7 Steps of Highly Effective Content Marketing

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How does a bill become a law in content marketing? There's no magic formula but these seven steps are critical.

1. Agility. An effective content marketing strategy will make best guesses when it comes to initial content, based on research into the problems and desires of the prospective audience. Put it out there, observe real-time feedback, adapt and iterate what works.

2. Authenticity. This isn’t the trite buzzword served up from your friendly neighborhood social media guru. This is about doing intense research to find the authentic story a market segment really wants to hear — but hasn’t yet. Then you tell it over time in a way that results in a sustainable business model.

3. Attention. You’ve made your initial guesses, and now it’s time to start putting things out there to see what happens. You’re hustling for exposure to get to the next level. The attention phase is the heart of an agile content marketing approach, as you’re discovering in real time what works, what doesn’t and what to try next.

4. Audience. Here’s where things start to get good. You’ve built a minimum viable audience. That audience is growing thanks to the audience itself. Instead of you making self-serving statements about your expertise, they are starting to proclaim your authority. Best of all, you’re starting to glean valuable insights into desired new or repositioned products and services.

5. Authority. Earned and demonstrated authority is the central goal of content marketing. Becoming a brand represented by “likable experts” creates credibility and trust with prospects and with Google. Authority stems and grows by what the audience says about you, because what others say is more important than what you claim.

6. Action. Although you’ve been asking for audience-building action all along, now we’re talking sales and lead generation. It’s time to launch that new product. Or switch to proactive promotion based on your more accurate view of your existing offer, based on what the audience has been telling you directly (and indirectly).

7. Acceleration. Now it’s time to enjoy the “unfair advantage” you’ve earned by building an audience (and, simultaneously, an owned media asset). Opportunities for new products and services, co-marketing partnerships, additional content from industry experts, better business development and much more will arise at this point.

Related: The 5Cs of Really Great Content Marketing

Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger, CEO of Copyblogger Media and editor in chief of Entreproducer.