A huge number of marketers are currently raving about content marketing. It’s the next big thing, don’t you know…

The best internet marketers know that it’s ALWAYS been about content, and that the right content strategy can provide far-reaching benefits for you, the perception of your brand and the future direction of your business.

But how do you go about creating something unique and sharing it with the right people?

What is content marketing?

Learn about your audience when content marketing

Easy – produce some content and market it! It’s actually a lot simpler than it sounds, but it’s amazing how many people aren’t sure how to produce an effective content creation strategy.

Some of the problem lies around the word ‘creative’. Some people hear it and think they have to create an article, an ad campaign or more that sings, dances and takes the world by storm. Oh, and they need to generate thousands of Facebook likes for good measure.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The most effective content marketing campaigns take a lot of in-depth research. You wouldn’t try advertising the benefits of a specialist deodorant to a bunch of hardcore car fanatics, would you?

Learn about your audience

Before you even think about creating anything, learn more about your market. Ask yourself some key questions. Are you selling a specialist product? If so, what is the most popular age range for people buying your product?

Where do most of your customers live? Are they all centralised in a local area? If so then could you use that to your advantage by including some of the area’s history in your content?

If you’re looking to expand and grow your current target audience then it would be an idea to invest in a poll to get a greater perception of how the public currently views your brand.

Facebook polls are a simple way to start, but services such as OnePoll and SurveyMonkey are an excellent long-term investment that can provide an incredible wealth of data that can help improve all areas of your business.

Using that data to your advantage

Be social to maximise your content’s appeal

The right data is crucial to providing creative content. Once you’ve got a good, solid idea of the people that are visiting your website and an overview of the types of people you’re looking to target, then you can complement that information with some creative marketing ideas.

Content can encompass all kinds of creative media, from the written word to video construction, podcasts and much more besides.

But, when creating your content, it’s important to stick with what you know when starting out. Do you have a team of in-house copywriters? Then it’s probably not a good idea creating a video if you don’t have a specialist team to work with.

Stick with what you know, and use it to test the waters. If you’re looking to wow people with something new, produce some articles that hint toward it to generate some excitement.

If you’re adamant on entering a new medium, such as video production, then start slow and invest small. Create a 10-second teaser clip to help improve brand awareness and to let people know that something interesting’s coming their way.

Marketing the finished product

You’re investing in content. It exists on your site. But nobody’s finding it, and you aren’t quite sure where to distribute it.

Part of the solution lies in the data you collected when you were starting your campaign. Share your content amongst specific age groups. Follow them and interact with them on Twitter, Facebook and other channels. Discover where else they go online and look to share your content across similar areas.

Find forums dedicated to the types of products and services you sell. Join in the conversation on fan forums – local, national and international – and let them know about the content you’ve produced and how it relates to them.

It’s also worth angling your content across social platforms that may appear, on the surface, to have little relevance to your company.

A small start-up clothes retailer, for instance, may feel like they have little in common with a platform like LinkedIn. They couldn’t be more wrong. LinkedIn is an incredible tool for sharing content with like-minded professionals, creating connections with similar industry specialists and more.

Be social to maximise your content’s appeal

Be social to maximise your content’s appeal

Researching the social platforms, forums, email lists and more you want to reach with your content is essential, but remember that the core aim when marketing content is to be social.

That means being positive, friendly and personable with people. It’s understandable that you’ve spent money on creating something personal, but it may not be to everyone’s tastes – expect some criticism and be prepared to take it on the chin.

Most importantly, and what we hope that this post has highlighted, is that no matter how great the content is it won’t be able to stand alone.

If you want your content to be shared then you’re going to have to do an awful lot of groundwork researching your audience, the sites they frequent, what types of products are currently attracting their attention and more.

But once you tap into their mindset and start creating content for them, and going out of your way to show it to them, then the benefits are truly outstanding.

In return you’re getting visitors – both old and new – visiting your site on a regular basis to read or view your content and share it with their friends.

The more interesting and regular the content you produce, the more likely they are to become loyal visitors and customers, exploring the rest of the site to learn more about your brand and discover more about the business.

Finally, make sure consistency is a critical part of your overall campaign. It’s no good producing an amazing piece of content if it’s going to be a one-off. Make sure you follow your content up with something equally as impressive to keep people coming back for more.

Want to know more about how to fulfill the potential of your content? Join the conversation below or tweet us a question at @SEOjunkie today to find out more about how to create something powerful, creative and effective for your brand!