Let’s face it—just about every online marketer now relies on content for marketing purposes. But just because everyone does it does not make all content equally productive. In fact, some content producers do it wrong. They produce reams of content for which they get paid, but which provides no real benefits to site owners. The fact is, there is a right way and a wrong way to use online content for marketing purposes.

Before discussing the right way to use content, it is important to remember these simple facts about content marketing:

  • Content is worthless if no one is reading it
  • Content is worthless if no one is sharing it
  • Content is worthless if it is not relevant
  • Content is worthless if it is not somewhat unique

The Step-By-Step Plan

Content marketing is not a complicated endeavor in terms of knowing what it takes to succeed. It might be complicated when it comes to the talent needed to create good quality content, but anyone can know and understand the nuts and bolts of how it works. In light of that, here is a basic step-by-step plan for successful content marketing.

Step #1 – Know Your Target Audience

There is absolutely no point to producing page after page of content that visitors to your website do not care about. No matter what SEO experts tell you, at some point, the performance of your website will suffer if your visitors are not taking advantage of your content and sharing it with others.

You can begin to know and understand your customers by creating customer personas. These personas are essentially fictional people that represent the kinds of customers that would typically be interested in your products or services. They are developed using standard demographic information: age, ethnicity, sex, economic status, geographic location, etc. Content producers can then put themselves in the shoes of these fictional people in order to create content directed at them.

Step # 2 – Know Your Competitors

By this we do not mean knowing who they are and what they sell—you already know those things. We mean knowing how they connect with their own customers online. What is their content like? What are they producing? Is their content successful?

In order for content to be successful, it must be somewhat unique. Do not copy your competitors. If you want to create content similar to something your competitors have already produced, make sure yours goes the extra mile. Make sure it covers more ground or gets into more detail; make sure it approaches the topic at hand in a way that is unique and thought-provoking.

Step # 3 – Focus on Relevance

Tying the first two steps together is one of the most important words in the SEO dictionary: relevance. Never ignore or underestimate the power of relevance in successful marketing. To do so is to risk your own success as a marketer.

Visitors to your website find themselves there because they are looking for something specific. Provide that specificity. Every piece of content you produce and publish on your website must be relevant to your users; it must be relevant to what they are looking for and what they hope to accomplish. If it is not, they will go elsewhere to find what they are looking for.

Step #4 – Plan Your Content

Multiple kinds of content can be used to reach your customers. Sometimes text is appropriate; other times video is what you need. Careful planning of content targets specific customers with specific content types based on what would be most effective in any given situation. Planned content is more effective than sticking with only one medium or choosing different mediums randomly and without purpose.

Step #5 – Promote Your Content

Content is limited in its marketing value as a standalone product. In order for it to be effective, it has to be promoted. A successful marketer promotes content by sharing it on social media, generating backlinks, taking advantage of guest posting opportunities, and so forth.

Successful content marketing is possible when you stop guessing and start using a methodical, step-by-step approach. Get to know your customers and competition, focus on relevance, plan your content and then promote it. You will quickly find the success you are looking for.

Guest contributor Anurag Gupta heads the content team for WeblinkIndia.net, a well-known website design & development company based out of India. He loves to write and share his views on the latest developments in the world of content marketing. Read the original article as it appears on BulldogReporter.com.

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