Digital Insights

How-to Use How-to Guides for Content Marketing

Published: November 20, 2015

Content marketing is everywhere today. It is who we are, how we live and definitely how we do business. In fact, there is so much content marketing going on that this has generated a whole new type of content marketing: how-to guides for how to do content marketing!

But how will you know which how-to resources to use and how to use them? In this post, learn the best strategy for selecting content marketing how-to guides that directly relate to your company’s objectives and goals.

Content Marketing Defined

content marketing

The first step in choosing the best content marketing how-to guide for your needs and goals is to understand exactly what content marketing is.

In a nutshell, “content marketing” is the creation of specific marketing materials designed to attract a specific group of prospects that match the ideal demographic of your company’s target market.

So here, you can understand that you are creating materials to appeal to a specific group of people that you hope will purchase the products and services you are selling.

The Job of Content Marketing Materials

Content marketing materials have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. The best content marketing materials will do all of the following and more:

  • Introduce your company and its products/services.
  • Tell the story of your brand in a relatable way.
  • Make a case for why the prospect needs what you are selling.
  • Outline why the prospect should buy from you and not a competitor
  • Begin building a trust-based relationship that could in time become a sale.

Luckily, there are lots of different types of materials you can use to achieve these goals.

Some of the most popular content marketing materials include these:

  • Videos.
  • Memes.
  • Podcasts.
  • Webinars.
  • Print materials (brochures, flyers, postcards).
  • Powerpoint presentations.
  • Infographics.
  • Whitepapers.
  • E-books.
  • Listicles.
  • Case studies.
  • Expert interviews.
  • Research results.
  • How-to guides!

So now you may want to take a few minutes to check off the types of content marketing materials you plan to create and use from the list here. Defining your preferred content marketing materials will help you achieve two important goals:

  • One, it will direct you towards the how-to guides that can most directly address your needs and goals.
  • Two, it will in time help you develop your own how-to guide to reflect how your company approaches content marketing.

Define Your Brand Personality and Your Ideal Customer

The next step in learning how to use how-to guides for content marketing is to understand your company’s brand personality and then to define ideal customer demographic or persona.

Brand Personality

You can probably think of a company right now that has a hilarious brand mascot. And you can probably as quickly think of a company with a very serious demeanor. Where does your company brand and products/services fall on the spectrum from serious to humorous? If your brand was a person, how would you describe it to someone?

Ideal Customer

Here, gather up as much intel as you can get your hands on – gender, age, socioeconomic status, education level, ethnicity, relationship status, shopping habits, use of technology and more. Put together one or more “personas” that can serve as templates of your ideal customer.

So now you have a better idea of whether your content marketing will be serious or funny and who the materials must appeal to.

Choosing Your Content Marketing How-To Guide

At this point you have enough basic information to sift through the content marketing information overload online and find the right content marketing how-to guide for each aspect of content marketing.

To recap, you now know all of the following:

  • What content marketing itself is.
  • The job content marketing plays in selling your company’s products and services.
  • The types of content marketing materials you plan to use.
  • The tone (humorous, serious, a little of each) your materials will take.
  • The target demographic your materials must appeal to.

But there is also still some information missing. In short, you don’t know:

  • How to be sure the materials you create will be excellent marketers for you.
  • How to use the materials you will be creating.
  • How to measure the results of your content marketing campaign.

This tells you that you need three things out of any content marketing how-to guide you select – or perhaps three different content marketing how-to guides!

Selecting One or More Content Marketing How-to Guide(s)

It is now time to seek out the right how-to guide(s) for your purposes. Your first goal is to create the content marketing materials themselves, so you need a how-to guide that teaches you how to put your materials together.

Your second goal is to put together a schedule of how you plan to use your new materials, in what order and with what frequency. So you need a content marketing scheduling how-to guide to help you create your personal calendar.

Your third goal is to begin analyzing the results of your content marketing campaign(s) to adjust your strategy for better results. Here, you will want to find a content marketing how-to guide that teaches you how to analyze and tweak your strategy.

Moving Forward from Learning to Doing

You will never find any shortage of content marketing how-to guides online. There are guides for creating materials, deploying materials, analyzing materials and more. While there is great merit in learning from others, and there is great value in many of the how-to guides posted online today, they can only take you so far.

This means that the best way to use content marketing how-to guides is as a launching pad to developing your own in-house guide that your entire staff can use to develop, plan, execute and evaluate your content marketing strategy on an ongoing basis.