The goal of content marketing is, of course, to win new business. More precisely, it’s to win new business in a manner that is both sustainable and profitable.

Know Your Audience

Get to know your audience and their interests. Don’t assume you know – ask! And once you’ve asked, don’t assume the answer never changes. The goal is to create content that addresses the topics they love with answers to questions they have. And that’s a whole lot easier to do if you’re not guessing about what they want.

Let Google Guide You

If “let Google guide you” makes you think “SEO,” you are correct! But you don’t have to commit to a full-on SEO campaign if doing so doesn’t make sense for you. There are all sorts of keyword tools available if you don’t have an SEO expert in-house or on contract. One caveat: if SEO isn’t right for you, there may be limited value to keyword research: the two generally go hand-in-hand.

It’s Your Audience, Really.

It’s worth splitting hairs to say that it’s not really Google that is guiding you here. They’re just aggregating the data for you. It is your audience and potential audience who are telling you (through their choices of keyword phrases) what they’re interested in and what language they use to find relevant information. This brings us back to talking to your clients, prospects and all who interact with them (sales teams and customer service personnel) to find out what really interests them.

Personality and Perspective

Have a voice and a viewpoint. More than anything else, being “you” is the only thing that will make you stand out from the crowd. Don’t shy away from showing your personality, whether through humor, wonder, or absolutely ‘weirding’ out over the details of your niche.

You may end up alienating some of your audience. However, that alienation will happen regardless, so you may as well help those members of your audience who aren’t a good fit to move along.

Visuals, don’t forget visuals

You need to paint a picture as the saying goes “a picture paints a thousand words.” All of which is a long way of reminding you not to forget visuals. Breaking up the printed word is critical, especially for longer pieces, so make use of images as well as white space, sub-heads, bullets, and other formatting.

And think beyond the printed word. Video, animation, and other tools will help bring your ideas to life and get your audience engaged.

Plan

An editorial calendar will help you stay on track throughout the year.  And will keep you focused on what matters to all audience segments and all stages of the buying process. In addition, if you map out what you need, you will remove the guess work and reduce you stress level.

Automate

Don’t do your content generation manually. Use tools to automate processes and batch tasks so that it’s not a never-ending death march of, say, social media posts. Do them once a week, and schedule them with a tool like Hootsuite.

Less Intimidating dashboard

Start small if you have to, and look at just one aspect of your data. Track it over time. Make adjustments to content and track whether they help or hurt your results.

Then add another dimension to the simple data you’re tracking. Do a little research and you’ll find out how to get the data you’re aiming for.

Turn data into information and information into actionable insights. Let that be your guidance premise, creating content that creates leads will be much easier and thus your content marketing programs much more successful.

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