Content marketing is a topic we’re quite eager to learn about here on the Buffer blog, and it seems to be one our community is excited about as well.

We invited the team at Atomic Reach to share their insight in our weekly Twitter chat. The Atomic Reach team shared some amazingly useful tips on how to craft the most engaging content for your social efforts—plus dozens of their favorite content marketing blogs to bookmark!

Click here to see the full Storify recap.

Read below Atomic Reach’s tips on content marketing and a collection of 34 must-read content marketing blogs.

Content Marketing

What is “content marketing” at its very core?

From Atomic Reach:

  • At its core, content marketing is the exchange of useful content to an audience in return for their attention.
  • That content can take on many forms from blogs, white papers, podcasts, things like this Twitter chat and much more.
  • The goal of a brand is to attract an audience interested in their content and ultimately their product or service.

More great insights:

  • “Content marketing is providing people with content of value, helping solve problems, engaging, inspiring stories—on brand.” @outsider_NYC
  • “Content marketing at its core is creating material that resonates with the audience you are trying to reach.” @EducationNews1
  • “It’s all about reaching out into the world and making connections with useful or interesting information.” @friendemic
  • “Content Marketing = spreading insightful and useful information to customers as a marketing strategy” @riacruz_

What is “engagement”?

From Atomic Reach:

  • “Engagement” can be different depending on what’s important. For us, it’s all around CONNECTING with an AUDIENCE.
  • That connection can be measured in so many different ways depending on the platform, but more importantly your goals.
  • It’s less about vanity metrics like likes & followers & more about things like shares, comments, sign-ups & conversions.
  • Great content marketers identify their engagement metrics and pursue them when crafting strategy.

More great insights:

  • “Engagement is interaction: comments, shares, likes. It’s a great way to see your message being heard.” @assistantsocial
  • “Engagement is intentioned response and dialogue between brand and consumer.” @jayvig
  • “Engagement is people responding. You’ve successfully helped a member of your audience go from passive to active.” @emilyacarlton

How can you identify and write for your target audience?

From Atomic Reach:

  • You need to UNDERSTAND who your AUDIENCE is and how content RESONATES with them.
  • That may be understanding their demographics. For us it’s around knowledge & understanding of topic.
  • Resonance begins in the head and heart. If you understand something and/or it piques your emotion, you engage.
  • No matter what, remember, it’s about your audience. ALWAYS.

Atomic Reach also shared this graphic that shows five types of readers who might engage with the content you create. For each type, there are specific adjectives describing their persona and the way you might frame the content you write.

Do any of these types resonate with you and your audience?

atomic reach audience1

More great insights:

  • “Awesome question. I’d say start with 1 very specific person. Write an open letter to a real person who’d use your product” @ReferralCandy
  • “Use survey tools like @QualarooInc, ask your subscribers via email, ask your community on social! Dig into Google Analytics.” @lil_tea
  • “Find keywords and sources, listen to social media, see who is talking and what they care about” @sMorac

What key analytics should you track to craft the most engaging content?

From Atomic Reach:

  • We think it’s about ratios more than specific stats. We love pageviews/visits or on FB: “talking about this” and likes.
  • It starts with the key metrics: page views, unique views, time spent & social metrics around sharing & commenting.
  • We think you should track quality of content with Atomic Score 😉 to connect with a bigger audience
  • “It shouldn’t be about big data, it should be about the right data. BSBB.” @irahaberman

Other great insights:

  • “Play to strengths of social media tools (twitter, fb, IG, etc). Stay on top of best practices for them and share accordingly.” @abowersock
  • “In the simplest sense (on social), what’s getting shared the most. What was valuable enough to tell a friend about?” @ChristinKardos
  • “Any measurement needs to drive behavior: Result A, Action A; Result B, Action B. A waste of resources w/o change” @d_scott

What kind of CTAs drive engagement?

From Atomic Reach:

  • Most effective to drive engagement: CTAs that are audience focused, clear, concise and definitive.
  • Don’t badger your audience with multiple CTAs. Give them one at a time.
  • “Multiple Choice” is not a good CTA. That’s bananas crazy and confusing. Keep it simple. Short. Make it easy to click.

Other great insights:

  • “Anything that offers value (different words depend on audience & purpose). “Learn” | “Win” | “Join” | “Free” … so many! ” @ItsADinah
  • “Whatever the action you want them to do, make it clear and to the point” @_DanMessina

What is more important with content: quality or quantity?

From Atomic Reach:

  • QUALITY over quantity. Always.
  • If you are starved for resources, plan a few really great pieces, instead of scrambling to create sub-par ones.
  • Great content marketers can create the illusion of quantity by effectively repurposing quality content.
  • Make an awesome blog post, a cool infographic, a white paper and turn them into a series of blog posts.
  • Spend your time planning and effectively using resources for quality content.
  • Your audience will thank you by growing, connecting and creating community around your brand.
  • In the words of @annhandley on quality vs quantity:

ann handley quote

Other great insights:

  • “Quality definitely trumps quantity. Low-quality posts can be detrimental to business. But you should post consistantly” @capacitr
  • “Why not have both? Create a lot of great content that people can’t live without.” @joshstaubin
  • “Definitely niche specific – but I set a high quality bar and produce as much content as can consistently hit it.” @abhaykhu

34 Must-Read Blogs for the Latest on Content Marketing

Atomic Reach was kind to share their go-to blogs for content marketing tips and resources, and the Bufferchat community chimed in with their favorites, too. All together, we ended up with 34 amazing blogs for you to check out.

  1. Uberflip
  2. SteamFeed
  3. Business2Community
  4. Marketing Profs
  5. Content Marketing Institute
  6. Buffer blog
  7. Jeff Bullas
  8. Problogger
  9. Jay Baer
  10. Atomic Reach
  11. Hub Spot
  12. Short Stack Lab
  13. Mashable
  14. Copyblogger
  15. Brian Solis
  16. Social Media Examiner
  17. Marketing Sherpa
  18. Neil Patel
  19. KISSmetrics
  21. GrowthHackers
  22. Word Stream
  23. Moz
  24. Hootsuite
  25. NewsCred
  26. CoSchedule
  27. Sprinklr
  28. Feldman Creative
  29. Joel Klettke
  30. TheNextWeb
  31. Gregory Ciotti
  32. Contently
  33. Social Fresh
  34. Marie Forleo

See you at the next #Bufferchat!

Thank you to everyone who joined in, and big thanks to Atomic Reach! Catch #Bufferchat each Wednesday at 9 am Pacific/noon Eastern on Twitter. New to Twitter chats? Here is a helpful guide to get you started!

Image sources: The Noun Project, BlurgroundsStartup Stock Photos

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Written by Nicole Miller

Community Champion at Buffer 🙂 When I’m not connecting with amazing community members, you can find me writing, reading or blogging about my urban homesteading adventures with 15 chickens, four ducks, two dogs and a horse.

  • Hey Nicole! Great Round Up.

    For people who read the comments, I’d add these Blogs: and kapost :=)

  • Larry Kim

    thanks for including wordstream on the list of blogs guys. i’m a buffer customer and love your content.

    • Thanks, Larry! We’re big fans of Wordstream’s content also!

  • bob jones

    Practical…sharable. Kudos, Nicole. “Re-purposing quality content” – great strategy! makes use of the strategy as well. Thanks Mael for the link.

  • Tereza

    Great post, it manages to be a great 101 on Content Marketing!

  • Emmett Hughes


    This is great blog with some awesome insight. It’s essential to measure KPI’s when content marketing and that part definitely spoke to me as an inbound marketing professional.

    We think closed loop marketing (the idea of tracking KPI’s throughout the sales cycle is very important. Check out my recent blog on it and let me know what you think.. I’d love to hear your opinion on this strat.

    Emmett (@emtendo)

  • Mmmh, I came here to see the list of 34 websites you’d put together. You’re missing a lot of “smaller” names in the industry that are actually 500 times better than a lot of the ones you posted.

    Business2Community is close to… well, garbage. Anyone can submit content to B2C, they have close to 100+ articles on it everyday, I tried to follow them on my Feedly for about a month and was appalled at the poor quality that seeps through B2C.

    Jeff Bullas is the same. Repetitive, old, pointless content.

    Something as broad as Mashable or TNW shouldn’t be on this list either.

    It might sound like I’m “hating” on those platforms or on this post, but I’m not. The fact of the matter is that Buffer is probably one of the most visited blogs for marketers on the planet. And to have Buffer spread stuff like this, well, its like continuing to spread poison in the community. I know AtomicReach might have shared the list with you and you’ve posted it as-is, but perhaps there should be a short byline in there that says that these websites are not endorsed by Buffer, or rather – perhaps even go as far as to exclude some from the list that you do not agree with because this is your platform.

    Come on guys. I expect better from Buffer.

    • Rather not say specifically which ones you’ve slammed that I agree with, but I’ll say I agree with some. And good for you for expressing your opinion and pointing out some of the list’s flaws. Rock on.

    • Hi Avtar, so sorry we let you down on this one. I really appreciate your honesty here in letting us know how we can serve you better on the blog, and we don’t take it lightly. Would you be interested in sharing some of the smaller industry names that you most enjoy? It would be great to know about them for the future.

      • Hey @courtneyseiter:disqus, thanks for the positive response and for not jumping on the defensive immediately. 🙂 Happy to share a few of the blogs that I think really deserve to be on there!

        1. Mark Schaefer’s Grow Blog: Provocative, insightful, fresh ideas – almost every single post. It’s one of the few blogs I follow and comment on every single post of!

        2. Jon Loomer: The only blog on Facebook ads and content promotion you ever need to read and follow.

        3. AllFacebook / InsideFacebook: Not sure how any present day digital marketer plans on being on top of Facebook’s changes unless they follow those blogs.

        4. eConsultancy: Another blog that I’m surprised isn’t on here in spite of being very popular. Their data driven analytical posts and examinations of campaigns are some of the best around.

        5. eMarketer: Data for marketers.

        6. SocialBakers: One of the most reliable blogs out there when it comes to social data and analytics.

        7. Stone Temple Consulting: Eric Enge and Mark Traphagen are two of the most logical and well-informed SEO experts in the industry today. Moz is fantastic, but you cannot miss out on Eric and Mark.

        Those are a handful that jump out at me that should definitely be on this list. Maybe I should do a post for you guys and cover the blogs that people really need to follow that they haven’t heard about before, or are slightly less popular. 😉

        • Hi Avtar. When a post on a respected blog contains the words “34 Must-Read Blogs to Follow” and the whole tenor of the post is about delivering quality content to a well defined audience, I expect more than an unqualified list of links. I love that you’ve given good reasons for your top blogs… and yes, please write your own post!

        • Awesome resources, Avtar! This is really helpful. If you want to write that post, we’d love to have it! Email me at [email protected]. 🙂 think you’re off to a great start with this list!

        • TakeActionWAHM

          Wow – I consider myself pretty up on marketing blogs, and I only knew two of these. Please do write that article!

    • Agree that there are lots of blogs on the list that shouldn’t be on there. There are also some that are great.

      No list will ever be complete, that’s one thing to remember. This was crow-sourced during a Twitter chat, so only a few people would have suggested blogs, and they would most-likely be their go-to blog.

      If this was a curated list based on an algorithm, or a much larger contest where there are several criteria and judges, it would be a much different looking list I would suspect.

      Agree with Barry, kudos on speaking up. There are a lot of great resources out there that often get missed because they don’t have the reach of a Mashable.

  • Happy to be included here and proud that I’ve written for 14 of these blogs. Thanks Buffer. Thanks Atomic.

  • Nichole – Thanks for mentioning Social Media Examiner

  • Thanks for including SteamFeed on this list! 🙂

  • Paul Mikhail

    Great blog post, I was only reading a handful of those blogs, its time to change it up and start using more of them.

    • Thanks, Paul! Happy reading!

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  • To me engagement is more than the sum of a users actions. Analytics should be smart enough to know which actions suggest a user is getting sustained value from a product and which actions suggest frustration or busy work.

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