If you’re new to the digital marketing world, you’ve probably heard a bunch of terms that all kind of sound the same. Things like content strategy, content marketing, SEO copywriting, web writing, social media marketing, and so many more. It can seem a little confusing at first, if not completely overwhelming.

What exactly is content marketing?

Let’s laser in on the true definition of “Content Marketing.” This is how Copyblogger.com, a major player in this space, describes content marketing:

“Content Marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.”

OK, content marketing is important to my business. How do I get started?

Glad you asked. Here are seven simple steps to get you well on your content marketing way:

1. Establish a goal. Think about what you want your content to accomplish. Will it be to get more traffic to your website? Generate leads? Capture emails? Sell a product or service? Something different all together?

2. Map out a plan. Your content marketing plan will ultimately help you decide what type of content you’re going to produce (a white paper, a blog post, an infographic, a video, etc.) and who is in charge of building it, who the target audience is for that piece of content, where you plan to share it, and when. A very simple way to map this out is in an Excel spreadsheet with column headings that cover who, what, where, why and when—and sometimes how much.

3. Create content. At this stage, you know what type of content you want to produce, its purpose, and who is in charge of building it. Now you wait while it’s being drafted—or you create the piece yourself.

4. Publish & share. After a few iterations to get the piece of content up to par and ready for the world to see, publish it! You’ve already mapped out the plan so you know where its destination. Publish your content, and share it with your social media followers, email lists, website, or wherever else you decided earlier during the planning phase.

5. Measure results. In order for a piece of content to be truly successful, you must track its results. In step one, you determined the goal for your piece. These are the KPIs (key performance indicators) you’re going to watch. For example, if you created a blog post to generate more traffic to your site, you’ll measure … traffic to your site! If the goal was to generate leads, you’ll track new leads. Pretty straight forward.

6. Adjust accordingly. After some time has passed, you will review your KPIs to determine if your piece of content did what you wanted it to do. Now is the time to make any adjustments, like trying a new headline or a different call to action. Test a few small tweaks (and keep measuring KPIs) to see what works best for your audience.

7. Rinse, repeat. Now you’ve experience the entire process from start to finish. Learn from the experience, refine your techniques, then rinse and repeat.

Have questions about your content marketing plan? Ask us in the comments below. We’re here to help!

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