Content marketing is undoubtedly the marketing of today.
With an ever-increasing number of people turning to Google and comprehensive articles in order to get information, content marketing is one of the best ways to get more leads for your business.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
In this article, we’re going to cover some of the best techniques and resources for improving your content marketing skills.
Let’s take a look!
1. What Are the Best Content Marketing Courses?
While you may think of content marketing as writing (as blog posts are often the go-to content type), it’s actually more than what meets the eye.
Start improving your content marketing skills by understanding content marketing strategy.
There are a lot of great courses you can take:
HubSpot is one of the pioneers of inbound and content marketing. Taking one of their courses is a great way to improve your content marketing skills.
This course is completely free, and consists of 12 lessons. It’ll roughly take you around seven hours to complete it in full, and you’ll even receive a certification after passing the quizzes.
You will learn:
- How to use video content
- How to create and repurpose content
- How to plan a long-term content strategy
- How to measure your content marketing results
- How to use content to reach the top spot on Google
- How to create an efficient and effective content creation framework
The course isn’t heavy on tactics.
However, it will help you understand the basics and shape the frameworks you can use to effectively produce content; from ideation to promotion.
Since content marketing is largely about attracting free traffic with the help of search engines, it makes sense to start with one of Google’s courses.
When you finish their Fundamentals of Digital Marketing course, you will receive a certification. However, content marketing is only a module in it. It’s an all-encompassing marketing course.
However, it’s free, a wealth of knowledge, and helps you understand everything search engines care about when it comes to content marketing.
The Fundamentals of Digital Marketing covers:
- Content creation
- Audience research
- Content types and formats
- Improving the visibility of your content
It’s a great course for beginners, especially if you plan on using content marketing as a part of a much larger strategy that relies on search engine optimization.
Another free course that you can take to improve your content marketing skills is eMarketing Institute’s Content Marketing Course and Certification.
While other courses focus on delivering value through videos, this particular course comes with a 161-page eBook that covers everything you need to know about content marketing.
As such, this is one of the most comprehensive content marketing courses out there.
eMarketing’s content marketing course covers:
- Content creation
- Content distribution
- Influencer marketing
- Content management
- Implementation challenges
- The basics of content marketing
And much more!
It’s a great course to take if you’re getting started or just need to brush up on your content marketing skills.
2. How to Improve My Content Writing Skills?
Not even the best strategy can help your business’ content marketing shine if your content is… well, unappealing. In that respect, content marketing is both an art and a science.
You need to please the search engines while simultaneously engaging your visitors as they’re consuming your content.
On average, people spend 37 seconds reading an article. It’s mainly because the articles aren’t that good.
If you can capture your leads’ attention, you’ll keep them hooked. Ultimately, it’ll be much easier to convert them.
Now, some people are just talented. Words are their natural language.
However, you may need a bit more practice to get there.
The important thing is to remember that content writing is nothing like academic writing.
Often, people make the mistake of writing for a casual audience in an academic style, which often leads to visitors clicking away from your site. People read content to obtain new knowledge and to be entertained.
Write the way you talk.
Of course, keep your target audience in mind.
Know who you’re talking to, and understand the way they talk.
1. Improve Your Content Marketing Skills by Receiving Feedback
The best way to improve your writing skills is by receiving feedback.
If you can, get a couple of members of your target audience, and ask them to read an article of yours:
- What did they like?
- What did they dislike?
- Did they like the content?
- Did they like the formatting?
- Did they like your tone and style?
All of these are equally important if you want to create a great piece of content and turn more leads into customers.
2. Read, Read, and Read
There’s really no other way to say it: if you want to be a great writer, you have to be a voracious reader.
Make a list of industry blogs that you like, and note what you like about them:
- What topics do they cover?
- What kind of content do they write?
- How do the readers respond to them?
- What is their tone like? Are they conversational, formal? Are they funny?
You can even print out your favorite articles and highlight the bits you like the most. This can be particular phrasing, certain words, or authoritative sources.
Then, understand why you like what you like.
Reading is especially important if you’re in an industry where leads prize storytelling.
Other aspects of content writing to pay attention to are:
- Narrative perspective
Formatting can be extremely important when it comes to longer blog posts.
People like skimming over long articles to find the sections they’re most interested in.
Make it easy on them (and search engines) by utilizing different heading tags, elements, and even visuals. Instead of inundating your potential customers with data, use infographics and bullet points.
Before you start writing a blog post for your business, make sure you have a comprehensive outline.
A good idea is to start with one main query, and then branch out into sub-topics.
For example, if you were writing about email marketing for small businesses, you could create an outline such as:
Topic: Email marketing for small businesses
Subtopic 1: Definition
Subtopic 2: Strategy
Subtopic 3: Tools
The goal of the outline is to know what you are going to write before you write it.
This way, you’ll create a comprehensive, organized post, instead of just turning a brainstorming session into an article.
You can even outline each paragraph.
For example, in subtopic 3 – tools – you’d write something like: “List the most important email marketing tools for small businesses, and briefly describe each, as well as their pricing.”
Finally, once you’ve written your blog post, it’s time to edit it.
First, read your blog post without a particular intention:
- How does it make you feel?
- Do you trust the voice?
- Does the style match your brand voice?
- Would you perform the target action (e.g. subscribing to the newsletter)?
In the second round of editing, highlight everything that sounds off:
- Meandering lines
- Unnecessary words and clarifications
Make sure that every sentence you’ve put to paper drives the post forward.
Finally, ask for someone else’s feedback.
5. What If I’m Not a Good Writer, or I Don’t Have the Time?
That’s okay, too!
Not everyone has the time to write blog posts. In fact, the majority of businesses don’t do it, even if they have marketing departments.
If you don’t want to spend dozens of hours writing articles (while still worrying about your writing skills), or you don’t want to manage freelancers on your own, Draft is a great solution.
For just $250/month, you’ll get 4,000 words of engaging content written by industry experts.
3. Improve Your Content Marketing Skills by Observing
You can take every crash course in the world, but if you don’t keep up with the changes, your content marketing knowledge will soon become outdated.
This is why the best way to improve your content marketing skills is by observing.
From other marketers to your customers, let the world tell you everything you need to know about contemporary content marketing.
1. Market Trends
Subscribe to content marketing websites, and receive the most important information in your inbox.
This way, you won’t have to go looking for information manually, nor will you miss out on opportunities just because you didn’t know you could use a particular tactic.
The majority of these websites are focused on tactics and trends.
And since most marketers use 13 or more content marketing tactics, you’ll be in good company.
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2. Audience Research
The ultimate goal of content marketing is converting leads. Typically, businesses that use content marketing right have 6x higher conversion rates than their competitors.
If you want to improve your content marketing skills, start with the things your leads in particular care about.
This can mean:
- Publishing their preferred content types
- Writing about topics interesting to them
- Promoting your content through relevant channels
Browse social media, Reddit, and Quora.
They’re a well of content-related information; from questions your leads are frequently asking, to recent developments they care about.
3. Competitive Analysis
Finally, your competitors (probably) know what they’re doing.
In any case, understanding their strategies and tactics (as well as their results) will help you understand what your business has to do to get to their level of success.
You can understand your competitors by:
- Using tools like BuzzSumo
- Monitoring their rankings
- Assessing their content marketing strategy manually
If your competitors are frequently appearing in the top spots for your target queries, understand what they’re doing right and then…
Well, don’t copy it.
But you can “skyscraper” it.
4. The Skyscraper Technique
The Skyscraper Technique is a content creation method that helps you learn from your competitors, and create content that’s even better than theirs.
First, isolate the content pieces popular in your industry. Then, look for “content gaps.” Finally, create better, more comprehensive pieces than theirs.
Your potential customers will get a valuable resource, and Google will reward you with a rankings boost.
You can also let someone else do the research for you and come up with the right topics to target.
4. Future-Proof Your Content Marketing
Finally, content marketing is definitely more than writing or making videos.
Content marketing is a thriving method that’s quickly expanding to new territories such as voice search and augmented reality.
If you truly want to improve your content marketing skills, you’re going to have to pick up new ones.
This is why it pays to hire a dedicated Draft writer.
With them, you’ll have more time to improve your skills and learn tactics that will you’re your business a competitive advantage.
Some of the most important content marketing areas to focus on in 2020 are:
1. Voice Search Content Marketing
With the rise of voice search (over 20% of searches are now voice), you have to make sure your content is conversational.
Improve your voice search content marketing skills: Content Marketing Institute
2. Augmented Reality
Virtual reality and augmented reality are absolute hits; businesses and video games alike incorporate them.
And with such positive feedback from consumers, why not improve your AR content marketing skills? They’ll help you tell a much more convincing story.
Improve your AR content marketing skills: Digital Marketing Institute
3. Content Marketing Analytics
How do you know if your content strategy is performing as well as expected? Without data, you don’t.
When you understand what your content marketing results mean, you’ll be able to craft better strategies, and ultimately end up attracting more customers to your business.
Start speaking the language of data: edX
Are You Ready to Improve Your Content Marketing Skills?
24 hours in a day aren’t a lot.
However, with a little prioritization and help from the Draft team, you’ll be on your way to becoming a content marketing pro.
It’s time to convert those leads!