Marketing 101 | Content Marketing – A Step-By-Step Guide

Why Content Marketing Matters?

If you are an indie hacker / solo entrepreneur trying to build a great product and sell it to the world, content marketing is a good way for you to start.

Here are some of the reasons:

1. Content marketing is inexpensive to start.

If you are self-founding with limited budget on marketing, content marketing provides you a cheaper option to reach out to your audience.

2. Content marketing is a good way to educate your potential customers.

By reading your articles, they get a chance to have deeper insights of the value of your product or service.

3. Content marketing can create long-term marketing effects.

If you manage to make good contents consistently, some of your top contents will potentially be on good positions in the search engine result pages. These contents may bring you a steady flow of organic traffic to both your blog and your product.

How to Start? Make a Good Positioning of your Blog!

A good brand positioning is an important step before we start making our contents.

When the readers first visit our blog, they will have some questions in their mind:

“What’s this blog talking about?”

“What may I get in this blog?”

A restaurant needs a good menu. A factory needs a good catalogue. A blog needs a good positioning!

With a good and attractive positioning statement, the readers get their answers and may consider to dig further into our other pieces of contents.

Tips for Making a Good Positioning Statement

1. Be focused.

Pick 1~3 core topics for your blog.

2. Be relevant.

The topics should be relevant to each others.

If you are not sure if they are relevant or not, try to imagine who your target audiences are and what they are probably interested in.

For example, this blog’s target audiences are indie hackers and startup teams. So the main topic being coding and marketing seems to be reasonable.

For another example, if a blog is writing about politics, cosmetics and sci-fi, it will be quite confusing for the audience.

Focusing on 1 topic or a few relevant topics will be a better route to follow.

3. Be visible.

Write your positioning statement at a easily visible portion of your blog, such as the area below your blog title. This help the readers to know it easily.

How to Start? Your First Few Steps.

  1. Think of the first 10 topics that you’re gonna write.
  2. Write the outline for the topics.
  3. Write each paragraph according to the outline. Try to make the best content as you can. Quality is the key to make your readers stay.
  4. Repeat step 2 & 3 for the 10 topics. Be patient and keep making high-quality contents.
  5. Set up your blog and your content schedule. Publish your content on a regular basis.

Dive into the Topic Deeper.

Okay so you are writing your first blog post. You picked a topic and tried to write something around it. You outlined the paragraph, and finished each section with your words and ideas.

Now before you hit the “publish” button, let’s try to read through the whole content again.

  • Is there any typo? Fixed it!
  • Is there any questions still coming up in your mind? Add it into the post and answer it!
  • Is there any relevant resources that may help the reader? Add it!

Every details matter a lot. A good article is made by polishing it again and again.

The deeper you dive into the topic, the more your readers benefit from it.

The more your readers benefit from it, the higher odds for you to succeed in this game.

Understand your Readers. Provide True Value to Them.

Content making is not about talking to yourself. Instead, it’s about talking to your readers.

The value of a blog is determined by how your readers enjoying your articles.

  • Do they learn something from your articles?
  • Do they find the answer to their questions?
  • Do they like the content that you serve?

Providing True Value to the readers is the key component of content marketing.

Only if you make valuable contents will your visitors become your true fans.

They learn from your words. They find your blog useful. They like what you provide.

Then finally, they add your blog to their bookmarks. They subscribe to your newsletter. They follow you on social media.

You build a trust with your readers. They become familiar with you. Finally, they will like to be a consumers of your products. That’s when your content marketing strategy really works out.

It’s a long long way to go.

Before thinking of what you can take from others, think of what you can provide to others.

Content over Outlook

Having a good appearance of your blog is important.

Having a nice-looking theme, appealing font and beautiful color palette all makes your content stand out.

However, the content is always your top priority instead of how your blog looks.

People judges a book by it’s cover, but what’s more important is the wisdom inside of it.

A clean and clever outlook will be just enough for you to start.

Focus on creating high-quality contents.

Focus on answering your reader’s questions.

Focus on making deep insight on whatever topic you’re talking about.

Always remember to value content over outlook.

That’s how your blog grow in a healthy way.

Consistency is the Key!

Content marketing is a long-term game.

There’s high chance that the first post you write might not go viral.

Neither will your second, your third or even your 10th post…

You need to keep making new and great contents to make yourself visible in the internet.

Your first few posts may located at the 100th pages of the search results.

Only a very small portion of reader can find your through the net…

But don’t quit!

Consistency is the key to win this game.

You have to keep making good contents, keep helping your readers, keep making your blog more helpful.

Consistently making high-quality contents make your really stand out from the competitors.

The search engine algorithm will gradually rank you higher and bring more readers to you.

You may increase your influence, and leverage you hard work to help more people.

To make this happen, you have to believe it. And never give up!

Think About the Reason Why You Choose to Write a Blog.

To make a good article, it takes hours of brainstorming and writing.

To make a successful blog, it needs a good amount of great articles.

So before your see the effect of content marketing, you need to put in hours and hours of your energy into it.

It’s a long road your need to walk by yourself.

It’s both energy-consuming and time-consuming.

Many people start, but not many can reach the goal they want.

Hence, let’s think about the reason why you choose this path before you start.

Do you enjoy sharing with others?

Do you enjoy finding problems and solving them?

Do you love the topics and are willing to learn every aspects of them?

Do you build a product and want to show people how useful it is?

Do you want to build a brand of yourself or your business?

No matter what’s your reasons, you need to think about it and be honest to yourself.

Write them down in your notebook. Remember them in your heart.

When your passions fade away, come back to read these reasons again.

You’ll be motivated and find your passions back.

Importance of a Self Host Website

People take you seriously.

The most obvious difference between “self-hosting” vs “using free blog platform” is the website address. vs vs

— etc.

A self host website with a custom domain name can makes your address link look simpler and more professional.

It’s the first impression that you give to your readers.

If you’re trying to build a business, sell a product or become an influencer.

It’s easier to make people take you seriously with a self-hosted website and custom domain name.

Have More Flexibility

You can customize every details of your blog if you’re self-hosting, including themes, plug-in, ads, e-commerce, traffic analytic tools, membership system, …etc.

It’s your own blog and you have full control of it.

You can choose the functionalities that you want to have, and remove the others you don’t need.

You are also not at risk of the platform shutting down.

You can always choose different hosting service and preserve your domain name and the traffic you build up over the years.

Turn the First-Time Reader into a Long-Term Reader.

People visit your website, read your words and enjoy your contents.

However, if you want to leverage the power of content marketing, you need to turn the first-time reader into a long-term reader.

That’s part of the concept of the marketing funnels (Awareness, Consideration, Conversion, Loyalty, and Advocacy.)

  1. You make new contents to bring new readers in — Awareness.
  2. Readers read different contents of your website — Consideration.
  3. Turn them into long-term reader — Conversion.

Make it Simple to Follow You.

There are multiple ways to help readers keeping in touch with you.

Email, RSS, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Podcast, …etc.

Now came to the question part — which strategy should you choose?

You shouldn’t choose all of them initially, for the limited time and resource you have.

If you could only choose one strategy, I will definitely recommend Email list as a starting point.

Email list is the easiest one to maintain, and also the most powerful one.

Your readers can get your email 100%.

But it’s not the same case in other platforms like Facebook or Instagram.

Only a small portion (approximately 5%~15%) will see your post in their feeds.

Hence, let’s focus on one first — Email list.

Blogging + Email can be more powerful than you have imagined.

Just Start!

Whoo! Thanks for reading this long article.

There are so many details about content marketing and blogging.

Always remember — You don’t have to be perfect to start, but you have to start to be perfect.

No one will ever be fully prepared. And it’s also not needed.

You just have to start and keep improving on the way!

You will face different problems, you will try your best to solve them, and you will achieve your goal one day.

So let’s start the journey!

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