Rafiqul is one of the best Content Marketer I know. He shares great content marketing tips that are very actionable.
There are only a couple of blogs that I can recommend anyone read each and every article of, Rafiqul’s blog is one of those. He doesn’t only create helpful content, the way he promotes his content is really interesting.
He has recently created an awesome library of Content Marketing resources: Content Marketing VIP. Highly recommended.
I feel so privileged to have him as a friend and the fact that I can reach out to him directly for help. I can go on and on about him, but without further ado let’s get into the interview.
Hi Rafigul, may we know a little about you? What do you do? Please share your journey.
First of all, thanks for inviting me as a guest. And, to the lovely readers, here’s my quick intro.
I am Sk Rafiqul Islam, a content marketer (independent freelancer) who started his online journey in 2017. And, I love sharing my experience, knowledge through my blog and newsletter.
I started blogging when I was in college and eventually earned $20 in Google AdSense, which I never received (got my account banned). Then focus more on content writing instead of earning through ads. In fact, I did a job as a content researcher for six months.
From blogging to content writing to SEO to content marketing, I’ve learned a lot throughout this journey. I hope to share most of my learnings with you today.
If not a Digital Marketer, what would you be?
Honestly, I had planned a few choices before taking digital marketing seriously. For as long as I remember, these are fitness trainer, civil engineer, or joining my family business.
Do you have or have any other ventures? I heard you tried 3D printing!
Yes! That was a beautiful disaster.
I invested all the money I earned from my six months of Job and bought a 3D printer. The idea was to build a 3d printing startup that will focus on creating customized products such as 3d lamps, 3d printed prototypes, etc.
But it failed as I jumped into that market too quickly without understanding the needs of the market.
The mistake I’ve made (and you should consider too) is asking for feedback on the product prototype.
For example, I’ve asked my friends, relatives whether they will buy the product or not. And, most of them agreed to buy.
But when the product was ready, I had one sale only.
The lesson is always to get the sale first. No matter what people are saying. Most of them won’t even take any action.
Also, maybe I gave up on the business too early. Not sure. But whatever it is, I have no regret as all the investments I’ve made taught me many things about business and life.
How do you define content marketing?
Instead of giving you any bookish definition, I would like to make it as simple as possible.
Content marketing has two key elements.
- Content creation
- Content promotion
But you cannot create content about anything.
So you also need to ensure that you’re delivering and promoting content consistently that is relevant, useful, and actionable.
That’s all. Not talking about any technicality, but once you get these points clear, half of your job is done.
What makes you love content marketing?
I love everything about content marketing. And, one key reason is you’re not just talking about products and services.
You’re helping and educating the audience to form the connection first, and once they become your loyal audience, you don’t need to promote your product hard.
They’re going to find it anyway.
Are there some experiences or achievements you are excited to share?
Obviously, it feels great when I do something that helps my clients to achieve their end goal. But the most pleasing moment is when I receive emails and messages from people saying that my content (articles, newsletter) improves their career as a content creator or marketer.
Along with achieving clients’ results, I would like to mention some of the moments that excited me:
- Rand Fishkin praised one of my articles and said that the article could be the most detailed analysis any blogger had done.
- Getting contributor quotes (and building relationships) from experts like Larry Kim, Rand Fishkin, and most of all, Joe Pulizzi.
What kind of problems content marketers solve for businesses?
The biggest problem that content marketing solves is building a loyal audience. Well, you can get customers with paid ads as well. But with paid advertisements, audience loyalty doesn’t come by default.
As Joe Pulizzi says, “the key to content marketing success is about building the audience, not leads, or clicks, or views.”
the key to content marketing success is about building the audience, not leads, or clicks, or views.Joe Pulizzi
Focus on delivering content that is helpful and relevant to your audience for a long time.
One great example is the content marketing institute, which focused on delivering content for almost 18 months before monetizing the audience.
And once they have built a loyal audience, they have endless opportunities to monetize their content, such as live events, newsletter sponsorships, magazines, and many more.
Let’s say a business wants to explore content marketing; they want to see if content marketing is a good fit for them. What strategies and channels should they follow? How should they approach?
First of all, every business first asks this question before starting creating any content.
Content marketing or even SEO isn’t suitable for every niche and business type.
The best way to understand is by doing basic research.
Research what are the questions or keywords that people ask in your niche. Even better, you can use SparkToro to know:
- What podcasts they listen to
- What YouTube channels they watch
- What blogs they read
Once you get enough information about the audience’s behaviour, you need to think about content channels.
Mistake to avoid: You may get overwhelmed with so many content channels (podcasts, YouTube, blogs, etc.). But since you have limited resources and time, it’s best to start with one content platform so you can deliver content consistently for at least 12 months.
So, the problem I found regarding Online Marketing services is that business owners know they would benefit from some DM campaigns, but they fail in choosing the right person for the job. So, how do business owners find the right guy? What should they look for in a content marketer?
After dealing with many clients, I feel a content marketer should have at least the following skills and experiences to deliver the best result:
- Leading a team
- Solid SEO knowledge
- Good at web analytics
- Teaching (because many clients aren’t aware of the benefits of CM. So, in that case, you have to educate the client or the content team as well)
- Video editing is a big bonus.
Any other tips you want to share with the business owners?
Always have a clear expectation from content marketing. Only if you have at least 12 months of patience to deliver content without expecting anything, go for content marketing. Otherwise, paid advertising is an option for you.
Enough about for business owners, how can someone start a career in content marketing?
Learning about content strategies, SEO is all good.
But until you implement and get practical experience, you will not evolve as a content marketer. And, if you’re just starting, then blogging can be a good way to start your journey.
While learning, make sure you’re focusing enough on the skills like copywriting, web analytics, SEO, content planning, etc.
Recommended Read: 7 Key Findings After Analyzing 5514 Content Marketing Jobs
According to you, what sets the best Content Marketers apart from the rest?
The best content marketers are data-driven and good at leading the content team. Measuring content performance is what will set you apart from the rest. Also, as a content marketer, you’ll have to deal with the client, writing team, developer, graphic designers, and many. The better you’re at communicating and leading the team, the more efficient you will be.
Other than you, whom do wannabe content marketers must follow? And why?
Sure. I would love to name three marketers whom I admire in this field. Follow them on social media or join their newsletters. Surely, you’ll get to learn many things for free.
- Joe Pulizzi – Get advice on how to build a content business with content marketing.
- Steven Macdonald – You’ll love his 100% practical and proven content on SEO and content marketing tips and strategies.
- Andy Crestodina – Andy is one of the best content marketers I know. Follow his advice, strategies to become a data-driven content marketer.
Recommended Read: 13 Content Marketing Newsletters To Join In 2021
Any tips you want to share for fellow and wannabe content marketers?
Before we end this conversation, I would like to share some of my favourite books to help you become better at content marketing.
Here are these →
- Content chemistry
- Content Inc
- 22 Immutable laws of marketing
- They ask you answer
- This is marketing
Also, I’ve made an entire resources list for all the people who want to learn content marketing that will guide you to become great at content marketing.
And, it’s free. Just visit contentmarketingvip.com, and you’ll get instant access (No signup required).
Where can we find you?
Feel free to connect with me and share your queries.
Different ways where you can connect with me:
- Personal blog: https://iamrafiqul.com
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/12Rafiqul
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/iamrafiqul/
Also, join my newsletter (it’s free) to learn about content marketing: https://contentmarketingvip.com/newsletter/
Truth be told, these are the questions that I wanted to ask him personally, but it seemed not right to waste his time just for me. Making it public can help many others like me.
Enjoy the read and consider sharing this interview. Follow him everywhere and most importantly join his Content Marketing VIP Newsletter. Here you will find the archive of past issues.
Also, consider checking out 50 Actinatioable Content Marketing Tips. I recently gifted it to myself and found it to be awesome.