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Three Steps to Successful Content Marketing

 
I heard an interesting factoid the other day: more than 90 percent of the data in the world has been created in the past five years and we’re creating more content and new data every day. Within a decade, all of the information recorded prior to 2011 — on every topic ever discussed — will be a fraction of a percentage point of human knowledge. A quick piece of advice: Don’t Panic. That sounds like a lot of content to sort out, and it is, but with a good content marketing plan, you can successfully attract the right customers. We’ve already discussed the importance of good search engine optimization (SEO), so let’s take the next step and talk about how to make your content marketing a success.

Think Like a Consumer

Consumers today are especially savvy; they know an empty sales pitch when they see it. Keyword-heavy content can get you to the top of a search engine results page, but the most successful marketing content gives the customer some meat and shapes your brand identity. You have to find the right balance in your content to 1) show up in search results 2) stand out among those search results.

 

Remember the last time you felt like a salesperson was reciting a script at you, rather than having a conversation to determine your needs to make the sale? So does the person who just found your website. Will your website remind them of that salesperson?

Three Big Letters: WHY?

 

If you’ve gotten this far, you’ve already answered some important questions. Who do you want to reach? You probably already have an editorial content calendar, defined target audiences and the insights to bolster your content marketing strategy.

 

But that misses a big question: Why does this content matter? What does this content say about my core beliefs, my clients, my products, my brand? Your potential customers are asking the same questions.

 

Giving the customer what they want isn’t enough — you have to consider why the customer wants a product, and more importantly, why they should choose you to provide it. Chris Horton at Social Media Today calls that “purpose-driven content.” Salespeople might call it WIIFY (“What’s in it for you?”) content: blog posts and articles that answer the all-important question: “So what?”

 

Balance Relevance and Authenticity

 

Think of the last conference you attended. Which was the most important part? Certainly everything there had some relevance and value to your industry, but think about the parts you found most value.

 

Now consider your marketing content. Is your content a folding table with brochures, branded pens and a nice banner? Is it a panel discussion you attended on trends in your industry? Is it a one-on-one meeting with a client?

 

A successful content marketing strategy balances all of these: good SEO and a professional-looking site will bring in traffic; topical writing and cross-promoted content can increase reach while positioning your brand within your industry; content about something you personally think is important can make you a trusted thought leader in your industry.

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