Google Analytics, Google Search Console and other analytics providers.

There isn’t right or wrong when it comes to your documented content marketing strategy. 

Just make sure that you use language you know everyone in your company understands and feels comfortable with. 

If you want a ready-to-use template, try the content marketing plan template by Visme. 

content marketing tips - content marketing plan template
Customize this plan template and make it your own!Edit and Download

It’s fully editable so that it fits your brand guidelines and overall business needs. 

Let’s move on to the second tip I have for you. 

 

Tip #2: Build an Email List

Building an email list is essential for your content marketing strategy. 

Many people argue that email marketing doesn’t work as well as it used to in the past. 

However, according to the 2016 Annual Email Marketing Report by Campaign Monitor, for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $44.

That’s massive in comparison with other acquisition channels like PPC. 

Being in the position to send highly targeted emails to segmented audiences can have a significant impact on your bottom line. 

Of course, as with all things, there’s a good and an ugly way to do it. 

For example, here’s how Ahrefs prompts users to leave their email while on the Ahrefs blog

content marketing tips - build an email list with your blog

If you’re an Ahrefs user, chances are you’ll see your email in the blank space along with this message: “We know your email because you have an account with Ahrefs.”

That’s a very cool way to get someone who’s already using your product to sign up for your newsletter as well. 

This way, you can:

  • Keep educating them on how to better use your product
  • Inform them about new product features or updates

Even though there are many list building strategies you can use to grow your email list, you have to keep in mind that being honest about your intentions is critical. 

With all the stories people hear about data privacy and the spam emails they receive on a daily basis, people are understandably hesitant to give out their email address. 

If you’re honest and explain what exactly you’ll be sending, you have a higher chance of getting them to sign up for your email list. 

Apart from having a high ROI and conversion rate, email is one of the best ways to keep in touch with your audience. 

There are many tools (e.g. WordPress plugins) you can use to collect emails on your website. Just find the one that works best for you and start building an email list. 

 

Tip #3: Don’t Be Obsessed With SEO

We see that many (if not most) content marketers are overly obsessed with SEO. 

Don’t get me wrong. 

When it comes to creating a piece of content, SEO is important. 

However, you need to remember that search engines “make decisions” based on the experience visitors have on your website. 

This means that if visitors aren’t satisfied with what they get on your website, they’ll bounce back and look for another search result. 

According to an analysis of 11.8 million search results by Backlinko, “higher Clearscope content grade correlates with higher Google rankings.”

content marketing tips - clearscope content grades

To understand how this is connected to what we’re saying, you first need to know what Clearscope is and how to use it

Clearscope is a tool that allows content creators to write SEO-friendly content by providing recommendations that are based on the top-ranking search results on Google. 

So, it’s basically a software tool that helps with SEO-friendly content creation. 

content marketing tips - how to use clearscope

Note: The above screenshot shows how we used Clearscope to create this exact content piece on Google Docs. 

If we connect that with Backlinko’s study, we can then understand that writing high-quality content that’s friendly to the search engines can help you rank higher in the first place. 

However, to maintain your position, you need genuinely good content that adds value to your visitors’ lives. Plus, publishing content that’s SEO-focused and has no substantial value won’t get you anywhere. 

You need to find the right balance between content that satisfies your visitors and content that satisfies the search engines. 

 

Tip #4: Maintain an Editorial Calendar

The next tip when it comes to content marketing is to maintain an editorial calendar. 

Think of the editorial calendar as a way to keep track of things and avoid getting lost in the various activities involved in content marketing. 

At MINUTTIA, we use Asana for project management and to keep track of things. 

From there, we control the vast majority of our operations, from content creation to link building, technical SEO, and other content and SEO-related activities. 

Asana offers a ready-to-use editorial calendar template you can apply right away to your content marketing operations. 

content marketing tips - asana editorial calendar example

You can modify it so that it fits your needs, but it’s definitely something that will help you maintain order in everything you do. 

Some of the things you need to include in your editorial calendar include:

  • Who is responsible for each task and activity
  • What the content type is of each content piece in the pipeline
  • What promotional tactics will be used for each content piece
  • A timeline for all the activities related to content marketing for your business

In general, there are many different tools you can use as an editorial calendar. 

Many times, a simple Google Sheet can do the work effectively. Asana just happens to be our tool of choice when it comes to our agency processes. 

Find the one that works for you and start building your processes around it. 

Just remember that maintaining an editorial calendar is essential for the success of your content marketing strategy.

 

Tip #5: Promote Your Content

According to a 2019 study by Backlinko on 912 million blog posts, “the vast majority of online content gets few social shares and backlinks.

In fact, 94% of all blog posts have zero external links.” The same study found that only  “1.3% of articles get 75% of the social shares.”

content marketing tips - content promotion infographic
Customize this infographic template and make it your own!Edit and Download

This happens for two main reasons:

  1. The amount of content published out there is too high.
  2. The majority of the content published online isn’t being promoted.

If you think about it, how can we expect a new content piece to be shared on social media or attract new backlinks by popular bloggers and other websites if we don’t put any effort into promoting it?

Moreover, how can we expect others to promote it if we don’t promote it ourselves first?

Of course, it’s kind of disappointing that we put so much effort into creating new content only to see it going unnoticed. 

So, to get your blog noticed and your content seen, you have to start promoting it. 

Unfortunately, most content marketing campaigns end when the piece is published. 

A content marketing campaign and any content marketing plan for that matter should include promotion of that content. 

Some of the best content marketing strategies include email outreach, paid promotion, influencer and PR outreach, and several other promotional tactics.  

You can also brand the links you create and share online with a tool like Rebrandly.

In short, you should never forget to promote your content after hitting the publish button. 

 

Tip #6: Don’t Buy Cheap Content

This is one of the most common mistakes we see here at MINUTTIA

Companies investing in cheap content will see results equal to their investment. 

I don’t want you to take this the wrong way. I’m not implying that you have to spend tons of money to get results. 

I just mean that to get the results you want, you have to invest in high-quality services around content marketing. 

As I mention in my complete guide to website copywriting, to find a good content writing service, you can use a website like The Writer Finder.

content marketing tips - the writer finder

If your needs are more complex—meaning, if you don’t need someone simply to support your blogging or guest posting needs—you can seek a content marketing agency on a website like Clutch.

content marketing tips - clutch

Speaking from experience, I advise you not to be tempted by cheap content creation or other content marketing services, as these usually cost more in the long run in comparison to high quality, higher-tier services. 

Let’s move on to the next tip. 

 

Tip #7: Don’t Be Afraid to Go Off-Topic

This is connected to what we mentioned earlier about only writing blog and website content that’s SEO-friendly. 

When you run a content marketing strategy, you always need to keep in mind that from time to time, you may have to go off-topic. 

If all your content and landing pages are focused on your product or services, you’re definitely missing something. 

Let’s use HubSpot as an example. This is a company that has been very successful through content marketing. 

According to Ahrefs, HubSpot gets approximately 906K monthly organic visits. 

content marketing tips - ahrefs data for hubspot

What’s interesting is that the most-visited page on HubSpot’s website (after its homepage) is—according to Ahrefs—an email signature generator. 

content marketing tips - ahrefs data for hubspot

Now, you could argue that this is somewhat irrelevant to HubSpot, since HubSpot—as a product—offers a set of features for digital marketing. 

So, why would such a smart company create an email signature generator and not something specifically around its product? 

Well, it’s because when it comes to content marketing, it’s not always about you. 

Sometimes, you have to go off-topic.

HubSpot knows that the email signature generator is a great way to raise brand awareness to new audiences that don’t necessarily correspond directly to its target audience. 

Some of these people may end up low on HubSpot’s sales funnel either way, but the goal here isn’t to create something that’s intended to get potential customers into the funnel. 

In the same vein, you should create content that doesn’t only talk about your product or service, but rather adds value for your visitors in any way possible.

Of course, you need to find the right balance.

Just keep in mind that when it comes to content, it’s not always about you. 

 

Tip #8: Invest in Visual Content

You don’t need me to tell you that visual content works. 

Visual content is great for supporting your text, and can also help you attract backlinks and mentions and get shared on social media. 

This type of content is usually referred to as linkable assets

A good example of visual content that’s highly linkable is infographics. And according to Visme, “an infographic is a visual representation of any kind of information or data.”

Here’s a good example of an infographic:

content marketing tips - infographic template
Customize this infographic template and make it your own!Edit and Download

The reason why infographics—and visual content in general—works so well is because people are visual beings. 

Essentially, this means that we’re more inclined to consume content that’s visual in nature as well as aesthetically appealing. 

For example, head over to this blog post to check out the infographic on COVID-19 made by the team at Visme. 

Even though this is a topic that has been covered by many blogs, news sites and company websites all over the world, an infographic stands out among all other results. 

Apart from being interesting, this content is also highly linkable and shareable. 

This means that people are more likely to share or link back to an infographic—or any other type of well-designed visual content—than a blog post or piece of content that’s made up purely of text. 

This is why your content production team should be working side by side with a designer who has quick access to an infographic maker, who in turn can make graphic design production quick and easy. 

Once again, don’t be afraid to experiment with different formats and content types to find the ones that work best for you. 

To wrap up, let’s close this article with some final thoughts.

 

Now Over to You

I hope that by now, you feel a bit better with the decisions you need to make on a content marketing level. This guide—as I mentioned in the beginning—isn’t intended to help advanced content marketing practitioners. 

Rather, the goal is to show content marketing beginners the ropes and small businesses that need some guidelines on how to kick things off. 

If I helped guide you in that direction, I’m really happy. 

Now over to you: What has worked for you in terms of content marketing so far? What hasn’t worked and why? 

Let me know by leaving a comment below. 

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About the Author

Georgios Chasiotis is the Managing Director at MINUTTIA, an agency that drives organic growth for SaaS and tech companies through Content and SEO.

One response to “8 Content Marketing Tips for Beginners (2020 Guide)”

  1. Alison says:

    Thanks for the great tips! I definitely made the mistake of leaving some of these things off my list when I started out and paid the price for it. Hopefully this post will help other content marketers starting out avoid making that mistake.

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