The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing in 2021

Your customers, leads and target groups want valuable content from your company. And that content needs to reach viewers in a way that feels natural, organic, and isn’t disruptive. Content marketing helps companies and describes the process of winning your target markets, getting in contact with them and inspiring them.

When you focus on effective content marketing, you can do just that – increasing conversions, building brand awareness, increasing sales, establishing yourself as an industry leader, and more.

Whether you’re just starting out on a strategy or updating your existing strategy, it never hurts to reassess your process and find new ways to create and share the content your audiences want. This guide will give you an overview of content marketing, types of content marketing, examples of content marketing, and how to implement a strategic strategy.

Content Marketing

Today, outbound marketing strategies (or anything that disrupts your audiences) are not as effective at targeting audience response and conversion as they were before.

These days, your content needs to reach your audience in a way that feels natural (a.k.a. in-depth). A common way to do this is to create a narrative for your content – or tell a story. That way, your content will feel more authentic, engaging, and tailored to your audience.

What is content marketing anyway?

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the process of planning, creating, distributing, sharing, and publishing content in order to reach your target audience. It can increase factors such as brand awareness, sales, reach, interaction, and loyalty.

Why is content marketing important?

Content marketing is the process of planning, creating, distributing, sharing, and publishing content in order to reach your target audience. It can increase factors such as brand awareness, sales, reach, interaction, and loyalty.

  • Let your leads and prospects know about the products and services you offer
  • Increase conversions
  • Build relationships between your customers and your company that lead to increased loyalty
  • Show your audience how your products and services solve their challenges
  • Create a sense of community around your brand

Now let’s look at the different types of content marketing.

Types of content marketing

There are many types of content marketing that you can include in your strategy – here are some of the most common:

1. Marketing for social media content

With over 3.6 billion social media users worldwide, it’s easy to see why so many companies are investing in social media marketing. There are a number of platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat) you can work with and different ways in which you can create and share content on each platform (e.g. Photos, Live Videos, recorded videos, stories).

Selected resource: Social media content calendar

2. Marketing for infographic content

Infographics display content, information, and data in an easy-to-understand graphic format. With a mix of simple language, brief statements, and clear images, infographics are a great way to communicate your content effectively. They work well when trying to break down an educational and / or complex topic so that all viewers can understand it.

Selected resource: 15 free infographic templates

3. Blog content marketing

Blogs are a powerful type of in-depth content and allow a lot of creativity in terms of purpose and topic. With a blog, for example, you can promote other internal and external content and blog articles using links, add buttons for sharing social networks, and incorporate product information.

Selected resource: Start a successful blog

4. Podcast content marketing

A 2020 survey found that 49% of 12- to 32-year-olds in the US had listened to a podcast averaging six hours a week in the past month. Because of this, many companies and media outlets have started creating and sharing their own podcasts.

Podcasts allow a lot of creativity as they can relate to any topic of your choice. In addition, determine other factors related to the podcast, such as: For example, the cadence of episodes, who is on the podcast, where you are promoting the podcast, and how long episodes are.

Selected resource: How to start a podcast

5. Video content marketing

According to a study by Wyzowl, 69% of consumers say they prefer to get to know a brand’s product or service via video. Additionally, video marketing can increase conversions, improve ROI, and help you build relationships with viewers. You can share your video content on social media platforms, landing pages, or on a co-marketer’s website.

Selected resource: The ultimate video marketing starter pack

6. Paid marketing for ad content

Paid ads can help you reach a wide audience and position yourself in all the places you want to be seen. Paid ads are particularly beneficial when used in conjunction with inbound marketing. There are many places you can share paid ads, including on social media, landing pages, banners, and sponsored content.

Selected resource: The ultimate PPC kit for Google Ads

Next, let’s look at some examples of content marketing associated with the types of content marketing just discussed.

Examples of content marketing

The following examples will give you a better understanding of how to incorporate content into your broader marketing strategy.

1. Example of social media content marketing

lush Instagram profile example for social media content marketing


Lush Cosmetics’ Instagram account is in-brand and complements the rest of the marketing content. If the page doesn’t say “Lush Cosmetics” anywhere on the page, customers likely still know the profile belongs to Lush.

The Instagram page shares the Lush line of products, displaying different color and fragrance options for the products, and showing the different ways each product can be used. The profile feels and looks colorful and uniquely lush, showing members of their wide customer base.

2. Infographic content marketing example

Infographic content marketing example


IBM created an infographic when they launched their cloud marketplace. Your infographic is branded, well organized, and easy to read. It clearly explains what they are doing with their cloud market and how customers can benefit from it. In addition, the viewers learn how to access and use the marketplace.

3. Example of blog content marketing

Example of content marketing on the front page of expedia


Expedia has a blog called “[Out There Starts Here]“That shares travel-related information like hotel recommendations, great attractions, and travel-related activities to participate in around the world.

Expedia regularly publishes its blog content to keep readers interested and engaged. It has a wide range of topics related to any type of trip you can think of. The blog is branded and all articles relate to the travel technology company’s goal and mission to attract customers and increase brand awareness. They do this by linking to their services and writing about customers who have already had positive experiences with the company.

4. Example of Podcast Content Marketing

Example of Podcast Content Marketing with Hardvard Business Review


Harvard Business Review (HBR) has a weekly podcast called HBR IdeaCast that features industry leaders in both business and management. You can either subscribe to get hundreds of podcasts on a regular basis or choose which ones to listen to.

The podcast is branded and complements the rest of the content published by HBR. It’s also a great way for HBR to connect with their target audience, increase brand awareness, and gain a following of viewers through a medium that is different from their typical work (e.g. podcast or HBR article) .

5. Example of video content marketing


Much of the Dollar Shave Club’s video content has gone viral. Your marketing efforts are branded, humorous, and fun. In fact, one of their videos has over 27 million views on YouTube. Dollar Shave Club has made a name for itself through online video content and has seen impressive growth and brand awareness.

6. Example of paid marketing for ad content

Paid ad content marketing example


Revolve – an apparel and accessories company – uses paid and sponsored ads on social media (like this one on Facebook) to reach audiences while they browse their news feeds.

The content ads include some of their products as well as details about their free shipping and returns policy to attract audience members to their website (and hopefully convert them into paying customers).

Finally, let’s cover your content marketing strategy. By implementing a strategy, your content marketing efforts will be effective and effective in converting leads and reaching your target audience.

Content Marketing Strategy

  1. Set SMART goals.
  2. Determine your KPIs.
  3. Choose your content channels.
  4. Decide on the type of content.
  5. Set a budget.
  6. Create and distribute the content.
  7. Analyze and measure results.

1. Set SMART goals.

The first part of your content marketing strategy is to set SMART goals. These should be specific to your business – they will likely complement your broader marketing and business goals.

Here are some examples of SMART goals:

  • Improve brand awareness
  • Increase Sales
  • Increase conversions
  • Increase brand loyalty
  • Increase customer loyalty
  • Build rapport and trust between prospects and customers
  • Win strategic partners

2. Determine your KPIs.

Next, establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your SMART goals. KPIs are quantifiable data points that you can use to measure your actual performance against your goal.

smart goal related kpi
Brand awareness Site traffic, social media followers, subscription signups, mentions (from customers and partners)
revenue Daily sales, site traffic
Conversions Conversion rate, shopping cart abandonment rate, related shipping rate trends, competitive price trends
Brand loyalty Returning customers, promoters, product reviews, recommendations
Customer loyalty Likes, shares, follow, mentions, backlinks
Rapport and Trust Returning customers, promoters, followers, mentions
Strategic partner New partnerships, mentions, backlinks

3. Set the type of content.

Next, choose the type of content you want to create. First, think about your target group and buyer personalities.

Answer the following questions about your target audience to help narrow down the right types of content for them:

  • What do they need from you?
  • What challenges do you want to overcome?
  • Why do they need your product or service?
  • How can you help them succeed?
  • Where do you spend your time?

Then, take a look back at the different types of content we reviewed earlier to help you decide what types of content you are creating.

4. Choose your content channels.

Once you’ve decided on the type of content that you want to market with, it’s time to choose your specific content channels. Where will you share your content? Where will it live and be shared?

With some types of content, the channel you need to work with is obvious. For example, when you create Facebook content, your channel is the social platform itself.

5. Set a budget.

Now set your budget. Think about the type of content you are creating and the channels on which you will market that content.

Then ask yourself the following questions to help you determine your budget:

  • Do you need to purchase software or technology to create the content (e.g. graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop, a subscription to Canva, a camera to take high quality photos and videos)?
  • Do you need to hire content marketers or designers (such as artists, writers, editors, designers)?
  • Do you have to pay for advertising space?
  • Do you need access to specific tools or resources to improve or measure your specific content type?

Make a note of how your answers are affecting your budget – whether that is an increase or decrease in what you may have already appreciated.

6. Create and distribute the content.

Create and distribute your content for your audiences to use and potentially convert. Use a social media calendar or an editorial content calendar to ensure that you are consistently producing content and delivering it to your prospects. This way, your team keeps track of all the created content and can plan it in advance.

Use a free editorial calendar to plan and tweak all of your marketing content to drive conversions.

7. Analyze and measure the results.

Lastly, analyze and measure your results so that you can make any necessary changes to improve your content marketing efforts and reach more audiences.

Look at your SMART goals and KPIs to determine the success of your content marketing strategy. Did you achieve your goals and KPIs? Did you come close to reaching them or were you wrong in your estimates?

Here are a few tools to help you analyze and get the results of your content marketing strategy:

Involve your target group with content marketing

With effective content marketing, you can reach your target audience and increase conversions. There are several ways to market content to increase sales, increase your brand awareness and awareness, and build relationships with your prospects and customers.

And don’t forget to get more value from every piece of content you create.

First, determine what type of content is best for your business and audience, and develop a content marketing strategy to grow your business bottom line today.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2019 and has been updated for completeness.

editorial calendar

Originally published February 17, 2021 7:00:00 am, updated February 17, 2021


Content Marketing

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