This post was co-authored with Jordan Boshers.
If you have spent any time following the online marketing world recently you will be very familiar with the term “Content Marketing." Content marketing consists of creating compelling content that is not directly promotional but that provides value to your audience. Most consumers believe that brands who spend time creating custom content are truly interested in building relationships with them. Great digital content can come in the form of blogs, infographics, video, white papers, eBooks and more. Content marketing done right is one of the best ways to build brand trust and drive traffic and sales. According to the Custom Content Council, because 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content, they are also more likely to buy from that company. One pitfall we see however is when brands and marketers say they are going to create viral content. Content only becomes "viral" as a result of quality and great distribution efforts. In this post we discuss some of the ways you can make sure your content investment doesn’t go to waste.
- Make sure your content is truly great. The web is full of low quality content and we don’t need more of it. If you are planning to invest part of your marketing budget in content marketing, spend time making sure your content is going to have a fighting chance to get picked up. Ask yourself whether your content is actually providing some unique value on the web? Is it something informational or entertaining? Once you can answer these question with a positive "yes" then you are ready to start the process of promoting your content.
- Share your content with your existing networks. It may seem like a no-brainer, but the people who know you the best are most likely to read and share your content online. Leverage these relationships and distribute your content to them before doing further outreach. Measuring their reaction through engagement and social shares will give you valuable insight into how the content might resonate with others. This network can also help expose any minor mistakes or errors before it reaches a wider audience.
- Compile a list of media outlets and publications. Just by searching Google for popular online publications and blogs in your niche, you can start to compile a list of sites that could potentially pick up your content. Most blogs and online publications provide contact information or registration forms. Other platforms like Buzzstream and Cision can help you find influential bloggers and journalists that might be interested in distributing your content. Once you identify who you want to reach out to start following them through social channels and engage with them online.
- Craft your message. If you want busy journalists and bloggers to notice your content you have to make your message stand out. Have you personalized your message by including the journalist’s name and something you like about their content? Did you explain why your content might be valuable to their audience? Did you respect the journalist’s time by making your outreach email as clear and concise as possible? These are all important questions to ask when you are crafting your outreach email.
- Maintain your relationships. Just like any other relationship you have in your business or personal life, make sure you maintain contact with these people. You never know what opportunities may develop over time. Just because a blogger or journalist doesn't chose to pick up your content right away doesn't mean they won't in the future. It's all about getting the right content in front of them at the right time, so keep at it.
- Invest enough time in outreach. Another mistake beginner content markers make is that they fail to put enough time into their outreach and promotion efforts. Many companies spend weeks or months creating an amazing piece of content but only an hour or two in distribution efforts. Even great content needs a lot of promotion. In fact, according to industry experts for every hour you invest in content creation you should invest an hour in content promotion activities. For example if you spend 50 hours creating an infographic, you should spend another 50 hours promoting it.
In summary, make sure you have the right strategy in place, invest equal time in content creation and distribution, and measure your success. Successful content marketing will boost organic rankings and drive traffic to your web pages. Assuming you have the right calls to action and conversion strategies, the end result will be an increase in revenue.
More On Forbes: