5 Tips to Successful Content Marketing

Great marketers know that content marketing simply works; it is a proven approach to help organizations achieve their key marketing objectives. But too many professionals are jumping into content marketing without proper planning and lack the required information to create truly successful content, from both a reader perspective and from a goal-attainment one.

Here are my top five tips to successful content marketing that performs well:

1. Know your goal(s)

What are you hoping to achieve? More leads? Sales? Brand awareness? This is important to know before beginning your work. Your goal(s) will influence your content and how successful you deem it to be once you begin to measure and analyze results.

2. Know your audience

Do you know who your audience is and what kind of content they're looking for? You should know their needs, wants, and pain-points. Your content marketing needs to be tailored to your different markets/ demographics. For most companies, there's not a one-size-fits-all approach. If you don't know your audience, you won't be able to produce content that will resonate with them, and as a result, it'll likely perform badly for you from a marketing perspective.

3. Include a call-to-action (CTA)

For content marketing to work, the content you put out needs to be useful and valuable. It should help position you as a thought leader and industry expert. Therefore, whether you're creating a blog post, e-book, or infographic, it needs to provide real value to the reader. Content marketing isn't advertising or sales copy. However, you can include a CTA at the end of the content asking prospects to complete an action you wish, such as fill out a form to get more information or sign up for a free trial. CTAs can help you achieve your content marketing goals.

4. Integrate with social media

Integrate social media into your content marketing efforts by giving people the option to share your content across their social media sites. Once people begin to share your content, the reach of it can explode and it has the opportunity to go viral.

Tip: be sure to share your own content across your company's social media properties. The more places you can share the content the better. Think about Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, LinkedIn (both on your company LinkedIn page and in relevant groups), and SlideShare.

5. Diversify your content

A good content marketer has many different types of content in his arsenal. Don't focus on one type but keep things interesting and exciting by producing blog posts, articles, e-Books, whitepapers, infographics, videos, presentations, and more.

While a breadth of content is beneficial, don't let creating various types of content hinder your ability to consistently produce it. It's important to make sure your team has the bandwidth and ability to develop content on a regular basis before moving head first into content marketing.

There's a lot that goes into content marketing, not all of which can be discussed in this one article. From having a good understanding of your content goals and target market to integrating with social, to utilizing SEO best practices, to monetizing your content with a CTA, to having a diversified content portfolio, top marketers need to be well versed in how to plan for and create successful content marketing and how to leverage its power to make a real difference for their organization.

Matthew Collis is a marketing specialist with expertise in digital marketing and communications. He currently works for IXACT Contact Solutions Inc., a leading real estate CRM firm, where he plays a key role in overseeing marketing and communications programs as well as planning and implementing strategic marketing campaigns. Matthew has published articles in AGBeat, Inman News, and BusinessSoftware.com, among others. You can reach him at matthew.collis@ixactcontact.com or connect with him on LinkedIn here.