Content Marketing for Beginners: As Explained by Top Content Marketers

Content marketing is a topic that confuses most people because of outdated, theoretical content on the internet. So, I interviewed content marketers across the world on the Marketing Over Wine podcast to share their experiences in the real content marketing world.

You can listen to the episodes here or keep reading this article. 

The best part? I will continually update this article as newer episodes are created to create a mega resource. Let’s begin!

What is Content Marketing?

I like to break down words as they appear; it’s how my dad taught me to understand what I read while growing up. And this helped me answer questions in class.

So, content marketing is content + marketing.

From that simple maths equation, content marketing is basically marketing content. 

In this case, content for a brand could be anything – podcasts, carousels, whitepapers, blog posts, press releases, videos, newsletters, case studies, and so many more.

Many people often think content marketing is simply writing articles and posting on a blog.

But Olabisi Adelaja, a content marketer and host of Web3 Quick Bites, explained in this episode, “Content ​marketing ​is ​telling ​fun ​stories ​to ​get ​people ​excited ​about ​a ​company. ​It’s ​way ​beyond ​articles.”

She adds, “If content is restricted to articles and blog posts in ​this ​age ​of ​social ​media, where ​people ​have ​short ​attention ​spans, it will ​be ​a ​waste ​of ​effort.”

Likewise, Margaret Etudo, a content marketer and medical writer, explained content marketing as  “using videos, ​blog posts, ​infographics, ​email, ​social ​media, podcasts, and other forms ​of content to ​talk ​about ​your ​business and ​help ​you ​reach ​the ​people ​you ​are ​trying ​to ​sell ​to.”

Everything content marketing explained to beginners, according to real life content marketers.

Why is content marketing important?

If you’re a business owner, you may ask, “Why is content marketing important?” Or “Why use content marketing?”

When you create a badass product, you need people to know about it and buy from you.

You have two options:

  • You can sit back and expect people to magically know about your brand and products and buy from you.
  • You can create and distribute content to grab their attention, tell them about your products and brand, and get them to buy from you.

You already know which option works.

Margaret gave a relatable example in this episode:

“You ​sell ​car ​phone ​holders ​that ​Uber ​drivers ​use ​for ​holding ​their ​phones ​up ​in ​their ​cars.”

For this example, content marketing can be used to:

1. Educate and inform

Content marketing allows you to educate your target audience (in this case, they are Uber drivers) on the importance of your product (insert: using a secure phone holder during rides). 

Content marketing also enables you to showcase the unique features of your product. In this example, content marketing can be videos demonstrating easy installation, adjustable settings, and stability during rides to help potential customers visualize the product in action.

2. Build trust

By consistently providing valuable and relevant content, you establish your brand as an authority among your competitors. 

Trust is crucial for a product like a car phone holder, where reliability and stability are paramount. So, share testimonials or reviews from satisfied Uber drivers who have used your product.

3. Generate leads and sales

When strategically aligned with your sales funnel, content marketing can lead potential customers through the buying process. 

Offer valuable information like guides on safe driving practices or tips for optimizing phone use during rides to capture their attention and encourage them to sign up for newsletters or special promotions, converting their interest into leads for your business.

4. Adaptable and measurable

Unlike traditional marketing strategies (print, TV/radio ads, etc) and email blasts, content marketing strategies are adaptable and easily measurable. 

You can monitor website traffic, engagement, and conversion rates to refine your brand’s approach based on what works best. This adaptability ensures ongoing relevance and effectiveness of content marketing.

5. Build a community

You have probably heard the saying, “One loyal fan is worth more than 1,000 random ones.” With content marketing, you can build and nurture a community of loyal fans.


Sharing helpful content consistently on your marketing channels encourages discussions, comments, and interactions among your followers, fostering a sense of community and belonging. 

You are more likely to experience a boost in revenue if you have a community of loyal fans. 

6. Cost-effective than other marketing strategies

Creating and sharing content online requires less financial investment than traditional advertising methods and paid ads, making it accessible to any business, irrespective of their size.

In addition, content marketing yields long-term benefits — the high-quality content you create today continues to attract and engage audiences over time, providing ongoing value to your business.

What are content marketing distribution channels?

In point 5 above, we briefly mentioned “sharing helpful content consistently on your marketing channels.” But what exactly are content marketing channels?

Content marketing channels (or content marketing distribution channels) are platforms and channels by which your content is distributed to your intended audience.

  • Social media channels: Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube.
  • Podcasts: Spotify, Apple Podcasts.
  • Online forums: Reddit, Quora, Stack Overflow, 4chan, Medium.
  • Website: Blog posts, Downloadable whitepapers and reports, Case studies.
  • Paid Per Click Ads: Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads.
  • Email marketing and newsletters
  • Influencer marketing

Who is a content marketer?

I asked Margaret and Olabisi to explain what they do in layman’s language.

Olabisi: My ​​job ​is ​telling ​fun ​stories ​to ​get ​people ​excited ​about ​a ​company ​or brand. ​I ​use ​my ​imagination ​to ​create ​cool ​articles, ​videos, ​and ​posts ​to ​help ​the ​company ​share ​its ​message ​and ​not​ ​make ​them ​boring. ​

Margaret: My job ​is ​to ​use ​videos, ​blogs, ​infographics, ​email, ​social ​media, and other forms of content ​to ​help ​you ​reach ​an ​audience — ​reach ​the ​people ​you ​are ​trying ​to ​sell ​to. ​

In essence, a content marketer is someone who:

  1. Develops a content strategy aligned with the overall marketing goals, and the target audience
  2. Researches and plans content in line with the strategy created
  3. Creates content to attract new audiences and engage existing ones
  4. Distributes the content created to the content marketing channels where their target audience exists
  5. Analyses content performance to refine future content strategies based on what resonates best with the audience.

Hard truths about content marketing

Before getting started with content marketing, here are some hard truths you won’t get anywhere else on the internet.

1. Content marketing is a long-term strategy

You can’t start content marketing today and expect loyal fans or customers to immediately troop in for your products. It requires time and consistent effort. 

2. Content marketing does not work alone

You can’t have a lousy product plus zero SEO and sales strategies and expect content marketing to fix all the problems magically. 

Content marketing will bring the audience, but they will leave at the door if you have a terrible product.

3. Content marketing is not a one-size-fits-all strategy

Content marketing depends on your industry landscape. Like keyword ranking, some industries are more competitive than others.

If a content marketing strategy produces results for Business A – an e-commerce brand, in six months, it can take Business B – a tech startup, three months.

Also, the strategy used for Business A might not work for Business B.

4. Content marketing requires an expert

Your social media manager might have an idea of content marketing, but it does not make them an expert for the content marketing task.

Your content writer with badass writing skills is different from a content marketer.

A content marketer is a content marketer. No exchanges!

Getting started with content marketing as a business owner

If you are just starting your business and lack the resources to hire a content marketer, here’s a step-by-step guide you can emulate.

1. Set your content marketing goals

First, set your content marketing goals. 

Do you want to build brand awareness or increase the traffic of an existing website? 

Write down your goal. It will determine the type of content to create, the frequency, and your distribution channels.

2. Identify your target audience

The next step is to identify who you are trying to attract. Create a detailed target audience persona. Include demographic details like their age, gender, location, job title, and income.

For instance, if you sell fitness apparel, your target audience persona can look like this:

  • Age: 25
  • Gender: Male
  • Occupation: Software developer
  • Location: Urban area, works and exercises in a city setting
  • Background: Xyz is a fitness beginner who works full-time in software development. He recently realized that his sedentary lifestyle is creating an unhealthy lifestyle and is eager to start exercising. This includes getting all the necessary gear and joining a community to encourage him.
  • Interests and hobbies: follow fitness influencers on social media for workout inspiration and interested in sustainable and eco-friendly products.
  • Challenges: doesn’t know much about workout apparel, struggles to find workout apparel that is both stylish and functional, and values comfort and durability.
  • Shopping behavior: prefers online shopping for convenience, researches and reads reviews before purchasing, and appreciates personalized recommendations.
  • Preferred channels: active on Instagram and Pinterest for fitness inspiration, subscribes to fitness newsletters for tips and recommendations and engages in online fitness communities.

A detailed target persona helps you to gain a deep understanding of the problems and challenges your target audience faces, which you can then tailor your brand’s content marketing strategy to address.

3. Identify the content type that suits your business and audience

Another advantage of creating a detailed target persona is that it helps to identify the content type that suits your audience and business.

In addition, the content type often corresponds to different stages of the sales cycle.

Olabisi likens it to “​a ​cool ​TV ​show ​with ​different ​episodes ​coming ​from ​different ​angles.”

For instance:

  • The awareness stage would require more blog posts, social media content, infographics, videos, podcasts, and other informational content.

At this stage, the goal is to introduce the target audience to the brand, address pain points, and provide educational content to raise awareness about challenges and potential solutions.

  • The decision stage requires more product demonstrations, free trials, customer testimonials, and pricing guides to demonstrate why your product is the best choice for the prospect’s needs.
  • The post-purchase stage would require onboarding guides and exclusive offers for existing customers to nurture customer loyalty, encourage product usage, and gather feedback to improve the overall customer experience.

4. Choose the distribution channels

Start with where your audience is likely to be. This could be on social media platforms like Instagram or Twitter, email newsletters, your company blog, or industry-specific forums.

For example, possible distribution channels for the target persona above would be Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Newsletters, and fitness forums.

5. Develop a content calendar

When you have identified your target audience and the content type that suits them, it’s time to develop a content calendar.

At this stage, it’s so easy to be ambitious and create a content calendar for the year. But a pro tip is to start small. 

You know your financial resources and time available. Create a content calendar that best fits that. 

Start with a three-month content calendar, then use the results to create a longer, more robust calendar.

6. Create a feedback loop

Olabisi backs the need for a feedback loop in a content marketing strategy to “​continually ​assess ​performance ​and ​optimize ​based ​on ​what ​resonates ​with the audience.”​

Was ​it ​a podcast ​that ​resonated ​with ​this ​audience ​more? Or was ​it ​the ​blog ​post? ​Is ​that ​what you ​should ​focus ​on ​more? 

Track the key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to your set goals. Then, analyze them to help you understand the impact of your content.