Since this post was first published back in 2014, the phrase content marketing is part of everyday marketing conversations. Content marketing is SEO and some see it as a new name for SEO whilst others treat it entirely differently. Six years on, within job boards, you can hire content marketing strategist, writers, executives and more making content marketing part of every marketing team.

Creating quality content married with quality web design is key but there’s so much more to it than that as these 35 (was 17) marketers explain below.

I asked these marketers this question: What is your best content marketing tip?

And here’s what they had to say…

Jason Acidre of Kaiser the Sage

All the great stuff on the web these days have one thing in common – they all offer a unique value that you won’t see elsewhere. I believe that’s the one element that unexpectedly hooks and compels people to sharing them.

The uniqueness/rareness of the information/idea/concept provided by a content helps trigger different sets of emotions to its readers (ex: awe, fear, sympathy, etc…), which somehow influences them or directly impacts their decisions on how they’ll further consume the content (like taking more action).

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Mike McGrail of Velocity Digital

The first stage of content marketing has to be ensuring you have a true understanding of who you are communicating to. What will really move the needle for them? How can your content solve their immediate problems so that they can push forward to a position where they may need your product or service? What forms of content are going to work best for them? This often comes down to context – how and where do they consume work-related content? Is video right? Blog posts? Deeper pieces of written content such as ebooks or white papers?  Then, of course, how do we get what we create in front of them, and once we do, what’s the forward path? How do we turn that attention into a lead? This is all strategy. Create that, then start making content. Launch, test, learn, repeat. Be disciplined with that part, and you’ll learn so much. Your initial strategy may hugely change; that’s totally ok!

Max Minzer of Max Impact

Don’t write or create content just to fill the page. START with something that your audience needs to know. And then, if we are talking about a strategy, content that delivers value requires answering two questions:

1) Why do you write or create this content (your identity) and

2) Who do you write for or produce your content for? (your audience)

You filter content through your experience (so that it’s not empty talk and something out-of-touch with you) and then you filter it again through what your audience wants to hear to figure out the voice of your writing or your content. Figuring it out will help you build awareness to your brand and  community of people passionate about your content.

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Rand Fishkin of Spark Toro

When creating content, be empathetic above all else. Try to live the lives of your audience – think about what influences them, what drives their passions, what makes them want to share, and how they consume content, too. The ability to empathize with content consumers is, in my opinion, what separates great content creators from mediocre ones. And in the world we live in, content is ubiquitous, which means the value of mediocre content is steadily approaching zero.

Anthony Pensabene of Content Muse

Recently, I’ve been toying with word maps. Gather titles of popular articles (search by category if that better suits a campaign) on a submission site like Inbound or Reddit, note how particular topics invite more/better engagement, and find ways to relate those topics to a niche.

Joel Klettke did something similar recently, using the seasonal and popular topic of zombies to illustrate a 404 page concept.

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Chris Dyson of TripleSEO

Spend more time promoting your content than you ever did creating it. A lot of bloggers/marketers worry about coming up with new formats or new topics but fail to make sure that their existing content has reached all the people it possibly could. As a secondary tip people aim too hard at influencing thought leaders (influencers) in there niche but research shows it’s better to reach out to more susceptible individuals, so try using paid amplification.

  • Younger users are more susceptible to influence than older users.
  • Men are more influential than woman.
  • Women influence men more than they influence other women.
  • Married people are the least susceptible to influence in the decision to adopt products.
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Gavin Bell of Funnel Academy

There’s a lot of advice out there around how important it is to create content. This is great, as it’s vital. However, it leads to a lot of businesses creating content for the sake of creating content. What’s more important is understanding: 1. How does this help our customers make a buying decision? 2. Is this is something that is truly valuable to our audience? Your content efforts have to drive business results.

Gordon Campbell of  Gordoncampbell.co.uk

Since I originally contributed to this article for Think Zap, my approach to content creation has changed slightly.

Historically I would focus 99% of my effort on creating content that brought people to my website, or my client’s website, often with the aim of generating high-quality backlinks.  I am now more open to creating content for 3rd party platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook & Medium even if it means that it will not directly drive visitors to my website or generate backlinks.

LinkedIn has been a particularly good platform that has helped me promote my business ClickBoost.  I have been able to simply share my journey about climbing the digital marketing career ladder and eventually starting my own business without actually doing any kind of selling which has resulted in a fairly significant volume of leads and sales.

The content I create on LinkedIn tends to be shorter but more frequent.  I don’t need it to ‘go viral’ as I only really need a core audience to see my message – my potential customers.

People are getting much better at using social media platforms to publish insightful content that would have historically been published as a blog post. Take Dan Barker’s content on Twitter for example.  He has created a fantastic insightful thread to share eComemrce tips.  He has built-in an element of virality into the post by requesting people like the tweet to receive an eComemrce tip.  This will help him increase the reach of the tweet and really leverage the platform to drive the visibility of his content.

Dan could have tried to share the same information in the form of a blog post, but I assume he knew that by keeping it on Twitter it would likely reach a wider audience.

In summary, I now think less about getting people on to my own website and focus more on how I can use 3rd party platforms to increase people’s awareness of my business.

Andrew Burnett of helleau® 

Any content you create is an extension of your brand and will influence how it is perceived. Your brand’s content needs to reflect how you want your brand to be seen by its audience. The easiest example to use here is that of helleau’s own brand, we use the strapline Short and Simple® – so anything we do must align with that: Short sentences; simple words. Short lessons; simple takeaways. Short posts; simple points. Short processes; simple frameworks. This applies to every brand, from personal brands to nation brands. By starting with discovery, finding out who you are, knowing how you want to be seen and being confident in your positioning is the foundation of creating anything, including content.

Steve Morgan of SEOno

When sharing links to your content on Twitter, use a tool such as Followerwonk to determine what time of day your followers are most active. I used to post tweets linking to new blog posts around lunchtimes GMT, thinking that most of my UK-based followers would pick it up then. However, Followerwonk highlighted to me that my followers are most active around 4-6pm GMT – not only when UK folk are winding down for the day and maybe heading home on their commute, but also when the US is awake and active in the late morning/lunchtime. So I now make more of an effort to publish and tweet content later in the day (GMT) instead.

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Jennifer Sable Lopez of JenSableLopez.com

My tip is quite simple really. Remember that content marketing isn’t about writing the most words, or making the best infographics, it’s about creating content your community/audience cares about. This means, it’s not just your blog or big articles, it’s what you share on Twitter, the images you post on Facebook, and how you describe something on Google+. The content you put out there for your community to consume and hopefully reshare, should be valuable no matter how large or small the piece. Every message you make is content, make sure it’s saying the right thing.

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Matthew Barby of Wyatt International

Understanding who the key influencers are within an industry is something that I spend a huge amount of my time doing. All of the content marketing campaigns that I run will be focused around engaging with influencers and authors alike – there is where a few tools come in handy.

One tool that I’m a big fan of is BuzzSumo (you can see a full BuzzSumo tutorial here). Using this free tool, you’ll be able to find popular content within any niche, and more importantly, find out who is actually producing this content.

Once I have this data, I will start adding the influencers into BuzzStream to gather contact information around them. Once I have this data, I’ll start an outreach campaign focused around building relationships with these influencers – simply engaging with them through social media and sharing relevant content with them can be enough here. The goal is to build as many relationships as possible so that you’re expanding your potential content distribution routes online.

I’ve found that simply spending a couple of hours a week talking with influencers and building relationships with them will be more than enough to pay huge dividends in your long-term content marketing campaign. This will eliminate the need to be constantly spending money on pushing your content via paid ads, etc. and will actually help build brand advocates. If I had to give one piece of advice then it would be to do as much of this as possible!

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Tadeusz Szewczyk of Onreact.com

When content marketing does not focus on the content size or quantity. Even content quality or depth as I like to call it will not suffice. Don’t concentrate on the things you want to market with the content either. Focus on your audience first and foremost.

  • Who are they?
  • What do they want?
  • What problems do they face?

The content should be adapted to the user needs. For example, I have been searching for a fix for a WordPress error I faced. The best piece of content was a blog post consisting of just one short paragraph. The fix for the problem I wasted hours prior to reading the post worked in a minute. Of course, I gave the page and site a +1 from my power account. So despite not resulting in a sale, this page converted me to a supporter very quickly.

Vinny La Barbera of imFORZA

Use Evernote (or Google Docs)  to curate content (e.g. images, links, quotes, charts, videos, etc) as you discover this information across the web. Organize this content by topic (e.g. On-Page SEO, Web Design, etc) and make sure to include and associate the source (author name, twitter handle and source URL) to each content piece.

Not only will this help you build a library of great source material, but you will also have helpful content ready to curate into shareable list-type posts. Don’t forget to notify the original author / source that you’ve included them in your curated piece to get some extra, influential shares and possibly even some backlinks.

Your content marketing should consist of more than just list posts of course, but these quick, go-to content pieces can be really helpful for digging your slumping content development efforts out of the mud.

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Brandon Hassler of 97th Floor

One big push I’ve had lately is letting your content work for you. Too many digital marketers place too much emphasis on guest posting. Sure, getting the occasional link on high authority sites can be beneficial, but the real success comes when you shift your focus to creating awesome content, and becoming that authority that people naturally link to. You’ll get 3x the results for your website and your job suddenly isn’t this miserable link building job.

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Jitendra Vaswani of BloggerIdeas.com

For content marketing in 2020, I am following outreach for backlinks & creating expert roundups on my blog. If you keep bringing experts on your blog to contribute and share their opinions on digital marketing trends, this will surely boost your content marketing revenue. This is the best strategy I have seen which is working for me.

As you can see on my official blog Bloggersideas.com, I do a lot of video interviews with experts like Neil Patel, Rand Fishkin, Grant Cardone & and these videos are converted to a podcast which is working very well. Every entrepreneur should have a podcast & through a podcast, they can spread massive awareness about their company. People love to listen to stories & stories always generate revenue.

Cyrus Shepard of Above the Fold

One content marketing secret to higher rankings is to answer more questions completely. If you think about it, Google sends folks to your page because people are searching for something in that search box. Supposedly, your page contains the answer. The more questions you can answer with your content, the better the user experience will be and the more searchers Google will likely connect with you.

Think about product pages like Amazon or movie pages such as Rotton Tomatoes or IMDB. Those pages literally answer every question I could have about whatever product or movie I’m researching. When creating your own blog posts or product pages, ask yourself “What questions will people have about this thing?”

That’s it. That’s the secret.

Answer more questions more completely, and achieve higher rankings.

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Patrick Coombe of Elite Strategies

My biggest content marketing tip is to connect with people based on emotion.

Forget word count.

Forget meta tags.

Forget keyword density.

Think about your target audience and about ways that you can connect with them on an emotional level.  Look at some of the top posts on the internet that have the most comments and interaction (positive or negative.)

What do the majority of these posts have in common? These posts hit close to home with people which causes them to become very passionate about the matter at hand, and do something about it!

That is what the goal of content marketing is. You want people to do something. You want them to comment. You want them to Tweet about it. You want them to write a letter to their Congressman or to sign a petition.

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Patrick Hathaway of Sitebulb

The best marketers know exactly who their audience is, and understand which buttons to press in order to activate their emotional triggers, which will impact them in a much more meaningful way than simply ‘solving a problem’.

These marketers are neither selling drill bits nor holes (features or benefits), they are selling pride, ego and the sense of accomplishment you get from completing whichever job required the drill bit to make the holes. On the emotional plane is where all the real decisions are made – we are dealing with people of emotion, not logic.

Content marketing is no different – if you are looking to actually empathise with your audience then you need to understand them and their (emotional) needs. Build these considerations into your content strategy and you will achieve something far more powerful than links and social shares – brand empathy.

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Aaron Orendorff of Common Thread Collective 

Already well established in B2B, content’s relevance in B2C is skyrocketing. In ecommerce especially, content has become the leading competitive advantage for high-growth brands. Why? Because machine learning advancements on platforms like Facebook have all but leveled the ad-spend playing field when it comes to “algorithmic” approaches. What separates the winners from the losers — now but even more so moving into the future — is (1) a creative strategy that prioritizes and repurposes organic storytelling (i.e., rich aesthetics) in paid media and (2) a tactical strategy governed by an analytical model that measures the effect of content based on awareness, interest, desire, and action (AIDA).

Vladimir Gendelman of Company Folders

Too many content marketers try really hard to write in a “casual” style, but it just ends up sounding forced and ultimately hurts their credibility. Instead of focusing on style, make your writing as precise and accessible as possible. Say exactly what you mean; don’t fluff up your content with a bunch of useless jargon.

Also, always be sure to proofread your work. If grammar isn’t your strong suit, have someone else review your content or run it through an online grammar tool.

Lastly, be as authentic as possible. Readers are very good at detecting when people are trying to trick or deceive them. If your personality is naturally fun and snarky, great—run with that. Just don’t try to force people to perceive you as something you’re not.

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Vlad Shvets of Paperform

Before writing any article, think of the distribution. Figure out how you’re going to drive the traffic to your content before you put in the time & effort to create it. SEO: check whether your article has chances of ranking up for any high-volume keywords (500+ monthly)? Social: does your article have chances of going viral (being re-shared) on Twitter or FB? Linkbuilding: is your article so uniquely valuable that it might attract backlinks? Existing audience: do you have a large mailing list (5k+) of subscribers who are likely to find the article very valuable? If none of the above-mentioned premises are true, your content is probably not worth creating.

Tom Pick of Webbiquity LLC

When you link out to a third-party source in a blog or article you’re writing — for example, when you quote an industry statistic — instead of merely linking your anchor text to that source, call out the individual by name. Then let them know about it. Influencers and others who do original research or compile studies love to see their work acknowledged, and will likely share your piece with their social networks, increasing your reach. This practice can also help to spark new professional relationships that provide long-term benefits.

Rohan Davidson of Content Consultant

You can spend all day running TF*IDF scans, finding the perfect balance between search volume and competitor content, fleshing out alt texts and adding structured schema to your web pages, but at the end of the day your content will fall flat on its face if it doesn’t directly scratch an itch. Start with the customer, and optimise from there. Don’t develop content simply because you’ve found a niche. Develop content because people need it

Andrea Fryrear of AgileSherpas

Take an Agile approach to all your content creation efforts. What’s your minimum viable content (MVC) option, the smallest subset of your chosen activities that you could try and still have a chance of reaching your goal? Get comfortable releasing MVC and iterating on it based on the response you get from your audience.

Brian Honigman of Honigman Media

To create content that drives business results, aim to provide the best answer to your customer’s most important questions. The best answer is subjective, but that’s a good thing, as your organization’s unique perspective on how to solve customer issues can help leave a lasting impression and can’t be duplicated.

Sujan Patel of Right Inbox

Involve influencers in content creation Mentioning influencers is a great way to set your content up for promotional success, but better yet, why not get these authority figures involved from the start? Instead of sourcing existing quotes from your chosen authority figures, reach out to them directly and gather their input on subjects of interest within your community.

Kelsey Libert of Fractl

If you want to increase your organic search rankings, then you need to think of your site as a “content ecosystem.” First, you need to build a solid foundation of interesting, educational on-site content that will provide in-depth answers to FAQs or search intent-based queries in your vertical. This will help you increase your overall volume of potential page rankings, and serve your site up to people who are farther down the funnel and have higher conversion potential. Next, you need a strategy for increasing your site’s overall authority in Google’s eyes. The best way to do this is to earn links from high-authority sites, in turn telling Google you’re a trusted source of valuable information. To do this, you need to create newsworthy, data-driven content that is tangentially related to your vertical, reveals something surprising, and has broad appeal. Example: If I’m a VC firm and I want to get in front of startup owners, I might create a content campaign that analyzes “Why Unicorn Businesses Fail,” which could earn me coverage on sites like Forbes, Inc, HBR, and other business-savvy publishers. Versus, say, if you’re a mattress company, you might do a campaign that analyzes what causes people to lose sleep at night, with the goal of getting your brand on more lifestyle publications with massive reach, like Bustle, Huffington Post, Men’s Health. Taking a multi-pronged approach to content marketing will ensure you’re providing value to your readers while also increasing your authority and rankings in the SERPs.

Ryan Robinson of ryrob.com

No strategy or tactic will ever help you rise above the crowd in a competitive niche, if you’re not die-hard focused on providing the absolute best possible solutions for your audience. Whether that be in the form of hyper long-form content that goes into much greater depth than your competitors, a series of videos that gives more helpful instructions & insights to a niche that doesn’t have great learning resources, infographic for more visual learners, or even building simple free tools for your audience to use—in time you’ll rise to the top if you’re solving your readers challenges better than anyone else. Don’t lose focus, keep spreading the word and getting your content in front of the right audience so they see how transformative it is.

Carlos Gil of “The End of Marketing”

What do I mean by the “end” of marketing? I mean that the old way of solely relying on building up the recognizability of a logo is dead. Now it’s all about showcasing the human side of your brand. Brands today aren’t making waves by hiding behind a logo and corporate jargon. The ones that succeed are the ones that put a face to the brand and communicate like a real person.

Pam Didner of Relentless Oursuit

Creating digital content takes effort and creativity! We need to cover many fronts, such as SEO optimization with a proper title, enough keywords, and even the flow of your content pieces. It’s important to remember not to create content just to maximize SEO. Ranking is essential, but let’s also keep in mind that it needs to provide value to our customers. The content helps them solve their pain point and challenges. The flip side of content creation is content promotion. Once the content is done, it’s vital to spend time and money to promote it. My rule of thumb: The amount of time you spend on promotion should be greater than the amount of time you spend on content creation. Again, write useful promotional or syndication copy with crisp calls-to-action (CTA). You can dramatize your copy but don’t over-promise. Content marketing takes time and effort to do right. There is NO short cut.

Paul Gailey of PaulGailey.com

1. If you overly rely on machine identifying topic experts you may often miss the 2nd degree targets. They are those that do not use your key phrases in social interactions but converse with those experts that do.

2. Use exit survey redirects of your target wisely to direct to specific CTAs: Comment prompt or display a social search stream of that content if the mention momentum is sustained<

3. Include emotive triggers with classic psychological appeal in your content irrespective of the topic ( I’ve done this with cement – nothing is impossible)

4. Consider how to personalise the content with simple user inputs so that the piece has unique and shared experiences. eg geoguessr.com or bbc.in/rXYCff

5. Drop a deliberate error or easter egg in their to get the ball rolling.

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Larry Kim of MobileMonkey

Your content marketing strategy isn’t going to work for you if your content does suck. You need to find your unicorn content, your top 1-3% of content and repurpose it. Make sure you’re getting the most mileage out of your content by repurposing it for your different audience segments. For promotion, you need to scale up your content marketing efforts by using messenger chatbots. There are over 1.3 billion people who use Facebook messenger every month and the engagement is ridiculously high! It’s a new way to promote your content on Facebook, with over 80% engagement rates. You can use a tool like MobileMonkey to build messenger chatbots that has a “chat blast” feature which allows you to send to multiple users at once!

Ann Smarty of SEO smarty

Content marketers should utilize semantic analysis more. It helps with search engine optimization as well as more indepth topic research and coverage. Text Optimizer is the semantic analysis tool that helps you create a copy that meets Google’s and its users’ expectations. The tool works as follows:

  • It runs your target query in Google
  • Then it grabs Google’s search snippets and applies semantic analysis to come up with a list of related concepts and entities
  • It shows you which ones you used in your copy and which ones are missing
  • You are invited to expand your copy to cover more related concepts to increase your score
  • Reaching Text Optimizer’s score of at least 70 will help you achieve higher rankings

textoptimizer

And it works:

Christoph Trappe of The Authentic Storytelling Project

My biggest content marketing tip is to remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint but there certainly are a lot of sprints throughout the marathon. Set a goal, be persistent and keep going towards your goal by sharing highly valuable content that can help you build your audience.

Thanks to everyone who took part, it’s been fun to create this post. Big shout out to Gordon Campbell who helped me put this post together.

Which tip do you like the best? Do you have any other tips you would like to share in the comments below?


Steven Sefton

Digital Director
Steven is our digital director and co-founder of Think Zap.