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Content marketing 101

Content marketing is an integral component of any digital marketing strategy. Done well, it’s an effective way to grow audience engagement and build brand awareness, while helping to increase sales.

It’s so important that, according to this Hubspot report, 53% of all businesses say content creation is one of their top marketing priorities. But how does content marketing impact consumer decision-making and sales? Learn the content marketing basics here, from how to create a content marketing strategy to the types of content you can create.

How content marketing works

Content marketing is about creating, publishing and distributing a variety of content that answers your audience’s questions. Rather than creating ads, content marketing is about providing genuine value by helping your audience solve a problem. Doing so builds trust and a connection with an audience, which in turn drives sales.

So how effective is content marketing? Content marketing actually plays a key role in building brand awareness and reputation, increasing traffic, and generating leads and sales.

When you create high-quality content that addresses a need, it improves your brand reputation and builds trust.

Your business becomes the ‘go to’ authority in your field, and your audience is more likely to trust your advice and recommendations in future. 

At the same time, you can include a call-to-action for your product in your content. This might direct your audience to download a free trial, browse your products, or contact your business for more information. This in turn can help generate leads, which can convert into sales in the future.

Finally, a strong content marketing strategy can dramatically improve your website traffic. Great content can be shared anywhere, including on social media and on other websites. When you invest in good content, people will help you in distributing content — which can drive more traffic back to your business.

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Content marketing 101: different types of content

Content comes in many different forms, from blogs to podcasts and videos. The best type of content to use depends on a number of things, including audience segmentation, your marketing channels and your product. With this in mind, here are some of the most popular types of content that you can consider for your business:

Blog posts

Blog posts, either on your company website or guest posts on other sites, are a cost-effective way to increase traffic and build brand awareness. They generally include a mix of text, imagery and even video. Posts can range from how-to guides and listicles to updates about your business. 

In addition to providing helpful information, blog posts can help you improve your SEO so your website gets discovered by customers on Google. It’s also relatively quick and easy to get started. All you need to do is build a content plan, learn how to do keyword research for content marketing, and get writing.

Video content

Video content is the most engaging form of content marketing available. According to a Hubspot survey, 54% of audiences want to see video content from brands they are interested in. Videos are effective because they show, not tell. People don’t simply have to read words or imagine a concept. They get to see it in front of them, in person. They’re also incredibly versatile. You can create ads, showcase your new product features, or simply talk to your audience to help establish a personal connection with your brand.


Infographics are a fun and engaging way to present information to an audience, particularly if you want to communicate processes or statistics. They generally involve bite-sized chunks of information paired with visual icons, illustrations and typography.  Infographics are effective because they are shareable. You can insert them in a blog post, or share it on social media to increase your brand awareness. They’re also cost-effective and easy to produce using tools like Adobe Spark and Piktochart.

eBooks and white papers

eBooks and white papers are similar to long-form blog content or a magazine and are highly popular for B2B businesses. This form of content is generally distributed as PDF and consists of digital ‘pages’ that readers can navigate through. You could create an eBook on industry trends, or publish a white paper containing research from a study you conducted.

eBooks are generally housed behind an email gateway, so readers need to provide their contact information before they can access the file. This helps create valuable leads, which can then be used by your sales team.

Additional types of content

While these are just some of the forms of content marketing used by marketers today, this is by no means exhaustive. There are plenty of other forms of content that you can use for your business, including:

  • podcasting

  • user-generated content

  • checklists

  • memes

  • influencer marketing, and more.

In addition, there are many considerations when undertaking a content marketing strategy. You need to consider which platforms to invest in, establish a strong content tone of voice, and learn about content marketing measurement.

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