Content Marketing: The Complete Beginner’s Guide (2021)

by Nikita Shevchenko

In this detailed content marketing guide for beginners you will find out:

  • How to create content that people like
  • How to promote your content efficiently
  • How to build your online presence with the help of the latest content marketing strategies

If that sounds good to you let’s dive right in!

Content Marketing 101

Before jumping into some of the finest strategies that work great right now, we need to first understand what content marketing actually is and find out how it can help your business.

Let’s begin!

What is Content Marketing?

To fully understand this term let’s first define what content is.

What is the content?

Content is everything that you share with your audience. Let me repeat that again.

Content is everything that you share with your audience

Articles, videos, emails, social media posts, tweets, books, audios, and images are examples of content.

It is really hard to imagine how you can stand out on the web without the content.

Nothing will help you, even SEO. Because it is impossible to optimize something that does not exist!

Are we on the same page? Cool. Now let’s find out what content marketing is.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the process of using content for achieving the company’s marketing goals such as brand exposure, traffic building, and customer acquisition.

Through content marketing, you can communicate your message to the audience and shape your personal brand in their eyes.

How Content Marketing Can Help My Brand?

Content marketing brings numerous benefits to businesses that approach it strategically.

Here are some of the biggest advantages of modern content marketing:

  • Brand Awareness. It is hard not to recognize the brand when you read the company’s blog on a daily basis.

By giving people information you make them talk about you, think about you, and recommend you. Blog promotion becomes almost effortless.

  • Authority. Sharing helpful and insightful content with your audience helps you establish credibility and authority in your industry.

People will seek advice from you and follow the tips you offer. It takes time but it is also one of the best ways to build trust with your audience and customers.

  • Site Traffic. This one is obvious. The more quality pieces of content you create the more chances you have that Google and other search engines will hook you up with new blog visitors.

Let’s assume you have 1 article that brings about 1k visitors/month. What if you write 10 more articles? How about 100? Just do the math!

  • Perfect SEO. Content is one of the 3 top ranking factors. (Source)

In fact, I believe it is the 1st ranking factor.

Having a big amount of meaty content on your blog will send a strong signal to search engines that you are a big deal. Search spiders will rank your article for thousands of keywords and top-notch articles will earn editorial links on other blogs organically. (Which is awesome!)

  • Customer Conversions. In order to convince people to purchase your products, you need to master copywriting.

A strategically crafted selling copy can increase the number of new customers like nothing else.

Now, you probably wonder:

Can I do it Without a Team or Budget?

The short answer is YES!

It is not a secret that even some industry leaders work alone or spend not a significant amount of money on content production.

If you are a solopreneur or your company is on a tight budget the greatest solution for you will be concentrating on “evergreen” content creation.

Rather than working on seasonal trends try to focus on the more long-term forms of content that will bring constant traffic in years to come.

It is worth to mention that the lack of resources comes with certain restrictions. So prefer quality to quantity.

Content Quality > Content Quantity

Now as you know the basics of content marketing it is time to put your knowledge into action.

I will show you how to generate the “evergreen” content ideas

Let’s begin with one of the most important pieces of advice.

Follow the New Trends and Best Practices

The number of blog posts published every single month is astonishing. It’s more than 70 million! (Source)

Sure enough, not all of them get equal exposure. As you already know, your content success is determined by many factors but one of the most important factors is the article topic.

In this section, I will show you how to pick up the right article topics that can assure your content marketing campaign success.

Let’s begin!

Step 1: Competitor Analysis

Go and find 10 prominent leaders in your industry.

Let’s assume that I represent a local store that sells Montessori-friendly toys for children of 1-6 years old to boost their early development.

Here is what I would do first:

1 Type in my industry main keyword +blog + city name in the Google search bar

google search bar query content marketing

2 Check the best performer’s blog.

google serp top result content marketing

3 Keep an eye on the all-time-best articles

blog top performing article content marketing

Pro Tip: Try to find the content gaps on their blogs. What is missing? How would you do better? What can you add? Is there any room for improvement?

Repeat the process with the other 9 leaders.

If this process looks tiring try the following tools that will save you tons of time and effort.

Step 2: Use Special Tools

Buzzsumo is a goldmine for content marketers.

It shows you the best performing content on the web.

Here is what I usually do:

1 Go to Buzzsumo and type in your main keyword

buzzsumo content marketing tool search box

2 Check the best results

buzzsumo best performing article content marketing

These best-performing pieces of content are usually the greatest evergreen content examples you can find.

Google Trends. It is one of the best free SEO tools you can get this year.

It analyzes your search query and lets you know how popular it is across different regions over time.

google trends interest over time graph content marketing

If the stats are not inspiring the topic does not deserve your efforts.

Step 3: Use Google Alphabet Soup Method

This method can help you find untapped topic ideas and rank #1 in search.

Google itself will suggest you the queries people are searching for.

The principle is simple:

1 type in the main keyword topic in the search bar + some common modifiers such as “how to”

google search query analysis content marketing

2 Do not press enter, just start typing the next word with the letter “a

google alphabet soup method content marketing

3 Try all the rest 25 letters from the English alphabet.

You will get even more brilliant ideas.

Pro Tip: Check the top-performing results and ask yourself if it will be relatively easy to outperform them. Industry against like Johnson & Johnson will leave you no chance. Forums and thin articles, on the other hand, are sure signs to act.

You will spend about 10 minutes of your time and have dozens of ideas for your new articles.

Now that you have a list of bullet-proof blog post ideas your job is to create engaging content on these topics that will bring your blog/business long term quality traffic.

Follow the exact steps in the following section that is called…

Create Killer Content

You’ve probably heard the words “Content is Kind” or “Create quality content” dozens of times.

But what exactly does “quality content” consist of?

What are the “must-have” elements of every blog post that assure its success?

Read on!

I have recently completed an article that explains how to create the highest-quality content that people and Google love.

Read this 10-point article or check out the essential parts of that article below:

Step 1: Research

Before writing an article you need to make sure that it is relevant.

In other words, do people really need it?

Follow the tips below to find it out:

1Visit some niche-related forums and/or Q&A websites

Type in your main keyword and see what people are looking for:

quora keyword relates seach results content marketing

2 Use Udemy and other online course platforms

All popular courses in your niche have thorough curriculums. It usually consists of the most relevant information on the given topic.

udemy course curriculum content marketing

3 Check Amazon Bestsellers

Table of contents in the bestselling books serves as good as any online course curriculum.

amazon bestselling book table of contents content marketing

4 Ask People You Know

Last but not the least, you should consider asking your friends, colleagues, and readers problems they are concerned about. Every problem they have may turn into a great guide article you offer.

Now it is time to get your hands dirty!

Step 2: Article Creation

Rather than telling you what your article should look like(we are all unique, I get it) I will give a simple plan that I use to create content for my blogs.

  • Article Headline and Description. They both should be catchy, include the main keyword, and some powerful words with numbers.
article headline and description content marketing
  • Article Introduction. Short, descriptive and benefit-driven. It also should include the main keyword.
nice article introduction content marketing
  • Article Body. No less than 1500 words. Divide it into subheadings. Make it extremely helpful and actionable.
on page seo content length content marketing
  • Conclusion. Wrap the things up. Include a strong call-to-action.
article conclusion call to action content marketing

If you want to know a couple of more tricks, this Copywriting Guide will help you a lot.

Step 3: On-Page SEO

If you want your article to rank high in Google SERP you need to optimize it for On-Page SEO.

Try the following hacks:

  • Make the article URL as short as possible
  • Include the links to your other articles and reliable resources on the web
  • Include images and do Image SEO.
  • Add Social Sharing Buttons

Now when you know how to create high-quality and engaging content it is necessary to bring this content in front of the right people’s eyes.

In other words, the next most important thing in content marketing after content creating is …[drumroll]

Content Promotion!

There are hundreds of ways to promote your content online. In the following sections, I will show you some of the finest ones.

Let’s begin with the most powerful strategy…

Email Marketing

A lot of online marketing experts will agree with me when I say that the email list is arguably your most important asset.

It can help you promote content like nothing less in the game. 

The biggest challenge here is that you have to build it first. Yikes!

Calm down. There is nothing to worry about.

Let me share with you the complete process from scratch.

Step 1: Build an Email List

This step is the most straightforward one. In order to promote something through your email list, you first need to build it.

These are the strategies that work right now:

  1. A Bribe Method. The principle is simple. You create a checklist, ebook, pdf blueprint, or any other additional form of content that can add value to your readers. But instead of sharing it for free, you offer it “as a gift” in exchange for the user’s email. It is a win-win.
  2. A Sign-Up Box. Create a visually appealing sign up box that will capture visitors’ emails. Mention the benefits they will get when joining your newsletter.
  3. A Mini Video Course. This method is a little bit more tricky and requires considerable effort from your side. Yet it proves to be one of the best ways to capture new subscribers. You can offer your brand new course in exchange for visitors’ emails.

Step 2: Nurture Your Email List

Getting new email subscribers is only half the battle. You need to gain trust now.

How do you do it?

Share helpful stuff!

Set up auto emails that will be sent to people every day/week/month. This process will establish your credibility and earn you additional trust.

Step 3: Promote Your Stuff


Market your content to your fan base.

Make sure you don’t spam and offer only the best information. Otherwise, your hard-earned subscribers will run as if your mail list was a burning house.

Now it is time to move on to the next really powerful strategy. It can be a game-changer for the beginning content marketers.

Meet Video Marketing!

Video Marketing Basics

Pure statistics: YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine and second most visited site after Google. (Source)

It is no longer a place with some cute cats videos and you can’t let yourself ignore it anymore!

And most importantly, it can easily become the biggest single traffic source for beginners.

I hope I have convinced you. Now let’s get to work!

Step 1: Create a Video Around Your New Article

It doesn’t have to be professional footage shot on an expensive video camera.

If you are a beginner and don’t yet feel comfortable in front of the camera try to start from short 5-minute explanatory videos.

Share some helpful tips on the topic and don’t forget to mention your fresh article that compliments the video.

Drop a link to the article in the description below that video and encourage people to check it.

Step 2: Optimize it for Video SEO

YouTube SEO deserves a separate guide that can cover all the aspects of the process.

For starters, use these simple Video SEO tips to boost your new video rankings:

  • Write keyword-rich title, description, and meta tags
  • Say the main keyword in your video
  • Upload video transcript and translate in into popular languages
  • Improve CTR with a beautifully designed video thumbnail

Step 3: Promote it Across Different Platforms

It will give your video(and article) additional exposure.

Consider the following places for promoting your videos:

  • Your blog
  • Your email newsletter
  • Q&A websites and niche forums
  • Other blogs(guest posting)

Now you have just piggybacked one of the web’s leaders.

Let’s get some help from other giants. We will try…

Social Media Marketing

Billions of people nowadays spend their time surfing different social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

For you as a beginner content marketer, it opens tons of opportunities for content promotion. 

Here is a simple plan you can try to promote your next article across the biggest social networks.

Step 1: Create and Optimize Your Account

Lots of online marketing gurus suggest you be everywhere possible. While I agree with this statement it sounds a little bit troublesome for someone who is just starting out or have limited time and budget.

So my advice is:

Pick up 1 single platform that resonates best with your customers

If I were to sell Montessori-friendly toys I would pick up Instagram.

It is highly visual and works GREAT for small and medium-sized businesses.

montessori toy store instagram content marketing

1 Create a new profile and fill it in

Make sure you mention your unique value proposition, place a couple of keywords, and contact information.

2 Publish about 10 first posts

This way you make your second step in the right direction and increase your early exposure chances.

3 Connect with like-minded people

Social media is all about connection and engagement. Follow other people, comment on the posts and introduce yourself when appropriate.

Step 2: Build a Reputation

Set up a publishing schedule and stick to it.

Determine what your followers are expecting by creating polls.

Post helpful and useful content that resonates with them.

Step 3: Promote Your Blog’s Content

Every social network is unique in its own way. So if you want to create a traffic machine out of them you need to promote your new content strategically.

1 Make your promotional posts platform-friendly.

Read carefully platform’s guidelines and comply with them.

Give your posts a look that works best across the platform. You can check what your industry leaders and competitors do.

2 Give your posts a unique description.

This will warm people up and show benefits they will get if visit your page.

3 Use clear CAT

It will give people an additional push and encourage them to check your blog.

I hope SMM made simple for you now!

The next content marketing strategy is a more advanced level yet you can use it if you want to go a little bit further.

It is called content repurposing or…

Content Transformation

What if I tell you that one single piece of content can have different forms and purposes?

You can use one of your articles and create other content types such as:

  • Video
  • PDF Checklist
  • Ebook
  • Audio
  • PPT Slides
  • And more

Let me share with you the whole process.

First, pick up an article you want to transform.

blog post title 1 content marketing

Second, decide what new format you want to see it in(for me it is PDF Checklist)

Third, create it by putting up some of the best tips together. Don’t forget about the design.

pdf checklist based on article content marketing

You have already done an impressive job!

As supplementary material to this beginner’s guide, I have decided to mention some of the finest content marketing strategies in 2020.

Check them out!

Bonus #1: Top Content Marketing Tactics for 2020

Below are the best strategies that the world’s top content marketers use to build traffic, generate leads, and increase revenue for their clients and themselves.

Strategy #1: Optimize Your Writing Process

When you work alone it is crucial to be as productive as it gets.

Use the following tips to become a content creating machine!

Productivity Tip #1: Generate New Topic Ideas Fast

Sometimes you may feel stuck when it comes to thinking up new articles topics.

Try to think about the main areas in your industry. Then break them up into subcategories that can become your new articles topics.

Let’s say that I represent a store that sells Montessori-friendly toys. If this is the case I would normally build my blog around the “Child Early Development” niche.

This niche is really broad and can be divided into different areas such as:

  • Speech and Language Development
  • Fine Motor Skill Development
  • Gross Motor Skill Development
  • Cognitive Development
  • Social and Emotional Development

I can pick up each of these areas now and narrow them down. So if I pick the Fine Motor Skill Development these are the things that come up to my mind:

  • brushing teeth/hair
  • eating
  • writing
  • getting dressed
  • manipulating with the object of different sizes

I’ve written this short list in less than a minute.

Now my next article headline can look something like this:

“Self-Feeding: Teach Your Toddler to Eat In 7 Steps”

As you can see it is totally possible to generate tons of new blog post ideas in less than 1 hour.

Productivity Tip #2: Use Blog Post Templates

There are some blog post types that perfectly resonate with your audience.

The most popular ones are:

  • List Posts
  • Detailed Guides
  • The A vs. B Posts

And these are the templates you can try:

The List Post Template

The key elements can be:

  • Introduction
  • Subheadings
  • Detailed instructions
  • Conclusion
the long list post template content marketing

The Detailed Guide Template

The key elements can be:

  • Post Introduction
  • Quick self-introduction(optional)
  • Chapters
  • Short list-posts within chapters
  • Conclusion
the detailed guide post template content marketing

The A vs. B Post Template

The major elements for this type of blog post can be:

  • Introduction
  • A-unit overview
  • B-unit overview
  • Detailed comparison
  • Conclusion
the a vs b post template content marketing

Productivity Tip #3: Learn to type faster or outsource

If your typing speed is not fast enough you will not be able to produce a satisfactory amount of content.

To learn this necessary skill you can use free teaching platforms such as

The reasonable goal for you can be 80-100 words/minute for the beginning.

Or alternatively, you can use the Google Doc voice type feature. People usually speak way faster than they type therefore this trick can be quite helpful.

Okay, let’s move on to the next content marketing strategy that works great now.

Strategy #2: Guest Blogging

Guest blogging still remains one of the greatest ways to do content marketing, build website traffic, and quicken your brand exposure across the web.

The only problem with guest posting is that it can get spammy pretty fast.

So keep in mind the following rules:

  • Work with niche-relevant websites only
  • Avoid spammy and low-quality blogs
  • Do not use plagiarism

Now let’s see what you can do:

1 Find the best guest blogging opportunities

Use the “Keyword + guest post websites list” search query.

keyword plus query string google search bar content marketing

2 Pick up a blog from the list you found and check the guest post publishing guidelines

guest post writing guidelines content marketing

3 Reach out to the guy in charge and offer your service

Include the following elements in your pitch letter:

  1. The headline of your article
  2. Short draft
  3. The area of your expertise
  4. Other examples of your guest posts
  5. Your author bio

4 Write an article

Make it as good(if not better) as on your blog. Only the best tips and strategies. Bring it all. A lot of people will see it so make sure you don’t screw up.

Place some links in the article body and author bio(if you are permitted to) and send your new piece of content to the editor.

Not so hard, isn’t it?

Let’s see what else you can do!

Strategy #3: Create Link Magnets

Link Building is still a thing in the SEO world. In order to rank high and bring consistent traffic and new customers to your website, you need to build backlinks.

And high-quality content is the key to acquiring those links.

If you don’t have the content worth mentioning, chances are that you will find it extremely difficult to get links from authoritative resources.

Here is the list of different types of content that attract backlinks like crazy:

  • Research and original data
  • Product Review
  • How-to posts
  • Interviews
  • Videos
  • Ultimate Guides
  • List Posts
  • Visual assets

You don’t necessarily have to use all of them. Choose the best that fits your blogging style and go for it!

I prefer Ultimate Guides.

Strategy #4: Cooperation

Use this strategy when you have already built some trust with your audience and other bloggers in your niche.

In fact, some of the best articles in the online marketing industry (like this one) were created with the help of cooperation.

Guest posting, which I have mentioned above is a wonderful way to build connections with your industry leaders and establish a long-term partnership.

So next time when you want to work on a big project it will be smart to consider joining forces for the mutual benefit.

And that is pretty much it!

Now you know everything the beginner should know about content marketing.

Which strategy from this guide are you going to try first?

Leave your thoughts and questions in the comment section below.

Also, add me on LinkedIn or follow me on Instagram, I share some useful stuff there 😉

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