Content material Advertising and marketing: A Complete Information for 2021


Content marketing helps you attract, retain, convert, and retain customers that you may not otherwise reach. And it's never been so popular – if you don't, your competitors probably already are

This guide will help you understand what content marketing is, how to explain the benefits to your marketing colleagues, and how to get started. We also picked up ideas and advice from 15 content marketers to give you the best head start for 2021 and beyond.

We protect:

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing content to attract and retain customers so you can grow sales and ultimately grow your business.

At Ahrefs, our content marketing strategy is simple and effective: we create in-depth blog articles and YouTube videos that teach prospects and existing customers how to use our tools to solve problems and increase website traffic. We mainly rely on search engine optimization (SEO) to drive qualified traffic to the site that is currently receiving ~ 400,000 organic visits per month:

Blogging and YouTube work for Ahrefs, but there are many more content marketing formats you can use depending on your audience, resources, and goals (more on this below).

Why is content marketing important?

Content marketing is an opportunity to acquire, retain, convert, and retain customers. We know at least five compelling reasons to invest in it:

  1. Create awareness and attract potential customers
  2. Engage your audience and build credibility
  3. Convert customers
  4. Build loyalty and loyalty
  5. Content marketing has a high return (and is cheap in the long term)

I'll walk through these using an example of how Ahrefs does content marketing. For more information from different industries, see the sample section below.

1. Content marketing helps you create awareness and attract potential customers

When people have a problem they want to solve or a wish they want to fulfill, they are not going to consider your brand and products unless they know you exist. Content marketing is a way to make sure they discover you.

For example, at Ahrefs we help people attract more visitors to their websites. However, it is unlikely that you would search for "Ahrefs" directly in Google as you are probably not familiar with our tool. Usually they start their journey by Googling something closer to where they are going, such as: B. "increase website traffic". Using content marketing, we can sign up for this search and create an initial mental connection between Ahrefs and the problem they are trying to solve.

2. Content marketing helps you engage your audience and build credibility

Just because someone is aware of your existence doesn't mean they are choosing your brand or product. However, if you come up with engaging and trustworthy content the second, third, and fourth time you're looking for ideas or solutions, your chances are increased.

Suppose someone learned something about the previous example SEO and now look for something more specific, like "How to Do Keyword Research". Since we wrote a post on this topic and are at the top of Google, you will find us again at the end.

It's the same on YouTube. We have a keyword research video so searchers can come across our brand when searching for this topic.

our 10-minute tutorial for keyword research

If that person follows internal links or keeps searching, they will likely find our keyword generator tool which will help you find thousands of keyword ideas for free and get a taste of what Ahrefs can do (and yes, free tools are good examples too for content marketing).

3. Content marketing helps you convert customers

Even if your potential customers know who you are and what you are offering, they may still have some objections before choosing you. This is where content marketing can provide the final push to help people decide whether to become customers.

For example, Ahrefs isn't the only one SEO Tool in the market, and our prospects may want to know how we are holding up against the competition before subscribing. We've created content that directly meets these requirements, and people can find it by Googling our name against a competitor (say, “Ahrefs vs. Moz”).

When we've addressed all of the questions and objections convincingly and based on all the other information they already know about us, that is CTA Towards our $ 7 trial, the last nudge you need should be:

4. Content marketing helps you build loyalty and loyalty

The ultimate goal of content marketing is to increase sales and build a business. So it's not just about winning a sale. It also helps you retain your existing customers and keep them informed of what contributes to customer loyalty and brand loyalty.

At Ahrefs, we don't create any unique blog content for this step. Because we always focus on solving specific problems and qualifying our audience, our content works for both potential and existing customers. However, we have a dedicated help section that is more specific to our customers and where we help them understand the data they see in our tool and how they can benefit from it. This is important for keeping because if they don't understand the value we are providing, they are unlikely to keep paying us month after month.

5. Content marketing has a high return (and is cheap in the long term)

Unlike channels like paid advertising, which stop working once you stop investing in them, content marketing has a high return on the original investment.

If you spend $ 1000 on ads today to get 100 clicks on your blog, you will have to spend another $ 1000 tomorrow to get the same result. However, if you spend $ 1000 on creating optimized content, this article can keep increasing traffic to your website months and even years after it was first published.

In our case, this blog has 170,000 organic keywords and an estimated 385,000 monthly visitors. If we tried to get the same amount of traffic through paid ads, we'd be spending an estimated $ 992,000 a month – that's nowhere near the amount we spend on content creation.

Recommended literature: How to create a successful content marketing strategy in 9 steps

3 Common Objections To Content Marketing And How To Respond

By now, you may be excited about the idea of ​​content marketing – but that doesn't mean your marketing leadership and / or your stakeholders will be too.

Some common objections come up in discussions about content marketing and you need to navigate them to get involved in your projects:

  1. Paid advertising attracts more traffic and customers faster
  2. It takes too long to see results
  3. The ROI is difficult to measure

Paid advertising is a quick (albeit costly) way to generate traffic indeed: once you've paid to serve an ad in front of users, and if you've done your targeting correctly, traffic starts flowing.

However, for the most part, paid ads will send people to pages that are at the bottom of your marketing funnel and designed for instant conversion, such as: B. Landing or product pages. When you send traffic there, you might generate a sale, but only from people who are ready to buy – and you are missing out on everyone else.

For example, if someone searches "how to increase website traffic" they are likely in learning mode (rather than buying mode). While we could run paid ads for that keyword and send searchers to a specific landing page, we'd probably be wasting money on people who are unlikely to convert because they're not ready to buy.

In contrast, content marketing helps us attract, retain, and convert customers across the funnel. A gratifying by-product of this process is that it builds brand awareness and confidence. So when these people are ready to buy, our paid ads are likely to be more effective.

Instead of getting caught up in a battle between paid ads and content marketing, the smarter discussion is about how both can be used together to maximize results in both short and long term.

2. It takes too long to see results

If you define "results" as just sales or leads, then yes: content marketing can take longer to see results than more immediate channels like paid advertising (see objection 1).

Just because something takes longer than something else doesn't mean it's pointless. For example, it is faster to drive around a mountain than to build a tunnel. Once you've built the tunnel, you can drive through it in a fraction of the time every time.

Content marketing is similar: it takes time to build, but eventually becomes a source of consistent sales and leads. And once you have an established audience, content marketing can grow results comparatively faster than if you were starting from scratch.

3. The ROI is difficult to measure

The exact ROI Content marketing can indeed be difficult to measure; You'd have to create a very sophisticated attribution model to track the influence and impact of content on your entire funnel while isolating each variable.

However, there are certain metrics that you can track for each stage of your marketing funnel and use for part of it ROI Calculation:

Likewise, the estimate of the ROI SEO-led content marketing isn't difficult. You can examine the traffic potential and value of the top results, and calculate how much it costs to write, mail, and promote an article compared to the qualified traffic it can drive over time.

Recommended display: Our CMO Tim Soulo explains the value of content marketing

Types of content marketing

There are many types of content marketing available:

  • Blog posts
  • Podcasts
  • Video
  • Infographics
  • Free tools
  • templates
  • Ebooks
  • Checklists

… the list goes on. And you might be tempted to do a little bit of everything to reach more people. However, we recommend a more strategic approach: focus on two to three formats that are likely to have the greatest impact on your business.

For us, the blog is our longest-running content format. We know our audience of SEOs, marketers, and bloggers are looking to Google for the information they need. Hence, we make sure to create evergreen content that brings the targeted traffic back to us. And because it is sometimes easier to explain something in a video, especially if you want to demonstrate how a tool works, we also create videos that we embed in our written work and publish on YouTube.

Knowing that your audience primarily uses Google to solve problems or come up with ideas, you can repeat our blogging success with the help of SEO To route traffic to your content in three steps:

  1. Find topics that are relevant to your company
  2. Create content
  3. Promote it

1. Find topics that are relevant to your company

Think what people could type into Google to find you: this is your startup keyword. For example, if your company sells analog photographic equipment, the starting point could simply be “35mm film”.

Enter this keyword into Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and have a look at it ask Report that gives you ideas on content that are formulated as questions. Write down any questions you can answer in a blog post.

Recommended literature: How to do keyword research for SEO

2. Create the correct content type

After choosing a keyword, make sure that the content you create meets the expectations of your searchers. This is known as search intent and can be determined from the top results:

In this example, you will notice that the results are step-by-step instructions that cover a specific "home" angle. This shows that most seekers are likely to be amateur photographers and not professionals. Therefore, your content should have a similar perspective.

Where relevant, present your products naturally in the article. For example, in her article on film development at home, B.&H Photo Video takes you step by step and links to relevant product pages throughout.

Editor's note

In almost all of our content, including this guide, we add screenshots from the Ahrefs dashboard so you can see how to use our tools to achieve your goals.

Joshua Hardwick

Recommended literature: What is SEO Write?

3. Promote your content

Once your content is live, you can broadcast it to your audience e.g. B. to your email list and / or to people who follow you on social media. In our case, we can also spend a few hundred dollars promoting the post through Facebook or Twitter ads:

However, these aren't the only ways to promote your content: check out this content promotion checklist so more people can see it.

5 Content Marketing Examples You Can Learn From

Blogging is a great way to create content that will appeal and attract your target audience. However, other formats can be just as successful – it all depends on your target audience and how they search for and consume information. Here are five effective examples of non-blogging content marketing:

  1. YouTube videos from
  2. Naturalicious Facebook community
  3. 15Fives Podcast
  4. Mattel's virtual game room and activity sheets
  5. Balsamiq's academy courses

1. The YouTube videos

Quick statistics → 30,000 YouTube subscribers, 16 million video views.

What they do → is an appliance parts e-commerce website that uses YouTube tutorial videos to educate prospects and current customers. By providing helpful step-by-step videos, builds expertise, builds trust, and makes it easier for customers to find what they need.

Why it works → Many Google search SERPs have video as a top result, and maximizes its chances of exposure by maintaining a YouTube presence.

The videos and posts that creates are evergreen, so they'll keep driving traffic for years (which in turn is a very inexpensive content marketing strategy).

How you can do the same →'s approach works well when your product or service solves a specific problem (faulty equipment in this example). Use keyword research to determine what your target audience needs help with and create content in the format that will best help them get what they need.

2. Naturalicious Facebook Community

Quick statistics → 11k Facebook group members.

What they do → Naturalicious, a natural and organic hair care company, operates a private Facebook community called "The Nation", which is run by the founder and founder CEO Gwen Jimmere.

Why it works → With practical turnkey solutions and live sessions, The Nation supports and enables its customers to get the most out of Naturalicious products. In addition, the group creates a sense of community as its members actively support and help each other by exchanging beauty tips, advice and encouragement.

How you can do the same → The Naturalicious approach is ideal for businesses with a specific target audience (black women and / or women with textured hair in this example). By creating a community, you can have a one-to-one conversation with existing and potential customers and learn what is most important to them, while connecting your product or service to the community itself.

3. 15Fives Podcast

Quick statistics → 220 backlinks, 165 organic keywords to the podcast landing page.

What they do → 15Five is an employee performance management platform that managers can use to keep their teams happy and motivated. In their Best Self-Management Podcast, 15Five co-founders interview top companies and MR Executives for insights and inspiration in building an excellent corporate culture.

Why it works → The podcast focuses solely on the task at hand that the software solves: helping employees and teams at work so they can do their best. With the help of an interview format, specialist knowledge and inspiration are outsourced and brand associations between 15Five and the task of forming better and more powerful teams are created.

Also, the podcast landing page on page 1 stands for "Management Podcast," so the company's target audience can easily find:

How you can do the same → 15Five's approach can work well when your target audience is listening to podcasts and your business is associated with a particular lifestyle, hobby, ambition, or task to be done. By inviting experts, you can position yourself and your brand as a curator of knowledge and at the same time use the networks of your guests to expand your work.

4. Mattel's virtual game room and activity sheets

Quick statistics → 21,000 backlinks, 4.8,000 Facebook shares.

What they do → In March 2020, toy maker Mattel (known for its brands Barbie, Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price) responded COVID-19 by creating and downloading a virtual game room with free games PDF Activity sheets for children and families.

Why it works → With its free entertainment resource, Mattel attracted large press reports and backlinks that drive referral traffic. The activity sheets strengthen Mattel's brand as a leader in children's entertainment and make the lives of their customers (in this case, parents and carers) easier.

How you can do the same → Create content that allows users to experience part of your product for free. Our own webmaster tools are a similar example: They give website owners free (but limited) access to two of our most popular tools: Site Explorer & Site audit. It's not about giving everything away, it's about being there to help – which can bring a brand to the fore when potential customers want to make a purchase in the future.

5. Balsamiq's Academy Courses

Quick statistics → 8,000 organic keywords, 12,000 organic monthly traffic, $ 24.9,000 monthly traffic value.

What they do → Wireframing tool Balsamiq has set up an academy and a learning center to train and qualify potential and existing customers.

Why it works → The Balsamiq Wireframing Academy increases brand awareness through optimized learning resources that are available in the SERPs for search queries such as "What is a wireframe?" Are displayed. and "content-first approach". These are typical searches from people in a research phase, and Balsamiq is designed to provide potential customers with a first point of contact.

How you can do the same → Balsamiq's approach works great when your product is designed for experts or experienced users. By providing complete training programs, you will help novice coaches learn the specific skills they need to get value from your product while building expertise in the industry. We take a similar approach with the free courses at the Ahrefs Academy.

Literature recommendations: 7 Inspirational Examples of Content Marketing (And How To Replicate Them)

15 Expert Content Marketing Tips To Use This Year

There is no single way to do content marketing. We therefore thought it useful to conclude this guide with a cross-section of people who put content marketing theory into practice on a daily basis.

We asked experts from different markets to answer this question: "Based on your experience, what is it? ONE What do you recommend for companies and marketers to deliver great content marketing next year? “You will find that some of the tips are contradicting each other, of course – and that's the great thing about content marketing: you can go completely opposite ways and still be successful because it's about what works for your audience.

Here are the practitioners who shared their advice:

  • Al Chen, solutions architect, Coda
  • Lauren Hall, Brand Marketing Associate, Secret
  • Tom Cox, content marketer, answer
  • Joei Chan, Content Director, 360Learning
  • Olivia Blazevic, Content Marketing Manager at Candlefox
  • Aazar Ali Shad, Head of Growth, Userpilot
  • Fio Dossetto, who also wrote the article you are reading right now
  • Alina Benny, Content Manager, Nextiva
  • Tracey Wallace, director of marketing at MarketerHire
  • Hiba Amin, Marketing Manager, Soap Box
  • Tim Soulo, CMO, Ahrefs
  • Stephanie Bregman, CMO, Male bands
  • Fadeke Adegbuyi, Senior Content Marketing Manager, Doist
  • Louis Grenier, Founder, EveryoneHatesMarketers
  • Len Markidan, Marketing Director, Podia

Do some research and talk to your customers

Before editing any content, do user research with your existing customers / users or with potential customers. You will get first-hand knowledge of your ideal customer profile (ICP) looks like and what problem your target audience believes your product or service will solve.

When you start creating content, you can use the actual words and phrases that you are using ICP used during customer research. You can of course tweak it by doing some basic research in Ahrefs' Keyword Explorer and making sure the keywords are on good volume or see if there are others that you should include. There's nothing like talking to your customers to find out what content would appeal to them the most!

Al Chen

Reuse your content

Always look for creative ways to reuse the content you already have. Remember: people are lazy. The easier you can make it for them to consume your content, the better. What it means, how you package things matters. Do you have the opportunity to turn the information from your best blog posts into a book? If you have a podcast, do you have a best episode guide for new listeners? Don't let your audience sort your content. You are the expert – you should be doing the heavy lifting.

Lauren Hall

Focus on people who need you but don't already know

Often, when creating content, we focus on creating high-volume content and neglect the keywords that people use to find products like ours.

Find keywords of yours PPC Team and by brainstorming all needs solves your product directly. At Preply we offer private lessons with online tutors. So we have content on "Online English Courses" that even mentions some of our competitors, as we are obviously not the only platform for language learning. However, users want to be sure that they are studying all of the options and making their own decisions. We find that this transparency brings more potential students to our money side.

Work smart rather than hard. Then you'll see the result of what "great" content should be measured by: new customers and direct business impact.

Tom Cox, Content Marketer Response

Test and iterate the formats that work best for your goals

The world of marketing is changing rapidly and the content needs to be adapted accordingly. They don't grow in the same way when you go from 0 to 1, or when you grow from a scale up to a unicorn. The content needs to be adjusted to your business needs at this point, and your strategy should be reviewed every few months.

Earlier this year I focused on building traffic and working on it SEO and top-of-funnel content. I achieved these goals but created a new problem: the conversion. Now I am providing a full time editor to work on the bottom funnel content and improve our sales follow-up emails.

Another example: We thought we found our silver bullet webinars because they work very well for lead generation. So we thought if we did them 2x we would get the results 2x. We do not have. We have falling returns.

That's just a very long way to go: every time you hit your content milestone, you create new challenges and need new content or strategies to solve them.

Joei Chan

Appeal to the core values ​​of your audience

Building a trusted brand that connects with consumers will be more important than ever in 2021. Awareness of your brand is not enough – users want more than the solution to their problem. They want to work with companies that share common values ​​with them. Brands that have built their trust. Brand Affinity captures this new idea of ​​branding by focusing on building "lawyers" rather than a passive audience.

To build brand affinity, we're exploring the idea of ​​elongated, “binge-worth” content that speaks to the core values ​​of our niche audiences and builds those meaningful relationships. It's about building these “super fans” who then become lawyers and build your community for you.

Olivia Blazevic

Lean into the microform

Right now we're prepared to have short, to-the-point content in our lives. Content marketing is about inspiring people and adding value to them. If our goal is to add value to users when they need it, and as quickly as possible, then we need to think about micro-content. Sometimes less can be more.

Think how this can affect videos: YouTube is now becoming a search engine, and more and more people are used to looking for information there. So I think every blog post should be turned into bite-sized videos too.

Aazar Ali Shad

Don't jump straight into the tactic

Content marketing tactics and format vary, channels can come and go, but some things never change – and these are the ones you need to focus on with the laser. Follow these 3 steps:

  1. Start with a diagnostic phase where you understand who you are talking to, what problems your content is trying to solve for that audience, and define the challenge or opportunity you are facing
  2. Move on to a strategy phase where you define the overall approach you are taking with your audience
  3. Finish with the specific tactic that you use to carry out your strategy. These are the ones that could look different in 2021 than 2015, like “We should focus on this SEO and long-form pieces "or" we should do Instagram stories "

Diagnosis precedes strategy tactics. But too often, we content marketers jump straight into tactic at the expense of the previous two steps (… because it's fun) – and we can get lucky and get temporary success, but this isn't a reliable, repeatable way to build permanent impact our content.

Fio Dossetto

Optimize the content you already have

We don't need any new net content. When the forces that might be declaring need more blogs, more landing pages, and a steady "release cadence" so you can improve your competition, RUN!

Two reasons why:

  1. They don't immediately answer yes or no to confirm or shoot down this seemingly innocuous question. Most executives speaking from this angle are either pressured by other company executives who want to wage the traffic war, or they have not yet discovered the power of the long game SEO is.
  2. Data. You need data on your subpar content or opportunities within striking distance. Create your game plan for lower quality content that has few pageviews, backlinks, or engagements of any kind.

Once you've settled into the former and armed with the latter, it's easier to push for more optimization and not create new content. It's just as important to consistently trim and tweak your existing content as it is to pursue shiny new topics.

Alina Benny

Take a holistic approach

Content briefs are a great resource for creating high level content and giving your writers a starting point (nobody likes a blank page). But your own audience will become even more important in 2021 – which means you need to think beyond the briefing. Think all over the site SEO This includes a strategic sitemap, content that supports that sitemap, and clear, non-intrusive ways to list and collect first-party data.

The end of the third party cookie is coming and those who are investing in heavy now SEO Content programs and practices (including list building) are best prepared for the reign of third-party data, which will take full effect in 2022 when Google Chrome stops sending third-party cookies.

Tracey Wallace

Create product-oriented content

Find a way to turn your product into actionable content. Not only are these articles a great way to open up a wide variety of long-tail keywords, but they're also great conversion engines.

A great added value at Soapbox, for example, is our extensive library of agenda templates. Fortunately, those who are actively looking for agenda templates are more likely to convert to free and paid users. That's why we created a search-driven agenda template library that allowed us to evaluate a wide range of long-tail keywords while driving high quality traffic to our website. We have since repeated this experience with another library.

In short, my advice is to identify the most valuable parts of your product or service and deliver that experience through content.

Hiba Amin

Tip for content authors: act like a journalist

My advice is: act like a journalist. Because journalists try to get information from people who know a little more about the subject than they do, and often do experiments. Some dined at McDonald's for a month just to write an article, others infiltrated criminal groups and lived their lives. You don't need that level, but the point is that award-winning journalists who want to create work that helps and impresses don't just sit in their basement reading other journalists' articles and in other words write the same ideas. Don't act like a person who writes articles: be like a journalist who has to work to produce the story without even typing it on the keyboard.

Tim Soulo

Consistently tell your story

Companies need to spend money on creativity and have a strong omnichannel focus on marketing. Manly Bands has a whole creative team behind the brand that helps tell our brand story seamlessly into every customer's journey, whether they see us on TV, Facebook, Google or email.

Stephanie Bregman

Build empathy for your audience

Writing with search intent in mind and the natural positioning of your product or service as a solution is a balancing act.

Before you start writing an article, you should build empathy for your reader – think and research what they already know, what they need to know, and ultimately the information you need to provide to solve their problem.

  • Use Google (or advanced) SEO Tools like Ahrefs!) to see what is currently ranking for your desired keyword and how it answers the reader's question.
  • Use Twitter search to find discussions about your search term and to jot down people's questions and concerns and the resources they share.
  • Use Reddit Uncovering conversations on your topic to understand what a potential seeker really needs to know.

These strategies help content marketers not just skim the surface when it comes to writing useful content that will be converted.

Fadeke Adegbuyi

Create radically different content

There is more and more clutter online, you know that. Everyone "creates" content these days. How do you highlight your content?

  1. Own your minimally viable market. No, you don't market to everyone. Talk to your best customers. those you enjoy working with most and who will generate the highest profits.
  2. Find out their specific pains and challenges. These should come up during your conversations. Go very specific. It's much easier to create the best content in the world for a very specific question.
  3. Develop your uniqueness. Find out what content is already there, make a list of all the topics covered, but also the typical format used, the tone of voice … That is your status quo.
  4. Remove anything that violates your beliefs and purposeeverything that your customers do not like, everything that does not contribute to solving the challenge you have chosen.
  5. Carefully add anything that violates the status quo you have identified. Add everything that will help your minimally viable market achieve its goals faster, easier, and easier.
  6. Take some risks. Without them, you can't make your content stand out. Zigzag when others zigzag. Taking no chances is the riskiest option. If you don't, nobody will notice your contents.

Louis Grenier

to take risks

Take great risks. As banal as it sounds, it is NEVER was a better time to try something new. While in more normal years it is easy enough to customize the leading content playbooks for your business, there isn't a content marketer on the planet who writes "A Successful Content Initiative Started When The Market Out Of A Pandemic" On His Resume can. …still.

There IS Not a playbook so use that as permission to rewrite one from scratch. Get creative about how you can inform, help, and please your market as it carefully approaches a return to normal. Your pitch, which had no chance a year ago today ("it's too risky")? Now is the time.

Len Markidan

Keep learning

Would you like to learn more about content marketing? We have you covered. Here are some of our favorite resources for you to read & To keep learning going, observe:


Jeffrey Rabinowitz