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Content Marketing 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Building an Effective Strategy

Welcome to Content Marketing 101! Let’s get down to business. Content marketing is an approach to marketing that revolves around the creation of content, such as video, podcasts, blogs, etc, to help establish, inform, and entertain your audience. Content marketing isn’t about promoting a product, but about reaching your audience, building relationships, and building your brand identity – this is so important to marketing today!

As consumers become increasingly adverse to traditional marketing methods (think television and newspaper ads), and as marketing revolves more and more around social media, content marketing has become an essential tool in the arsenal of the modern marketer. 

Whether you’re a small business, a marketer looking to expand your skill set, or just looking for pointers on how to create engaging content, learn how to deliver quality content, build a loyal following, drive profitable customer action, and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

Benefits of Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the best ways to build trust and credibility. By posting engaging content for your target demographic, position yourself as an expert in your field and build a trusting relationship with your audience. If your customers trust your brand, they are more likely to engage with your content, spread the word, and become buying customers.

Content marketing offers a wide range of benefits for businesses of all sizes. Here’s just a few:

  1. Increased brand visibility: By sharing content, you can boost your business’ visibility, reach a wider audience, and get ahead of your competitors. And, if your content is helpful, interesting, or entertaining in some way, viewers are more likely to share it with others, so make sure to keep your content fresh!
  2. Improved search engine rankings: Search engines LOVE fresh, high-quality content. By putting out consistent content, you can keep your search engine ranking high and draw organic traffic to your website.
  3. Better customer engagement: Producing content marketing allows you to connect with your audience directly. By using your content to address their needs, answering their questions, or making them laugh, you can build a loyal customer base while fostering a sense of community.
  4. Increased lead generation: By catering content to your target audience, you can attract qualified leads to your website. By interacting with them, you can acquire their contact information and nurture them into loyal customers.
  5. Cost-effective marketing: Content marketing is MUCH more cost-effective than many traditional forms of marketing – you make it yourself! While it does require an investment of time and effort, I promise the long-term benefits for your business are worth it.

Understanding Your Target Audience to Focus your Content Marketing

First things first, we’ve been talking about catering to our target audience, but what does that mean? To put it simply, your target audience is the group of people you want to sell to. When it comes to marketing, you need to understand your audience closely. What are their interests, their needs, their problems? What type of content do they consume? By having a clear understanding of your audience, you can focus your content marketing to fit their interests.

In order to understand your audience, you need to conduct market research, analyse your typical customer base, and create ideal buyer personas. It’s about targeting their specific needs and preferences in your marketing to convince them that your product is something they need.

Conducting Keyword Research for Your Content Marketing

Keyword research is essential to effective content marketing. Essentially, you need to research what words and phrases your target audience is searching for. By identifying keywords, you can apply it to your content, increase your rank in search engine results pages (SERPs), and attract more organic traffic. For your keyword research, I recommend tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs.

Once you have identified your target keywords, incorporate them into your content marketing in an organic way. Try to avoid what we call keyword stuffing, where you try to cram your keyword in as many times as possible, as this can be detected by engines and will negatively affect your ranking. Instead, focus on creating meaningful content, and use your target keywords to direct the topic when it’s fitting.

Types of Content Marketing 

As you can probably imagine, content marketing is an umbrella term for a range of formats. These can be blog posts, podcasts, infographics, social media posts, video, and more. Each format functions in a unique way, so try to use ones that best suit the needs of your business and the consuming habits of your audience.

Blog Posts

Blog posts are one of the most common and effective forms of content marketing. They are super customisable to your brand, allow you to provide in-depth information, and connect with your audience. Blog posts can be easily optimised for search engines, meaning they can help attract traffic to your website.


If you’re not familiar with podcasts, they are a form of audio content where you can share information, tell stories, or have conversations with other experts in your industry. When creating podcasts, try to keep your tone and format super casual – if you’re too dry, your audience may find it harder to engage with you! And of course, remember to do SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) for your podcast by including keywords in the title, description, and tags!


Infographics, meaning a visual representation of information, are a fantastic way to present complex or perhaps dry information in an engaging, visually-appealing format. My best advice for creating a good infographic is to focus on simplicity and clarity. Use colours and interesting icons or illustrations to make your infographics not only visually appealing but also not intimidating. Incorporate statistics, graphs, and charts too!

You may post infographics on social media, embed them in blogs, or attach them to email campaigns.


Video marketing has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years and is a very powerful tool for those wishing to make great content marketing. Video marketing allows you to share information in an entertaining and dynamic way so that you’re more likely to retain your audience’s attention.

When you create videos, try your best to keep them short and sweet. Incorporate storytelling elements. Use visuals, animations, or graphics to create more visual interest, and, if you have the skills, try editing your videos to make them a higher quality. And again, don’t forget to optimise your videos for search engines by using keywords!

Creating Engaging and Shareable Content

As you know by now, creating engaging content is the key to successful content marketing. Here’s some tips for creating engaging, memorable, sharable content:

  1. Know your audience: As I said, understand the needs, preferences, and interests of your target audience. Create content that addresses and/or provides solutions to their issues.
  2. Tell stories: Humans are hardwired to respond to stories. Use storytelling techniques to make your content more relatable and memorable.
  3. Use visuals: Incorporate images, videos, or infographics to enhance the visual appeal of your content. Remember – visual content is more likely to be shared and remembered.
  4. Make it interactive: Include interactive elements such as quizzes, polls, or surveys to encourage audience participation. Interactive content is more engaging and shareable.
  5. Optimise for social sharing: Make it easy for your audience to share your content by including social sharing buttons on your website or blog. Encourage social sharing by asking your audience to share or tag their friends.
  6. Engage with your audience: Respond to comments, questions, or feedback from your audience. Engaging with your audience builds a sense of community and encourages them to share your content.

Remember, creating engaging and shareable content takes time and effort. Experiment with different formats, topics, and styles to find what works best for you and your audience.

Promoting Your Content Through Social Media and Email Marketing

For Content Marketing 101, creating content is just the first step. To really see its impact, you need to be able to promote your content effectively. Social media and email are two really powerful channels for this.

Social Media Promotion

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram offer a great opportunity to promote your content and engage with your audience. Here are some tips for effective social media promotion:

  1. Choose the right platforms: Identify which social media platforms your target audience is most active on. Focus your efforts on those platforms to maximise your reach.
  2. Optimise your profiles: Optimise your social media profiles by including a clear description of your brand, a link to your website, and branded visuals. Use relevant keywords in your profiles to improve searchability.
  3. Share your content: Regularly share your content on social media platforms. Use attention-grabbing headlines, compelling visuals, and relevant hashtags to increase visibility and engagement.
  4. Engage with your audience: Respond to comments, questions, or feedback from your audience. Engaging with your audience builds trust and encourages them to share your content.
  5. Collaborate with influencers: Collaborate with influencers in your industry to extend the reach of your content. Ask them to share or promote your content to their audience.

Email Promotion

Email marketing is another effective way to promote your content and nurture your audience. Here are some tips for effective email marketing promotion:

  1. Build an email list: Start by building an email list of subscribers who are interested in your content. Offer valuable incentives such as exclusive content or discounts to encourage sign-ups.
  2. Segment your list: Segment your email list based on factors such as demographics, interests, or past interactions. This allows you to send targeted and personalised content to each segment.
  3. Create compelling email content: Write compelling subject lines and preview text to entice your subscribers to open your emails. Personalise your emails and use storytelling techniques to make them more engaging.
  4. Include call-to-action (CTA): Include a clear and compelling call-to-action in your emails to encourage your subscribers to take the desired action. This could be downloading an ebook, signing up for a webinar, or making a purchase.
  5. Test and optimise: Continuously test and optimise your email campaigns to improve their effectiveness. Experiment with different subject lines, CTAs, or sending times to find what works best for your audience.

Remember, both social media and email marketing require consistency and persistence. Regularly share and promote your content to maximise its reach and impact.

Measuring the Success of Your Content Marketing

Now you’re almost done, but it’s important to be able to check in on how your marketing is working, what’s going well, and where there’s room for improvement. I encourage you to make data-driven decisions about your marketing to reduce the amount of time, money, and effort you waste.

Here are some key metrics you should track:

  1. Website traffic: Monitor the number of visitors to your website, as well as their sources (organic search, social media, email, etc.) to see which channels are driving the most traffic.
  2. Engagement metrics: Track metrics such as time on page, bounce rate, or social shares to measure how engaged your audience is with your content. High engagement indicates that your content is resonating with your audience.
  3. Conversion rate: Measure the percentage of visitors who take a desired action, such as signing up for a newsletter, downloading an e-book, or making a purchase. A high conversion rate indicates that your content is effective in driving customer action.
  4. Social media metrics: Monitor metrics such as likes, comments, shares, or follower growth on social media platforms.
  5. Email marketing metrics: Track metrics such as open rate, click-through rate, or unsubscribe rate to measure the effectiveness of your email campaigns. A high open and click-through rate indicates that your content is resonating with your subscribers.
  6. Return on investment (ROI): Calculate the return on investment of your content marketing efforts by comparing the costs of creating and promoting content with the revenue generated from customer actions. A positive ROI indicates that your content marketing strategy is effective.

By regularly measuring these metrics and analysing the data, you can identify areas for improvement and optimise your content marketing strategy.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Your Content Marketing

Finally, let me issue a few words of warning on some really common mistakes I see in content marketing:

  1. Lack of strategy: Content marketing requires a clear strategy and goals. Without a well-defined strategy, your content may lack focus and fail to achieve the desired results.
  2. Poor content quality: Quality should always be a top priority when creating content. Poorly written, low-quality content will not resonate with your audience or build trust and credibility – in fact it may do the opposite!
  3. Lack of consistency: Consistency is key to building a loyal following and maximising the impact of your content. Irregular or sporadic content posting can lead to a loss of interest from your audience.
  4. Ignoring SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for attracting organic traffic to your website. Ignoring SEO best practices can result in your content not being discovered by your target audience.
  5. Over-promotion: Content marketing is not about directly promoting your brand or product. Over-promotion can turn off your audience and lead to a loss of trust.
  6. Neglecting distribution: Creating great content is only half the battle. Neglecting to promote and distribute your content effectively can result in low visibility and reach.

We love the power of content marketing at Identify. If you want to get a steady stream of leads and sales from the organic (free) content you create, creating a powerful sales pipeline, we’d love to help.

We can work with you one-on-one to create an overall strategy, or you can become part of Rachel’s group Content Marketing Coaching programme. 

We’re fussy about making sure we’re the right fit for you (and vice versa) so if you know you need help and want to check we can help, get in touch!

We’ll set up a zoom and get to know more about your business!


For over ten years Rachel Klaver has worked with small business owners on their marketing, with a specific interest in content marketing strategy. She loves playing with language and shares her own marketing catchphrases such as “Be a kind spider” and “You have never killed a man with your face” As a small business owner, often low on time, and with a distinct aversion to admin, Rachel loves helping other small businesses catch the marketing bug. Her insights and personality shine through her weekly podcast MAP IT Marketing, her weekly column in NZ’s national newspaper Stuff, and her content on any platform they let her have an account!

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