Content Marketing Boot Camp: Mastering the Fundamentals

If you are new to content marketing or are looking for ways to improve your game, you've come to the right place.

Today, we are going to examine some the key areas of content creation, optimization, and promotion that will give you a leg up on even some of your most fierce competitors.

The biggest and best-kept secret in the world of content marketing is in remaining ahead of the wave with market trends. Our hope is to arm you with information that you can use long-term but frame it in the context of an evolving and ongoing effort.

Too many marketers settle into a routine that places static practices in the middle of an ever-changing market, then have the nerve to wonder why things they implemented a year ago aren't getting the same results now.

In other words, don't ever put your marketing on auto-pilot.

Even processes that you can automate will need examining and tweaking to be effective long-term.

With all that in mind, let's dive in and talk about how the pieces of a successful content marketing campaign all fit together.

Content Development and Creation

Since our focus with this piece is on affiliate marketing, all comments going forward will assume that you are attempting to market an existing product.

We can examine all the facets of a major product launch in another piece.

The reason we mention that here is because we don't want to appear to be skipping steps. The product exists. It's time to develop content around it.

Whether your affiliate program centers on information products, physical products, or specific online or offline services, the way you deliver and promote content will be about the same.

Online audiences use many of the same resources to find every type of product and it is your job to meet them where they are.

With that in mind, here are the things you should be considering when developing content:

Your Website

The way your site is formatted and designed matters. 

Responsiveness is mandatory in today's mobile-driven marketplace.Page formatting, file sizes, keyword density in your written content, and mobile-friendly user interfaces are all vital for good SEO and a superior user experience.

If you aren't sure how well-optimized your site is right now, you need to reach out to your hosting company or IT manager and ask them to run an SEO audit.

You might even want to hire an outside SEO firm to do this since some hosting companies aren't quick to point out flaws in their own design practices.

On - and Off - Page Written Content

Once you have had a chance to examine the problem areas of your website and make changes (it is inevitable that there will be at least a few), it's time to start populating your site with fresh, relevant content.

Your written content is the most important element for SEO.

The words you use and how you use them matter. In articles and blog posts, you want to maintain a 1.5 percent density of relevant keywords and you want to present text in short paragraphs.

Separating ideas into their own segments with sub-headings is also a good strategy.

Longer-form content tends to rank better than a 350-word blog post, but shorter articles can still work to your advantage if the information presented is substantive and well-written.

Good use of keywords ensures that the search engines at least acknowledge your content and examine it further. Smaller chunks of text allow site visitors to spot key terms and ideas easily when casually scrolling through your pages.

Segment headings help fine tune the process even further and allow you to steer the reader directly to the concepts you wish to convey.

Written content also encompasses other on-page considerations like page meta descriptions and mouse-over text for images. Both are important for good SEO. Other textual considerations include social media posts, email, and other off-page efforts you make to connect with your audience.

Everything from long-form blog content to the way you describe your videos on YouTube matter. Don't neglect quality in any of these areas.

If you're not sure how to proceed with written content or you are finding that your own efforts aren't yielding favorable results, seek the help of a professional copywriter or copy-writing agency.

You'll be amazed how much you can learn just by examining how someone else presents your business on paper.

Some key areas to consider within the realm of affiliate marketing include:
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Sales pages

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Long-form sales letters and VSLs

Visuals and Multimedia

Original, branded content is always going to be preferred by search engines over curated content and stock media, but using existing content is not necessarily a bad thing.

Any content that gets people's attention will aid in good rankings and increase site traffic.

With that in mind, always select images that reflect the tone and message of your written content. Visuals will almost always be spotted faster than words, especially when scrolling through on a small screen, so take the time (and spend the money) to deliver quality.

All visuals should also be optimized to decrease page load times. If you download a stock image that is 5000x3000 with a file size of 8MB, you do not want to simply upload that file to your site as is.

Even though WordPress and other web development platforms can automatically resize an image, it is still serving the original.

There are loads of free tools you can use to resize and compress both images and video so they open quickly while maintaining their visual appeal.

Optimize before you upload.

You might also want to consider cloud hosting for your multimedia files if you use a lot of them. This takes the strain off your local web server and allows pages to load faster. You also won't usurp too much bandwidth on a shared hosting server.

Doing that can get your site temporarily shut down and lead to fees that will far outweigh what you will spend on a cloud hosting plan.

Promoting Your Content

How you present content is every bit as important as paying attention to quality.

There are two highly effective avenues through which we recommend developing a solid advertising strategy: CPC/PPC ads and social media.

CPC/PPC Ads

Cost-per-click and pay-per-click ads are an easy way to enhance your SEO efforts.

They generate the traffic necessary to get your leads to your website or landing pages. At that point, it is your job to engage your audience with quality content.

Be certain that the tone of your ads matches the messaging in the content to which they point. Any lack of congruity in this area will result in a high bounce rate and a loss of trust in your brand.

People might still click on your ads, but clicks are useless without at least a small percentage of conversions. People also don't follow brands on social media that they don't trust.

Social Media

If you find it necessary to choose between CPC/PPC and social media advertising in the beginning, we recommend that you opt for the latter. Social media is the single most powerful online marketing platform there is.

The key players in particular (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) all make it easy to define specific audiences. This allows you to split test and target the exact audience that will be most likely to respond to your content in a positive way.

Begin by defining a broader cross section and then examine your metrics:
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Who is commenting and sharing?

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What conversions are you targeting and how effective are your efforts in those areas?

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Are you making effective use of pixels?

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How many distinct pixels are you using to drive conversions?

Once you have a clearer picture of who is responding and how, you can narrow the scope until you find your most responsive audience.

Then, develop and promote content that appeals mostly to that cross-section.

Nurturing Leads and Customers

Once you know who your prime audience is, you can develop an ideal avatar that drives all of your content creation strategies going forward. Keep in mind, however, that even though that avatar might not change, the way that ideal customer consumes and engages with content over time almost certainly will.

This goes back to keeping things fresh and relevant.

New content should always be optimized with current trending keywords and you should constantly track how certain types of content perform over time. If, for example, your videos start getting less engagement, it might be time to move in a different direction with them.

If no one is clicking on your blogs or links to landing pages, it's time to examine how you are promoting them and what details they cover.

Remember, this is an evolving process; you cannot let your attention wander if you want to stay on top of current trends.

Final Takeaway

Content marketing is an intricate, involved, and ongoing process, but your committed effort to it has the potential to reap incredible rewards.

Even if it takes time to really find your groove, once you know your audience well, it becomes much easier to engage with them and motivate them to trust you and do business with you.

As a final note, we would like to urge you to properly vet any and all affiliate programs you decide to promote.

The last thing you want is to watch all of your efforts crumble because someone else can't be bothered to keep their business above board.

Be sure to work with affiliates who will lend credibility to your brand, boost your reputation, and grow your business into a strong, profitable enterprise.

Feel free to post your comment below.  An email address is required but it will not be shared with anyone, put on any list, or used for any kind of marketing, just to alert you if there are any replies. Thanks and happy hunting!

PlanetBizOp.com

->Steven

Updated: Originally published February 26th 2018

September 12, 2020
  • sequoiaman says:

    I am really glad I came across your website. As a beginning website owner and beginning blogger I am always looking for tips on how to write credible content while learning new marketing tips.
    One thing you are very right about is that marketing trends are changing at a fast pace and keeping up with them is a major plus in this business.
    For a beginning blogger this website has a ton of knowledge that could be used for many purposes.

    • Steven Mann says:

      Thanks Sequolaman! Everything about the Internet changes quickly and requires almost constant study. It’s challenging keeping up with the moving target that is Internet marketing but that’s the fun to me.

      Keep studying and adapting!

      Thanks for the comment!

  • Mary says:

    Great info and tips on creating content. I’m sort of a beginning blogger and this was helpful. Especially good to know the stuff about the Visuals and multimedia as I’m not too experienced with that yet. And also how to promote my content. That’s one of the hardest things for newbies i think.

    • Steven Mann says:

      It can be overwhelming at first but good content promotes itself. The big 3 search engines purposefully seek quality in content, focus on that. Some keyword research helps as well but quality will always win in the end.

      Good luck with your new venture and thanks for the comment Mary!

  • Jacqueline says:

    Great post.
    As a fairly new blogger, I’m hearing a lot about Content Marketing. Your post has given me a lot of useful information that I can take away.

    You’ve mentioned that content should always be optimized with “current trending keywords”. I use Google trends for this.

    What are your thoughts on using Google trends to track keywords and trends? Are there better alternatives?

    • Steven Mann says:

      I don’t personally use Google trends. My favorite tool for keywords and content marketing is by far Jaaxy. It’s free to try so head over and let me know what you think.

      Thanks for the input Jacqueline!

  • James Underwood says:

    Hello,
    I’m pretty new to SEO, and I’ve been struggling with whether or not I should pay for some ads. I’ve done it in the past, with a different blog I had, but to be honest, I didn’t feel like it was worth the money.
    I ran ads on facebook and twitter, but I didn’t get any sales at all.
    It could have been that my content was lacking though, but I’m not so sure.
    Do you have any advice for a newer blogger?

    • Steven says:

      Advertising is always a risk. Not getting any sales could be for many reasons from content to targeting.

      You could try split testing your landing page, there are free plugins for WordPress for this purpose, if you use this CMS. Experiment a bit.

      Thanks for the comment James!

  • angelce903 says:

    Hello,

    I am always looking for new ways to improve my business to make it blossom as I want to make a living on affiliate marketing in the next 7 years and honestly I am thrilled with your post. I like the fact that you explain how to proceed step by step and also the fact that you’d better promote your content on social media. Personally speaking since I started promoting my content on the social media I can see an improvement on my traffic. Thanks for your advice!

  • Leslie Vaughn says:

    I think your website was very good and I hope I can learn some pointers from you as I go forward with my website. I can reassure that going through understanding the blogging process will come in very handy for me to do better on my website. maybe you could take a look at my website and let me know what I could do to change it up to do better.

    • Steven says:

      Keep studying and don’t be afraid to experiment. The other thing you could do is look at successful sites in your niche and determine what they are doing. There is a learning curve in this business but with time and effort you will be successful.

      Thanks for the input Leslie!

  • Robert says:

    Very informative and well put together-an all in one guide to blogging. I found the 1.5% density of keywords a particularly useful idea, I have never heard that before. Does that mean for example, for a 1000 word post, there should be 15 keywords? What are the research trends showing as the most effective ratio of keywords to use per post, percentage wise?

    I am always confused between adding too many keywords and not enough, since I know Google especially can be very particular.

    • Steven says:

      It’s totally possible to put keywords in the title and never reproduce them in the body of your article and rank in the number one spot. Keyword density isn’t terribly important in my experience. If you want a rule of thumb, use them in your title and once or twice in the first two paragraphs of your article.

      Write for your readers! Good quality content will rank well on its own provided you aren’t targeting a highly competitive topic. Do some keyword research but don’t obsess. Targeting an exact percentage of keywords in your article isn’t necessary and a waste of energy.

      Use your target keywords in your title, then write for your readers after that in a natural way.

      Thanks for the comment Robert!

  • Dennis says:

    Hello Steve,
    I’m really glad I have come across this. I’m a blog owner myself and all I can say writing only takes 20% of my time and content marketing makes away with the other 80%. If no one is reading the content, there’s no point of doing it. I however, have a question. You have stated that we should stick to a keyword density of 1.5%. Does keyword density still have an impact in SEO?

    • Steven says:

      It would be a little more accurate to say not to exceed that percentage. I have seen pages rank number one on Google with exact keywords in the title of the article only. I don’t personally believe keyword density is that important to search engines. Good quality information is though.

      Thanks for the input Dennis!

  • Mike says:

    This was a very helpful and insightful blog post ! And need I say ,one I will be implementing as I go forward with my own content generation ! If I come across anyone else that can use this lesson ,I will send them your way.
    Very good ! ‘
    Thanks
    Mike

  • Darren says:

    You have some really good advice here on content marketing. I’m an affiliate marketer and there is always so much to learn. In fact, the learning never actually stops, and neither does the tweaking and improving.

    One thing I’ve never quite been able to figure is why sometimes a post doesn’t rank. I pretty much follow a certain formula, and while one post ranks well, another is nowhere to be seen, despite being long enough and targeting good keywords. I guess we can’t fully understand Google in every instance.

    • Steven says:

      Exactly how Google ranks a page is sometimes a mystery. You may just need to give it some time to climb in the ranks.

      Thanks for the comment Darren!

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