Content Marketing: The Ultimate Guide Series

What is content marketing & what are the benefits of content marketing?

Learn this and more in this first blog of our content marketing series!

Content is the foundation on which most businesses are built. Content that is informative, compelling, and well-written is perhaps more effective than any other form of digital marketing. People are more likely to engage with and share content that makes them smile, ponder, or change something about the way they live their lives. Content exists in many forms—not just text on a white background. When it comes to content marketing, there are 5 main categories proven to reap the most benefits for marketers: email marketing, blogging and SEO, infographics, podcasts and webinars, and social media.

In this first article, we’ll start by providing a high-level overview of each of these 5 categories. In upcoming articles, we’ll unpack each category individually. Let’s get started!

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First, what is content marketing?

Traditional marketing saw a big shift with the rapid evolution of the internet. Before information could be transmitted digitally, it was disseminated through more traditional means – pamphlets, billboards, flyers, radio announcements, and grainy TV ads. Marketing was all about the product. It was all about key features and what differentiated brand X from brand Y.

Now, marketing is more about the customer than the actual product. The customer is treated like a real human being, not just a wallet. Companies, more than ever before, are appealing to their audiences’ emotions, desires, and pains. Through marketing, businesses provide relevant and useful content to help customers solve issues and improve their day-to-day lives.

Content marketing refers to any material that delivers information to a person. This is a broad definition—content marketing is a broad field. To give you a better idea of what it entails, here are a few examples of representations of content marketing:

  • Blogging
  • Email marketing
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts or webinars
  • Social media content
  • E-books
  • Whitepapers
  • Case studies
  • Slide decks
  • Free applications
  • SlideShare presentations
  • Video content
  • Interviews/ Q & As
  • Quizzes or surveys
  • Courses
  • Checklists

For the purposes of this blog series, this article focuses on the first 5 bullet points mentioned above. To start, let’s unpack the importance of blogging as a facet of content marketing.

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Blogs are an imperative part of marketing in 2020. If you’re not blogging, you’re missing out on a major opportunity. Blogs give business owners the chance to drive relevant leads to their site by providing informative and insightful content that is relevant to the audience. Here are some of the important benefits of blogging:

Increases your SEO. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process ofimproving the quantity and quality of content to a website. SEO uses unpaid methods, like optimizing photos and videos, making user friendly landing pages, interlinking, optimizing a site for mobile, improving site speed, and adding relevant H1s, H2s, H3s, title tags, and alt text to webpages. By using keywords and keyphrases relevant to your products and services in blogs, you are more likely to attract relevant prospects, and boost your ranking in search engines.

Positions your company as an industry leader. Well-written and informative blogs position a brand as an industry leader, and help build trust with the audience. By providing fact-checked, researched, and verified content, visitors are more likely to revisit and refer to the site to stay informed. If you are not a total expert in your industry, that’s okay. Blogs are a great opportunity to invite external expert speakers to contribute guest posts.

Provides opportunities to partner with other companies. Blogging is a great way to work with and develop connections with other companies in the industry. You can set up a one-for-one sharing relationship: you write one blog for their site, and they write one for yours, all the while linking back to each other’s sites. This helps the website build authority in search engines like Google, build roots in the community, and develop a trustworthy network of customers and prospects.

For more insights on blogging, see our article, Blogging: The Ultimate Guide.

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Email Marketing

Did you know that 9 out of every 10 marketers use email marketing to distribute content organically? Email marketing is one of the most used ways to share information with contacts directly. Emails are great because they can be highly personalized, and cater to customers’ specific needs and desires. (Emails with personalized subject lines, in fact, will generate 50% higher open rates). Here are the key benefits of email marketing for your business:

Increases sales. According to a survey conducted by HubSpot, 59% of respondents say marketing emails directly influence their purchasing decisions. This is huge. When crafted with care, marketing emails can serve as the extra push some contacts need to finalize their decision on a service or product.

Saves time and resources with automation. Most email marketing platforms offer a wide variety of automated services, like drip campaigns, grading and scoring, and automatic welcome or birthday emails. Automation helps nurture leads and make them more receptive, build trust with existing customers, and increase brand awareness. Since automation saves so much time and effort, it is one of the most cost-effective options for a business.

Creates an open dialogue with customers and prospects. Emails are the conduit through which you develop deep, meaningful connections with the audience, and build trust. By allowing contacts to respond to emails (and answering their queries), it creates a stronger bond and helps build up a community around the brand.

See our Email Marketing: The Ultimate Guide article for further details on email marketing.

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Infographics are one of the most effective types of visual content marketing. In 2020, 67% of digital marketers say they create infographics to help promote their brand. Visual content is key because it draws people in much quicker than traditional written content. Visuals elements like colour design, graphics, images, charts, and illustrations can increase readership by up to 80%. Here are just a few of the myriad benefits you can expect with infographics:

Allows you to simplify a complex idea. Some concepts, like complex instructions, or highly technical products or services, are better off explained with visuals. Traditional content can be clunky and difficult to follow. Infographics allow marketers to present a complex topic in simple terms. Information can be separated using bullet points, different shapes or segments, or by colour or font. It’s all about showing, not telling.

Linkable. Interactive infographics are great because they can be used to convey many pieces of information in an engaging way. Features like hovering for more information, drop-downs or expand buttons, and clickable links all help the user dig deeper into your site. When posted to social media, infographics encourage users to visit the website and find out more about your products and services.

They are memorable. Visual content is processed 60,000 times faster than text. What’s more, engaging visuals are far more likely to be recalled by a person later on. A person is far more likely to remember a short, concise infographic than a long-winded blog that takes 6 paragraphs to get to the punchline (that’s not to say that blogs aren’t important though, because they are!)

Podcasts and Webinars

Podcasts and webinars have seen an enormous rise in popularity in recent years. Nearly one quarter of Americans listen to podcasts weekly, 54% of which say they think about buying products advertised during podcasts. Webinars are equally as effective, with 61% of marketers using them as part of their marketing strategy. Studies show that a whopping 20-40% of webinar attendees turn into qualified leads. Here are the benefits to making podcasts and webinars part of your content marketing strategy:

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Podcasts are easy to consume. We live in a world of multi-taskers. Nowadays, people have a hard time focusing on one thing at a time, and are unlikely to pay full attention to an hour-long presentation. Thankfully, podcasts provide stimulating content that can be consumed by users while they work, eat, relax, or exercise.

Webinars produce almost perfect sales leads. Webinars serve as informative, compelling videos that often subtly promote a company’s products or services. A contact who signs up for a webinar is more or less an already perfect lead, as it suggests the contact is highly interested in the subject matter, and has taken the time out of their day to learn more about the subject.

Webinars make it easy to collect contact information. Signing up for a webinar generally requires filling out a contact form with required fields like email, occupation, region, and industry. This helps companies build out their community, and increase the number of prospects on their mailing lists.

Our article Webinars & Podcasts: The Ultimate Guide has some good resources available to you.

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Social Media

When it comes to social media content marketing, the customer is the focal point. There are handfuls of social media platforms that can be used to your advantage to build closer relationships with customers and catch the eye of new prospects – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram being the most popular. Users spend an average of 3 hours per day browsing through content and messaging on social media application – that’s a lot of airtime for your business! Here are just a few of the advantages of using social media as a content marketing tactic:

Creates brand recognition. Social media is a highly visual platform, which makes it the perfect place to gain brand awareness. Consumers purchase brands they recognize. The high click and share rate of content on social media means it gets to more people, faster, and can expand to a network beyond your immediate contacts.

Provides feedback on customers and prospects. The idea of “social listening” came with the emergence of social media platforms. It is an important philosophy for marketers, as it entails watching and interpreting information from the audience. Learn what customers like, dislike, and what their pain points are. This information will help determine the tone and language used when addressing the audience, and ensure future content is on brand.

Gives insights and data. Most social media platforms come with basic analytics software built in. Find out how many people visit a page, like, comment, or share content, or follow your brand online. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook allow marketers to view insights on all posts. With a program like Zoho Social or Hootsuite, you can manage and gain multiple insights on all of your social platforms in one place.

We’ve put together a good article called Social Media: The Ultimate Guide, check it out when you get the chance.

A good marketing strategy is built around content. Content is at the heart of a company – it is the way in which marketers share their brand and communicate a unique message to the outside world. Quality content is concise, well-researched, and written with SEO in mind. Content marketing is an enormous field. Blogging, making infographics, email marketing, social media marketing, and podcasts and webinars are among the top ways to promote a business using content. To find out more about how your business can benefit from a content marketing strategy, get in touch with the team at PaintedRobot.

The Ultimate Guide Series

This article is part of an ongoing series; The Ultimate Guide for Content Marketing. Please see our other articles in this series for more details.

Webinars and Podcasts: The Ultimate Guide
Email Marketing: The Ultimate Guide
Blogging: The Ultimate Guide
Social Media Marketing: The Ultimate Guide

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