Posted by Trevor-Klein

I’m thrilled to announce the next in Moz’s series of beginner’s guides:
The Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing.

Content marketing is a field full of challenges. Creating content that provides great value to your audience what we’ve come to call 10x content is difficult enough, but content marketers also regularly encounter skeptical employers and clients, diminutive budgets, and you guessed it a noted lack of time to get it all done. You’re not alone. You’re fighting the good fight, and we’re here to back you up. So is Carl.

Meet Carl, the Content Cat. He’ll show up in every chapter of the guide for a little levity and to remind you that you’re in good company.

There’s no denying the importance of content marketing. In its annual study of more than 5,000 marketers, the Content Marketing Institute showed that about 70% of all marketers, B2B and B2C, are creating more content than they did one year ago. Nearly half of B2C marketers have a dedicated content marketing group in their organizations. While this guide is written primarily for those who are relatively new to content marketing, we’d certainly recommend that more advanced marketers take a look through, as we often find veteran teams are missing some key fundamentals.

Say no more; show me the guide!

What you’ll learn

The guide has nine chapters, and we’ve organized them in the order we think folks should think about them when they’re approaching content marketing. Start with planning and goals, move through ideation and execution, then wrap up with analysis and revisions to the process.

1. What is content marketing? Is it right for my business?

Before we dive too deep into strategy and tactics, there’s something we need to clear up: What in the world is content marketing, anyway? Look it up in 10 different places, and you’ll get 10 different answers to that question. In this chapter, we break it down and offer a look into whether or not it’s a worthwhile investment of your time (spoiler alert: It is).


2. Content strategy

Arguably the most important part of any content marketing effort, your content strategy is what keeps you aligned with your company’s goals, ensuring you’re putting your time and effort into areas that will help move needles and earn you the recognition you deserve. There’s more to it than meets the eye, though, and this chapter paints a holistic picture to get you started.


3. Content and the marketing funnel

Most folks who are new to content marketing assume that it belongs right at the top of the marketing funnel. We’d like to bust it out of that pigeonhole. The truth is that content belongs at every stage of the funnel, from brand awareness and early acquisition to retention of loyal customers. This chapter shows you which kinds of content typically work well for each major phase of the funnel.


4. Building a framework and a content team

There are some things you’ll need to figure out before you even start coming up with ideas for your content. What tools will you use to create it? What processes and standards will you put in place? Who will you work with, and how can you get them aligned with your goals? Setting the framework for your future success will save you from major headaches, and this chapter aims to make sure there’s nothing you’re overlooking.


5. Content ideation

We’ve all had it happen. We need to write something be it a blog post, a whitepaper, even an email and when we sit down to make it happen, nothing. No ideas come to mind. Coming up with ideas for content that really resonates is deceptively difficult, but there are many tricks that’ll help get the proverbial gears turning. We’ll go through those in this chapter.


6. Content creation

After all that planning, it’s finally time to dive in and do the hard work of actually creating your content. From getting the formatting right and working with design/UX teams to the most important cliche you can remember — to focus on quality, not quantity — this chapter will help you make the most effective use of your time.


7. Content promotion

You’ve done it. You’ve put together a wonderful piece of 10x content, and can’t wait to see the response. Only one thing stands in your way: Getting it in front of the right people. From working with industry influencers to syndication and social promotion, there are a great many ways to connect your content with your audiences; it’s just a matter of choosing the right ones. This chapter aims to point you down the right path.


8. Analysis and reporting

Nobody (seriously, nobody) is able to perfectly target their audiences. We make assumptions based on what we know (and can surmise) about the things readers will find valuable. The only way we can get better is by taking a look at how our past content performed. That’s easier said than done, though, and data can often be misleading. This chapter shows you the basics of measurement and reporting so you can get an accurate picture of how things are going.


9. Iteration, maintenance, and growth

Like all aspects of marketing, content should be iterative. You should take a close look at how your past work resonated with your audience, learn from what went right (and what went wrong), and revise your approach next time around. It also pays to revisit your processes from time to time; as your organization and your audience grow, the tactics that served you well at the beginning could well be holding you back now. This chapter explores how you can scale your content efforts without sacrificing the quality you’ve worked so hard to instill.


What are we waiting for? Let’s get started!

Thanks

The biggest thanks and the majority of the credit for this guide go to Isla McKetta. She was an immense help with early planning, and wrote the lion’s share of the guide. Derric Wise led the UX efforts, illustrating much of the guide and bringing Carl the Content Cat to life. Huge thanks also go to both Kevin Engle and Abe Schmidt for their fantastic illustrations. Thanks as well to Lisa Wildwood for her keen editing eyes, and to Ronell Smith and Christy Correll for their additional reviews. This guide never would have happened without all of you. =)

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