Complete Guide to Content Marketing

Stefani Forster

Stefani Forster

Stefani is a multimedia content strategist with experience at some of Canada's top agencies and publications. She worked at Touché! Media and PHD Canada on various national brand campaigns before moving to the content side, serving as an editor and content manager at The Huffington Post Canada, Hello! Canada magazine and Corus Entertainment, writing articles, producing videos, and spearheading social growth.

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Content marketing has become one of the most prolific and effective ways to engage an audience. But what do we mean by “content marketing”? And why is it so hard to get content marketing right? Here we’ll explore different kinds of content marketing and how to set goals, build a strategy, and execute a content marketing plan, from start to finish. 

PART I: INTRO TO CONTENT MARKETING

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is a massive umbrella term for a number of marketing tactics that involve content creation. Content marketing can take many forms — from brand publishing and blog posts to newsletters and infographics. 

Technically, “content” refers to anything you create and publish online for an audience’s consumption — that includes videos, webinars, and posting on social media. However, for our purposes, we’re going to focus on written content (though many of these “content lessons” apply across the board!). To discuss “content marketing” as it pertains to every tweet, YouTube video, or infographic would make this post very long indeed. (Well, longer than it already is!). 

Thankfully, we’ve covered social media marketing and paid social media marketing strategies in other blog posts for you. Here, we’ll be focusing on content in its original, purest form writing blogs, marketing web copy, ebooks, newsletters, etc. But you’ll notice a lot of these tips apply to any form of content marketing, whether you’re creating a YouTube video or writing a tweet.  

Why should you do content marketing?

Why should your brand bother with content? After all, you can set and forget Facebook or Twitter ads with your precious marketing budget. Content seems like it’s more trouble than it’s worth, right? Well, not quite. This is a misguided way of thinking for a couple of reasons.

“Content seems like a lot of work. Isn’t it easier to buy Facebook ads?” 

Content is evergreen. If you create great content, it will last for years. A walker study found that by 2020, customer experience and engagement will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator, and content is an excellent way to provide memorable experiences and promote engagement. 

Content marketing will improve your SEO. And in fact, the most effective SEO technique is content creation. Search engines love rich content. According to TechClient, websites with blogs have 434% more search engine-indexed pages (that’s basically your site being included in the search database) than other business sites that don’t publish content.

Content marketing builds relationships rather than transactions. Many brand publishers have customers who subscribe to their content and according to a report by NewsWhip, 70% of people would rather learn about a brand through content rather than ads. 

Content marketing generates more leads. According to Yahoo Business, Small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without. 

Here are a few other advantages: 

  • It’s relatively inexpensive compared to other forms of media, like video.
  • It’s excellent for social promotion and visibility. Sharing articles, blogs, and guest posts. that you’ve created make for a much stronger social presence than simply retweeting or resharing what other people think and say. 
  • It establishes you or your business as a leader in your industry. 
  • It’s the gift that keeps on giving! Content is one of the few forms of marketing that has compounding returns. Imagine your marketing budget is slashed in a year. The moment you stop spending on ads, your returns go away, and all of your activity stops. But your existing content doesn’t just disappear. It will still drive organic traffic and engagement. 

If you’re busy, the Tl;dr version of this entire intro is: content is good for your business.

Young adults spend nearly half their day consuming media. They’re reading content but they’re also sharing it with others. That’s why content is at the heart of your brand’s social media presence. People share interesting articles, blogs, and features — and that’s what drives social conversations. 

Content marketing mistakes

Now let’s talk about GOOD content marketing versus, well, BAD content marketing. LOTS of brands have blogs these days. Very few of them are any good. 

Why? Because bad content doesn’t work, and most brands are producing bad content. 

Thankfully, bad content is easy to spot. It’s based on an old-school approach. It’s based on campaign thinking, sacrifices relationships for immediate results (hint: impressions mean nothing), prioritizes style over substance, it’s brand-centric, and frankly doesn’t put the reader’s needs first.

The company name drop, the shameless product plug — even “subtle” mentions of your brand make a bad impression when they’re only there for promotion’s sake and aren’t there to help educate the reader. There’s a time and place for old-fashioned, call-to-action advertising, but content usually isn’t it. Don’t try to shove a sales pitch where it doesn’t belong.

Good content marketing…

Listens more than it speaks. It finds out what the audience is interested in, what they care about, what’s important and relevant to them, instead of simply projecting a brand message.

Is relatable to a narrow audience. Your job is to make people care about your brand by offering them content they already want. 

informs, listens, responds, tells a story, entertains, and enhances your customers’ lives. Bad content, like bad wine, leaves a nasty aftertaste.

“If a story is moving, no one is going to care that it’s brought to you by a brand. Rather, they’re going to be happy the brand brought it to them.” 

Remember, people use social media to be social. They read articles because they want to be entertained and informed. What they don’t want is to be subjected to random call-to-actions, inauthentic plugs, and other forms of “branded content” that, ironically, don’t build brand affinity whatsoever. 

PART II: FINDING YOUR VOICE + MISSION

Let’s start by finding your content sweet spot. Your sweet spot is somewhere in the middle of your expertise and your audience’s interests, which hasn’t already been covered to death by everyone else. 

You want to come up with interesting angles and fresh ideas that will surprise and intrigue your audience. People don’t share topics they’ve already seen a hundred times before. They engage with and share content that gives them something new, something they hadn’t thought of.

 

What’s the best way to deliver your message? 

You know your audience. You know what you uniquely offer. AND you have your mission statement. What’s the best way to deliver it? There are dozens of formats your content can take. Maybe your audience reads in-depth interviews or long-form articles; maybe they tend to share great infographics or listicles; maybe they listen to podcasts. 

To determine the best way to deliver your message, you’ll need to research your audience’s consumption habits. This means not just determining who they are – but where they’re hanging out, what they’re reading online, their favorite social networks, the podcasts they listen to, and if they watch YouTube videos. What’s the preferred format? Choose a content format that will best reach them. 

To determine the best way to deliver your message, you’ll need to research your audience’s consumption habits. This means not just determining who they are – but where they’re hanging out, what they’re reading online, their favorite social networks, the podcasts they listen to, and if they watch YouTube videos. What’s the preferred format? Choose a content format that will best reach them.  

Goal setting

Before you start creating content, you want to set some goals. You don’t want your blogs or newsletters to be “nice to have.” Content is a significant investment, and it’s there to achieve XY or Z.

SMART goal setting is one of the most effective ways to achieve your goals.

S – stands for specific. So for example, “I want new clients” isn’t as good as saying, “I want four new clients with $20,000 budgets.” 

M – stands for measurable. This is where you quantify your efforts. Adding numbers to the new clients makes it measurable. 

A – stands for attainable. Research shows that people are motivated by goals that stretch them as long as they’re not unrealistic. Let’s assume, for example, four new clients is an achievable goal. 

R – stands for relevant. If your overall business plan calls for increasing profitability, for example,  perhaps new clients aren’t what you need.

T – stands for time-based. Four new customers are fine, but if you don’t set a time frame, will you be satisfied with four customers a year when you meant to sign up four customers a month?

Content marketing case study: Adobe’s CMO.com 

To see how this all works in practice, let’s look at the example of Adobe and their brand publication, CMO.com. Traditionally, Adobe is known for its design tools, such as Photoshop and Illustrator, but we all know the creative side is only one part of marketing. Adobe wanted to be known for more than just tools. Their goal was to be seen as the backbone of any marketing organization. 

They knew that pushing their products and sales pitches on CMOs would not succeed. So in 2013, Adobe launched CMO.com to create connections with senior marketing executives and reposition Adobe as an essential marketing solution. 

Today, CMO.com delivers marketing insights, expertise, and inspiration for and by marketing leaders. The content is all aimed at helping CMOs, senior marketers, and their teams to become better marketers and deliver standout experiences in a digital world. It’s more than a destination to hear about what’s new in digital transformation. It’s a community, where senior leaders come to share their own ideas and stories.

Note how CMO.com is not heavily branded. People have commented that they didn’t even know it was produced by Adobe. Adobe knew that if they targeted marketers with the backing of a known brand, a large portion of readers would reject the content they were created based on the idea that it was biased – even though it wasn’t. 

Through brand publishing, Adobe created a relationship with potential (and current) customers that went deeper than the B2B sale of software licenses. If you dig around on the site, you won’t see Adobe promotions or product values. It’s all information that resonates with the digital marketer on a creative AND strategic side. 

Based on their mission and results, you can probably determine some of their SMART goals. 

Today, CMO.com has more than 60,000 professional subscribers and an overall impression rate of more than 50 million, due to Adobe’s amplified channels. 

Adobe further tracks their goals by seeing who was subscribing and sharing, and who was starting to write for them – CMOs and thought leaders who drive decisions. 

Remember, like with any form of marketing, content is an investment. Achieving your goals will take time. And if your mission isn’t solid and understood, you’ll abandon it before you reach your goals. So do the important work of SETTING YOUR VOICE + MISSION upfront and you’ll set yourself up for success.

PART III: CONTENT PLANNING + IDEAS

So you know your audience. You have a unique voice, and you know what your goals are.  How do you come up with content ideas that will resonate? 

What makes content “shareable”? 

The Mission is about how you want people to feel after they interact with your content. It could be one of these, two of these, or all of them, but it’s important to know which one matters most to your brand. 

Generally speaking, you want to inform and leave your audience with a deeper understanding, giving them how-to’s, tips, tutorials, behind-the-scenes, history, how it works, etc. “Edutain” them. 

You want to relate. You want your audience to feel understood and related to. Delivering content that speaks to who they are and what they love will show that you “get” them.

And you want to take your audience on an emotional journey, too. Create content that makes them laugh, cry, get excited, get inspired, and blow their minds. Deliver on high-intensity emotions.

Content: It’s all in the timing

Another way to think about content is timing. Though you can write about virtually anything, your content will likely fall into four main categories based on timing and longevity. 

  • There’s time-based content, which covers relevant, trending topics that are unplanned and unpredictable (like breaking news or cultural moments and memes – remember “The Dress?” was it blue or gold?).
  • Event-based content, which are relevant, trending topics that are planned and predictable (like elections, holidays, etc.).
  • Evergreen: Content that works year ‘round (How-tos, and DIYs).
  • Ephemeral: Short-lived content (so what you’ll see on Snapchat or Instagram stories).

Seasonal content marketing

Seasonal content isn’t just limited to winter, summer, fall, and spring. Just about any trend related to your business can be considered a “season,” whereby you can group and build content around a common theme. 

You can be sure to see common themes and seasonal trends reflected in both monthly searches and search engine traffic. You should base some of your content around seasonal trends for two reasons: 1. You know those topics are popular for that season and are more likely to get shared; 2. They may not rank this season, but you might end up ranking for them in the next season. You have to love that evergreen content, eh?

Content marketing trending topics

Want to discover some broad, trending topics to begin your content tree? Google Trends is your best friend. It’s a great resource for knowing exactly what’s trending at any moment. 

Plus, it lets you compare two search terms, too, to see which is more popular in search. Here we see the World Cup is trending over baseball. It might be a good time to create a Content Branching Worksheet for topics surrounding the World Cup, if that’s relevant to your brand, that is. 

You can also filter by country. We can clearly see the rise in searches for CBD in the United States over the last 5 years. Again, this won’t necessarily give you your specific angles, but it can help kick-start a brainstorming session around a trending topic – there’s that content tree again! 

Related queries (particularly in the “Rising” category) show you the breakout subtopics you may want to consider writing about. Pay close attention to these!

Another way to find keywords related to your business is to head over to the Google Keyword Planner. You will need a Google ad account to access this tool. Type in a keyword related to your niche. Be sure to choose a location, language, and date range. You can choose to include or not include brand names in your results. 

As you can see, searches for the keyword “soup recipes” peaks around October (hello, fall weather!) and has another little spike in January, after New Year’s. 

If you’re a meal delivery service or an artisanal food company, you may want to consider running seasonal content around soup recipes starting in September leading up to October or some content around Healthy Soup Recipes for the New Year’s resolutioners.

Case Study: Nokia’s Futurithmic 

Now let’s look at Nokia’s Futurithmic publication, and how they identify the voice for their content. Launched in early 2019, the goal for this brand publication was to create a content series that associates Nokia with thought leaders, who have interesting points of view on time, productivity, digital lives, and evolution of the digital world. THEIR target audience includes tech CEOs, CIOs, CMOs, heads of business lines, and strategy leads (and the people that influence them) in Communication Service Providers.

PART IV: CONTENT CALENDARS AND EXECUTION 

You have a great list of content ideas you know your audience will love. Now it’s time to execute. Getting the wheel turning in an organized, structured fashion for your team is often the hardest part of the content marketing process – so pay close attention. 

What is a content calendar? 

Your content (or editorial) calendar is a document that organizes the timing of your content production and publishing for both collaboration and strategic purposes. Think of your calendar as a compass, that leads the direction of your editorial, adjusting to changes that may occur along the way. 

Why do you need a content calendar? Well, because it:

  • Organizes the timing of your content production and publishing for both collaboration and strategic purposes. It turns that content chaos into editorial efficiency. 
  • Makes collaboration and strategizing with your team much easier.
  • Outlines what content is being produced and published by your organization, timing of this process, content ownership, and other details. 
  • Is a flexible document that will definitely change over time. That’s a good thing, by the way. Strategies are not static.

One of the best ways to lay everything out is by creating an overview calendar. In it, you can put significant dates, holidays, events, launches, etc., then build your content around these tentpoles. There will be LOADS of ideas that start to cascade through this calendar. P.S. Editorial calendars are highly personal beasts. We have our own templates, but everyone has a style. The following are some good options.

Content marketing calendar templates

Everyone has a different way to organize their content calendars. We recommend starting with something free and easy to use and collaborate on – such as an Excel sheet or Google Doc template, which you can then import into Google Drive. You can also get fancier with some paid calendar apps. The calendar tool is entirely up to you and what your team is most comfortable using. 

If you have the budget for it, Coschedule can be a great resource. At $150 bucks a month, it’s pricey, but allows you to organize across channels, integrates with WordPress, has workflows, ties campaigns together (creates chain reactions), and is super easy to manage.

Content marketing workback plan

Now that you have your calendar mapped out and your tactics in place, let’s put together your timeline to get this plan rolling!

Some of the calendars in the last section have project planning templates built-in, but many people can’t fathom how long things take, so we’ve given you an idea.

Why so many hours, you ask? Well let’s break it down, shall we? Here’s a list of averages based on agency experience and standard freelance rates. It takes more time than you might think to publish high-quality content on a regular basis. This is why people bring in an agency – to help beef up their efforts. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind with a workback plan. The first time you do anything, it will take at least three times (3x) longer (even if you’re experienced). You need to build in time for setbacks – everything from HR issues to budgets to natural disasters. Try to work at least three (3) weeks ahead. If you get done early, it gives you time to build on your ideas.

Posting frequency: Consistency is key 

We know what you’re thinking: why don’t I just publish fewer articles? You certainly don’t have to publish an article every single day; however, you will need a regular posting schedule if you want your publication to be successful. And you need to stick with it. The bigger your content library grows, the better you’ll index on Google and the more consistent traffic you’ll get. 

According to HubSpot research, companies that publish 16 blog posts or more per month got almost 3 and a half times more traffic than companies that published between 0 to 4 monthly posts. They also got 4.5x more leads than companies that published between 0 to 4 monthly posts.

Having content banked means you’ll have more opportunities to share, repromote, and join in on social conversations. Finally, regular posting creates a better relationship with your readers; they know you’ve got your finger on the pulse and can rely on you for fresh content. This keeps your brand at the forefront of their minds.

For these reasons, we don’t recommend posting less than one to two articles a week. You’re better off posting high-quality articles less often, rather than lower-quality articles every day. Consider outsourcing some resources if the workload becomes too much. 

Committing to your calendar, workflow, and workback schedule are some of the most challenging parts of brand publishing. Don’t miss deadlines or fall behind – give yourself plenty of breathing room, and work in advance as much possible when you’re first starting out.

PART V: WRITING TIPS FOR CONTENT MARKETING 

Your content calendar is chock full of amazing article topics and you’re ready to start producing some content. But coming up with a great blog idea is one thing; actually writing an easy-to-read, engaging post is quite another. Here are some essential writing and editing tips to make blog writing a breeze. This includes the art of headline writing, some language tricks, how to choose the best visuals for your blog, structuring your post, and how to boost your blogs’ search engine optimization (SEO). 

Headlines 

To rise above the noise and capture your readers’ attention, you need candid and catchy headlines. There’s an art to writing them, but you don’t need to be an artist to master it. 

When deciding what content to read or share, the headline really says it all. Your content might be amazing, but if you don’t get that across immediately with your headline, it’s game over. 

Generally speaking, you want to use vibrant, active language, be truthful, and tell your readers what they need to know in a timely way…but there are some tricks, too! 

  1. Choose function over style. “Flow From Within!” might sound cool, but your reader has no idea your article is about yoga. “The 5 Best Yoga Poses to Make You Feel Renewed” makes a lot more sense. 
  2. Make sure your headline serves a distinct purpose. “Headlines That Suck” isn’t a bad headline per se — but a better headline might be, “Headlines That Suck And What You Can Learn From Them.” The former only tells your reader partially what your article is about; it doesn’t explain why they should bother reading it. If you’re not telling your reader why they should click, it’s not as good as it could be.
  3. When in doubt, a good “how-to” or listicle works wonders: “How To Write A Killer Headline” or “10 Ways to Write a Killer Headline.” 
  4. It always helps to try to ask a question or identify and solve a problem. “Your Headlines Suck? Here’s How To Fix Them.” 
  5. And it never hurts to be a contrarian, as long as you can back it up. “Most Headlines Are Garbage. Yours Doesn’t Have To Be.” 

To help answer the question of “What makes a good headline,” Buzzsumo analyzed 100 million article headlines. (No, really). In their survey of 100 million headlines, these were the three-word phrases or trigrams that gained the most Facebook engagements.  

 “Will make you … “ was number 1, by a longshot, generating more than double the shares than the second-most popular term, (This is Why). Why does this particular trigram or three-word phrase work so well? One of the interesting things is that it is a linking phrase. It doesn’t start or end a headline, rather it makes explicit the linkage between the content and the potential impact on the reader. It tells the reader why they should care about the content. It also promises that the content will have a direct effect on the reader, often an emotional reaction.

Buzzfeed is so, so good at headlines, so it’s no surprise they use the “will make you” phrase quite a bit. 

The premise of a headline is similar to “feel old yet?” memes that circulate. The most important element here is the linkage phrase “will make you.” Again, the writer is specifically telling you that these images will make you feel something powerful. SO – Explain how your content will have a direct impact on the reader in the headline.  

Humans are more likely to share content that we connect with emotionally. According to Buzzsumo’s study, emotional phrases like “tears of joy,” “make you cry,” “give you goosebumps,” “is too cute,” “shocked to see,” and “melt your heart” consistently received a high number of interactions on Facebook.

It’s not just clickbaity Buzzfeed that rocks the headline game. The New York Times also writes killer headlines. How to retire in your 30s with 1 million in the bank – who wouldn’t click on that? 

Tip: Use your headline to show the reader that you are offering them valuable information.

How many words should be in your headline? More than you think. Keep in mind Facebook engagements are not the be-all, end-all of headlines. For example, the studio found that the phrase “on a budget” performed poorly as a headline on Facebook, but generated lots of engagement on Pinterest, where the thrifty DIY crowd lies. 

Thankfully, there are tools for creating great headlines at your disposal! Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer will score your overall headline quality and rate its ability to result in social shares, increased traffic, and SEO value. And it’s completely FREE, so use it! 

Language tips

Now let’s talk a bit about language. One of the most important lessons for a writer to learn is to eliminate fluff. Fluff is for kittens. It’s challenging and takes work, but it makes for a significantly better reading experience. 

  1. Remove empty phrases.

The first step to trimming fluff is eliminating empty phrases. “In my opinion, it is not an unjustifiable assumption that” is easily replaced by, “I think.” “A majority of” should simply be “most” and “There are many people who write” can simply be, “Many people write.” Capiche? 

  1. Replace weak verbs. 

When it comes to your verbs, use strong, specific language. So “give out” becomes “offer,” “find out” could be, “discover,” “make clearer” is simply, “clarify,” “think of a publishing strategy,” becomes “devise a publishing strategy”… you get the gist. 

  1. Don’t complicate your verbs.

Keep your verbs short, sweet and to the point – and avoid passive voice wherever possible. “The headline was fixed by the writer” is not as clear as “the writer fixed the headline.” and Give your post a proofread” isn’t as clear as “proofread your post.” “Alcohol is the cause of hangovers” that can simply be “alcohol causes hangovers.” And “she has a high level of intensity” sounds better as simply, “She is intense.” Simple right? 

  1. Avoid weak adjectives. 

Using specific adjectives will make your point much clearer and paint a more vivid picture in the reader’s head. “Very big,” could be “huge,” “not very smart” can be replaced with “ignorant,” “happy” can be replaced with “thrilled,” or “very beautiful” can be replaced with “gorgeous.” Avoid blandness and repetition by using specific, strong adjectives that tell a story.

And finally…

  1. Get to the point already!

This is the number 1 mistake amateur writers make. Stop trying to sound fancy. In the end, overly fancy language just sounds silly if not confusing.

If you’re trying to write a review of a high-powered LED flashlight that works well in absolute darkness, you shouldn’t say: “As the sun retreats into its ever-looming abyss, the dance of luminescence begins. The cold metal of the tubular apparatus runs counter to the warm rays of vision protruding from its brightly lit face. Darkness no more; the world is ablaze.” Just say, “This LED flashlight works well in absolute darkness.” Tell your readers the facts and don’t wax poetic. 

Being good at writing and editing takes practice. A lot of practice. However, there are some tools that can help! 

Grammarly stands out among other spelling and grammar checkers because it goes beyond correcting basic errors. It also helps with contextual issues and can identify and fix even small-expression mistakes that are often overlooked by other tools. It also comes with a browser extension so you can write correctly on nearly every site on the web – including your social media channels and your Google docs. It has a plagiarism checker, scanning millions of pages on the Internet to see if your document has been lifted from some other source material. This is an essential resource if you’re working with freelance writers and need to check their work. 

Structure

Great language is essential for readability. But structure can help here, too. Articles are easier to read when they’re in nice, bite-sized chunks. Subheads are great for organizing content; plus, they can help you organize your thoughts in order, too.

Ask yourself if adding a few subheads or turning your article into a listicle or a “dos and don’ts” format would work better. The same thing goes for bullet points, numbers, checklists, etc. — basically, anything that helps organize your article in a way that makes sense and is easy for your reader to skim quickly and refer back to.

PART VI: SEO (SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION) FOR CONTENT MARKETING

Before we wrap this up, a note on Search engine optimization, or SEO. You want to optimize all of your articles so they’re highly searchable. Hopefully, you’re already including important and relevant keywords within the blog post itself. 

Obviously, there’s A LOT more that goes into SEO, but we’ll give you a quick and dirty overview for blog posts and articles: 

  1. Fill out the meta-data on every blog post (you should be doing this on all your business pages anyhow) 
  2. Leverage image optimization
  3. And Include external links

Yoast SEO for WordPress has quickly become the go-to SEO solution for most WordPress developers. Make sure you have the Yoast SEO for WordPress installed. Optimizing your post is as easy as 1, 2, 3: 

  1. Scroll down below the text editor until you find the section titled “Yoast SEO” and Click “Edit Snippet”. 
  2. Edit the information listed under “SEO Title”, “Slug” and “Meta description” until you’re happy with the way it appears. Yoast makes it easier to gauge the success of your copy with a color-coded bar under each text box.
  3. When you’re finished, click “Close snippet editor.” And voila! 

Even if you’re not on WordPress and not using Yeost, most content management systems will have a metadata description or a plugin that you can add in order to fill in this information for search engines. 

External linking

What is external linking or backlinking? In short, anytime you link to a site outside of your own web domain, this is an external link. Examples include linking to an article or study you reference in your blog post, or to a service that you are reviewing. If you reference a specific product or service, it’s a good idea to link to them. The point is to be helpful to your reader while also being authoritative.

Label your images properly! 

Here’s another tip that often goes overlooked: Name your images appropriately. The filename can give Google clues about the subject matter of the image. 

For example, “black-kitten.jpg” is better than “IMG00023.JPG.” 

Use alt-text to describe the image. So for example: <img src=”black-kitten.jpg” alt=”cute black kitten plays with string”/>

Here are a few other examples:

Image name: labrador-dog.jpg

Alt text: <img src=”labrador-dog.jpg” alt=”labrador dog playing fetch”/>

Image name: pancakes.png

Alt text: <img src=”pancakes.png” alt=”Stack of blueberry pancakes with powdered sugar”>

As far as optimization goes, this is the tip of the iceberg. To really verse yourself in SEO, check out our SEO 101 article

Need help pulling it all together? Create a content marketing style guide. 

Finally, let’s talk about your Brand Publishing Style Guide. Since it’s likely that more than one writer or team member is editing and creating content for your brand, you need a guide to ensure cohesion – on a whole bunch of different elements you may not have thought of before.

Here’s what your content marketing brand guidelines could include: 

  1. Brand Voice: Thankfully, we’ve already done this exercise before! Be sure to include your voice, persona, point of view, and values, along with specific examples of how your brand would respond in various scenarios. 
  2. Spelling and Grammar: Whether you decide on AP Style, Chicago Manual of Style, or a different style altogether, document your rules for capitalization, abbreviations, numbers, and punctuation. If you have any spelling or grammar rules that are unique to your brand (e.g., maybe you stylize your brand in lower case), highlight those here as well.
  3. Formatting: Lay out your formatting preferences for headlines, subheadings, tables, bulleted and numbered lists, and outbound links. You can also use the formatting section to set general length requirements. 
  4. Content Specifications: Specify what is expected for each content type, whether it’s a blog post, news post, web copy, or a review. Include an outstanding example of each type of content that writers can refer to for stylistic inspiration while they’re working.
  5. Visual Media: Explain your brand’s aesthetic with examples, and provide a list of acceptable image sources, captions, size guidelines, and general practices for each type of media.

CONCLUSION 

Planning and executing a winning content marketing strategy is a long-term investment. But unlike ads, it promises aggregate value over time. It’s a marathon — not a sprint.

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