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Content marketing is a great way to  get people talking about your products, your services, and your company. Content marketing is also a great way to engage your customers and maybe even create a community. (Plus, you can always use the resulting SEO boost.)

But if you’re new to content marketing, where should you start? It can really be overwhelming to think of starting a career in content. But have no fear, this article will provide you with all the information you need to excel as a content creator.

  • What is Content Creation
  • What is a Content Creator
  • How to Start Content Creation
  • What is Social Media Content Creation
  • Best Content Creation Tools
  • How to Create Great Content

What is Content Creation

Content creation is the process of generating topic ideas that appeal to your buyer persona, creating written or visual content around those ideas, and making that information accessible to your audience as a blog, video, infographic, or other format.

Content creation is the ultimate inbound marketing practice. When you create content, you’re providing free and useful information to your audience, attracting potential customers to your website, and retaining existing customers through quality engagement.

Typical forms of content creation include maintaining and updating web sites, blogging, article writing, photography, videography, online commentary, the maintenance of social media accounts, and editing and distribution of digital media. 

You’re also generating some major ROI for your company, as these content marketing stats demonstrate:

  • Content marketing brings in 3X as many leads as traditional marketing and costs 62% less.
  • SMBs that use content marketing get 126% more leads than those that don’t.
  • 61% of online purchases are the direct result of a customer reading a blog.
  • Companies that publish 16+ blog posts per month get 3.5X more traffic than those that post four or fewer posts per month. 

What is a Content Creator

A content creator is someone who is responsible for the contribution of information to any media and most especially to digital media. They usually target a specific end-user/audience in specific contexts. A content creator can contribute any of the following:

  • Blog posts
  • Email newsletters
  • Social media copy (one of my favourites!)
  • Video marketing/editing
  • eBooks
  • Graphic design
  • …and more!

They can also create offline content such as brochures, client packets and so on, but today, we’ll be focusing specifically on digital content creation.

How to Start Content Creation

Content development is an art. It’s a lot more than starting with a topic, writing down some words and hitting publish. When writers start out developing a new piece of content, it’s a process.

In order to help you to create your own digital content, we’ve written out this process, step-by-step.

1. Start with an idea

Each and every piece of content starts with an idea. Whether it’s an abstract thought that we need to turn into something concrete, a keyword, a topic or a pre-written headline, we need to have some sort of idea to start with.

Whether you’re writing your own content, or prepping topics for a copywriter, we have a few tips for gathering a long list of ideas. First of all, take a look at your website’s analytics and find your highest ranking search terms. Those are ideas. Find your lowest ranking search terms (that are still relevant to your business/industry.) Those are ideas, because you want to rank higher for those terms. Start typing in keywords for your industry into Google and let its autofill feature give you even more ideas.

2. Do your research

You know your industry like the back of your hand, probably. That doesn’t mean that you have all of the statistic-based facts and all of the pieces of the puzzle already in your brain. No matter how well-versed you are in your topic, you still want to do some research before beginning to write.

As copywriters, we tend to write on a variety of topics and industries, so the research portion is the most time-intensive. It’s important to search through popular, well-known websites, as well as some of the more obscure journals and webpages that are still reputable. (It’s crazy how much fake news can get mixed up in your research if you’re not careful.) Find statistics that relate to your topic, and keep your sources saved in case you need to link back to them.

Continue to read on your topic until you feel confident enough to write a full-length blog post about it.

3. Determine the direction of your content

Is this an informative blog post? Is it long-form, or are you sticking to a shorter, to the point blurb? Is it going to be humorous? Do you want to turn this into an infographic or a video instead? Do you want to create an accompanying infographic or video?

Make sure that you have the voice and tone of your article in mind before you start writing. Otherwise, you may find your content going in all different directions, instead of being one cohesive piece.

4. Create your headline

On average, 80 percent of people will read your headline, but only 20 percent will read the rest of your article. This means that you need to create an exceptional headline that will get people to click through to your blog post and read the full thing (and then share it).

Some copywriters will even create 20 to 30 different headlines for a single article, then choose the best one. However, you have a business to run. Instead, we recommend using a headline generator to help you out.

5. Write

Use your introduction to tell a story. Hook your readers in, and make them want to continue reading. Ask the question that you’re going to use the rest of your article to answer. Use the body of your blog post to answer the question, and break your content up into sections.

Web content users tend to prefer skimmable content, and we aim to please. Finally, use your conclusion to both wrap up your article, and offer a call-to-action so that readers know what to do next.

6. Grab a drink

No, we’re joking. That’s not a part of the process. However, once you finish writing, we do recommend taking a step away from your blog post before going back to proofread it.

7. Proofread and publish

When you’ve been looking at the same piece of content for awhile, your typos tend to blur with the rest of the piece, and your garbled sentences instead sound phenomenal. After taking some time away, come back to your article and read it out loud. This can help you ensure that your sentences flow smoothly and you haven’t made any spelling or grammar errors.

What is Social Media Content Creation

Content creation is the most important element to any social media campaign. Because of this, you should aim to create original content that is representative of your brand.

You need to design micro-content to be distributed on your social media channels. Micro-content is content created specifically for the channel it is posted on. It is used for the sole purpose of engaging your social media fans and followers.

Also, some content creators do not go to their client’s business to take photos (and normally would not need to). The photos they use are often designed by their social media managers. They create content that is original and reflective of your brand.

Best Content Creation Tools

In order to produce the best possible content, you need the right content creation tools. There are now thousands of technologies that were built to make the lives of content creators everywhere less stressful and much more simple – by simplifying communication, speeding up creation, and everything in between. Here’s a look at some of the best content tools to use.


Trapit is a comprehensive content curation service for business that offers content discovery, curation, and publishing to web, iPad, and social channels through its web application. The application pulls from text and video sources and offers built-in analytics and social scheduling tools.

Trapit is a spin-off of SRI International that uses SRI’s CALO technology (the basis for Apple’s Siri) to help users discover and publish content. It has acquired about $6.2 million in venture capital funding.


Pearltrees refers to itself as “a place for your interests”. Functionally the product is a visual and collaborative curation tool that allows users to organize, explore and share any URL they find online as well as to upload personal photos, files and notes. 

The product features a unique visual interface that allows users to drag and organize collected URLs, and other digital objects. That themselves can be further organized into collections and sub-collections, (URLs). Users of the product can also engage in social/collaborative curation using a feature called Pearltrees Teams.

Pearltrees claims to be among the first companies to provide an exposed interest graph. The company’s mission is to help users “Democratize Organization of Knowledge” 

As part of the product’s social features, Pearltrees users can synchronize their accounts with both Twitter and Facebook. This bi-directional functionality supports the collection of new pearls[further explanation needed] each time a link is shared or tweeted.

New links added to user accounts and new collections created by users can also be broadcast via a user’s Twitter and Facebook accounts if users have enabled this feature. Users can also embed a collection into most CMS products including WordPress blogs, Drupal websites, Typepad blogs and others.


Triberr is a social media platform where bloggers join tribes, in which tribe members’ RSS feeds display their posts, and people decide whether or not to share them.

Triberr is all about blog marketing, discussion and social shares. Good thing is Triberr will import in your blog articles and allow you to share with the rest of your tribe mates. Pretty good for a free service right?

On a free account, you can basically ‘approve’ a maximum of 100 posts per day. You also have the option to share the articles on social media as well. A huge, huge plus one for social engagement if you ask me.

You had just joined Triberr and wondering how to make it work for you right? The answer is, there ain’t an easy way out for this. You need to build your reputation … yes from scratch.


Quuu is the number one source for quality content and the only place where each and every piece has been hand-reviewed in house. Content curation makes you stand out from the masses on social media. It’s a way of providing value and consistency to your followers.

However, doing it properly is a time-consuming process, so automating this using Quuu gives you back that precious time to work on your business. Quuu is the only tool that hand-curates content in over 500 interest categories, meaning you’ll always have relevant posts to share with your audience on social media.


Drumup is an end to end social media content scheduling and discovery app, and can cut down your social media management effort by up to 90% (works with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn).

It discovers relevant and engaging stories of interest to your social media audience from around the web, that you can schedule for multiple social media accounts. You can also add custom posts to your content queue for publishing.

DrumUp also allows you to link your blog feed on your social accounts. In addition to these features, DrumUp offers a content library, hashtag suggestions, and an employee advocacy program.

Features: –

  • Discover fresh relevant content for your themes in an easy shareable format
  • – Schedule posts for multiple accounts in one click
  • – Manage multiple accounts through a single dashboard
  • – Create groups of social media accounts and schedule to them with ease
  • – Link blog feed to post directly to your social accounts
  • – Schedule posts for specific time and date
  • – Chrome extension to discover posts as you browse and to schedule conveniently from within
  • – Mobile app for on-the-go content discovery and social media management
  • – Create text and image custom posts
  • – Link RSS feeds to read them within the app
  • – Get hashtag suggestions
  • – Shorten URLs and track your clicks
  • – View social media engagement analytics
  • – Save files to the content library
  • – Provide specific social media accounts’ access to teammates
  • – Set up an employee advocacy program


You can use Learnist to create boards of articles, images, video, and other media for a course, a particular novel, time period, math concept, or anything else to help students explore content (or even to provide them a launching pad for a larger project).

Project the board on a screen and you can create a lesson around it. Students who have accounts can then add your lessons to their own boards, share them with friends, and organize them however they wish.

You could even ask that students create a Learnist board instead of a bibliography for a research project, citing their sources visually as well as with text.

When they finish with assignments, kids can also create “fun” boards that you could also incorporate into class time, allowing them to share their hobbies and interests with the rest of the class (and maybe teaching a little something as well!).


Flipboard is a website that allows users to create their own print-style online magazines using content from the Web. They can bookmark any page and add it to their magazine, which ends up being a collage of different Web pages on the same subject.

It’s fun, but it’s really best used on a tablet or phone, as the Web version is missing some important stuff. Kids may be frustrated by the Web version’s lack of a search option; it makes it hard to browse magazines created by other people. On the plus side, they can’t deliberately search for swear words, sex, or other inappropriate content, so they’re less likely to come across it.

It does a wonderful job of aggregating articles, video, and social media into an accessible, but feature-rich, personalized digital magazine. Flipboard’s recently updated Android app, which boasts a beautiful and user-friendly redesign, remains the de facto Android news-reading app—mainly because much of the competition, such as The Daily and Zite, have bitten the dust. Regardless, the free Flipboard is a near-flawless app that news junkies should not do without. 


Nuzzel is a Twitter-adjacent aggregation service, designed to show you the most talked about links from your feed. By linking your Twitter account to the service, it will provide a feed of news stories important to you, making it fast and easy to stay on top of breaking stories or the hottest think-pieces.

With Nuzzel, you can keep up with the important news of the day (or week) without being bogged down. Nuzzel, as a service, is the perfect way to stay informed on what’s important to you (and the people you follow) so you aren’t missing important news. The personalized news stream makes it the best news app for what matters most to you.

Another great feature of the app is the ability to view the news Nuzzel users from your Twitter account are seeing. This can help broaden your news exposure to different news sources, or see news on different topics you may not be as engaged with. The “Friends of Friends” list aggregates the most talked about of those broader feeds, giving you a large, well-rounded collection of news to read.


Instapaper is a bookmarking service that allows web content to be saved so it can be “read later” on a different device, such as an e-reader, smartphone, or tablet. The service was founded in 2008 by Marco Arment and has around 2 million users as of late 2011.

In April 2013, Marco sold a majority stake to Betaworks and by mid 2016 Pinterest acquired the company. In July 2018, ownership of Instapaper was transferred from Pinterest to a newly formed company Instant Paper, Inc. The transition was completed on August 6, 2018.

Instapaper can be used via a web-based interface, or through mobile apps for Android and iOS. Within a web browser, a “Read Later” bookmarklet can be used to save pages to a user’s personal unread queue on Instapaper. Every article is automatically reformatted to remove excessive formatting and graphics.

Instapaper was initially distributed as a paid app. Later, the app became a free service, but with certain features exclusive to a “Pro” version of the app, and later an “Instapaper Premium” subscription, such as ad-free browsing, full-text search, and voice dictation on supported platforms. These features became free for all users on November 1, 2016.

How to Create Great Content

Content marketing is a great way to get people talking about your products, your services, and your company. Content marketing is also a great way to engage your customers and maybe even create a community.

With the above point in mind, it becomes very important for you to create great content that will help you maintain the attention of the community. Some steps are explained below.

1. Define Your Content Marketing Goal

Before you look at what you’re going to create, you need to answer why you’re making it.

All content marketing starts with a goal. How are you going to measure the success of your campaign? Is it with traffic? New subscribers? App downloads? Conversions? Social shares and engagement? Video views? Podcast downloads? Sales?

Best-selling author, prolific marketer and entrepreneur Seth Godin explains the importance of understanding your why early on.

“You have the freedom to make these choices at the beginning when they’re free, fast and easy. Not later on when you’ve made commitments to other people and yourself.”

It’s easy to get caught up in all the tactics of content marketing, but without a unifying strategy–a strong why, no matter what you create, it will fall flat.

Understanding your goal early on will guide other important decisions as you develop your content marketing strategy. Such as, what are we making? And where are we going to distribute our content? As Godin explains, your strategy is like building a ship. You need to know where it’s going to sail before you can start nailing planks of wood together.

As Godin emphasizes, “Matching what you build to where you put it is more important than what you build in the first place. That’s why we need to start by understanding what is this for?”

2. Research and Understand Your Audience

Once you have a clear connection to why you’re making content, the next step in building out your content marketing is to understand exactly who is going to see, hear, or watch the content you create.

Effective content is not produced in a vacuum from a list of topics you personally want to write or talk about, it’s made out in the open with the involvement, feedback, and direction of your audience. The best content marketing strategy is designed to answer the most pressing questions your target audience has–to educate and transform them.

However, the only way that your content will connect enough with people to have them share it and help you reach your goals is for you to speak directly to them. You need to have empathy and understanding for their situation.

The first step is to understand the demographics and psychographics of your ideal audience.

Demographics are the quantitative traits, or things you can really dig into and measure. Think age, gender, location, job title, etc. For example, you might say you want your content marketing to speak to executives aged 30-45, or 20-something job seekers just out of college.

Psychographics are the things we can’t measure. Attributes like attitude, belief systems, values, and interests. So in our executive example, we could go a step further and say that our content speaks to executives who want to take their business to the next level but can’t find a way. Or maybe that they believe in hard work and doing the right thing and value family and strong morals.

3. Creating Your Audience Personas

Now, let’s talk about audience personas–the fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. These personas are constructed with the goal of internalizing who your ideal customer is, and gives you an idea of how to relate to these people as real humans. For each of the audience personas you’re creating, write out their (demographic and psychographic) attributes on a bulleted list.

Next, you want to visualize exactly who this person is. Goulet suggests using a stock photography site like Unsplash or Pexels to find a photo of the person you’ve just described. It might seem a bit silly, but this will seriously help solidify your vision and create more of a connection between you and your ideal audience.

Lastly, you want to take that photo, the bulleted list and write a story about them in paragraph form, that really describes the environment and the feelings that your persona lives in. Give them a name and describe their day-to-day activities.

How does your content not only fit in, but get found and recognized by this person?

  • Are they searching for it on Google or do they use community sites like Quora or Reddit to source answers & ideas?
  • Are they heavy Facebook users or do they spend most of the time on apps like Snapchat?
  • Maybe they don’t spend much time online at all, and prefer attending in-person events, industry conferences, group discussions?

Be present where your audience already exists.

These are all critical questions to address during your early days of your content marketing, so that you can maximize your opportunities for getting your content in front of your ideal audience–where they’re already spending their time. This is also a core tenant of the advice I’ve gleaned from some of the best business books I’ve gotten to read over the years.

Also, it’s important to remember that you can have more than one audience.

While you don’t want your ideal audience to be too broad and diverse, especially in the early days of your business (readers might get confused about who your solution is for). However, as long as you understand who your audience is and go through this step you can create great content for them.

4. Use Social Media to Promote Your Content

It’s pretty much impossible these days to separate your content marketing strategy from your social media strategy.

As Gary Vaynerchuk, founder and CEO of VaynerMedia says: “I love social media because it sells shit.”

Social media has become an integral part of getting your content in front of the right people. But you need to do more than just post to Facebook and Twitter once or twice. Gary’s strategy is called jab, jab, jab, right hook and is some of the best overall sales advice I’ve ever received.

“My social media strategy is to give as much value as possible that you basically guilt people into buying what you’re selling. So when you finally ask them to buy what you’re selling, they do.”

What this comes down to is not simply talking about your content and asking people to click a link or subscribe to your newsletter. Instead, you need to show that you’re a trustworthy source of educational resources and earn their attention for when you do ask for something in return.

At the core of your content marketing needs to be the belief that it’s a long-term (lifetime) investment in building your worth.

Moving from the big picture of social media to the actual aspect of building posts, Brian Peters, a digital marketing strategist at Buffer, and fellow content marketer, explains his process too:

Find your voice: What are the words and graphics and visuals that you’re going to post? Are you going to be quirky like MailChimp or more buttoned up like IBM or Cisco?

Choose what platforms you’re going to use: When you’re just starting out you simply can’t and shouldn’t be on every platform. Pick what makes the most sense for your brand and where your audience is more likely to hang out. Does that mean Facebook or Snapchat?

Generate platform-specific content: You can both create original content from your blog posts or other content, or curate other people’s content like relevant links or videos. Both have their place and should be a part of your strategy. Every platform has its own nuances and subtleties to how they get used and people share.

Set up your social media ‘stack’: What tools are you going to use to support your social media strategy? Peters suggests Trello for planning posts in advance and making sure you have all the content you need. Canva and Pablo for making graphics. And Buffer or Hootsuite for scheduling posts to go out at the right times.

5. Use Paid Ads to Get Extra Eyes on Your Content

These days, a lot of social media platforms are moving to a ‘pay to play’ model. Meaning, even if you have a huge following and great engagement, you’ve got to pony up some ad dollars to get your content seen by everyone.

When you’re just starting out and building a new content strategy it’s probably a little scary to invest in paid ads. More than $72 billion was spent on social ads in 2016 alone, with that number expected to rise to $113 billion by 2020.

But, you don’t have to throw huge chunks of cash at social media to get a return (as Buffer explains). Instead, $5 is all you need to start experimenting, especially with channels like Facebook Ads.

Define your goals: Paid ads all come down to working people from the top of your marketing funnel, where they haven’t heard of your brand, through to the middle and finally the bottom where you ask for the sale and they hopefully become a customers. So, start by asking yourself, who is my audience and what is my goal with them? Is it to run an awareness campaign for your top of funnel audience and build your brand awareness? Or, are you going after people who already know who you are and asking them to click through to a blog post or to a landing page?

Targeting: Next, you need to decide who is going to see your ad. As Peters explains, targeting is the whole reason social media marketing works as well as it does: “Targeting capabilities are at an unprecedented level. Social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest give you an incredible wealth of information about your customers, which let you create highly targeted ads that are tailored to our audience.”

Budgeting: As we said before, you don’t need a big budget to be successful with social media advertising. In fact, you can start with as little as $5 a day. When you’re starting with a small budget, you want to focus on your top of funnel audience, as they’re cheaper to get in front of. You’re not asking for a sale or a click, you’re simply getting them to see your brand and engage with you. Once you move on from that stage, you’ll start to look at things like cost-per-click (CPC), meaning how much are you willing to spend for someone to click on your ad. Or, Cost-per-thousand (CPM) views.

Copy and visuals: Finally, it’s time to put your actual ad together. For this, Peters says there are just 4 elements you need to include:

  • What do you want your ad to say? As in, what emotion do you want your audience to feel when they see your ad? Do you want to shock them, delight them, intrigue them?
  • How do you want your ad to look? Is it video? A stock image? Just text? What colors are you going to use? Is it on brand?
  • What action do you want your audience to take? Where should they go after seeing your ad? To a landing page or blog post?
  • Where do you want your ad to be placed? Is this an ad for mobile users or desktop users? Is it in their news feed or somewhere else?

Now, you should know pretty much everything you need to plan and execute a killer content marketing game plan

6. Set Up Your Blog if You Have Not Done so

It’s time to move from the tactical to the technical part of your content marketing.

If you haven’t set up a blog or found a place to host the content you’re going to create, now is the time. The good news? You’ve got options.

Luckily, there are tons of great (and easy) options for setting up your own website that go from ready-to-use platforms to fully customizable templates.

But before we start, we need to answer an age-old question for content producers. Do you want to build your own platform, or use someone else’s?

What I mean is, do you want to build your own blog on a WordPress-powered blog (which I personally do and recommend), through a ready-to-go content management system like Squarespace, or do you want to simply host your content on an external domain like Medium (writing), YouTube (video), or Apple (Podcasts)?

The bad news? There are pros and cons to each of these avenues.

While building your own site gives you the flexibility and freedom to make it exactly how you want, it also means a more upfront and ongoing time investment and potential development costs. You’re also starting with no audience, which can make it tough to get your content noticed.

On the other hand, using a pre-existing platform like Medium, YouTube, and Apple Podcasts for publishing your content means less customization, but easier startup costs (especially when it comes to the time investment if you’ve never used Wordpress before). This route also means instant access to an audience that’s already present, and actively looking for content.

However attractive that sounds though, keep in mind that you’re not in control of what that platform does in the future, which means they could get purchased, hacked, change their policies or even shut down any day they choose.

In the end, the choice is yours.

7. Update Your Current Content If You’ve Already Been Publishing

There’s never a bad time to re-evaluate your content marketing and shift gears if something isn’t working.

If you’ve already been writing or producing other types of content for a little while, now is a great time to bring your published content into the style of your new content marketing approach.

To do this, you need to know exactly what kind of content ‘types’ you’re going to produce.

Now, we’re not talking just about the format–whether that’s blog posts, videos or podcasts–but rather which topics are you going to produce on a consistent basis?

BrandVox founder Andrea Goulet calls these ‘Content Pillars’–topics that’ll be the foundation of your blog.

For example, if you’re building a finance blog, your core content pillars might be:

  • Personal finance tips and tricks
  • Interviews and stories about people who found financial freedom
  • Industry news and what it means for you
  • Finance basics

With these pillars in place, you’ll want to make sure you’re hitting 3 key content types, which Goulet calls the 3 E’s.

  • Engagement: Content that’s meant to start a conversation, like your own opinion on a popular topic.
  • Evergreen: Content that is based around key terms for your business and that you can refer back to and update for years to come.
  • Events: Content around a particular event or occurrence, like some big piece of news or industry event.

If you have content already published, go through it and see if it fits into your new content marketing direction. Does it speak to your audience and work towards your goals? If not, can you update it or change it or should you scrap it altogether?

8. Start Building an Email List

Whatever content you’re creating, you want to put it in front of the right people.

But before we get into distribution, leveraging social media and all of that, we need to talk about the most important piece of your content distribution puzzle: Email.

Email lets you communicate directly to your subscribers and gets you into their inboxes–where so many of us spend countless hours each week. Starting early with list-building is a great way to amplify the content you’re creating.

Which tools do you need?

An email service provider (or, ESP) allows you to send emails, build and maintain your subscriber list, and check reports and analytics on how your campaigns are doing. An ESP will also make sure your emails stay out of spam folders, keep your list healthy and in check, and make sure you’re adhering to all relevant laws around emails.

There are lots of options, but some of the most popular ones for marketers–and also happen to have lower startup costs are:

  • MailChimp (they have a forever free plan for up to 1,000 subscribers)
  • ConvertKit (what I personally use)
  • Campaign Monitor
  • AWeber
  • ActiveCampaign

Like any “tool” decision, it can always be changed or undone if it’s not working out after a month, and each of these ESPs do a great job of making migration easy.

My advice? Choose the cheapest option that gives you the bare minimum functionality you need in order to achieve your email goals and move on. You can always switch things up and move over to a tool with more options in the future.

What is the goal of your emails?

Your strategy for email marketing needs to relate back to your business goals.

What you’re trying to accomplish for your business over the next couple of weeks or months should really dictate what you’re doing in your email campaigns and newsletters.

Some of the goals you could be trying to hit with your email strategy could be brand awareness, awareness about your products, loyalty to your company and your brand, as well as driving people to your website to consume your content.

What content should your emails include?

The content you’re creating for your blog is a great place to start with what you could send to your email subscriber list. Take that content and use parts of it to create email campaigns that’ll drive people back to your blog to read the rest of your post, watch the full video or listen to the entire podcast episode.

This is exactly what I do with my own weekly (sometimes twice weekly) email newsletter. I push out a preview of the week’s new podcast episode and new blog posts when they’re published, so that my subscribers can dig into the full piece of content (if it’s a match for what they need at the moment).

What types of emails should you send?

There are 3 main types of emails you can send to your list, in a way that supports your content marketing goals:

  • General campaigns and newsletters: These are sent to your full list. They’re great when you’re just starting out and your list isn’t really huge (as you know that pretty much everyone on the list wants to hear about your company and the content you’re releasing).
  • Communication that gets sent to targeted segments on your list: As you grow, you’ll want to make sure you’re sending the right messages to the right groups of people on your list. Your ESP should let you select segments based on demographic information or what links they’ve clicked on in the past, so you can send more targeted campaigns.
  • Automated messaging: These are messages you’re going to send out to multiple people over time. Think welcome emails, delivering an e-course, or lists of your top content.

How often should I send emails to my list?

There are no hard and fast rules about sending once a week or once a month. Rather, how often you send is going to depend on how much time you have to spend on email and how often you have news or valuable new content to share.

As you’re just getting started, aim for 1 email a month. You want to be consistent and talking to your subscribers as often as you can without overwhelming them. And you also don’t want to go 4, 5, or 6 months without them hearing from you, because they’re likely to forget how they even got onto your email list and your chances of getting marked as spam increase significantly.

9. Brainstorm Ideas and Do Keyword Research

Alright, at this point we know our why we’re creating content and who our audience is.

We have a blog setup and our email service provider is ready to go. Now, it’s finally time to talk about the actual content you’re going to create and how it aligns with your content marketing goals.

You probably have a ton of ideas for posts you can write or videos you can film at this point. However, that initial excitement can wear off quickly when other things get in the way.

For your content marketing to be successful, you need to make sure you stay strategic in what you’re creating and avoid falling into the trap of simply reacting.

Great marketers set their own agenda, so you’ll need to create a content marketing editorial calendar that isn’t reactionary. Rather, one that is filled with repeatable content that is directly tied to your business goals.

Your pillar posts or content types we discussed earlier will help tell you the kinds of posts you’re going to write, but what about the actual specific content of each?

For this, we turn to keyword research. Here’s how Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz, explains the basics of using keyword research:

“When you’re thinking about your audience, we want to take a look at the folks we know are in the group we want to target and ask ‘what are they searching for today that they can’t successfully find or aren’t being well exposed to?'”

Once you start thinking about your audience’s needs, Rand offers a 5-step process for coming up with the specific topics and keywords your audience will be looking for. This will be the foundation of your content marketing approach.

Brainstorm topics and terms: Start by writing down as many ideas of terms or topics your audience is interested in. It’s good to involve people who work directly with your users at this point, like a customer service or sales rep.

Use a keyword research tool to gather results: Now, it’s time to plug those terms into a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner, Moz, keywordtool.io or any other to see what comes up.

Expand and refine your list: Take that big list and refine or group them together. What looks good? What doesn’t make sense to your business goals?

Build a spreadsheet and prioritize terms: Now, it’s time to get organized. Build a spreadsheet with the data you got in your tool, such as keyword, estimated search volume, difficulty and opportunity and assign a priority to each one. Which is most important to your business?

Outline content that hits the 3 key needs: Take your top terms and outline content that will serve your goals, the user’s needs, and the keyword targeting. This is the trifecta of killer, SEO-friendly content.

Rand’s final piece of advice? Make sure you’re not just aiming to match the content you see ranking #1, but blowing it out of the water:

He elaborates, “What’s the thing where when you read the first few search results you say, ‘This is great, but I wish they…’. If you have great answers to that, don’t ask ‘how do we make something as good as this?’ but say ‘how do we make something 10X better than any of these?” That’s the bar that’s been set because it’s so competitive to try to rank for terms today.”

10. Decide Which Format of Content You Want to Produce

Blog posts, videos, podcasts, infographics–they all have their place in your content strategy and it’s up to you how you use them. What’s non-negotiable, however, is that they tell a story.

As Seth Godin says, “Marketing is the act of telling a story to people who want to hear it. And making that story so vivid and true that the people who hear it want to tell other people.”

To hit that mark, Godin says there are 4 qualities your content needs to have:

Emotion: What emotion do we want people to feel?

Change: How are you changing people with your product or content? Does that emotion change them in a way that helps your brand?

Alert: Once you’re changed someone, how do you build the privilege of being able to tell them when you have something new?

Share: How can you get people to tell each other?

With that in mind, let’s look at the specifics of putting together some of the most popular content formats: blog posts, videos, and podcasts.

Blogging as content marketing.

Blog posts are a great place to start with your content marketing, as they have the lowest barrier to entry, by far. You don’t need a designer or special equipment. Just start writing and you’re ready to go.

Here’s how Single Grain CEO Eric Siu explains how to build a blog post.

Start with an outline: Start with just a skeleton of what you want to say. This means having a few lines for your intro and why people should care about your topic, as well as outlining the main points or sub-headers you’re going to use throughout the post. Read through this. Does it make sense? Does your outline quickly answer What, Why, How and Where?

Add the meat: These are the details, the statistics, quotes, images, or case studies. If you’re making claims in your post you need to back it up. Use Google to find statistics around your topic. And when you link out to studies or references, these are great people to reach out to later on when you’re distributing your content.

One-up the competition: At this point you’ve got a good post, but not a great one. Take the next step and see what the competition is doing. What’s the #1 result for your topic and how can you make yours better? Can you go more in-depth? Add more images or resources?

Write a great headline: The last, and almost most important part of writing is your headline. You only click on things that catch your eye when you’re scrolling through social media, and your audience is the same. There are great resources on writing headlines on Copyblogger and Quicksprout.

Add an effective featured image: People love images and adding a featured image before the post has been shown to give you 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets on Twitter alone. Check out sites like Unsplash for better-than-stock photos and then use a tool like Canva to add extra elements like text or icons.

Video as content marketing.

According to recent research, 51% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI while social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined.

However, making videos can seem like a monumental task if you’re used to watching the highly-produced content from people like Gary Veynerchuk that have entire teams dedicated to producing his content.

You need specialized gear, a studio, lighting, sound, right? Not exactly.

If you’ve watched cooking recipes or DIY How-to videos online, you know how simple an engaging video can be to create. Present what you’re going to make, the ingredients, process, and end result, all in 60 seconds or less.

  • Keep it short: Under 60 seconds at the most. If you can keep it under 30 seconds you’re killing it!
  • Have a plan: Think about your ingredients or props you need or how you’re going to show the steps
  • Use hand signals to communicate to your users: The majority of videos are watched without sound, so think of other ways to communicate what the user needs to know.
  • Use your tools: Many use a Hyperlapse tool, Box to store our videos, and a video stand, which you can create with something as simple as two stacks of books with a plank across. Place your camera on the edge of the plank and fire up your camera app. You can set a ‘stage’ for where you’re filming by taping it out on the table.
  • Gather your resources: Either bring them in one at a time or have them all laid out in your center stage.
  • Start with a compelling image: Either an impressive ‘finished product’ to arouse interest, or some unconventional ingredients.
  • Don’t worry about it being perfect: DIY videos go viral every day. If you can tell a compelling story in a short amount of time, it doesn’t matter if you shot it on your iPhone or a professional camera.

Podcasting as content marketing.

Podcasts are super hot right now as a content format, and for good reason–it can fuel your content marketing with relatively low effort compared to writing massive blog posts like this one.

Plus, with how busy your audience is, giving them a way to passively listen to your content is fantastic for lowering the barrier of entry. However, like video, you’re probably thinking you need all sorts of specialized gear and skills.

And while yes, audio is a whole other beast, you can get started with just a little bit of effort.

Pick your topic or niche: If you already know your audience and your topic, this should be a no brainer. However, you’ll want to find some specific niche of your topic to get people interested. There are currently over 100,000 podcast shows out there, so get specific!

A few tools to help you research niches are cast.market (a research page for podcasts), iTunes charts (to see what’s popular and where there are gaps) or even Google Trends. For my podcast, I chose the topic of side hustle ideas because that’s been a consistent theme on my blog for the past several years, and it’s been the cohesive topic that bonds just about everything I write about together–so it made sense to talk about it on my show.

Gather your tools: A basic podcasting setup consists of a microphone and software for recording your voice. This can range from as simple as your built-in mic (which I don’t recommend due to the poor sound quality) to an external USB mic, audio interface, and professional recording software.

Personally, I use an ATR2100 USB Microphone that sounds great, and you can pick up on Amazon for around $65. It’s super affordable, has awesome audio quality for the price, and is small & portable which makes it perfect for taking on-the-go.

Find your guests (or outline your own episodes): If you’re doing an interview-style show (like mine), you’ll now want to start getting some guests involved. You can use your existing social network to reach out to people you already know or are connected with on Twitter or Facebook.

You can also head to Medium or Amazon to find authors or experts on topics specific to your niche. Once you’ve gathered a list, put together a template outreach email (as you’ll be doing this over and over) that’s short and clear with expectations. Tell them who you are, what your podcast is about, and what you’re asking of them.

Edit your podcast: Audio editing is a form of art. Luckily, there are tons of affordable options for hiring a sound engineer or podcast producer (like mine) to stitch your episodes together. To start, all you really need is 4 files: your main interview, introduction, outro, and jingle/music. Next, upload these files to Google Drive or Dropbox.

Upload and promote: Congrats! You now have a podcast episode that’s ready to be uploaded to iTunes, SoundCloud, or anywhere else and promoted alongside the rest of your content. Be sure to hit your guests with some copy & paste social copy that they can use to promote their episode, and it helps immensely if you have visually appealing graphics to go along with it.


Around two million blog posts are published on the internet every day and if you want to produce content that cuts through the noise and earns you results on a consistent basis, a mix of strong marketing skills and these content creation free tools, will ensure your long lasting success.

About Author


MegaIncomeStream is a global resource for Business Owners, Marketers, Bloggers, Investors, Personal Finance Experts, Entrepreneurs, Financial and Tax Pundits, available online. egaIncomeStream has attracted millions of visits since 2012 when it started publishing its resources online through their seasoned editorial team. The Megaincomestream is arguably a potential Pulitzer Prize-winning source of breaking news, videos, features, and information, as well as a highly engaged global community for updates and niche conversation. The platform has diverse visitors, ranging from, bloggers, webmasters, students and internet marketers to web designers, entrepreneur and search engine experts.