The Most Important Content Marketing Advice You’ll Ever Hear

Kurt Vonnegut, a literary giant and one of GE's first content marketers, once wrote one of the most important tips on content marketing.

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  1. Start a blog, then monitor it.

    Consider this:

    • Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links. (Source: Hubspot)
    • 81% of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from blogs. (Source: BlogHer)
    • 92% of companies who blog multiple times per day have acquired a customer from their blog. (Source: HubSpot)
    • 90% of consumers find custom content useful, 78% believe that companies behind content are interested in building good relationships. (Source: TMG Custom Media)

    It’s official: there’s no reason not to blog. So now: what to blog about? The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) offers a great editorial strategy for new and seasoned bloggers. Also consider where your information is shared most readily. On Twitter? LinkedIn? This, combined with the consumer personas, will tell you a lot about what kind of content you should be writing. (And don’t forget to use search engine optimized titles.)

    The rest is simple: Using web analytics tools like Google Analytics, take a look at which posts perform well and which perform poorly. Over time, you’ll gain greater insight into what content helps your consumer most.

  2. Don’t just sit back—ask!

    You know the old saying, “When you assume, you make an…”? Who you conceive of to be your target audience must be rooted in truth and feedback. So, don’t just bombard your customers with content—reach out and ask what they think.

    A great way to measure the effectiveness of your content is to conduct a readership survey (or survey e-newsletter subscribers, social media fans, etc.). Ask what they think about topics related to your industry. What do they want to read about on your blog? What interests them? What troubles them? This firsthand information will add new layers to the consumer personas you created. Make sure to share these insights with your readers—then get to work on answering their unanswered questions!

  3. Be active and responsive.

    When it comes to understanding your audience, it’s not enough to make assumptions. Be inquisitive, honest, vulnerable, and open to suggestions. Speak to consumers face to face, one on one. How? Respond to Facebook comments, tweets, mentions, or likes you receive.

    Engage with your followers and fans—in person, too. You’d be amazed at how much you can learn about potential customers, competitors, and the market by attending events related to your industry. So don’t turn away every invite you receive; it just might be an opportunity for growth.

This article has been edited and condensed.

Lynn Crothers is a content specialist for buyCalls, a marketing agency specializing in national and local lead generation. A lifelong word nerd, she is currently set up at a coffee shop somewhere in Minneapolis. Connect with @buyCallsTeam on Twitter.

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