As content marketing continues to explode into the world of traditional marketing, small business owners and marketers are forced to become familiar with the idea. This is actually great, since content marketing is one of the best ways to market to specifically your target audiences by solving a problem. Creating relevant content to display on your website and social media platforms to entice customers to use your brand. I the past, we’ve gone over the 6 steps to effective content marketing, but we decided to also provide just the 5 best overall tips when starting a content marketing plan.

Understand the Funnel

Before you can start an effective content marketing plan, you need to develop an end goal and funnel to help you get there. Creating this funnel helps you discover the path for your campaign and how to form the content you are creating around that. The actual initial content that is used to bring new leads in to your business and onto your website is considered outreach. This is the blogs and initial articles people discover your brand through. Providing this content and understanding why it will bring new customers to your business is an important best practice for content marketing.

Use the Data Behind the Content

Obviously creating and distributing the content is important to your strategy, but it’s not the most important part. Instead of just creating random content and not receiving feedback or looking at the analytics, which won’t help you to better your content in the future.

Plan it Out

Create a calendar of your business’ content, how it applies to marketing efforts at that time, and how it will bring in new customers. Include big sales, offers, and any holidays that relate to your business. Obviously, the nature of marketing is a bit impulsive, so leave some of the days on your calendar free for spur-of-the-moment content. Planning content, even guest blogs and press releases out is the key to making sure all of your content accomplishes some part of your goal.

Keep it (Ever)Green

Instead of writing blogs about brand new things that won’t actually be a big deal in a few months, write about questions your customers will always have. Being able to provide your customers with already created resources when they ask a question looks great for your brand. When a customer asks us about content marketing, it’s great to be able to refer them to the services page, this blog,this blog and… this blog. Instead of coming up with the best way to explain something in the moment, plan these things out to be used in the future.

Get Specific

As you plan your funnel, figure out what types of content can accomplish which steps. Facebook ads and infographics are a part of the outreach stage we mentioned and serve to bring in new leads. Emails, contests, and whitepapers are more of the retention stage of keeping those customers who have already used your services.

Following these best practices for content marketing will keep your funnel productive and bring in new customers. If you have any questions about how to use content marketing for your business or in general, contact us(or check out all those links above).