Content marketing is not a new concept, but it is one that many businesses get wrong. It is an approach that addresses your customer’s increasing distrust of traditional marketing.

Instead of the hard sell, content marketing provides customers with content that has intrinsic value.

The aim is to provide content that positively raises awareness of your business. Great content marketing will demonstrate your strengths while providing your audience with useful and often actionable information.

Many businesses are still failing at content marketing. Getting it right will win the minds of your prospective customers, support your business goals and grow your customer base.

Should you be investing in content marketing?

It is no secret that your customers are losing trust in traditional marketing forms. They’ve grown accustomed to ignoring adverts and skipping through un-engaging marketing emails, ultimately making reaching new prospects increasingly tricky for many businesses.

Fear not. Customers put their faith in branded web content and recommendations from people they know.

Start conversations

One of the principles of content marketing is to promote conversations about your services, products, and industry. Great content is then shared, linked to by others and interacted with through comments and discussion.

Providing your audience with useful, relevant and well-timed content means they are more likely to recommend you to others. Through content marketing, you need to develop your profile as an expert in your field. Doing this and having a visible presence increases the likelihood that you’ll be top of the list when they are looking for a service you provide.

Have I mentioned the benefit for SEO?

Because you’re producing content as part of a marketing campaign that is relevant and of high quality, it can provide significant SEO benefits long term.

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Getting set up and kick-starting a content marketing strategy

Define an audience

Squeezing the best value from your content marketing is crucial for many.

It takes time and effort to produce excellent value content.

Spend time researching and understanding the audience. What do they respond to? How will your content benefit them?

Where to publish

Once you define the audience, you’re targeting with your content; you need to think about where and when it to publish and promote it.

Firstly, consider where your audience is likely to spend the most time. If you already have a large user base on your website, that is likely to be the best place to publish your content.

For some businesses, LinkedIn would be a much better platform as it allows you to grow your network at the same time.

For others, guest posting within industry blogs might have more benefits.

Wherever you choose as the source, you will use your other channels to promote this cornerstone content.

Produce a content calendar

To get the most value from content marketing, it needs to be timely and relevant to your audience. Tying it in with seasonal events, industry trends and hot topics will ensure it drives engagement and has a more significant impact on your results.

Regularity is another crucial element of a successful content marketing strategy. It is imperative to create excellent content regularly; this will build your brand’s presence and provide trust that will keep users coming back.

Producing and working from an editorial calendar will help you to manage your time and content for the highest return. A schedule will allow you to time the writing and publication of your compelling content, helping to maintain your resources.

Produce evergreen content

An excellent source of content to kick start is by planning and creating ‘evergreen’ content. Evergreen content answers fundamental questions about your business, services or industry that is timeless.

A significant benefit of evergreen content is that it allows for re-purposing and promotion at regular intervals through the year, while always providing value to your customers.

Develop content around cornerstones

Another superb approach when starting content marketing is to create ‘cornerstone’ content; This is content that is central to your area of expertise and provides enormous value to your readers.

Cornerstone content is often long-form and will cover a topic in greater detail — For example ‘Getting started with email marketing’ or ‘A beginners guide to Medium’.

This form of content typically covers a subtopics and contains research and factual information. Over time these will form further articles and spin-offs, all the while providing value to your cornerstone content. Excellent at delivering real value to your audience and generating significant SEO benefits.

What to cover in content marketing

Ensure your content marketing has a more significant impact and value to you as possible, stay close to your expertise and to what you know.

Focus on your knowledge and share this knowledge with other people.

Produce a guide that educates and informs. Think back to when you were learning your skills and first started in your industry, what would have helped you the most? Your target audience may already know all about the topic, but connections and their greater network may not.

The key is starting a conversation.

You are voicing your opinion on the current and trending topics within your industry, using your own experience and knowledge to justify your position.

Of course, not everyone may agree with your views and opinions, but you’ll get people talking.

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