A Content Marketing Guide For Startups And Businesses: Prelude

Many people have heard of content marketing – you create content to indirectly “advertise” your brand or the products you are selling. So, is it just another form of new-age marketing?

If you look up on the term “content marketing” and “how to do content marketing”, you will probably get information like, “it helps you engage with your customers”, “it improves your website SEO (search engine optimisation)”, or “it is cost free and effective”. Are these statements really true? If so, how does it engage your customers or improve your website? Is it as simple as writing a blog and your customers will come to you?

Photo by  Kelly Sikkema , Unsplash.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema, Unsplash.

The Idea

This project is meant to answer all the above questions. Content marketing is more than just selling your services and products through a piece of online content.

After publishing a critique piece on content marketing, I was inspired to write more, and to share what I know about the topic so that I can help even just one more reader to understand it better. Over the next 12 weeks, I will be publishing a weekly article on content marketing, and the entire series is meant to serve as a guide for startups or small businesses to apply on their own.

All the materials will be made for free, without any email collection, because this project is meant to be a content marketing campaign in itself. More explanation in the FAQ section below. The articles will be available on this site, and also on Medium, and I will also be sharing the results at the end of this project.

Goals And Strategy

The main purpose of producing this guide is to share knowledge. Besides that, I aim to:

  1. Bring organic traffic to my website (www.herzigansel.com), AND hopefully generate some leads.

  2. Create a discourse and engagement around the topic ‘Content Marketing’.

  3. Demonstrate a live, work-in-progress, and measurable content marketing campaign, in which all my results will be shared publicly.

  4. Investigate the effectiveness of reposting of articles across multiple platforms. Yay, a mini-experiment (more details to follow).

Measurable

  1. Engagement of articles (Reads, Likes/Claps, Comments, Shares)

  2. Traffic to my website (Average Visits, Bounce Rate, Session Duration)

  3. Leads and conversions (Number of new leads, number of converted leads)

  4. SEO Effectiveness (Number of inbound and outbound links built, SERP ranking for particular search terms)

Content Outline

I will be starting with a rough content outline and weekly articles every Thursday/Friday. The respective articles will be linked and their synopses provided as soon as they are available.

Section I: Understanding Content Marketing

1: What Is Content Marketing?
An overview of what content marketing is about and it can help businesses.
(Blog) (Medium)

2: Content VS Traditional Marketing
How content marketing is different from conventional methods, and why it is suitable for startups and small businesses.
(Blog) (Medium)

3: The Psychology Of (Content) Marketing

Section II: Getting Started On Content Marketing

4: The Content Strategy

5: Creating Content

6: Knowing Your Audience

7: Links And The Network

Section III: Practical Content Marketing

8: Content Marketing Across Different Industries

9: An Iterative Framework

10: Working With Limited Resources


To be really honest, I do not have all 12 topics yet. I am also expecting this outline to change along the way. Feel free to drop your suggestions, and I guess I will figure out the topics along the way. Stay tuned to the following week’s introductory article to Content Marketing!

FAQ

Why are you giving away everything for free?

I realised that sharing what I know will not cannibalise my own content marketing “business”. You are free to run away with the knowledge and do it yourself, which means you probably would not have engaged my services. Or through these articles, if you value my expertise, I would be most happy to connect and see how we can collaborate.

Why are you sharing everything so transparently?

Influencers talk about ‘authenticity’. For me, it is not so much about being real; I merely figured that there is no harm and no shame in sharing what works or what does not work. If you have any suggestions on how I could improve certain processes, I am all ears!

Why 12 articles? Why post a series and not a complete guide?

In 2018, I took half a year to self-publish a book; it was a heavy and time consuming project. This time, I wanted to break down the project into mini milestones and hopefully have an easier time completing it. I am hoping that the smaller bits of content also makes it more digestible for readers.

What comes after completion of this series?

I will write an evaluation article in July/August, another one about the mini experiment, and probably a reflective article on going through the process. I hope that the guide is indeed useful and is evergreen content. If not, I am sure I will still walk away with several takeaways and reflections.

Why are you posting the same content on Medium and on this Blog?

There is a pay wall on Medium, which means that some readers might have to subscribe with Medium in order to read the guide. Do not get me wrong, Medium is a great platform for avid readers; posting here is my means to go around it for those who are not keen on subscribing, and it is also a form of “repurposing of content” for a different platform. I rewrite most of the content, so you will see slight differences in the introductions, sectioning, and conclusions.