By Katie Mientka

How many times have you heard that “Content is King”?

Or that content marketing yields three times the leads per dollar spent compared to paid search and costs 62% less than traditional marketing.

Or that businesses with blogs generate 126% more lead growth than those without; that the conversion rates for content marketing are 6 times higher than other methods; that average people consume 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchase decision; or that 84% of consumers expect brands to create content.

You get it: content marketing works. Here are 7 tips to make sure it works for your brand.

  • Ready, Set… Strategize.

    Many brands take the leap into content marketing without first testing the waters. They may make a splash — or they may drown in a sea full of competitors’ content. Without a strategy, you risk wasting time and resources as your goals remain out of reach.content marketing

    Before you leap: set goals and key performance indicators, determine your target audience and their wants/needs/interests, audit your current content and identify gaps, determine optimal content channels, and create a content creation/publishing schedule. Then start crafting content.

  • Rethink Your Content Architecture.

    Conversational searches (e.g. “best running shoes for off-trail”) and voice searches are on the rise. Google is becoming more “intuitive” in terms of interpreting users’ needs and delivering the best answers. In the past, dividing your content into basic categories and plugging in long-tail keywords was enough to ensure your brand featured in the search engine results pages. No longer.

    A more effective approach is to create a long-form pillar page which captures a bird’s eye view of the content/information you have to offer. From there, you zoom in and go into more detail on each topic with cluster content, utilizing targeted keywords and interlinking pieces. Not only does this provide a smooth, streamlined user experience, it boosts your SEO efforts and delivers results for your brand.

  • Bring Your A Game.

    Set the bar high for your content, and continually strive to meet or exceed your own standards. There is a mind-boggling amount of content out there; to stand out, yours needs to be both professional-quality and consistent. Publish only the best (quality over quantity) and keep feeding hungry consumers compelling content.

    As part of your strategy, include a range of content types as well. In addition to blogs, articles, ebooks, and other written forms, try infographics, video, podcasts, livestreams, and, of course, social media to target your audience more effectively.

  • Remember, Content is a Reusable Asset.content marketing

    You invest precious resources to create relevant content. So, get your money’s worth. A high-performing blog post, for example, doesn’t have to live exclusively on your brand’s blog.

    Post it on social media; use its captivating headline in a PPC ad, turn it into a video, podcast or infographic, use it as a downloadable guide, create a newsletter with other relevant posts, and/or include it in an email marketing campaign to retargeted website visitors. The possibilities are endless.

  • You Don’t Have to Go It Alone.

    Developing enough high-quality content to meet customers’ expectations (not to mention those of search engines!) is a challenge virtually all brands face. Smart ones know that they don’t have to carry the weight by themselves. There are two effective techniques you can employ:

    • Content Curation. Have you ever read an article or watched a video and thought, “I couldn’t have said it better myself!” Well, don’t. Share that content with your audience. This helps you deliver valuable information from experts and establish yourself as a trusted resource. It also frees you up to develop new content instead of retreading old ground.
    • UGC. User generated content empowers your audience to share their voice — and it helps you meet your content goals. Ask them for reviews, photos, videos, and stories to feature on your social media platforms and website. They’ll feel connected, and consumers are more likely to trust their peers than brands (at least until you establish that relationship and trust — which UGC will help you do).
  • Create Content for Specific Stages of the Buyer’s Journey.

    Someone who is only just discovering your brand needs a different type of content than someone who is ready to click “buy” or contact you for services. Cater to people based on where they are in order to move them where you want them to be.

    content marketingFor example, in the awareness stage, people realize they have a problem (or need). They want to learn how to solve it; this is an information-gathering phase. Provide relevant easy-to-digest content that answers questions. You want to educate at this point, so back off the hard sell.

  • Measure, Measure, Measure.

    How many marketers consider themselves “very successful” or “extremely successful” at tracking the ROI of content marketing? Only 8%. Tracking and measuring your efforts is critical, not only so you can justify the marketing dollars you spend, but so you can make necessary course corrections to your strategy. Tools such as Google Analytics, built-in social media analytics functions, and Hubspot can give you the data you need to make solid business decisions.