Take the Content Marketing PlungeIn less than three weeks, I will have been blogging for 11 years.

That means I started blogging when I was 20 years old.

(Just smile and nod.)

It also means I’m always surprised when I work with organizations that have not even considered content marketing.

Or, they’ve considered it and decided it’s too much work and written it off.

Or, they tried it, didn’t have results, and wrote it off.

Whatever the reason, those who are doing content marketing well are few and far between.

It is hard work. It does take time. And it’s one of the most successful marketing tactics you can employ.

Why You Should Take the Content Marketing Plunge

When you consistently provide high-quality content, you not only stay top-of-mind with potential customers, you win in the Google search rankings competition.

Consider content that showcases:

  • Your expertise;
  • The way you think;
  • The fun you have internally; 
  • The different ways people use your product or service; 
  • Case studies and video testimonials; or
  • Results achieved.

Demonstrating the insider view of your organization makes competitors envious and makes people want to work with you.

I know, I know.

You don’t want to give away your intellectual property or company secrets.

Trust me.

Even if you give people a step-by-step process, complete with tutorials and videos, your competitors will not be able to execute.

The secret sauce is that it’s your process.

Doing this helps you go from a commodity to a most often sought-after organization.

The real magic happens when your competitors start referring business your way.

They’ll see you as industry leaders, figure they can’t compete, and will send prospects your way.

I know you think I’m nuts, but it happens. And it’s glorious!

Content Marketing Elevates Your Social Media Channels

Social media today has become customer service triage and the occasional self-promotional offer or sharing of recent media coverage or awards.

While this may be the easiest content for your team to share, it’s also the least effective.

In fact, a survey from Buzzsumo and Fractl found that 45 percent of respondents said they would unfollow a brand on social media because of too much self-promotion.

When you consistently create compelling content, you have an ever-replenishing well to share on social media.

You can easily create a dozen pieces of social content that take a different perspective on or excerpt from your content marketing.

You also gain the added benefit of being able to tag any mentioned businesses and harness the power of popular, relevant hashtags.

How New Content Increases Your Website’s Discoverability

If you haven’t touched your site’s content since it went live years ago, it’s unlikely you’ll turn up on the first page of Google results.

You can spend money on an AdWords purchase to change that.

Or you can do it organically.

(You know my preference.)

Google chooses which pages to feature at the top of their list based on a proprietary algorithm.

But one thing we do know is it values—and elevates—content from high domain authority websites that regularly publish.

Timely and relevant content marketing is much more likely to rise to the top of Google search results.

Similarly, it’s important to have links to your content from high domain authority websites.

If your content marketing is compelling, you will often end up with incoming links from popular sites.

Create Loyal Repeat Customers With Subscription-Based Content

Most of the emails I receive from organizations go straight into my trash file.

I imagine it’s the same for you.

In fact, when I speak to chief executives, they often fight me when I get to email marketing.

All of our inboxes are stuffed to the brim with email we don’t want.

So the debate I have is, “No one wants email.”

That’s just not true.

We don’t want the email that isn’t relevant or valuable to us.

We do want the emails that provide something of value to us.

That could be the daily Gilt email (but I confess even those drive me nuts), the daily article from Moz, or the bi-weekly article from Orbit Media.

Highlighting interesting and relevant content in your emails is critical, which is what keeps people coming back. It gives new prospects a reason to join your list.

Getting Started: Plan Content that Gets Read

The freedom of content marketing is you can cover anything you want, whenever you want.

This freedom, though, is also what causes many content marketers not to live up to their potential.

Ongoing readership and subscribers are a result of a well-planned content marketing strategy.

It provides content on a consistent set of topics, delivered on a regular schedule, and in a consistent manner.

Your content marketing strategy means deciding how important photography is to your posts, how often you can commit to publishing, and the overarching categories.

The best way to do this is to approach your content marketing from a mind-mapping perspective.

You start with the main topic for your content, such as, “Things to do and see in Chicago for foodie visitors” with dozens of related subtopics branching off it.

Your main topic should tie to the primary interests or reasons someone might hire you.

You can discover those interests through understanding the keywords in searches that bring visitors to your website, or through surveys.

Regardless of how you identify your primary topic, it’s important to make sure it’s a unique and particular subject that lends itself to an ongoing series.

Creating Content that Gets You Noticed

Putting together your list of topics and story ideas and even putting them into an editorial calendar is the easy part.

The hard part is sticking to your publication schedule and getting the content published.

If you have the marketing budget to spare, it can be helpful to work with a freelance writer to bring your ideas to life.

They can interview your subject matter experts and turn their insights into original content for your site.

Having a professional writer ensures the content is professional and presents your brand in the best light.

Influencer Relationships Create Earned and Shared Media Opportunities

Creating your content in-house is a good start, but when you use it as part of an integrated PESO communications strategy, working with local influencers to co-create is important.

With an estimated 59.3 million blog posts published on the web each month, partnering with an influencer who has an engaged audience is a good way to help your content be discovered and shared.

But this sort of collaboration only happens after you’ve built a solid relationship with the influencer.

If you have significant domain authority or a budget to pay them, consider asking influencers to contribute to your site under their byline.

Some will do it for the awareness (and the link from your site), while others will require you pay them.

You gain the public seal of approval of having the influencer on your site, and the increased distribution of them sharing the content through their social networks.

Content marketing is a significant investment of time and resources. And it is one of the best, measurable ways for you to raise your profile and drive qualified leads.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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