Through content marketing, you can grow your business. By creating blog posts, you can attract your target audience, encourage them to engage with your business, and position yourself as an authority in your field.
Digital marketing works so well that it can seem like sorcery, but you don’t need to be born under a particular constellation to perform effective content marketing yourself.
The way to get started with content marketing is to take a deep breath and get started. This sink or swim strategy works. There are very few sinkers. You’ll not only be able to swim with the other content marketers by the end of this course, but you’ll be admiring the view from the other side of the digital marketing pond.
Every content marketer – amateur or pro – started content creation with a single blog post. There are so many tools, techniques, and tricks for providing effective content to your audience that there is no reason why you cannot learn these skills and start publishing content today.
Getting Started by Blogging with Medium
One of the great things about content marketing is that there is much information available online. One of the disadvantages, however, is that same abundance. An indundation of information on techniques and platforms written about on myriad digital marketing channels is overwhelming for most beginners. That’s why we recommend jumping in and refining your process and needs from there.
When it comes to choosing a platform, our advice is to create this first post with Medium. Medium’s platform makes it easy for amateurs and pros alike to share their ideas with the world using a simple form.
Despite its simplicity to use, it has a massive reach, so you can grow your audience and even develop a following. Some bloggers will post more on Medium than on their own websites, because it is a great way to reach readers and interact with them too.
You can create your account with Medium now. Return to this course to make the most of Medium’s platform and become a good content marketer.
The Hands on Crash Course
You’ve taken your deep breath. Medium is open in another window. This course will guide you through creating your first post, from generating an idea to publishing content. We’ll break the blogging process into steps. It will be almost painless.
Choose a subject – What are you going to write about? It should be something that you know about and/or something you are passionate about. One or the other will make your post valuable internet real estate.
If you have both knowledge and passion, this combination will set you apart from most blog posts out there.
As an example, let’s say that you are knowledgeable and passionate about longboarding.
Find and answer questions – many of the best blog posts provide a solution to a problem or an answer to a question. What are some of the problems and questions related to longboarding?
A great place to find popular questions (and their answers) is Quora, a social network founded on questions and answers. Visting Quora and searching “longboarding” will tell you what Quorans (and, thus, many others) want to know on the topic.
Answer a few questions – Try to write at least 100-word answers. Since this is a subject you know about and/or are passionate about, it shouldn’t be too difficult to reach 100 words.
Relax in the knowledge that you are providing useful information for many people out there. Don’t stress about this stage. Just answer some questions and move on to the next step.
Turn your answers into blog posts – You’re going to use Medium now to start writing your first blog post.
Choose one of your Quora answers as the topic. Use the answer you wrote for Quora as a guide to your new blog post.
With Quora, we recommended that your answers be at least 100 words long. For your Medium blog post, however, we want to aim for 400 to 500 words.
Though longer content tends to perform better, it might be better to start with shorter content as a beginner. It’s less daunting, easier to manage in one sitting, and will give you a warm feeling faster than trying to upload an entire web series.
Check out this example of a Quora answer about longboarding - “What’s the quickest way to learn to longboard?*” - which can be transformed into a longer blog post for Medium.
*Note that the quickest way to learn to longboard is to get out there and do it, just like blogging.
Write your title – Medium will ask you to provide a title for your blog post. All your blog posts should have titles, because the words you use there must persuade people to read on.
Tip: A tool like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer can help you create a more compelling title. Headline Analyzer thought the following title would have a good chance of leading to good engagement: “Learn the Fun of Longboarding with These Simple Steps.”
Write the body of your post - Use some basic formatting to help your article look good and read well, but focus most on fulfilling what you said you would provide in your title.T
Tip: Consider using Google search to look for more inspiration if you need to flesh out your idea. Here’s an example of how that search might look for a post about learning longboarding.
Add images – Posts with images tend to result in more views and shares than posts without images. Images attract attention and provide information about your post and its tone.
For these reasons, you should at least add a header image. You may use one or more images in the body of the post too, but they should be relevant and add value, such as clarifying a point, adding more information, or helping the flow of the post.
Tip: If you don’t have your own photos, try using Pexels or Unsplash. Both of these sites will provide you with high-resolution, professional quality images that you can use in your posts for free.
Publish! - Once you’ve clicked “Ready to Publish” in Medium, you will have the option to add tags to your post. These are words that can help people find your content. Think about what words people will be typing to find articles like yours and use some of them as tags.
When you’ve added your tags and made any additions or tweaks to your post, hit “publish now.” Your post will be visible on Medium immediately for people to read.
That’s it! You’ve created content and published it!
Share your post – Don’t limit your readership to Medium’s existing pool. Part of being a content marketer includes inviting people to read your post via your social media platforms.
Consider how you may want to reformat your post for each platform. Instagram and Pinterest, for example, are networks with a visual focus, so your post will require adjustments to make it resonate with these crowds.
This is part of the beauty of content creation. You can use your writing on one platform to produce another post on a separate platform, which gives you more mileage per idea, increases your reach, and boosts engagement.
The Content Marketing Strategies You Just Learned
Don’t look now, but you just learned professional content marketing strategies. Here is what you have learned by doing:
Topic Research – this means finding data-driven topics that are likely to attract readers. By researching questions people are already asking, you uncovered topics that have a good probability of attracting your target audience.
Content Creation - to do content marketing, you need content. In this course, you created content by first answering a question on Quora. By documenting your own Q&As and recording frequently asked questions – whether through forms, customer conversations, networking events, webinars, or other means – you will have a list of potential content ideas to draw from whenever you need.
Content Promotion - When you distribute your content on social media platforms it is a great way to expand your reach. By learning the ins and outs of various platforms, you can target the right audience and engage them better, making you a more effective content marketer.
Repurposing Content - By sharing your content on other networks, you thought about how that it would best appear on those networks. You may also consider repurposing this content into other formats like a slideshow, a video or an infographic.
What Next? Consider Taking a Content Marketing Certification
If you’ve survived this crash course, you realize you know more about content marketing than you thought. You certainly know a lot more about the subject now than most people.
From here, content marketing can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. To learn more about content marketing, taking a free course, such as Hubspot’s Content Marketing Certification is a great way to build on your skills, grow your business, and meet like-minded people.
With this crash course, you have learned how to generate an idea, take it all the way to publication, and optimize that post to increase its reach. If you skipped signing up with Medium, do it now and get started on your first blog post.
If you’ve graduated from this crash course, you’ll know what questions are the most important to you. With every content writing learning experience, you will follow your own path to creating meaningful, useful content that converts tentative prospects into loyal customers.