shutterstock_640862461Content marketing is a powerful way to attract customers and build sales for your start-up. Per dollar spent, content marketing creates three times more leads than paid search does.  And more than 80 percent of buyers feel positive about a business after reading or viewing customized content. Follow these guidelines to maximize the effectiveness of your content marketing.

Determine Your Target

Your first step is to carefully define your target market using an “avatar” or persona that represents your ideal customer. You will need to write down their age, income range, place of residence, the amount of education, motivations, and goals. Doing so keeps your content more focused and targeted to a specific person rather a vague generality. Many companies overlook this step, wasting valuable resources publishing content that doesn’t speak directly to their buyer.

Set the Content Strategy

With your target persona in place, think about how publishing valuable content for your audience helps you reach your goals. An example of an effective content strategy might be, “Our content helps our firm generate new customers by providing high-quality content for stay-at-home moms. In turn, this helps them be more productive so they can spend more time with their family.” The content strategy should flow naturally from the wants and needs of your target persona.

Outline an Editorial Calendar

With your content strategy in place, create an editorial calendar to map out the topics you want to cover over the coming weeks. Use a simple document or spreadsheet, or a project management tool like Trello, to list what subjects you will cover every week and who will work on it. Find a balance between publishing frequently and maintaining high-quality content. The calendar will help you track topics you’ve covered and act as a visual tool when brainstorming fresh, innovative ideas for future posts.

Choose the Platform and Publish

Choose a content platform that plays to your strengths. Are you good on camera? Video should be your go-to platform. Are you a great writer? Start by creating a killer blog. Are you well-spoken and have a good interviewing style? Consider building a top-quality podcast. Select a single vehicle as your core platform, and then build around it as you grow.

Spread the Word

Once your content is up and running, your final task is to promote and publicize it. Share snippets on social media and email lists, contact others with related topics and mention your content in public speaking events. You can also convert it into videos and podcasts to attract new audiences.

The ROI of content marketing takes time. Deploy these tactics to ensure your campaigns are a success.

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