The concept of content marketing has really caught on in the past couple of years, as more and more companies realize the value of its long-term brand-building and lead-generating benefits. As a company that’s been educating customers about content marketing for over 4 years, we’re really excited to see that more and more business owners are now familiar with the term.
For the novice, though, it may be difficult to know where to start. Whether you’re just entering the content marketing game, or you’re trying to revamp your existing content marketing strategy, here are the 7 steps you should follow to increase your chances of success:

  1. Understand what content marketing is, and what it is not.
    Content marketing involves connecting with your customers on a personal level, by publishing educational or entertaining content (such as a blog post) that has value in and of itself. Content marketing isn’t about the hard sell, or even about directly marketing your products to the audience. Indeed, content marketers who attempt the latter often have trouble gaining the trust of their online audience.
  2. Commit your time and resources.
    Content marketing takes time to develop, and it may take some time to see its benefits to your company’s bottom line. For example, a blog post you write now might generate its first lead two months from now. To succeed, you need to commit your time and marketing budget to executing your content marketing strategy even if you don’t see immediate results.
  3. Study your customers.
    What kinds of articles would your customers want to read? Would they be funny? Educational? Both? Would your customers also enjoy videos, books, or slideshows? To succeed at content marketing, you need to put your finger on the pulse of what your audience wants to see.
  4. Research your competitors.
    Chances are, some of your competitors are already utilizing content marketing. Seeing what they’re up to will give you ideas on what they’re doing well, and where they’re coming up short, which in turn will tell you how to position your own company in the online space.
  5. Design a publication schedule, and stick to it.
    Creating quality content on a regular basis can be a real challenge. To help you stay on track, you should come up with a publication schedule that will outline the frequency at which you’ll need to create each different type of content, and the hard deadlines for when everything should be posted online.
  6. Reuse content to get the most out of it.
    If you take the time to create a well-thought out piece of content, be it an article, a video, or a slideshow, you should get as much mileage out of it as you can. That means reposting it on as many different social media channels as are appropriate for that content type. This also means repurposing your content for different channels and mediums. For example 10 blog posts could be the start to a good book.
  7. Measure success and learn from your mistakes.
    As we mentioned above, it will likely take time before you see content marketing’s direct effect on your bottom line. However, there are many other ways to measure success. Web analytics, for example, will tell you how people are interacting with your content, and whether your audience is growing month-to-month. These are important things to know before the dollars start coming in, so learn from them and keep fine-tuning the process until you’re happy with the results.

Follow these 7 steps to increase your chances of content marketing world domination, and remember—one of the best places to turn to for weekly content marketing strategies is our very own Big Marketing Insider.
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