7 Ways to Score with Content Marketing

Like the NFC Championship team the Seattle Seahawks, content marketing can be underestimated in the business world. With over 40 percent of top brands utilizing blogs today, according to Forbes.com, larger organizations have the winning advantage. If you are a small business owner, don't throw in the towel just yet. Take notes on these top plays in content marketing as you prepare to watch the NFL Super Bowl XLIX game.

1. Join the Crowd

Before you kick off your next set of blogs and articles make sure that you have done your research. Analyze your competitors and current trends. Consider key differentiators and assert your unique value proposition. Although timely and daunting, you must always be aware of trends, popular hashtags and current events. Don't just aim for the nose bleed view, get down on the 50 yard line.

2. Play the Field

Writer David Dubois of INSTEAD says, "While having great content is a key step in the design of a good content strategy, perhaps more important is to ensure that this content will be shared and distributed."

Don't just limit your content to your own business site or blog. Make your content available through different social media outlets like Twitter, LinkedIN, Google + and Facebook. Consider guest posting on a site relevant to your industry. Review related blogs and leave conversational comments filled with insight.

3. Get to Know Your Referees

Efficient content marketing means knowing the rules. Take time to understand how major search engines index your site. Don't limit yourself to one search engine. Research Google, Yahoo and Bing. Make your content keyword rich, but don't break the rules by "stuffing."

4. Play the Entire Game

Winning means not waiting until the final quarter to run the ball. With content marketing you should always plan ahead. Align your posts with national holidays and events. Create a media calendar to run parallel. Just as a flower shop prepares for Valentine's Day well in advance, you'll want to prepare your content to coincide with important dates in your industry.

5. Prepare Your Defense
Assume the role of a customer. Be a resource for potential customers by anticipating their needs. Write your own list of questions and answers. Use this to gauge your potential topics. Quora is a question-and-answer website where questions are created, answered, edited and organized by its community of users, according to their site. This is a good place to find new ideas and understand what information inquisitive minds are seeking.

6. Don't Miss That Field Goal

Once you have established a following, there is still a way to score extra points. Be consistent. Brafton.com suggests consistent content to fuel long term results. In their case study, they report weekly content updates by 60 percent of brands. Keep your audience well-fed with relevant and useful information. There is nothing worse than letting the crowd down with sporadic updates. Once you have their attention, closing the deal is an easy feat.

7. Don't Forget Your Cheerleaders

Use customer reviews to enhance your marketing tactics. Don't simply blast content. Engage and converse. You'll be surprised at how a few happy customers can build rapport with a large audience.

Whether your business is a small start-up or a home-based business, you can make a touchdown with winning content. Maybe you won't get the championship ring, but you can get the phone ringing.

(And the crowd roars...)