Today we are going to talk about something that is pretty dear to my heart because it’s what I used to build my businesses. And that is content marketing.
So what’s content marketing? Basically, content marketing is something that you use to attract people who are likely to be interested in what you have to say.
This might concern your business, maybe the service you provide, or even a certain product that you want to sell. Either way, your audience flocks to you because what you have to say is important, and valuable to them.
Now, I’m not saying that content marketing is a build-it-and-then-they-will-come kind of strategy, although that may be the case when your website has a very powerful SEO authority behind it.
Content marketing still has that marketing aspect that you have to do. That’s why we call it content marketing, because the content has to be fantastic, valuable, great, and speaks to the audience.
The marketing part of this is you going out of your way to make sure that the content that you’ve so beautifully invested in, is read by the people who you want to read it. And, that content is something that they want to share with their friends and families. These people engage and interact with that piece of content that you have created.
So now that we’ve tackled what content marketing is, how do you do it — and how do you stand out against the sea of content that is just the internet? This includes the videos out there on YouTube, Tiktok, Facebook, and all of the written word content that exist on other platforms. All the aggregators, too, like wikiHow and Wikipedia.
How do you compete with the sheer number of content out there — and with all the pieces that seem so complete? That is what we’re going to be tackling today.
First, you have to choose which platform you’ll use for your content. Are you going to be publishing a video? Or are you going to be publishing the written word? Or are you going to be publishing podcasts?
Based on what platform you choose, you also have to optimize your content in such a way that it would have maximum engagement and retention.
If it’s written word, then you’re going to want to create content that really addresses the concerns of your potential readers. You want it to be complete, comprehensive, and cohesive. This is key for making it easy to understand and learn from.
Now, if you’re going to do video as a platform, what you need is for the video to be engaging — to have good energy, excitement, and value. This means making a video where people can learn something from it, for example. Or, if you’re making videos for entertainment, of course, you have to make people laugh. If they’re not laughing then you are not really succeeding, right?
So you have to make sure that your video is a success when it comes to what you made it for.
And, you have to make sure that your viewers are retained, in the sense that, if they started watching your video, they are going to be watching it all the way till the end.
If you’re going to do podcasting, then what you want to happen is for your audio to be clear, crisp, and free of any background noise. You’ll also want to make sure that no sudden audio will appear within the podcast.
In short, you need to make sure that your podcast sounds clean.
For that to happen, you need to remove any background sounds and splice out all of the unnecessary details and stutters.
So again, to wrap it up, how to optimize your content for content marketing will depend on the platform you’re choosing.
Now, let’s talk about the content itself. How are you going to stand out within the sea of content that is on the internet? How is it going to be original? What would make people want to interact and engage and consume your content? And there are so many ways that you can do this.
Number one would be: you are you, and no one else can be like you. Much like how your fingerprint is unique to yourself. Put that into your content, and that is going to make your content special.
Another thing that would make it stand out is if that content really speaks to your audience.
You want your target readers to be able to resonate with your content — to feel that the person that your content is talking about is them. Meaning they feel like you’re trying to tell them something important, something valuable that you want to impart to them. You make things simple for them to understand. And you make sure that you put out all of the fluff. You take out all of the highfalutin words that they don’t really care about.
They need to think, “I have that problem. I’m looking for that product. That’s the perfect solution that I’m looking for.”
You want them to react, and you want their emotion to be tugged by your content.
If your content is not able to do that, whether it’s written word, video, or a podcast that they can listen to, then it’s not going to fly. That piece of content, even if you try to market it by putting a colossal amount of effort into marketing it, will not fly.
This is simply because people will not engage with it. They will not share it with their friends, and it’s going to remain in Davy Jones’ locker somewhere. Now you have to say goodbye to all that time, effort, money, and energy that you put into creating that content, which beats the purpose of creating that content in the first place. And if you have a bad piece of content, then you cannot do good content marketing with that piece of content.
If you care about your content, really speaking to your audience, that will make your content stand out because so much of the content published out there honestly is still not good.
They don’t care about the audience. They’re writing for a certain specific machine. Maybe they’re writing too much for Google’s algorithm.
So, make your content human. At the same time, of course, following SEO best practices. You can read our guides on SEO copywriting. I also have a course with Nas Academy coming out — check that out here!
Another thing that would help your content really stand out is if you put your own analysis, theories, and predictions into it.
Now, that might be a little risky — or it may be really risky, depending on what you’re going to be putting in there. But that’s also saying that this content is something that you care about and that you really did. It’s something that you put thought into, and you’re willing to roll the dice and risk being wrong about it.
But if you’re right, and people see that you really know what you’re talking about — because you were able to actually predict something or theorize something that came true — then that would make your content stand out. And people do follow people who are experts in their fields, thought leaders.
In fact, that is how SEO Hacker began. You see, when I started SEO Hacker (I think that was somewhere in April of 2010), I was already blogging for another blog called God and You, which I started in late 2009.
In that God and You blog, I would just write articles that I really care about. I’m a Born Again Christian. During that time I was single, so I would write about my single Christian journey. That was it — but a lot of people would read and share my stuff.
Those are still around (and you can see them here in sean.si/ideas).
And when I started with SEO Hacker, I started with a lot of experience from my God and You blog.
With SEO Hacker, all I was thinking about was that I couldn’t write what I was learning about SEO in my previous blog, as it was for my spiritual journey as a single Christian guy. So, I made a new blog.
During that time, I was using SEO to improve my content for the God and You blog. That was it — it wasn’t to help SEO Hacker rank it higher, nor was I doing it as a business (yet). I was simply using SEO and what little I knew back then to make sure my God and You blog ranked high and ended up getting good readers, traffic, and subscribers.
And I would journal everything I was learning about SEO in the SEO Hacker blog. I would write at least once a week, with the content being like journal entries for the largest part. But, I would write them well, in hopes that someone else would read them, and feel like it has added value to them.
I was also trying to teach people in the SEO community and digital marketing community, who wanted to learn more about SEO. This was done by sharing my own experiments and experiences with them, and by also predicting and theorizing what it would be like five, six months, maybe a year from now.
People loved that about SEO Hacker, and they started sharing my articles, often without me knowing.
A lot of them started translating my articles into different languages, mostly German. I don’t know why. We got a lot of Indian readers as well!
These people would share my articles, we’d get a lot more traffic. This eventually led to a lot more inquiries, and then more clients started to come in. And then, I got to close more deals.
You see, the magic of content marketing is that it’s actually marketing. It is something that will help you get the word out for your business, for your product, for your service, and whatever it is you’re trying to sell.
Though I was simply using the SEO Hacker blog as a journal, the content I made was marketed and shared. I would share it on social media, of course, but other people share it more and more. They would share it via email. They would share it via LinkedIn. They would share it via Facebook.
And, because they shared that with me, I started ranking higher as well. People would also link to my blog, making my articles their reference, or share my stuff on their blogs and websites. This helped a lot with organic search rankings.
So, I got a lot of traffic in SEO Hacker. Not by my own shares, but by a lot of other people’s efforts in sharing our articles. And that is the beauty of content marketing.
In those older pieces of content, I wrote, if you have a chance to check out some of them, you’ll see I wasn’t trying to sell SEO. I was trying to teach people how to do SEO, through my opinions and my experience. And, I was trying to teach people what I think would happen to the industry at large, what would happen to digital marketing, and how all of the other businesses that weren’t currently doing it would adopt it someday.
If you check out that blog today, you’ll see we’ve got tons of readers. And, we’ve gotten a lot of clients.
While I started freelancing, this eventually led to me hiring and outsourcing people for a lot of the processes that I invented for SEO during that time. And then more clients would come in because we started ranking higher with our keywords.
Right now, if you check SEO Philippines, that keyword in and of itself — which is arguably the most difficult keyword in the country — SEO Hacker is ranking number one. We get a lot of clients from there. We also get a lot of inquiries from the same. And, SEO Hacker is now pretty much the most well-known company here in the country.
And it started because of simple content marketing.
If you’re looking for content marketing, how to do it, and where to start for your business, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I read and respond to every email I get!
We can set an exploratory zoom meeting, with no commitments. I’m just going to give you ideas on what we can improve in your business’ content and how we can make sure that your content marketing efforts are maximized.