Cracking the Content Marketing Code: Your Best Bet for Success in 2024 (with Free Ebook)

Content is queen, if current marketing trends are any indication: according to the Content Marketing Institute, 73% of B2B marketers and 70% of B2C marketers use content marketing.

This is great news for freelancers and small businesses who may not have big bucks to spend on marketing. Sure, a professionally produced video series would be nice to have. But a short video you shot on your iPhone can be successful by accomplishing one thing: resonating with your audience.

Content marketing is all about making authentic connections, which is incredibly important for freelancers and small businesses. In this article, you’ll gain a better understanding of content marketing. You’ll also learn tips and best practices for creating a content strategy for your business.

What is Content Marketing?

First things first: what is content marketing? 

Content marketing focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and engage your target audience. Instead of directly promoting a product or service, content marketing aims to provide useful information, entertain, or help solve problems. Your content can take various forms, such as blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, and social media posts.

Content Marketing IRL

You recently adopted a puppy (congrats!) and you want to learn some basic obedience commands. You search for “How to train a dog” and click the first search result, which opens a blog post on a major pet supply retailer’s website. You’ve never heard of this retailer before, so you decide to click around their website to see what they sell. 

This is content marketing: the pet supply retailer uses educational blog posts to attract dog owners to their website and drive sales.  

Why is Content Marketing Important?

Content marketing helps you achieve your business goals, no matter the size of your business. Content marketing is an extremely valuable and versatile tool in your marketing playbook because it can scale alongside your business.

Here are some examples of how different types of content can help your business grow:

Type of contentHow it helps your business grow
Social media postsIncreases awareness of your product or service through user engagement (shares, likes, comments, etc.). 
Blog postsBrings new visitors to your website via search engines, social media posts, or backlinks (when other websites link to yours). Increases conversions and generates leads (sign up for a free trial of your product, download content, book a demo/meeting, or subscribe to your email list).
Podcast guest speaker appearanceIncreases brand awareness by introducing your product or service to the podcast’s established listener base. Think of it as free advertising! Positions you or your business as an industry thought leader, which establishes credibility and trust for your brand.
Email newsletterIncreases customer loyalty by establishing an authentic and personal connection. Drives traffic to your website (link clicks). Generates sales leads (content downloads). Educates prospective customers in the “Consideration” phase of the buyer journey.
WebinarIncreases brand affinity by providing educational information to customers and other attendees. Generates sales leads. Positions you or your business as an industry thought leader, which establishes credibility and trust for your brand.

By consistently delivering valuable content, you position your business as an authority in your industry. This helps to increase brand awareness, sales, and customer loyalty.

How Does Content Marketing Work?

Content marketing works by attracting new customers, educating them on your product or service, and convincing them to convert (such as requesting a demo/meeting or signing up for a free trial of your software).

These three stages make up what’s known as the customer journey, or marketing funnel:

  • Top-of-the-funnel content: Creates awareness of your product or service and helps new customers discover your business. 
  • Middle-of-the-funnel content: Educates prospective customers on your product/service as they consider your business.
  • Bottom of the funnel content: Drives prospective customers to take a desired action (convert).

Content Marketing Buyer’s Journey (Example)

A new customer is rarely born from a single piece of content, and each buyer’s journey may look different. Using the marketing funnel above, a traditional buyer’s journey looks like this:

Top of the FunnelMiddle of the FunnelBottom of the Funnel
Taylor is a freelance writer who needs help managing her business expenses. She turns to her favorite search to ask, “What is the best accounting software for freelancers?” Taylor clicks one of the search results, which happens to be a blog post on the website of a software tool for freelancers.Taylor reads the blog post and thinks, “Hmm, this could be the solution I need.” So she clicks around the website to learn more about the software, reading a competitive comparison blog post, a case study, and the pricing page.Intrigued, Taylor reads some raving customer reviews. She decides to sign up for a free trial of the software so she can make sure it’s a good fit before committing to a subscription.  
Achievement Unlocked: AwarenessAchievement Unlocked: Consideration Achievement Unlocked: Conversion

The Gift That Keeps Giving

The beauty of content marketing is that it gives back as much as you put into it. By developing a thoughtful content strategy that’s right-sized to your business, your content marketing efforts can pay off in many ways, from building brand awareness to driving web traffic to capturing leads and closing new business. Content marketing truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

Download Our FREE Content Strategy Ebook

Ready to level up your content marketing? Download our FREE ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Content Strategy for Freelancers and Small Businesses. In this guide, you’ll learn the key steps to creating a content strategy, plus tips, examples, and best practices to hit the ground running.

Download ebook

By Erin Conrad

January 2, 2024

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