I’m a self-taught blogger. There are some things I’ve learned from others who’ve done it before me, but there are a lot more I had to figure out on my own. Much of content marketing falls in that self-taught category. And yet, somehow, things have worked out.
I owe my six-figure earnings from this blog to the content marketing methods I’m about to lay out in this blog post.
They’ve worked for me, and I hope they’ll work for you too.
Content marketing refers to generating interest in a product or service, with the intent to sell, using digital materials like blog posts, social media posts, emails, videos, etc. These materials are collectively called “content,” hence the term “content marketing.”
Why you should learn about content marketing
I’m sure you can Google the benefits of content marketing and learn a ton about it.
But I don’t want to repeat what’s already out there. As I said, I’m a self-taught content marketer. So I’ll tell you why I love content marketing and why I think you should invest time learning about it.
- Content marketing is budget-friendly. When I started my blog, I didn’t have money for running ads or paying influencers to talk about me. I didn’t do it then, and I don’t do it now. Instead, I spread awareness with the “content” that I make myself which involved writing blog posts, writing newsletter emails, and sometimes recording YouTube videos.
- Everything is organic. Once you put the systems in place (which we’ll talk about shortly), you can leverage organic traffic to get the word out. Early on, when I started my blog, I learned two things: how to use Pinterest, and how to write search-engine-optimized (SEO) blog posts. Now most of my new readers come from either Pinterest or Google.
- Content marketing helps create a brand. When you Google content marketing, you might see some people say the exact opposite; that content marketing has nothing to do with branding. While that kind of content marketing exists, the opposite is true too; you can also use content marketing to build your brand.
In other words, content marketing, while employed by small-timers to huge companies, happens to be an ideal business model for online creators with a tiny or even no budget at all. It may take some time to take off, but with regular, consistent value with your content, you can create a profitable business in time, selling your own products and services, or someone else’s (also known as affiliate marketing.)
So, in the rest of this post, I’ll show you a few content marketing models that I use myself to sell an evergreen online course—Side Income With Canva Templates—and info products including affiliate products.
Let’s talk about how each works.
1. Content bombing
Content bombing is great when you want to focus on selling fewer products with a big financial impact.
Here’s how it works:
- Select a product you want to promote.
- Make a list of its various features, functionalities, and uses.
- Create a blog post or a video (or perhaps both?) for each of these features, functionalities, and uses. Don’t be afraid even if some of these features or uses seem a bit redundant or repeating.
- In each of your content, use the product link, preferably multiple times.
For example, let’s say that you’re a photographer and you know a lot about using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom for different types of photographic effects. If you’re an affiliate of Adobe, you can easily create hundreds of blog posts and/or YouTube videos focusing on various features and uses of these programs.
Every time you create a piece of content (said blog posts or videos), make sure to use your unique affiliate link for these programs. You should also promote your content using social media (or, in my case, my favorite platform—Pinterest).
The more content you create, the more readers will find them and click on your affiliate links to buy a product.
Here’s one of my affiliate platforms showing recent earnings:
2. Sales funnels
Sales funnels work best for promoting premium products, online courses, etc.
This involves a bit of cross-platform marketing, which we’ll talk about more in a minute, but when we talk about sales funnels, we typically refer to an email funnel. Here’s how it works for bloggers:
- Write one or more super-value-packed (important!) blog posts and/or videos related to the product you wish to sell.
- Promote these pieces of content on social media or Pinterest to get interested readers and potential buyers to click and land on your content. If you’re writing blog posts, optimize them for search engines to get organic traffic from Google.
- Create a freebie related to the product and offer it within your blog posts, in exchange for a newsletter signup from interested/potential buyers.
- In your email marketing platform, create a multi-email sequence (to be delivered over multiple days) specifically for the folks who sign up for this particular freebie. This is the funnel of interest. (ConvertKit makes creating email sequences super easy with visual automations; it’s what I use for my newsletter service.)
- By the end of the funnel (end of the email sequence), you’ll try to convince a potential buyer to actually buy the product.
Here’s what the email funnel might look like:
- Email 1: Deliver the freebie.
- Email 2: Introduce the product.
- Email 3: Talk about how the product will help the potential buyer.
- Email 4: A hard call-to-action (you may offer a discount if you want in this step, or just leave it at a strong call-to-action.)
I have a ConvertKit tutorial for beginners if you need help with creating sequences.
I use a similar approach to sell my course—Side Income With Canva Templates. Just make sure to promote your funnel entry points (the blog posts or videos that are used to capture emails from potential buyers using a freebie as an incentive) on Pinterest or social media.
3. Link Building
When people talk about link-building, they usually refer to external link-building. Something like writing a guest blog post and then linking to your product or website.
But what I’m talking about here isn’t external link-building. Rather, it’s internal.
Much like promoting an affiliate product using content bombing, you can use a similar approach to linking a product of your own.
In fact, I’ve used this method right here in this blog post.
I’ve mentioned writing search-engine-optimized (SEO) blog posts a few times, and every time I have linked to one of my own products—an SEO blog post template. (See what I did? I linked it again!)
I’ve sold a few SEO blog post templates using this method, and it works like a charm as long as you have a product that people want.
Now, unlike the first content marketing method (content bombing), this one doesn’t necessarily mean writing about features and uses. Instead, look for opportunities where the topic comes up naturally, and then take advantage of these instances to promote the product (like how I’ve done it here for the SEO blog post template.)
4. Cross-platform marketing
Some of you may know that I really don’t like social media—not the traditional kinds anyway. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram… ugh.
Pinterest, which is more a search engine than a social media, is more my jam.
There’s another platform that I’ve used occasionally; it’s called Medium.
While I use Pinterest to mostly promote my blog posts and courses, I use Medium a bit differently.
You see, Medium isn’t just a social media platform; it’s more like a blogging platform. If you love writing, then I highly recommend Medium as a way to cross-publish some of your original blog posts and even write relevant but original posts on Medium.
The goal here is not so much to sell (though you can definitely use it to sell a product), but more to tap into Medium’s existing audience, and bring some of them over to your own blog and hopefully get them to sign up for your email list.
Here’s one of the ways you can use Medium to do just that:
- Write a detailed blog post about a topic on your main blog (outside of Medium).
- Then write a couple of smaller posts related to the topic on Medium, and then make sure to link back to your main blog post on your own website.
- Make sure to link to your newsletter opt-in form on your Medium posts (also on your Medium about page and short bio) so that people who wish to stay in touch with you can sign up for your email list (I have gained many a subscriber using this method.)
Basically, you’re tapping into another platform and its audience to build your own network. And once you have them on your email list, you can always sell something to your existing subscribers.
5. Umbrella marketing
Umbrella marketing is like cross-post marketing. Basically, write one blog post that’s like the helm of a main topic, and then write relevant blog posts that further solidify the entirety of the topic.
Here’s an example from this blog:
I have a blog post on Blog SEO. This post covers all the basic ideas and methods, but for interested readers, there’s more. I’ve also written about featured snippets, blog formatting, blog editing, etc. All of these tie in together when it comes to writing an effective blog post that is optimized for search engines but is also appealing to human readers.
So, the linked blog post on SEO is the main (umbrella) topic, and the rest—formatting tips, featured snippets, editing, etc.—are under the umbrella that are closely related topics. By using this kind of umbrella marketing, I can establish myself as an authority on a topic, engage readers, get them to read more blog posts, get them to subscribe to my email list, and eventually sell a related product to them using email marketing or sales funnels.
I use all five methods of content marketing all the time in this blog, and often they overlap with each other.
For example, umbrella marketing can lead to using a sales funnel for selling a product. Link building is employed within umbrella marketing. Content bombing can be part of a larger umbrella marketing. And more.
If you’re a brand new blogger and this all seems a bit confusing, worry not! We all start somewhere and start slow. I didn’t understand all of this from day-1. It took time and many trials and errors to fully grasp content marketing.
But here’s what I’ll tell you if you’re a total beginner:
- Write a great blog post that convinces readers that you’re legit.
- Get into the habit of writing search-engine-optimized blog posts.
- Always promote your blog posts on Pinterest.
- When you write a blog post, ask yourself: what more can you write to support or complement this blog post? You’ll find new post ideas from this exercise which can help you do content bombing or umbrella marketing.
- Always, always, ALWAYS try and get people to subscribe to your email list. Trust me, your email list is your primary audience. They’re the ones more willing to invest in your products. They’re the ones who will revisit your blog over and over. Basically, they are your true supporters.
Hopefully, you got some content marketing ideas from this. If you have any questions or thoughts on the matter, feel free to leave a comment below. Also, sign up for my newsletter below for weekly blogging and content marketing tips + access to my freebies library.