Content marketing is a proven and powerful tool. Good content works on many levels, from building brand reputation and fostering increased brand loyalty to increasing leads, conversions and customers, and optimizing SEO efforts.

Content marketing also is one of the most cost-effective means to bring in new leads and boost sales. Strategic content, including social media posts and weekly blogs, provides excellent ROI – sometimes as much as three times that of paid search.

However, weak content can sabotage a solid content marketing strategy and fail to produce expected results. Incorporate these four content development tips to boost outcomes and generate stronger returns.

The Art of Creating Good Content

Some people are born to write. The rest of us have to work at it. Focusing on these key areas during the development phase ensures you and your team produce strategic, targeted content that meets your customers’ needs and addresses their concerns.

1. Hit Key Touch Points

All content should reach customers through one of the following rationales: 

  • Entertain
  • Inspire or persuade
  • Educate
  • Convince or convert

Focused content developed to one of these four themes ensures your team avoids randomly generated content that meanders with no real purpose – a sure-fire way to whiff on reader engagement. Good content includes language tailored to your target audience combined with flawless execution. If writing is not your forte, farm it out – good bloggers are easy to find and are relatively inexpensive compared to the long-term ROI.

2. Link to Relevant Resources

Adding internal links is a smart way to drive customers or users to additional pages on your site. However, linking externally, especially when citing research and statistics, adds weight and credibility to your content. For instance, if you writing about regional housing sales statistics, link out to respected sites such as the National Association of Realtors or your regional real estate association. The most trusted (and impartial) sources typically are .gov, .org and .edu sites. Secondary sources include large national news organizations. Avoid linking to lesser-known blogs or heavily opinionated content – let your readers draw their own conclusions. Your goal is to create content that sparks their interest and back up your writing by providing links to relevant data and sources.

3. Move Beyond the Blog

Most of us wade through a glut of information each day. Slogging through 1,000- or 500-word blog posts, even a well-written ones, is a big ask. Long-form content, although it’s a great way to build a regular following and inspire thought leadership, isn’t the only way to reach or engage your customers. Regular content marketing offerings can also include:

  • Infographics
  • Facebook, Twitter and other relevant social postings
  • Email news blasts
  • Videos and vlogs
  • Lists
  • Q&As
  • Images
  • Case studies
  • Checklists

Providing a buffet of content marketing offerings keeps customers engaged, and it also extends your reach into new target markets, provides increased value and generates new leads. Use these various forms of content marketing to connect with customers at all points of the sales journey or site experience to drive additional site traffic and growth.

4. Summarize and Visualize

Your customers are oversaturated with information. Providing a quick summary of an article in a breakout box lets them know exactly what the article is about and what they’ll gain by reading it. Whenever possible, create bulleted lists and bold subheadings that break up big blocks of text. Your goal is to provide readers with the ability to do a 30-second (or less) scan and come away with the key points in your content. If they find value, perhaps they’ll read more. If not, they’ll still get your message, and you’ll notch a win.

These are just a few of the ways you can boost the strength of your online marketing content. Like anything, the more you write the better you’ll get. Be sure to stick to a regular posting schedule, and always, always have someone with some English chops proofread the work. Bonehead errors and bad grammar will derail even the best marketing content.