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Content Marketing for Beginners – DigitalMarketer

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Content Marketing for Beginners - DigitalMarketer

A simple, 2-hour-per-month content marketing framework for the content beginner. 

Content marketing is vital in developing your audience’s “know, like and trust” factor. It can overcome objections before they happen, increase the perceived value of your offers, and increase customer lifetime. This simple framework will teach you how to create compelling content and repurpose it for multiple platforms in about 2-hours per month. 

Core & Hygiene Content 

There are two categories of content that every business needs in their content marketing strategy. Core Content and Hygiene Content. 

Core Content is the core of your marketing efforts. It should deliver incredible value and include an opt-in. Creating Core Content is resource intensive, so how do you fill in the gaps in your content calendar? Hygiene Content. 

Hygiene Content serves the vital purpose of staying present and relevant to your audience. If Core Content is your 6-month intensive dental cleaning, Hygiene Content is brushing your teeth daily. Creating one type won’t guarantee dental (or content) disaster but combining both is ideal.

Core Content = Quality

Hygiene Content = Quantity

Hygiene Content allows you to create the quantity of content you need to be present and relevant in the highly competitive content marketing world without draining your resources or becoming a full-time content marketer. 

Core Content

It’s the most important content you create and is directly related to your customers’ biggest problems and how you solve them. To create Core Content, choose 2-5 core topics or categories. These should be the topics most important to your customer and directly related to your solution. Let’s look at an example. 

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Tim’s Tax Team is a small business accounting firm specializing in tax filing and corporate tax breaks. Their customers’ biggest challenges are meeting corporate tax requirements, proper record keeping, and audits. 

Tim’s Tax Team Core Content Topics

  1. Tax Filing 
  2. Audits 
  3. Corporate Bookkeeping
  4. Corporate Tax Breaks

Tim’s Tax Team Core Content Examples

  • How to save money on your corporate tax filing 
  • How to become audit-proof
  • Why your bookkeeping could cost you thousands of dollars in penalties (and how to prevent it)
  • The five most missed corporate tax breaks

Hygiene Content

Hygiene Content is the in-between content that keeps your brand in the hearts and minds of your customers without taking hours to create. It provides value and entertainment but doesn’t have the same depth as your core content. 

Hygiene Content topics are relevant to your customer but don’t necessarily have to be related to the problem you solve or your offers. To create Hygiene Content, identify 3-5 topics relevant to your ideal customer or related to your industry. Let’s look at Tim’s Tax Team again.

Tim’s Tax Team works primarily with local brick-and-mortar restaurants and retail businesses. Their clients are between the ages of 45-60, family-oriented and spend their weekends barbequing and watching the local football team. They aren’t tech-savvy and rely heavily on their accountants and bookkeepers to provide technical recommendations.

Tim’s Tax Team Hygiene Topics 

  1. Football
  2. Software & Technical Recommendations
  3. Restaurant Finance & Tax Considerations
  4. Retail Business Finance & Tax Considerations
  5. How to use your business to build a family legacy 

Hygiene Content Examples

  • Football and Finance: How to build a rock-solid business financial foundation with football strategy.
  • The best accounting software for small restaurants 
  • The biggest money mistakes restaurants make 
  • Inventory & Taxes: How retail businesses can save money with better inventory management 
  • Family business finances: three steps to creating generational wealth with your small business

Case Studies 

Let’s look at a few REAL examples. 

HubSpot

HubSpot is an all-in-one CRM platform for businesses that have growing teams with growing needs and can no longer manage multiple platforms. Their customers typically have marketing, sales, operations, and service departments that are rapidly growing and collaborating and need effective strategies and tools. 

HubSpot’s Core Content Topics  

  • Marketing Strategy
  • Sales Processes and Systems
  • Customer Services

HubSpot Core Content Examples

HubSpot Hygiene Content Topics

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HubSpot understands that its customers are interested in many sub-topics related to its Core Content Topics. They want to learn about the latest social media strategies, website development tips, benchmark data and industry metrics. HubSpot combines corporate humor and educational content on the sub-topics relevant to the everyday lives of their consumers–anyone working in marketing, sales, or service,  

  • Social media tips and tactics
  • Relatable office moments and experiences
  • Email humor
  • Website sub-topics

HubSpot Hygiene Content Examples

TurboTax 

TurboTax is an Online Accounting Software with a primary market of individuals and entrepreneurs with simple accounting needs who don’t want to hire an accountant but don’t want to miss out on deductions, incentives, or tax breaks. 

TurboTax Core Content Topics

TurboTax’s Core Content Topics are directly related to solving the most common taxes and accounting problems their customers face with actionable tips and opt-ins. 

  • Tax Basics
  • Credits & Deductions
  • Income & Investments

TurboTax Core Content Examples 

TurboTax Hygiene Topics   

TurboTax’s Hygiene Content Topics provide quick tips and information on tax filing and investing sub-topics.

  • New Tax Credits 
  • Medical & Disability Tax Considerations
  • Organizing Financial & Tax Documents
  • Spending & Saving Tips 

TurboTax Hygiene Content Examples

DigitalMarketer

As the premier online community for digital marketing professionals, DigitalMarketer provides educational resources, certifications and coaching programs for digital marketing professionals, businesses, and agencies. 

DigitalMarketer’s Core Content Topics

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Marketing is rapidly changing, and finding up-to-date credible information, tools, and strategies is challenging. DigitalMarketer’s solution is to provide a one-stop shop for marketing certifications and programs that help marketing professionals stay ahead. 

  • The Marketing Professional 
  • Effective Marketing Strategy 

DigitalMarketer Core Content Examples 

DigitalMarketer Hygiene Content Topics

Marketing has many sub-topics and platforms, so DigitalMarketer provides relevant information and resources pertinent to their consumers’ everyday lives–anyone working in marketing.

  • Email
  • Social Media
  • Websites
  • Content & Copywriting 
  • Driving Traffic
  • Increasing Conversions

DigitalMarketer Hygiene Content Examples 

What type of marketer are you?

Now that you understand the two types of content and have identified your Core and Hygiene Content Topics, it’s time to create a sustainable content marketing workflow. With this simple workflow, you’ll create one long-form piece of Core Content and splinter it into up to 30+ pieces for greater reach instead of making all your content from scratch. 

The Workflow

  1. Create Long-Form Core Content 
  2. Splinter 
  3. Fill in gaps with Hygiene Content
  4. Repurpose

Step 1. Create Long-Form Core Content

Long-form content can come in many forms, including written, video and audio. Choose the format that works best for you to start this process. 

If you love writing, write a blog post. 

If you love talking, record audio or video.

If you don’t like any of that, invite a friend over and have them ask you questions while you record the audio or video. 

Step 2. Splinter

Content Splintering is taking the parts of your long-form content to make more content for multiple platforms. You can splinter your long-form content into podcasts, YouTube videos, emails, blog posts, and social media posts.

If you are starting with long-form video or audio content, you’ll need an application that transcribes your video or audio. The program I love is Descript which transcribes your video and audio content, and as you edit the transcription, it automatically edits the video and audio. 

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Splintering Formats

You can splinter your long-form content into various formats, including audiograms, short videos like TikTok’s or Reels, and social media graphics and captions. Here are a few of the most common splinter formats.

  • Long YouTube Video
  • Short YouTube Video 
  • Short TikTok’s and Reels
  • Podcast Episodes
  • Audiograms
  • Blog Posts
  • Emails
  • Quick Tip Social Media Posts
  • Quote Social Media Posts
  • Reminder Social Media Posts
  • Stats & Data Social Media Posts
  • Content Announcements
  • Summary Posts

You don’t need to be a video editor, audio expert, or writer to create great content. Practice is the fastest way to get better. Quantity, consistency, and speed are the most important things when building your content marketing engine. 

You don’t need expensive applications, fancy cameras, or high-tech equipment to create great content. Great tech can turn good content into great content, but no amount of tech can turn bad content into good content. Focus on the quality of your message and information. Your iPhone and a simple video or audio editing software like Descript or Garage Band are enough to get you started.

Workflow Example: Long-Form Video Splintering

  1. Record a long-form (10-30 min) video. You can edit or leave the video as is and post it on YouTube. 
  2. Identify 2-3 of the main points in the video and make mid-sized (3-10 min) YouTube videos. 
  3. Identify any soundbites, tips or quotes in the video and create short YouTube videos, TikTok’s, or Instagram Reels (5 sec – 3 min). 
  4. Transcribe the video and edit the transcription into a blog post with headlines and an opt-in. 
  5. Identify the main points from the blog post and create content emails. Add the emails to your automated nurture campaign and send them to your existing list.  
  6. Identify the best quotes from the transcription and create social media posts with the quote in the graphic or caption.
  7. Identify the top tips or hacks from the transcription to create social media posts with the tips or hacks as a carousel or in the caption. 
  8. Identify reminders you can share with your audience based on the tips or actions your long-form content highlights to create social media posts.   
  9. Identify any statistics, metrics, or data relevant to the content to create social media posts. 

Workflow Example: Long-Form Audio

  1. Record a long-form (10-30 min) audio clip. Edit or leave it as is and publish it as a podcast episode. 
  2. Identify any soundbites in the audio and create audiograms. Post them as short YouTube videos, TikTok’s, or Instagram Reels (5 sec – 3 min). 
  3. Transcribe the audio and edit the transcription into a blog post with headlines and an opt-in. 
  4. Identify the main points from the blog post and create content emails. Add the emails to your automated nurture campaign and send them to your existing list.  
  5. Identify the best quotes from the transcription and create social media posts with the quote in the graphic or caption.
  6. Identify the top tips or hacks from the transcription to create social media posts with the tips or hacks as a carousel or in the caption. 
  7. Identify reminders you can share with your audience based on the tips or actions your long-form content highlights to create social media posts.   
  8. Identify any statistics, metrics, or data relevant to the content to create social media posts. 

Workflow Example: Long-Form Written 

  1. Write a Blog Post.
  2. Identify 1-3 main points and create content emails to add to your automated nurture campaign and send to your existing list.  
  3. Create an announcement email that teases the long-form content and drives subscribers to watch, read or listen. 
  4. Identify the best quotes from the blog post and create social media posts with the quote in the graphic or caption.
  5. Identify the top tips or hacks from the blog post to create social media posts with the tips or hacks as a carousel or in the caption. 
  6. Identify reminders you can share with your audience based on the tips or actions your long-form content highlights to create social media posts.   
  7. Identify any statistics, metrics, or data relevant to the content to create social media posts. 

Step 3. Fill in gaps with Hygiene Content 

No matter how incredible you are at splintering your core content, there will still be a few gaps in your content calendar. You can fill those gaps with Hygiene Content. 

For the content beginner, you can write a few extra social media posts or record short videos or audio clips on your Hygiene Content Topics to fill in the gaps. For seasoned professionals, create long-form Hygiene Content and splinter it using the same workflow as your Core Content.

Repurposing Content

Just because your content has been posted doesn’t mean you can’t use it again. You must consistently remind your audience who you are and the value you provide. Don’t be afraid of being repetitive because consistency in messaging is vital when building trust with your audience. Repurpose existing content to give your older content new life and build trust with your audience.

Ways To Repurpose Existing Content

  1. Updating
  2. Headline Swapping
  3. Format Switching
  4. Copy & Paste

Updating

Content Updating is taking existing content and updating it to be relevant and current. This can be as simple as changing the design, updating the year, or adding items to a list. 

Here’s an example:

  1. Write a Blog Post
  2. Wait for 90-days to 1 year
  3. Update the post with relevant examples
  4. Change the dates
  5. Improve the design
  6. Add any information needed to make the post more current.

Headline Swapping

Headline Swapping is reusing existing content with a fresh new headline. 

Here’s an example:

  1. Write a social media post
  2. Wait 90-days to 1 year 
  3. Repost with a new headline in the graphic and caption.

Format Switching

Format Switching is when you repurpose an existing piece of content in a new format. You can switch a long-form blog post into a checklist, change a carousel social media post into a PDF download and turn an email into a short YouTube video. Format switching is a great way to take your splintered content and get even more use. 

Here’s how it works:

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  1. Write a Checklist LinkedIn Post
  2. Wait for 90-days to 1 year.  
  3. Switch that LinkedIn post into a short video clip and repost it to LinkedIn.

Copy & Paste

Copy & Paste is when you reuse existing content without changing it. This is standard practice on social media, where creators will repost their best-performing existing content without changing it after 90-days.  

Here’s how it works:

  1. Create a social media post.
  2. Wait for 90-days to 1 year.
  3. Copy & paste the social media post without making changes and repost it.

2-Hours Per Month

Creating content shouldn’t be your full-time job unless you are a content creator. By following this framework, you can create your core content, splinter it, and fill in the gaps with Hygiene Content in about 2-hours per month. 

Here’s how:

  1. Time Limit

Most people waste hours trying to create the perfect piece of long-form core content and never end up posting or splintering it. Instead of letting perfectionism hold you back, set a time and only give yourself 1-hour each month to create your core content. That’s it, and whatever you make in that hour is posted. Get in the reps first; you’ll nail the process over time. 

  1. Focus Time

Distractions are a content creator’s worst enemy. Your phone notifications start blasting, and the creativity is gone. Block off two hours each month for content creation with no distractions, and you’ll be amazed at how much you accomplish. 

  1. Templates

One of the easiest ways to streamline this process is to use templates. Here are a few of my favorite templates that make this process a breeze. It’s as simple as doing it once and optimizing the template as you go. 

Video speaking points template

Video thumbnail

Video captions

Blog post templates

Podcast description template

Email templates

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Social media graphic templates

  1. Workflows and SOPs

Like any business operation, a checklist or standard operating procedure (SOP) will improve efficiency and quality control. Write out your step-by-step process as a checklist or SOP. It will save you time, energy, and a lot of frustration if you do it from the start. You can even use the example workflows from this article to get started! 

With a consistent flow of valuable content delivered to your audience, you will develop trust, position your brand as an authority, and remain present and relevant in your customers’ lives. Leverage the power of content marketing with this simple framework to attract, engage and retain your ideal customers. 


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MARKETING

6 martech contract gotchas you need to be aware of

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6 martech contract gotchas you need to be aware of

Having worked at several organizations and dealt with many more vendors, I’ve seen my share of client-vendor relationships and their associated “gotchas.” 

Contracts are complex for a reason. That’s why martech practitioners are wise to lean on lawyers and buyers during the procurement process. They typically notice terms that could undoubtedly catch business stakeholders off guard.

Remember, all relationships end. It is important to look for thorny issues that can wreak havoc on future plans.

I’ve seen and heard of my share of contract gotchas. Here are some generalizations to look out for.

1. Data

So, you have a great data vendor. You use them to buy contacts and information as well as to enrich what data you’ve already got. 

When you decide to churn from the vendor, does your contract allow you to keep and use the data you’ve pulled into your CRM or other systems after the relationship ends? 

You had better check.

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2. Funds

There are many reasons why you would want to give funds in advance to a vendor. Perhaps it pays for search ads or allows your representatives to send gifts to prospective and current customers. 

When you change vendors, will they return unused funds? That may not be a big deal for small sums of money. 

Further, while annoying, processing fees aren’t unheard of. But what happens when a lot of cash is left in the system? 

You had better make sure that you can get that back.

3. Service-level agreements (SLAs)

Your business is important, and your projects are a big deal. Yet, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get a prompt response to a question or action when something wrong happens. 

That’s where SLAs come in. 

It’s how your vendor tells you they will respond to questions and issues. A higher price point typically will get a client a better SLA that requires the vendor to respond and act more quickly — and more of the time to boot (i.e., 24/7 service vs. standard business hours). 

Make sure that an SLA meets your expectations. 

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Further, remember that most of the time, you get what you pay for. So, if you want a better SLA, you may have to pay for it.


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4. Poaching

Clients and vendors alike are always looking for quality people to employ. Sometimes they find them on the other side of the client-vendor relationship. 

Are you OK with them poaching one of your team members? 

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If not, this should be discussed and put into writing during the contract negotiation phase, a renewal, or at any time if it is that important.

 I have dealt with organizations that are against anti-poaching clauses to the point that a requirement to have one is a dealbreaker. Sometimes senior leadership or board members are adamant about an individual’s freedom to work where they please — even if one of their organization’s employees departs to work for a customer or vendor. 

5. Freebies

It is not unheard of for vendors to offer their customers freebies. Perhaps they offer a smaller line item to help justify a price increase during a renewal. 

Maybe the company is developing a new product and offers it in its nascent/immature/young stage to customers as a deal sweetener or a way to collect feedback and develop champions for it. 

Will that freemium offer carry over during the next renewal? Your account executive or customer success manager may say it will and even spell that out in an email. 

Then, time goes by. People on both sides of the relationship change or forget details. Company policies change. That said, the wording in a contract or master service agreement won’t change. 

Make sure the terms of freebies or other good deals are put into legally sound writing.

Read next: 24 questions to ask ABM vendors before signing the contract

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6. Pricing factors

There are many ways vendors can price out their offerings. For instance, a data broker could charge by the contact engaged by a customer. But what exactly does that mean? 

If a customer buys a contact’s information, that makes sense as counting as one contact. 

What happens if the customer, later on, wants to enrich that contact with updated information? Does that count as a second contact credit used? 

Reasonable minds could justify the affirmative and negative to this question. So, evaluating a pricing factor or how it is measured upfront is vital to determine if that makes sense to your organization. 

Don’t let contract gotchas catch you off-guard 

The above are just a few examples of martech contract gotchas martech practitioners encounter. There is no universal way to address them. Each organization will want to address them differently. The key is to watch for them and work with your colleagues to determine what’s best in that specific situation. Just don’t get caught off-guard.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


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About The Author

Steve Petersen is a marketing technology manager at Zuora. He spent nearly 8.5 years at Western Governors University, holding many martech related roles with the last being marketing technology manager. Prior to WGU, he worked as a strategist at the Washington, DC digital shop The Brick Factory, where he worked closely with trade associations, non-profits, major brands, and advocacy campaigns. Petersen holds a Master of Information Management from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Brigham Young University. He’s also a Certified ScrumMaster. Petersen lives in the Salt Lake City, UT area.

Petersen represents his own views, not those of his current or former employers.

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