In order to secure loyal customers, it’s important to have an online content marketing strategy that offers zero-cost information to those who will view it or listen to it. While this can create an expense, since you have to spend time and/or money to have it created and distributed, content marketing can pay back in major dividends when combined with your other marketing campaigns.
Content marketing helps you to build trust. The customer will soon see you as an authority in your field – or perhaps as someone who willfully entertains them on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. The idea of giving something for nothing is a marketing technique that’s been used for generations now, and has been proven as a great way to generate a faithful and reliable customer base.
Generation Z  wants content, and in most cases, you need to get that attention via online resources. The advancement in the popularity and technology of smartphone devices means that even people who’ve never had the Internet installed in their homes are now online – researching, downloading and otherwise being entertained.
Getting your business in front of their eyes by giving them the information or entertainment they’re looking for is a great way to ingrain your business name and logo into their brains.
Maximize Your Online Content Marketing Strategy
1. Don’t Rely on a Single Content Avenue
A mixture of visually and mentally-stimulating content:
- Data (infographics are awesome for displaying data)
- Social media
- All types of user-generated content
This is always best. Too much can become confusing though (see #2).
Video content can stand on its own in most cases, whereas written content works best with supporting graphics and data. Check out this article  if you’re trying to identify types of content marketing you can use.
2. Avoid Confusion
When most people get into content creation, they either focus on a single approach or dive right in and do everything. Start with a few methods if you aren’t experienced yet.
Discover the power of the written word, then learn about graphics creation, dabble in video and figure out how to outsource effectively if you don’t want to do everything yourself. (Hint: It’s very likely that you can’t do everything yourself.) Now, that covers the confusion that you’ll have to deal with.
Confusing your visitor is another tough hurdle to avoid. There are many unwritten rules for keeping both your site and your content uncluttered and easy to follow:
Start by using a good theme with easy-to-read navigation. WordPress  is as good as they come. Free themes are fine. Use the Genesis or Thesis frameworks if you want to be able to make more customizations.
The Right Mix
A mix of everything is best and each in the right quantities. If you’re using written content, don’t scatter tons of offsite videos or external links in where the reader is redirected to another webpage (i.e., YouTube). One or two videos or links in a longer written piece is okay, but if you want people reading your written content, it’s best to keep the focus on the writing.
Mixing in pictures and animations is great too, but more than a few pictures will still draw the focus from the writing. Don’t make your photos and thumbnails so large that they take up a large space. You don’t want the reader thinking the piece is done because your massive picture of Donald Duck takes up an entire page.
This should, just like writing, stand on its own. Don’t feel like you have to write a huge written synopsis of what the viewer’s about to watch. Let them judge for themselves and direct them to another page (such as a landing page or related article) at the end of the video.
It’s is a great way to garner interest in your brand. The old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is a quote that will be true forever.
Sites like Pinterest, Tumbler, and Facebook are great social venues for posting photos. Use originals whenever possible (especially on your website). Some industries get more benefit than others in the picture space, with regard to an expanded customer base.
If you’re in cooking, pets, electronics, photography (obvious), automobiles, home building/renovations, craftsmanship of any kind, restorations, etc. – then you’re indeed crazy if you’re not utilizing “picto-marketing.”
3. Optimize for Mobile
This advice is mainly for those of you who are posting on your own websites. Use a WP theme or personalized web design that’s optimized for mobile devices.
Another option is to install plugins like WPTouch, or other similar add-ons that do the work for you. It’s much easier to install a mobile-friendly theme from the get-go to avoid problems. Then when you think you have everything right, test it with your own device, or call on some friends and relatives to tell you how it looks, works and feels.
4. Get Published on Social Media and Other Sites/Blogs
No, blogs and blogging are not dead. In fact, combining your blogging efforts on both social media and blogs can help you strengthen your content’s impact.
Blog on Quora and tell the community about the useful resources you have found. Give a hint about your own page, answer members’ questions and direct them to the right resources. Be active and always be helpful. Do similar things with your Facebook fan page.
You might also want to curate for content via Scoop.it and add value by sharing your insight on your curated content. There are, indeed, many ways to get your content marketed. The big question is – which one is the right one?
Last but not least, if you’re posting your content to social media spots or guest-posting on someone else’s blog, the site admin will have clearly defined rules for the size of the content and supporting images, thumbnails, etc. When posting to Facebook, Pinterest and others, the interface won’t allow you to attach content that doesn’t meet their optimization requirements.
Don’t spam those sites to death posting updates about you, you – and you. Give back and help people solve their problems, so that they can help others – and then perhaps they will tell them about you along the way when doing so.
Success  Photo via Shutterstock