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The Copyblogger Content Marketing Codex

Listen. If you are even remotely connected to the marketing and advertising world then you’ve probably heard the word “content marketing.”

You’ve at least been exposed to it:

  • Blogging
  • Google+ Hangouts
  • White papers
  • Tutorials
  • Email Autoresponders

But even if you consider yourself a seasoned practitioner I doubt you’ve ever had a handy, systematic and exhaustive guide — loaded with 52 articles that cover content marketing essentials to building a viable money-making platform — at your finger tips.

Now you do …

Want to know the two attributes of exceptional content? Need a way to jump-start your editorial calendar? Want to read how real-world businesses created their content empires? Would you like to learn how to earn profits with your content without sounding like a high-pressure salesman?

You’ll find answers to those questions — and more — in the following list. This guide will fill in the gaps to your knowledge. It will help you become a content marketing expert in your industry or company.

This list reaches back to November 2008 and goes all the way up to the present. It is broken down into nine sections:

  • Content Essentials
  • Content Strategy
  • Idea Creation
  • Content Creation
  • Social Media Promotion
  • Traffic Generation
  • Content Marketing Case Studies
  • Content Auditing
  • Content Business Building

And yes, I read all 52 articles. It took me seven hours over three days. I recommend you do the same. If you don’t have the time at least scan the list — it’s a clinic in effective headline writing. That alone is worth bookmarking or printing for future use.

Side note: This list makes for perfect Twitter content … drip out just one article a day to your readers over a 52-day period, and you’ll look like a content marketing genius 😉

And with that, I give you the Copyblogger Content Marketing Codex

Content essentials

The First Rule of Copyblogger
Great content marketing begins here. Those who obey this rule share content that’s worth reading with an audience who is hungry for it. Long-term gains in traffic, leads and profits follow. Those who break this rule might experience short bursts of traffic, leads and profits — but not for long.

What’s the Difference between Content Marketing and Copywriting?
When you combine great content with great copywriting you end up with a powerful marketing platform that can launch you into the realm of the world’s greatest content producers.

The Three Essentials of Breakthrough Content Marketing
The glut of content on the web means that the market is crowded and cluttered. Your content needs to rise above that confusion. Here’s how to do it.

Why Content Marketing Doesn’t Suck
As the saying goes, “Haters will hate.” Don’t let them talk you out of the benefits that content marketing can deliver over a long period of time. This episode of Copyblogger Radio will show you what Procter & Gamble, soap operas and content marketing have in common. And then some.

The Two Vital Attributes of Quality Content
Ever wondered what makes some blog posts funny, vigorous and meaningful? You know, the kinds of blog posts that you not only share — but save. Print out. Study. Wonder no more.

Everything You Need to Know About Creating Killer Content in 3 Simple Words
Here’s a simple, sticky formula — one that basically consolidates what every guru, expert and pundit has been saying about persuasion, usability and web marketing — that will make creating compelling copy easy.

Content strategy

10 Content Marketing Goals worth Pursuing
What do you want your content to accomplish? You do have goals, right? If not, start with these ten.

Why Google+ is an Inevitable Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy
Social media tools like Twitter and Facebook are vehicles to spread your content (not places to build content). They play minor roles. Google+, on the other hand, is different. Brian Clark explains.

The 5 Keys to Content Marketing Mastery
If you’re happy being an average content marketer, then you can ignore this post. But if you want to be a content marketing master, tap into these five strategies of “deliberate practice.”

The Old-School Content Marketing Strategy That Scores Freelance Writing Clients
While the Internet is more effective and efficient in many ways, you won’t want to throw this approach to getting more freelance clients in the marketing dustbin — it still works. And marvelously.

Idea creation

49 Creative Ways You Can Profit From Content Marketing
Build a membership website. Yellow page ads that look like a blog post. Address popular objections. And forty-six more ideas to help stoke your content creativity.

How to Use Content to Find Customers
What do birthday cakes and content marketing have in common? More than you think.

The 10-Step Content Marketing Checklist
Sonia calls this blog post a “checklist” for building a solid content marketing platform. I prefer “law” or “commandment” because if you break one of these rules you’ll pay.

Zen and the Art of Content Marketing
Content marketing in the 21st Century might seem like an endless high-speed car chase. But it doesn’t have to be. Not when you apply the simple principles of quality used by this world-renowned Japanese sushi chef.

Why Content Marketing Is the New Branding
Your content defines you. And it becomes the vehicle in which you communicate promises and expectations to your customers. Check out the nifty infographic from PRWeb on the different options to share your brand online.

How to Brainstorm Brilliant Ideas for Your Blog
You probably know what brainstorming is. But do you know how to do it correctly? Do you know what you need to do before, during and after the event to make it actually successful? I didn’t. Not until I read this article.

Content creation

3 Components of a Content Marketing Editorial Calendar that Works
Are you strategic about your content creation? Or do you wing it, publishing content with a short-term view to the future? One will help you be successful for the long-term. The other will stunt your growth.

A Simple Plan for Writing One Powerful Piece of Online Content per Week
Want a beautiful 4-step procedure for creating a drop-dead gorgeous blog post each week? One that draws out the process leisurely over four days? And lets you do it in your slippers? Read on.

58 Ways to Create Persuasive Content Your Audience Will Love
You want to be a great writer. Seduce readers. Climb above the competition. If that’s you, then start with this step-by-step guide to creating ridiculously good content. Henneke doesn’t disappoint.

The Copyblogger “Secret” to Creating Better Content
Content marketers use content to advertise a product, service or idea. You want to attract attention. Create desire. Stoke interest. But you also want readers to actually do something. Here’s how.

22 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue
It happens to the best bloggers and content marketers. Idea dry spells. After dipping into the well every day for months … you come up empty. This infographic is a fast and helpful tool to help you jump start the idea process.

A Crash Course in Marketing With Stories
Stories are easily the most powerful tool in the content marketer’s arsenal. People love good stories. Stories communicate complex ideas simply. And stories stick in people’s mind. But if you don’t know how to write a good story, then they won’t help you.

How to Constantly Create Compelling Content
Where are you supposed to get all your ideas for content? The answer can be found in a little-known intersection that artists, scientists and songwriters have been crossing for centuries.

The Simple 5-Step Formula for Effective Online Content
Effective content marketing comes down to two things: education and personality. The right combination of these two elements will lead to leaps in traffic, subscribers and — ultimately — customers.

The 3-Step Cure for Boring, Useless Content
About the worst thing you could do if your business could benefit from content marketing is to avoid marketing content. The second worst thing is to create lame content. Geoff Livingston tells you how to make sure that never happens.

The 7 Essential Steps to Creating Your Content Masterpiece
Johann Sebastian Bach — one of the greatest composers who ever lived — had one of the most grueling production schedules one could imagine. And that, my friends, is one of these reasons he cranked out so many masterpieces. Mark McGuiness explains.

How to Craft a Marketing Story that People Embrace and Share
Storytelling isn’t limited to a blog post or a sales page. Storytelling works for your overall position in a market. So how do you write a story? Use these three steps.

Social media promotion

Why Content and Social Media are a Powerful Match
It’s not enough to create jaw-dropping content. You need to take that content to your tribe, who are sitting around those digital campfires (think social media). They’re waiting for you.

The Must-Have Social Media Tool Every Content Marketer Needs
Introducing the ultra-powerful, infinitely flexible and free social media tool that allows you to publish effective content without holding you to any arbitrary rules. It’s not what you think. Promise.

Are You Someone’s User-Generated Content?
The dangers of failing to build a digital asset that YOU own are real. Casualties abound.

Is Google+ the Ultimate Content Marketing Platform?
Good question, right. So, should you use Google+ to drive traffic back to your site? Here are three reasons why you should.

Traffic generation

5 Ways to Get More Traffic with Content Marketing
We all want it: more traffic. But how do we get it? It’s the most common question new bloggers ask. And it’s the question seasoned bloggers never stop asking. Try these five strategies for solid, proven results.

4 Proven Strategies for Finding a Wider Audience for You Content
Have you hit the glass ceiling of audience growth? Want proven methods for spreading your content like wildfire? These techniques (with case studies) are golden.

8 Incredibly Simple Ways to Get More People to Read Your Content
Most content marketers are fighting a losing battle with obscurity. They write, publish and promote — and get nothing out of it. That’s painful. To make matters worse, this goes on day in, day out. Follow Pamela Wilson’s advice and that will change.

Should Your Content Aim for Traffic or Conversion?
The Cosmopolitan and the New Yorker approach content marketing — viewed in two entirely different ways. Both approaches are super-successful. And anybody can combine and use these approaches to create killer results.

Content marketing case studies

How Chris Brogan Built His Content Platform
Look at Mr. Brogan now and you might think master of social media. He rules over one of the most recognizable independent content publishing empires. But life was not always easy for him. In fact, he struggled for eight years to get 100 subscribers. Here’s his story on Copyblogger radio.

5 Marketing Lessons You Can Learn from a Weird “Real World” Business
Ideas are good. They are even better when they actually work. Here’s a content marketing case study of a business that creates high-end beauty products — for dogs. Weird, but true.

What to Do When You Absolutely, Positively Must Know if Your Content Will Rock
Predicting what content will resonate with readers is tough — if not impossible. You simply cannot know unless you do this one thing. Indie band Wilco did and discovered the truth. So will you.

What Avatar Can Teach You about Repurposing Your Content
Blockbuster movies are not original. They borrow tried-and-true themes and repackage them. This same approach can work with your content. Pillage your archives for content themes — and then get to work creating something new out of something old.

The Grateful Dead 4-Step Guide to the Magical Influence of Content Marketing
I can hear you now: “Are you serious? An elderly, endlessly touring hippie band can teach me something about effective content marketing?” Yes, they can. Jerry Garcia was a genius. Or should I say “guru”?

The Matrix Guide to Content Marketing
A unique scheme on content creation that uses Neo, Agent Smith, Spoon Boy and Persephone as quadrants. Fill in the blanks and you discover what you are good at — and ignore everything else.

Content auditing

Is Content Marketing Worth the Effort?
Let me be frank with you: content marketing is work. It is hard work. Hard work like laying bricks or teaching middle school children. But for the practitioner who loves the work? It’s a turn on …

Why Nobody Cares about Your Content (and What to Do About It)
Glen Allsop of ViperChill explains how to build your personal brand and authority by giving your readers everything they want — and never once talking about yourself.

Are You Creating Meaningful Content?
Ever think to yourself, “What does this content mean? Does it even matter? Is it significant? Do my readers care?” Those are good questions to ask yourself. And here’s the 5-step framework to help you answer them.

How to Beat “Invisible Content” Syndrome
I’ve got some bad news for you: every new blog is born with a disease. Professionals call it Invisible Content Syndrome — or ICS. Others call it obscurity. No matter … it sucks. The good news is you can conquer it. Here’s how.

The Foolproof Cure for Weak Content: 4 Ways to Get Some Perspective
You got a sweet idea for a blog post. You pop out of bed and hammer out the first draft. When you are finished you read what you wrote and think that sucks. Don’t worry. That happens to all of us. And there are four great ways to fix it.

The Force that Powers Persuasive Content (And 3 Ways to Intensify It)
Bet you didn’t know this, but character building and content marketing go hand in hand. Behind every piece of content you create is a person. Is that person honest, credible and an authority? If not, then here are three ways to improve those essential components.

Content business building

How to Build a Business Using Paid and Free Content
Raise your hand if you got into blogging to make money. That probably includes most of you. So, are you making money? Why not? Sonia will tell you how to do it by creating a platinum version of your content.

Should We Be Worried About Fast Food Content?
Alarmists like Michael Arrington would have you believe that you can’t make a living as a content marketer. The big boys will eat your lunch. BS. His argument is built on five assumptions that are patently false.

Why Content is No Longer King (And Who’s Taking His Place)
Why would a novelist claim that content is not king? I mean, come one, this guy makes his living off of huge chunks of content. Has he got a BB loose in the can? No. What he’s got is a good argument.

Educate to Dominate Your Competition
Want to spark the buying process in your readers without resorting to a hyped-message? Dream of making your products so irresistible that customers hardly notice your sales offers? Then use the six psychological shortcuts of influence.

How to Succeed at Content Marketing Even if Your Content Skills Suck
Still a little weak in the knees about this whole content marketing thing because, well, you just don’t have any confidence in your skills? No sweat. Half the battle is doing this one thing.

Over to you …

What’s this content marketing codex missing?

What articles would you add?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

About the author

Demian Farnworth

Demian Farnworth is Chief Content Writer for Rainmaker Digital and host of the podcast Rough Draft

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  1. Hello Demian! Love reading the post and I am pretty amazed how you gathered so much links in one post and those really very resource full and great valuable information they have.

    Thanks for sharing excellent tips.

    • Hey Ayaz, yeah, it was a really useful exercise to dig through a ton of great content, find all those focused on content marketing, read through those and then organize and write. I feel like I should get a certificate of completion or something. :)

      Actually your kind comment is a better reward. Have a great weekend, sir.

  2. This is so very, very cool. We’re working on a series of blog posts on content marketing at the moment – we’ll definitely mention this resource. Thank you.

  3. On the mean streets of Kalamazoo, Michigan where I live here… we have a word to describe something that is so bad ass, something so overly incredible, so cool, so wicked … we just say: “Sick Bird!”

    I read the first few paragraphs up until you reached the list. Then started to scan the headlines and then reading a few of the descriptions. The first word that came to my mind was “Sick Bird.”

    Sick Bird, Demian. I like it. Very useful.

  4. Good afternoon, Demian.

    May I just say I had a lovely weekend lined up . New saucy book; a few bottles of wine; soft lights…..
    All out the window now :(
    It looks like it’ll be a lights on session; BIG cup of coffee and a good pair of specs as I plough my way through this little lot – Thanks!

    I so hope no-one suggests any more 😉

    Kind regards,

    • Uh, sorry for ruining your weekend Linda. I think.

      You don’t have to give up the wine, though, do you? Or the soft lights for that matter. Your laptop/ipad is back lit. :)

      And maybe next weekend you can get back to that book. :)

      • Next weekend, Demian…as soon as that!

        What an optimist you are – only possible if I don’t have to share the wine (not part of my plan!) there’s such a wealth of information in your list I would want to give it my fullest attention.

        Oh, I know – I’ll hide the bottles until I’ve finished then use them to toast your kindness in compiling this list (on my own, so I don’t have to share!). Just do me one favour, please. Try not to publish another ‘must read’ next weekend, or I’ll never find out how my blood, guts and gore story works out!

        Kind regards,
        L :)

  5. Holy wow, Demian – this email is the Energizer bunny of useful content marketing advice lists. Scrolling down through it I was blown away by how many things there were that I wanted to read!

    Unlike Linda I can’t promise I will get to it all this weekend, but I’m going to try! Thanks for your concentrated, quality content consolidation.


    • Now, Mr Aherne,

      What could you possibly have to do that’s more pressing than plodding your way through a mountain of content marketing?
      Wait – don’t answer that. I think I’d rather not know. If I’m to forgo my wine and wantoness, I’d rather be ignorant of what fun and frolics others have lined up 😉


  6. Robin Williams :

    WOW, this could not be more perfectly timed for me! Thanks for all of your effort and time in putting this list together, Demian.

    I believe that there is and will continue to be tremendous benefit to businesess that create valuable content that’s focused on the needs of it’s audience.

    I also believe that there is a place for curated content in the content marketing mix for some types of businesses. If you think there is value, where do you see the placement of curated content in the Codex?

    • That’s a great question. It’s useful, and has it’s place, but I would never build a platform on curated content strictly. More like 30/70. If not lower ratio.

      Original content is what gets you noticed. Besides, it’s easy to copycat curated content. A lot harder to develop original content. For any writer who wants to grow the answer is obvious.

  7. Hi Demian,

    This is a fantastic work of reference that’s going straight into my Evernote files – thanks so much for going to the trouble to put it all together for us. I always look forward to Copyblogger posts and often bookmark or save them, but it’s very helpful to have all these gems so helpfully categorized.

    Thank you!


    • I couldn’t agree more with you Sue! Just when I was think of the right words to describe how valuable this post is, your comment hit the nail on the head. Especially at a time where I’m getting to grips with this whole online content marketing concept.

      There is a plethora of information out there but at least I can now focus on one place for now and take it from there. Bookmark Done. Evernote Done too.

      Great post Demian and even more so, Thanks!

      P.S what an eye catching way to arrange your surname. Guess it done it’s job as if the post wasn’t enough

      • Are you talking about the exclamation point? I’m not sure how that got in there. But I just noticed it…and like it. Going to move it to the end and see how that does. :)

        • Hmm – think I prefer Farn!worth….. it has a quirky ‘differentness’, whereas Farnworth sounds as though you’re surprised to be you or you’ve caught yourself out somehow.
          Not that I know anything, of course…..

          L :)

    • It’s an honor Sue! Thank you.

  8. Uh, bookmark. Check. You guys do GREAT work. Thanks so much.

  9. My goodness Damian! This is a full-on content marketing course, worthy of a “buy button”!
    I’m grateful that you put this together.

  10. Whoo, Demian!! This is an AMAZING list and I’m definitely taking it down this weekend. I thought I was the only one who dug through archives for juicy wisdom; all the way back to ’08? RepreSENting, sir. Thanks for this and yes, you totally deserve a certificate and badge of honour for your effort. 😀

  11. Wow! Really fantastic work — mamy, many, many thanks!

  12. Really appreciate the completeness of this – and I will be sharing with my fellow association professionals who understand the need to know about content marketing but often do not have the time to do the research that you have done for us. Great resource – thanks again for doing this.

  13. Dang! That’s a pretty huge list you have compiled. I bet reading through all of them is going to take days! Thanks for sharing the resources, Demian.

    • It will take days. Or a very long afternoon to read all of those articles. But worth it. And don’t forget: you can use this list as an archive to tweet content marketing articles.

  14. I’m so bewildered by all the material available online that I don’t really know where to start and always worry that I’m reading (when I actually find time!) the wrong things, and missing something valuable. Thank you so much for putting this all together, it’s a great resource.

  15. Amazing amazing list! I appreciate your edition of literature and articles with real depth and perspective of philosophy. I think understanding content marketing and creation requires one to be not only well read in their field, but also have a grasp of literature, history, philosophy, the arts in general. It’s what makes us critical thinkers/learners and what helps us better connect with our audience.

  16. I found this through one of the sites that linked to your Content Marketing Codex. Thanks for sharing this. I am interested in reading the case studies first. I like to see what other people have done that has worked for them.

    I also like to see what mistakes they have made. I appreciate being able to see what might not work before I spend time doing it myself. It really helps to assess my own ideas against what works. It helps me to make faster progress.

    Thanks again.

  17. Excellent work in compiling this solid list of articles. What impressed me more is that you practise what you preach. I have recommended Copyblogger to our clients and associates in the technology industry. I also mentioned you in a recent article about content marketing. I welcome your feedback.

  18. I heard long form posts with lots of useful information, a la the New Yorker, were the thing to write. This is a textbook example that proves the case. Well done my friend.

  19. I’ve been doing “big” posts like this lately and I know it’s a ton of work. Thank you for going to the trouble. I’ve sent it out to my readers as well as Evernoted the crap out of it for later. Appreciate the hard work – and yes, it’s DAYS of good reading! Especially going from post to post on these linked blogs.

  20. Wow, this is an amazing list. I’m just trying to figure out some way to compile it so I don’t have to open up 52 tabs in my slow browser.

    Seriously, this is great ebook material. As someone who’s just started in Content Marketing (or, really, just realized that what I do is called “Content Marketing”) this is a lifesaver!