The Fundamentals of Content Marketing | Matt Cooper | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

The Fundamentals of Content Marketing

teacher avatar Matt Cooper, CEO of Skillshare

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Chapter 1: Defining Content Marketing


    • 3.

      Chapter 2: Building a Framework


    • 4.

      Chapter 3: Building a Content Calendar & Plan


    • 5.

      Chapter 4: Derivative Content


    • 6.

      Chapter 5: Recap and Next Steps


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Matt Cooper is the former CEO of Visually, one of the early innovators in visual content. After years of working with some of the most innovative and successful content marketing companies, he has pulled together a course that covers both the basics of content marketing and some tips and tricks that will be useful to the most experienced practitioner.

The course will cover:

  • The definition of content marketing - what it is, and isn't
  • Defining your target customer - making sure your content is properly aimed
  • A general framework for your content marketing strategy
  • Developing a content calendar and execution plan
  • Using derivative content as a force multiplier

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Matt Cooper

CEO of Skillshare


I am the CEO of Skillshare. We believe that learning is transformative - individually, socially, economically - and our mission is to connect life-long learners everywhere and build a more creative and prosperous world. 

Before joining Skillshare, I was the CEO of Visually, an online marketplace for creative work that was acquired by ScribbleLive in January 2016. Prior to Visually, I was the VP of Operations, Enterprise and International for oDesk (now Upwork), the world's largest marketplace for online work.

I'm a father of four amazing girls and spend most of my non-working hours driving them around in circles to their various activities. In my rare moments of free time, I enjoy surfing, fishing, running and anything outdoors.


See full profile

Level: Beginner

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: Hi, My name is Matt Cooper. And thank you for joining me for the fundamentals of content marketing. Tell you a little bit more about me. I've been in executive rules that startups for the last 15 years and one of those recent positions was the CEO of a company called Visually. We created visual content to drive content marketing, So I spent a lot of time working with some of the world's best known brands. And this classes distillation of some of their best practices and how they developed a content marketing strategy and framework and then also the operations in execution. They needed to deliver that strategy. So the other reason why content marketing has become such a hot topic over the last few years is that the traditional online advertising model it's just less and less effective. As time goes on, we've all become so desensitized. Still, online ads click through rates are way down, and then, with the rise of technologies like ad blockers, many cases we just never see them. So the return on online advertising it's just it's on the way down, and it's not getting better in attempts it. Meanwhile, it's just harder and harder to get our attention. The average American attention span in 2012 seconds by 2013 it was only eight seconds. That puts us one second behind a goldfish, not exactly the symbol of intellectual engagement. So advertisers and online advertisers, advisers and in particular, you've got lots of competition for people's attention, and you really have to create something engaging Teoh deliver them in. So meanwhile, in contrast to online advertising content, marketing is really becoming one of the go to tactics for great marketing teams. And the traditional push model is a bullhorn approach of spraying world with advertising as that becomes less effective, you have this counterbalancing technique with content working. We're really pulls people in. Yeah, the goal of content marketing is to create engaging, invaluable information that it has a gravity that makes it effective, and ultimately it converts better. It brings people in, and it builds valuable long term relationships with the customers and users that you want to engage. So here's the quick outline of the course. We'll we'll start by defining what content marketing is and what isn't and thinking through how you would position and describe content marketing to different stakeholders within the organization. Then we'll go through some of the basics of how to set up a content marketing free, different strategy, thinking about your audience, what goals and metrics. Because they're different for content working and versus other types of maybe later funnel conversion type tactics. I will talk about mapping out the buyer journey and pulling that all together in the how that aligns with different contact with channels in different content. The next major sections around building the content marketing calendar that will be the course project. So we'll take some time to create a a mark content marketing count that you can actually put the work in your day to day. Uh, and then I want a little deeper on top of called derivative contents. And that's taking a single story line and using it different types of forms and channels, the attracted, much broader audience. And to get more leverage out of that great story of that great data set that you have on, and then we'll wrap it all up and leave with Cem. Some thoughts of worrying go to you to take some of the next step in your education around content marketing. So thanks again for joining me. And now we'll see you in the next chapter, kicking off the definition of content work. 2. Chapter 1: Defining Content Marketing: Okay, Welcome to Chapter one s O in this section. We're gonna talk about the definitions of content working just a take a look at it from a couple different angles and make sure we're We're really talking about the same thing because I think content working is one of those areas where if you ask three marketers, you're gonna get five opinions. Eso first, let's start with the technical definition. The formal definition in these Siris of definitions came from content Working Institute. Talk about them later, but great resource askew start to learn more about content working. So the formal definition is the marketing and business practice for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage it clearly defined and understood customer audience. So we get back Teoh sort of laying out your overall strategy and framework. We're gonna touch on a couple of these key points. But, um, you know, I think relevant valuable are key things to pull out. Clearly defined and understood. Customer audience will talk about personas on why really understanding who you're talking to is important for content marketing. Um, so this covers the basics. It's a little dry but I think it checks all the boxes. Um, the elevator pitch is I really like this one. It's not about telling the world Iraq you rock star, which is that's what advertising does. Uh, it's about showing them. So it's about showing off your expertise. It's about establishing you and your brand aske red herbal within the market that you operate. Now the practitioner. You know, what I like about this one is it's it's about what you're actually going to go do. So, content marketing is about delivering the content your audience is seeking in all the places that they search for it. So the key here is really about the channel. So where did they go to find information? Um, you know, Are they reading CMO magazine or are they on buzzfeed all day? Um, so depending on who your audience is, how you define that, you really underneath state, you need to understand what they want and where they're going to get it. Um, now, at some point, CFO is gonna come knocking on your door and asking where all this content marketing spend is going. So, you know, for people who don't necessarily understand why this is different or important. It's really about, you know, that push vs pull. So how do you draw them in? How do you create interesting information that they're passionate about so that they pay attention to you and your Brandon and that they think of you when it comes time to making a binding decisions? So, um, you know, I like to describe it is the very top end of the funnel A Z you start to as we started talking about buyer journey content marking. I think there's a lot of heavy lifting at the top into the funnel when customers are just starting to get oriented is that you know what their options are. Um, it's a one pitfall with content marketing is companies will slip into advertorial uh, where they're starting to blend their advertising with, uh, journalistic type content. Avoid this at all costs. It's OK to sell, and it's okay to market. It's OK that you know of blatantly pitch. Don't confuse the two. Your content marketing shouldn't be looking to close. It should be looking to engage. As soon as you start selling, the value of your content starts to lose its authenticity. and you're better off just picking one of the other. Don't don't try to blend the two. So this is, ah, pitfall that we see. And, ah, lot of companies take heat for when they when they do it. For my favorite example of content marketing Eyes, a venture capital firm in the Bay Area called First Round Capital. Um, they're blawg. It's called first round review. What they do is they bring in experts from their own ecosystem. So their companies they invested in, or companies that they're engaged with our in one way, shape or form, and it becomes, you know, experts talking about lessons, learned tips, tricks, things they've done mistakes they've made super authentic because it's coming from other entrepreneurs and other experts. It's not coming from first round, and nowhere in their content do they ever pitch talk about themselves. There's no link to submit submitted proposal. Um, it's all about helping the entrepreneur, and it just comes across as really authentic, really high quality. Uh, it's a perfect how to guide for new entrepreneurs, so there's an obvious, unspoken pitcher that they don't have to make the pitch. It's clear that if you take money from first round capital. They've got the resources and the expertise to help you take your company Where where you want it to go? Uh, so check that out. It's just It's really well done. Uh, you know, I think the other thing is we just to wrap up the definition of content marketing is this is not a new technique. Content working has been around a long time. Um, the Furrow was first published by John Deere in 18 95. Um, he nailed it. This it is not an advertisement. All of the content was about helping farmer succeed how they manage their farms more efficiently, more effectively. That same theme comes through today. So, uh, you know, today it's about genetics and much more higher tech farming techniques. But the goal is still the same. It's not pitch steel plows and tractors. Um, but in 18 95 if you were reading the furrow when it came time to buy Ah ah, a new steel plow. You already thought highly of John Deere and you knew where you wanted to start. So, you know, this is an old concept that has sort of been reborn of the last couple of years, but it's been effective for a long, long time. All right, so the next chapter will start to get into the specifics of how to lay out a content strategy framework. 3. Chapter 2: Building a Framework: Okay, So Chapter Two is where we start, really? Building the content, marketing strategy and framework. So where I see a lot of companies make their their initial mistake is they never really nailed down who their customers are. Um, and marketing teams have different views on personas. I think some of them think of it as somewhat passe or imprecise. Others are extremely militant about it. Um, but what I have seen is, you know, most have a vague notion of who they're going after and why, but they don't really take the time to document it. Hammer through some of the bigger questions that will ultimately help you target your content marketing and produce the best content on the other issues lot. When they're going to start creating content, they may focus on what they're what their customers and prospects are really interested in , but they don't think about where they have brand credibility. If you're Nike, you're not going to generate the right results if you start writing articles about industrial turbines, even if it's the most accurate spot on engaging content for anyone who is interested in industrial turbines. Meanwhile, G is not exactly going to connect with people whore runners. So those extreme examples. But I think it's important to think about where that intersection is between what your customers are interested in, on where you have some real brand authority. So, uh, another key, fundamental as you get started, just thinking about your metrics again. Content marketing is an early final tactic. It's not necessarily about conversion right at that point. Yes, we absolutely want to get to conversion the otherwise. You can't tie our like to it. You know this is not a friend exercise, but you got to remember that conversion, particularly concept marking, is a cumulative effort that happens over time. So you're met. The metrics that are nearest to the activities are others around engagement. So things like views things like shares or likes time on page bounce rates. And then, as you start to think down the follow, But you do have some early signs of conversion metrics. Where do they go next? You know, if they go straight from your blog's article to a pricing page, that's a great side on as you look at conversion down the road when it happens, you know, looking at first touch attribution might give you some insights as to what content is most interesting. Um, last touch, attribution. Maybe like that's the final piece of content that pushed him over the edge instead. Okay, I'm ready to buy from these guys. Um, the other the last metric here plus minus. This is something that you see in hockey. I grew up in Texas, Don't know much about hockey, but I do know this step, Um, and a step and hockey is You know, when you're on the ice is your is your team up or down in terms of goals? So obviously, if every time you're on the ice, the team goes up, that's a good sign. For every time you're on the ice, the team goes down. That's not a good um, So I think the concept here is if you look back to all of your converted customers, what percentage of them touched where they touched a specific piece of content? It 100% of anyone who ever converts absolutely went red. Your white paper. You know, you've got some value in that white paper. If nobody ever reads the white favor, you're probably not influencing the decision on. In some cases, you might actually be pushing people away. So that's Ah, uninterested in one to keep an eye on just to see what level of engagement. Ah, a specific piece of content is getting too mouthy. Customer life's like So the third part of the framework is understanding the process that a typical buyer follows before they make a decision. The example have here is very simple buyer journey. Uh, this is the one used in my last company. Um, again, it's pretty basic, but it just helps you set the framework of what mindset? The user the buyer is in. Um, when you're getting to them. And and I think it's important to note that even for B to B companies, 60 to 70% of the buying decision now happens before they ever talk to a sales person. So they're getting really far down this funnel, they're getting to the conversion stage before they ever want to talk to anybody. And b two b scenario obscenity to see their continuing on their own. But, um yeah, there's, ah, a lot of value making sure right contents out there. Early in the fall, some companies super deep on the buyer journal journey. Like very detailed flows and decision trees, I think the content marking purposes simple is better. So it's really about what mindset them in what type of information they need to help them move along in their bike process. So as you start to think about what content to produce, you want to align it to where the buyers are in their process. So in the early stages that usually just trying to understand what's going on, they want to know more about their market, understand what the options are said things like industry landscapes and broader pieces to help them understand the market. You're playing in who the players are, how you evaluate them, um, higher level issues that companies and customers are talking about. It allows you toe establish credibility early in that process that you understand the general topics of that market and what those customers care about later in the funnel. They know the landscape there already oriented. So now they're trying to separate out who the real players are, and this is where the deeper, more technical content can be helpful. It's where you can get a little more into the weeds. There are, you know you're in the mix because you've already helped orient them as to what's going on . So now how do you provide the content that shows them just out deep? You can go and how significant your expertise says. So at this point, there also more committed to making a decision, so they're also like more likely to consume longer form or technical heavier content. So this is where you're shifting from sort of lighter. You know, mobile friendly quick hits catch him, bring him into much more meaningful conversation and then in the final stages around loyalty and advocacy. I think these are the two that are often most often ignored by content marketers, and that's specific content that unique to your existing customers. So this starts to believe in the product marketing a little bit. But you know the cheapest customer to acquires the when you already have. And so if you can provide very specific, exclusive, high value content for them as customers, it's just a great way to create loyalty and build reference herbal clients. So then you start to align the journey channels and the contact. Um, so what I've done here and this is an example. Don't use this for made you guys think through what channels air right for your business. But if you put the buyer journey across the top and then you put the most likely channels based on what you know about your customers, where do they go for information? Are they on social? Are the own blog's to make goto webinars Lillian leaked into the go to events. Uh, think, think about what channels you want to use and you put those on the left hand column and then you start to think through each box within each box. What type of themes would be appropriate at each stage in his channel? What types of content? What format? So you know, again, late stage conversion. Maybe it's a maybe it's a white paper early stage. It's gonna be a primer on your ah micro content on social that's gonna lead them to a primer on the industry landscape. So as you go from each box, you don't have to fill everything in. But the exercise here is toe get you thinking about how to optimize what content to produce at what point time do what channel in Western. So we'll move on to the next one and we'll actually start laying out a content counter that you could put Put the work on. This is where things really start to get actual So we'll see in the next chapter. Thanks. 4. Chapter 3: Building a Content Calendar & Plan: Okay, So, chapter threes, we really start to put the plan in motion and started nailing down what? You're gonna do it. Well, so this is one of my favorite favorite charts, and this is something the anything of this is a content on it. What are you talking about? What your customers talking about When your competitors you're talking about, what channels are they using? I love this Justus. A general framing process before you start to brainstorm what things you want to talk about . And so if you think about where these circles intersects, um, you know, there's areas where you and your customers they're having a conversation, your competitors or not. That's where you have a clear edge. Uh, there are areas where your customers and your competitors are talking, and you're not in the middle in your using ground there. Um, there's also areas where you and your competitors are talking and, ah, the customers have no interest. Eso you're just wasting your time on, then. Obviously, there's the intersection ball to me, which is where the competition for brand credibility is really occurring. So for each person or customer segment, you start by brainstorming a list of potential thieves taken using that diagram, but then diagram with previous pages the framework You should treat each person a different . Um, there might be content that you could leverage across all personas and all channels, but the more specific you can be, the better. You don't need to go crazy with your personas. 2 to 3% is is manageable. 10. It gets a DeLucia effort. Unless you just have a massive content machine. It gets really hard to keep cranking out content that's specific to 10 different personas. So pick a handful that you're gonna go after to start with, and then you can add more time. But if you've got two or three high level layers, focus that you want todo zoom in on. That's where you're gonna get the most bang for your buck with your content. All right, so this is a sample content countered. So this is this is something that I'm or effect er, I've seen a couple different versions of this from from different companies. So this is the one that actually isn't a mash up of all of them, and if so, what? I've got here just walking through this. I've got the personas across the top with the general theme. So the example I've laid out here is a company who is selling software to content markers. So let's have fun selling content marketing software. These would be my 3%. So one is content marketers second, BP, our communications managers does. They tend to believe into content working, and then the third percent would be the executive. So the CMO of you get marking on and for each I've laid out of theme. Um, I've been go a little deeper on and sort of layout the description, that game and why it matters to that particular persona. Um, and then across the vertical axis here I have the stage right. So I've got group them into three stages and then, for each stage, have a topic or article. Channels have metric schools, etcetera, and then, for each stage will start the layout. The in each month you'll start to lay out. All right. Here's the topic of the article piece of content that we're right. You're the channels, and I think it will be where I think it would be most effective. And then here the goals I won't say it was the excellent views. Honestly, why? Shares likes on. So you start to lay this out in this grid pattern. So, you know, this is, ah, structure that I think even the most even the most Anil CFO our operations guy would like, Um, this is probably seen my operations background coming out here. But by laying this out in this format, it just makes it abundantly clear what you're gonna do win and what you expect to get out. So this is what we will do for our class project. I've got a spreadsheet here, a Google sheet that I put in the slide. I'll also put the Lincoln course in its It was a little easier access to. So what I'd like to do for the class project download this form a copy, um, and then pulled together a sample quarterly plan for at least one person. I've got spreadsheet separate from you, but, you know, we still in one go through the whole exercise. Think about that, ven diagram, thinking about your framework, and then uploaded to the class site, and we'll give you some comments and feedback 5. Chapter 4: Derivative Content: all right, So Chapter four is about one of my favorite topics. I think this is one of the secret weapons of effective content marketing, and that's using derivative content. So to give you a little background, um, you. For anyone who's tried to build a consistent and scalable content marketing function, the hardest part is finding great data and great story limits. So once you find them, you got to squeeze every possible job. I see two companies too many companies create this one and done model. Where they come up with a great data set. They find a great storyline. They produce this one single amazing piece of content, and then that's it. And that old story and learned that old data set is done. Um, so once you find that great story, you want to find ways to break it up and extend that reach. So the tent pole content restricted content temple is that big day. It's usually the best and typically longest representation of the data of the skimming line use. It takes a lot of time and resource to produce. It also takes more time and engagement from the user to consume it so If both of you are gonna invest that much, it has to have a big payoff. Um, driven content is generally those mess. All of the messages built in to the temple content sliced and diced ing busy spun off is their own individual pieces of content. Eso it may capture specific highlights Specific data points summaries. It tends to be shorter form, easy to produce, quick to consume, and it's often optimized for mobile and social. So if you think back to that fire journey, what content you're prettier. Presenting win something quick snack herbal easy to consume, optimized for mobile social that will try to draw people in and eventually lead them to your bigger 10 whole content. So once that 10 poll is created, really, what you do is you go back through it looking for snippets, so you'll pick out the most interesting controversial points on Grab a few of those headlines and you're really looking for the things that would raise at grouse, one of things that are kind of intuitive, that my challenge convention you Then take those points. You take that those pieces of the overall data set and then you create the shorter form content, so we often used would, uh, we're called micro contents. It was small at one cell infographics. If you think it took the typical infographic is maybe eight or 10 chunks of information within a single thread. This might just be one of those we did a lot of short videos like binds were even just a short block post as a lead in Do a longer, more engaging piece of content. A longer video, um, and maybe interactive Data Explorer. But you use the bite size snack herbal pieces of Paul intent to draw people. Um, is really important that you think about Social Mobile More than half of the time we spend on digital media today is on, and that's continuing to shift towards mobile on social. So no matter what your business is, no matter who your customers are, it's increasingly likely that your first engagement with them is gonna come via phone or tablet. So this is, um, this is one of my favorite examples of using derivative content really creative way. Cisco launched a new technology platform called CBR A, and that was an upgrade from their old platform of Seeger sex and, you know, I think platform. I mean, so this is a brand new piece of equipment. This was their tent pole contact. So very long, very in depth white paper talking about. You know what this thing can do, How the technology works. Why? It's important, etcetera. It is really dense. You've got to be pretty fired up about broadband communications tribute through this whole thing. So what they did was they took snippets of the key data points, whether it's the speed, whether it was data penetration within us, whether it's utilization of sometimes the hardware and they created these claymation style vine videos. S a short, really catchy are engaging videos. And I'll put these links in the in the class notes so you can go check him out. Uh, they're just enough to set the hook and get you to say, All right, what's the CBR right thing? I should go read more. Um, took a little of investment, had to split these often to create these videos. It drove a ton of traffic in these guys so really interesting example. And I think it's what brings the life. Now you can take a very dense very heavy core piece of temple content. Internet. It's a really light, engaging and mobile optimized social of optimized content. 6. Chapter 5: Recap and Next Steps: Okay, so we'll start to wrap things up here. Um, a couple of key points I want to leave you with. You know, content marketing is a conversation's not a campaign. It doesn't end, um, campaigns. You running for six weeks, you see the results. Do you take a break? You plan for your next campaign, you run that it ends, rinse and repeat on content. Marketing never ends. Constant, uh, and digital Working in general just requires a tone of contact, and it's really hard to stay on top of it. So that's where. Really careful planning a good foundation. Ah, good strategy. And then using techniques like derivative content to squeeze every possible drop out of your resource is it's all really important to be able to maintain that conversation consistently over time that there's a couple ah, a couple places all send you to go learn more. There's a book by Joe Police See, which was the first book I read after taking the CEO job. Visually, that's called epic content marketing, and it's just a great primer, and foundation pieces help you understand what content marketing is all about. Joe's Company Content Marketing Institute has a phenomenal website and blood ton agree Resource is there. Also directed and marking cross just wound by an Hanley marking, Croft says. Broader set of content. But they have a lot of really good content marketing, UH, particles and blog's and how to guides. And then there's some companies that specialize in content marking that have really good block so visually content. Lee Purple eight news credit composed all consistently produce a lot of really I end interesting content that helps content workers. So, uh, check those out. Hopefully you'll let you'll take the next step and learning about content marketing. So just a recap in seeing the keys I think you should be thinking about is you because you establish your content working program. First of all, no, you're talking to. It's all about target engagements, not about the spray and pray and go into it, knowing that your goal is to engage, not too close. You want to add value out asking for anything in return. And if you do that, they're gonna think highly of your company. When it comes time to buy, they're gonna think of you first. I understand how they buy and what questions they're asking that what information they're looking Florida stage and then that will help you create a plan that will align your content with their needs when they need it. The biggest thing is created plan. And it really doesn't matter if you guys from everything with every single step. Then I walked you through. Something is better than nothing documented. Keep it simple. Bedu. But at least you know, even if it's on the back of the napkin, write something down and then try to stick to it as best you can. And then once you find those great narratives really take advantage of the squeeze, every drop. So thanks again for joining me. I hope you got something out of it. I would love any feedback either on this course or any other topic. She'd like to meet a covering future classes. Eso Thanks again and best of luck to you kind of market