3. Add a call to action. Content marketing works because its focus is on helping, and not selling, and that makes buyers happy. But you're not just doing it out of the kindness of your heart, you're doing it for a reason-to build trust in your business, to build a community around what you do, to increase sales. It's important to state your purpose-don't forget to include the action you want your reader to take. Whether it's "sign up for our newsletter" or "call me," make sure your call to action is clear and inviting.
4. Commit to quality. Poorly produced content won't do you or your business any good. When we talk about quality we mean well-written copy, intuitive design, high production values. High quality doesn't have to mean expensive, but it does have to mean thoughtful and relevant.
5. Keep it up. Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint; you have to keep producing the valuable stuff if you want to be successful. Search engines love new relevant content, so the more carefully targeted and helpful your content it, the higher you'll rank, and the more people will find it, and like you, and share it, so you'll rank even higher. It's a powerful cycle, but you won't be part of it if you can only manage the occasional blog. Outline your goals, put together a content marketing plan for the year and stick at it for the long term.
Sharon Tanton is the creative director of Valuable Content, a Bristol, UK-based content marketing agency and co-author of "Valuable Content Marketing: How to Make Quality Content the Key to Your Business Success" Find her on Twitter @sjtanton.