How to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy

While some of online marketing is trendy and will inevitably fade away, there’s no disputing that content marketing is here to stay. If you’ve heard this buzzword, but aren’t really clear on what it includes, that’s probably because its definition is expanding as marketers find new ways to provide content to their audience.

In general, content marketing includes:

  • Blogs

  • Videos

  • Infographics

  • Whitepapers/Ebooks

How to Get More Readers (and Thereby Customers)

The point of content marketing is to attract new potential customers to your site. You’re providing useful information to them (in whatever format you choose), and ultimately, you’re working to build trust. Once they feel they can trust you, that relationship moves into the sales funnel.

But first you want to get as many readers or viewers of your content as possible, since they won’t all buy from you. Here’s how.

Share Content on Social Media

Each blog post, video, infographic or ebook you create should be trumpeted through your social network. And not just once! Schedule several updates — across all channels — encouraging your followers to click to view the content you have created. Ask your followers to also share the update with their followers to reach a wider audience.

So what’s the ideal number of times to share? There is none. Just be mindful of your audience, and don’t alienate them by posting multiple updates every day begging them to read your content. A few times a week is a good place to start.

Post Content to Bookmarking Sites

For many people, social bookmarking sites like Stumbleupon and BizSugar are where they get their content. The benefit of doing so is that the content has already been vetted, so to speak. The most popular content has the most votes, so a quick skim through the top links should net the best content.

For you, social bookmarking sites offer fabulous opportunity to connect to readers you wouldn’t otherwise have found. The more places you can pick up new readers, the more customers you’ll get.

Set Up an RSS Feed

It needs to be stupidly simple for visitors to your blog to easily get updates every time you post a new article. That’s where RSS feeds come into play. When a visitor signs up to get your blog updates, she can either read them in an RSS feeder with her other favorite blogs, or get your updates via email. That way, she doesn’t have to remember to check back on your blog for new content.

Set Up a Success Measurement Plan

All this hard work in developing and sharing your content will be for naught if you don’t measure results! Paying attention to how many visitors you’re attracting with your content can help you know if you’re doing a good enough job in marketing and sharing that content. And knowing which topics people are reading or viewing the most can help you generate future content ideas.

Google Analytics is the easiest tool to provide data on all of this. Plus, it’s free to use. With Analytics, you can also look at traffic over time and make sure it’s steadily rising the way you want it to. You can also look at conversions, if you sell products online. In other words: is the traffic that’s arriving on your blog converting into paying customers? If not, you should analyze your site to determine the disconnect.

These days, it’s not enough to throw blog content out into cyberspace. You need a plan for your content marketing strategy so you draw in the right people with your content and turn them into loyal customers.

(source: http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/developing-content-marketing-strategy