How to Do Content Marketing

Content marketing is different from traditional advertising because it does not directly promote the products or services your business offers. Instead, it involves developing and distributing informative content—such as blog posts, articles, and infographics—that is relevant to the needs of your customers. If you want to incorporate content marketing into your business strategy, start by creating a plan for building and distributing your content. Identify the needs of your clients so that you can target your content directly to them. Once you create some high-quality content, you’ll need to distribute and promote it so that it reaches your audience effectively.

EditSteps
EditDeveloping Your Marketing Strategy
Create a business plan for content marketing. Doing content marketing effectively requires time, money, and skill. Spend some time thinking about factors like how much of a budget you have for content marketing and how many people you may need to hire or train to create and distribute your content. If you are not the sole proprietor or manager of your business, work with other members of your team to develop a strategy.[1]
Your plan should focus on factors such as what you hope to accomplish with content marketing, how you plan to achieve your goals, and what your projected budget will be.

Identify the needs of your audience. Content marketing is only effective if it is directly relevant to the people most likely to use your products and services.[2] Do some research to determine what kinds of content would be most helpful to your primary user base.
For example, if your company sells children’s toothpaste, your audience is probably mostly parents who are looking for content related to their kids’ dental health and hygiene.

Read industry reports about the people most likely to use your product or service and what kinds of information and content they tend to seek.

Decide what story you want to tell with your content. The content you create should be relevant not only to your users, but also to the mission of your business. Think about what kinds of values and messages you want your content to embody, and choose a few themes that you’d like to focus on.[3]
For example, if you sell products that are eco-friendly, you might focus on creating content about how customers can go green and reduce their carbon footprints.

Determine the best channels for distributing your content. You’ll need to ensure that your content actually reaches your audience in order for it to be effective. Do some research on your target demographic and the types of media they tend to consume.[4]
For example, younger consumers are more likely to use social media or browse informative blogs, while you might reach an older audience more effectively through email lists or even a print magazine or newsletter.

Document your marketing strategy. Writing down your strategy can help you stay focused. If there are multiple employees in your organization, having formal documentation of your content marketing approach is also a good way to keep everyone on the same page.[5] You might include specifics such as:
The target audience for your content

The key themes or stories you want your content to focus on

Your strategy for developing the content (e.g., hiring writers or designers or working with a content marketing firm)

How you intend to distribute the content

EditCreating Quality Content
Build content that is useful and relevant to your clients. A funny listicle about celebrity facial hair or a series of cute cat videos might get plenty of views and likes, but they won’t do you much good unless they’re relevant to your business and to your clients’ needs. Instead, focus on content that reflects your core values and directly helps your target audience.[6]
For example, if you own a landscaping business, you might do a series of blog posts about how to stock a garden fish pond, or you could create an infographic about preventing soil erosion.

Don’t just promote your product or service—that’s what traditional advertising is for. Instead, focus on providing something of true value to your current and potential customers.

Make your content engaging. Content that is fun and interesting is more likely to attract and hold your audience’s interest than basic, stripped-down information. To make your content compelling, you might incorporate humor or find ways to appeal to your audience’s emotions. Content that is visually interesting can also grab your audience’s attention.[7]
For example, if you sell photography equipment, consider doing a video that offers nature photography tips and shows a professional photographer in action. Pick a breathtaking landscape and get some beautiful shots of your guest star at work.

You could also add a human-interest element and connect with your audience on a personal level by having your pro photographer tell a story about what photography means to them.

Keep your content substantive but streamlined. Consumers love content that’s rich in information, but concise enough that they can consume it quickly and easily. Look at your content and consider how you can condense it by using words economically, sticking to simple formats like bulleted lists, and using informative headings.[8]
Choosing the best length for your content depends on a lot of factors. For example, lengthier written content tends to show up higher in Google search results. On the other hand, mobile users tend to be looking for content that’s shorter and easier to digest quickly.

Edit your content carefully. Content that’s poorly edited and full of mistakes will seem less credible to your audience. Go over your content and make sure that it’s coherent, well-sourced, accurate, and free of grammatical and spelling errors.[9]
Additionally, double check to make sure your content is formatted correctly and easy to read or view. Even if the content itself is great, bad formatting can frustrate and alienate your audience.

Work with experienced content creators. If you don’t have a lot of experience with building your own content, consider hiring someone who does. Reach out to people in your professional network and see if they can recommend excellent writers, graphic designers, or publishing experts who are familiar with the type of work your business does.[10]
If you don’t have the budget to hire content creators full-time, consider working with freelancers or a content marketing firm.

Look at samples of any potential content creator’s work to determine if they’re a good fit for your business and the kind of image you’d like to build for your company.

Improve your content based on how it performs. Creating good content is an ongoing process. You’ll need to keep an eye on how your content is performing and make adjustments based on what you see. In addition to looking at basic metrics like how many visits, shares, and likes your content gets, it’s also important to consider what your audience is actually saying about it. If your content isn’t performing the way you want it to, make changes based on the feedback you get and keep checking for signs of improvement.[11]
If audiences seem to think your content is stale or boring, mix it up and try something new. Look at popular content from other successful businesses for inspiration.

EditGetting Your Content Out There
Make use of social media promotion tools. Simply creating good content is not enough—you need to make sure it gets seen. Social media marketing is a great way to get your content out into the world. In addition to using paid services like Facebook’s “Boost Post” tool, you can also promote your content by:[12]
Sharing it in relevant spaces. For example, if you’re a wedding planner, share your blog posts in discussion groups for brides-to-be.

Tagging it appropriately. Proper use of hashtags can make your content easier to find and help it show up more prominently in web searches and on social media sites. In addition to using general tags (like #weddingideas), choose more specific ones as well (such as #cakeinspiration).

Promoting your content on multiple platforms. Don’t just stick to Facebook and Twitter—share it in as many places as possible. Depending on your clientele, you might also make use of sites like Tumblr, YouTube, LinkedIn, or Reddit.

Use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to bring in visitors. When people do web searches for terms related to your content, you want your work to appear as close to the top of the results as possible. You can hire an SEO agency to optimize your website for you, but there are also things you can on your own do to improve search engine results. For example, you can:[13]
Get links to your content from other relevant, popular, and authoritative websites.

Give your content pages unique, specific titles (e.g., “FishWorld Inc.’s Ultimate Guide to Keeping Loaches”).

Provide clear descriptions of your content in the meta tags, link text, alternative image descriptions, and headers.

Incorporate structured data code to improve the way your content appears in search engine results.

Keep your URLs simple and descriptive.

Engage directly with your audience to build meaningful connections. Your customers (and potential customers) will feel a more genuine connection with your business if you interact with them directly. Instead of just throwing your content out there into the void and waiting for shares and likes, take time to respond to people’s questions and comments. You can even invite comments on your posts or offer prompts to get a conversation going.[14]
For example, if you’ve made a video on how to bake vegan cookies using your line of organic ingredients, end the video by inviting your viewers to share their favorite recipes in the comments.

If your customers use your comment section as a place to complain or vent about their dissatisfaction with your product or service, offer a sincere apology and invite them to work with you to find a satisfactory solution.

Tap into your business network to promote each other’s content. Connecting with other professionals in businesses adjacent to yours can help you tap into each other’s client bases and mutually increase the visibility of your content. You could tag a fellow expert in your field in an article, share their work with your own audience (if you think it’s relevant), invite them to be a guest poster on your blog, or volunteer to write a guest post for them.[15] If you engage in this way, others in your network are more likely to reciprocate and help you promote your own content!
Other ways to engage with fellow professionals in your network include commenting on their content and honestly reviewing their products.

Keep your content feed active, even if you don’t have new material. If you go for a long time without producing new content, your audience may lose interest and stop paying attention to what you’re doing. Keep things going by interspersing new content with older work and even relevant content shared from other sources. That way, your customers will always have something to look at.[16]
Reposting some of your best work can help revive interest in it and bring in more views. This can be especially helpful if your audience or client base has grown a lot since you initially posted the content, since newer readers or viewers may not have seen it before.

Create links between your content pieces. Using internal links is a great way to draw additional attention to your content. If you have a particularly popular piece of content, sprinkle it liberally with relevant links to your other work. This will encourage visitors to explore and discover more of your content.[17]
For example, if you own a pet store and you have a popular article on caring for goldfish, try linking it to a video you just did about setting up a coldwater fish tank.

EditTips
It takes time and commitment to see results from content marketing. If your content doesn’t get a lot of attention right away, don’t give up. You may need to devote a lot of time to creating and distributing quality content before it starts to catch on.

EditReferences
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Today in History for 20th April 2019

Historical Events

1715 – Nicholas Rowe’s play “The Tragedy of Lady Jane Grey” premieres in London
1936 – 40th Boston Marathon won by Ellison Brown in 2:33:40.8
1959 – 63rd Boston Marathon won by Eino Oksanen of Finland in 2:22:42
1980 – Cubans begin to arrive in US from Mariel boatlift
1983 – Soyuz T-8 launched; mission aborted when capsule fails to dock (lands 2 days later)
1998 – 102nd Boston Marathon: Moses Tanui of Kenya wins men’s title in 2:07:34; Fatuma Roba of Ethiopia wins back-to-back women’s events in 2:23:21

More Historical Events »

Famous Birthdays

1879 – Robert Lynd, Irish writer and critic (Pleasures of Ignorance), born in Belfast, Ireland (d. 1949)
1931 – Lee H. Hamilton, American politician, U.S. House of Representatives from Indiana, born in Daytona Beach, Florida
1943 – Ian Watson, British sci-fi author (Book of Being, Whores of Babylon), born in North Shields, England
1948 – Craig Frost, American keyboardist (Grand Funk Railroad-Some Kind of Wonderful), born in Flint, Michigan
1960 – Debbie Flintoff-King, Australian athlete (Olympic gold 400m hurdles 1988), born in Melbourne, Australia
1973 – Todd Hollandsworth, American baseball outfielder (LA Dodgers), born in Dayton, Ohio

More Famous Birthdays »

Famous Deaths

1977 – Sepp Herberger, German football coach and manager (West German National Team), dies at 80
1991 – Don Siegel, American film director (Coogan’s Bluff, Dirty Harry), dies at 78
1992 – Benny Hill [Alfred Hawthorn Hill], British comedian (The Benny Hill Show), dies of a heart attack at 68
1995 – R E S Wyatt, cricketer (England capt 16 times), dies
2012 – Peter Carsten, German actor and film producer actor (A Study in Terror, Mr Super Invisible), dies at 83
2014 – Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, American boxer whose murder convictions were overturned after 19 years in prison, dies of prostate cancer at 76

More Famous Deaths »

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How to Mountain Bike Downhill

Mountain biking is an exhilarating and physically challenging activity. When biking downhill, it’s important to properly distribute your weight in order to control your bike. It’s also essential that you purchase biking equipment that is made specifically to withstand the stress of biking down a hill with uneven terrain. Once you have the proper equipment and understand the basics, going downhill on your mountain bike is a blast!

EditSteps
EditControlling Your Bike Downhill
Look as far down the trail as you can. Looking far in front of you will enable you to anticipate changes in the trail. This will give you enough time to adjust to bends or changes in the trail. If you get distracted and concentrate too close in front of you, micro adjustments and hesitation could cause you to wipe out.[1]

Commit to riding down the hill once you enter the decline. Instead of second-guessing yourself, go fully into the hill and keep your wheels turning. Occasionally feather the brakes to slow down when you come to slight bends in the road, but don’t try to come to a complete stop until you’re on level land.[2]
Hesitation could cause you to fall off your bike when going down a steep hill.

You might be scared at first, but committing to a hill is the safest way to ride down it.

Distribute your weight to the outside of the bike as you turn. When you turn, your outside foot should be in the down position, your inside pedal should be up, and your weight should be distributed to the outside of your bike. This will prevent you from taking corners too sharply and falling off your bike.[3]
Your weight should be evenly distributed between your front and back tire during turns.

Drop your weight on the back of the bike when going down a steep hill. Hold the handlebars and lift your butt off the back of your seat. Plant your heels down onto your pedals, adjust your hips, and drop your weight onto the back of your bike. This will prevent you from tipping over the handlebars when going down a steep hill.[4]
Keep your elbows and knees loose (slightly bent rather than locked) to avoid bumps and jostling that could affect your control of the bike.

Learn how to drop on a mountain bike. When approaching a drop in terrain, you should be elevated over your seat, your chest should be lowered, and your arms and legs should be bent. As you go over the cliff, lower your hips, put your weight on the back of the bike and push off your handlebars.[5]
The drop technique will safely guide you over small cliffs as you ride downhill.

Try to land on your back wheel or both wheels when doing this maneuver.

As you go over the drop, keep your knees and elbows dynamic to compensate for the impact.

EditPrioritizing Safety as a Beginner
Practice on easy biking trails first. Most mountain bike trails will have a grading system that signifies their difficulty. This grading system can usually be found at the start of a trail or at the park’s information booth. If you’re new to downhill biking, choose one of the lower difficulty trails before trying an intermediate or difficult trail.[6]
Lower level tracks will be relatively straight with limited curves and bumps.

Intermediate and advanced tracks may have steep drop-offs, narrow tracks, and obstacles blocking your way.

Only go down an advanced track if you’re an experienced mountain biker.

Walk on the side of the trail if you need to stop. Don’t stop in the middle of a trail. If you need to take a break or examine an obstacle, walk off to the side of the trail first. This will prevent other riders from colliding with you.[7]

Stop and examine an obstacle if it’s too difficult. It’s okay to stop the bike and walk it over a portion of the trail that you find too scary to do, like a steep drop off or an obstacle. Make sure that you walk on the side of the trail, out of the way of potential bikers behind you.[8]
Examining an obstacle on a trail can actually help you better understand it the next time that you ride down the trail.

Call out which side you’re passing on. If you are passing someone on the trail, say “To your left” or “To your right,” depending on which side you want to pass on. This will give the biker in front of you enough time to get to the side of the track.[9]
Alternatively, you can use a bicycle bell to communicate with other trail users.

If someone coming up behind you says “To your Left” or “Left,” get to the right of the track so that they can safely pass you.

Stay tight against the bike if you’re going to fall. Try to fall on the side while keeping your body close against the bike. This lets the pedal and handlebars absorb the bulk of the impact. The natural instinct to bail off the bike and land with your hands out can cause wrist and hand injuries.[10]

Increase your speed gradually on tracks you’re familiar with. Once you become more accustomed to the curves, bumps, and intricacies of a track or course, you can increase your speed on the track. After you master one trail, you can move onto more difficult ones.[11]

EditGetting the Proper Equipment
Purchase or rent a full suspension downhill bike for intermediate or advanced trails. Full suspension downhill bikes have sturdy suspensions that can withstand the bumps and drops from a downhill mountain bike course. They are heavier than hybrid and road bikes and are built specifically for rugged mountain bike trails.[12]
You can purchase or rent a full suspension downhill mountain bike at a bike store.

If you’re a beginner and want to try blue or green trails, you can use any bicycle. However, as you become more advanced, a full-suspension bike is ideal.

Buy a helmet. If you’re planning on mountain biking downhill on advanced trails, you’ll want to purchase a helmet that can protect the front of your face if you go over the handlebars. The helmet should feel light and secure and should not obstruct your view in any way.[13]
Try the helmet on at a bike store to ensure that it fits.

Wear goggles to protect your eyes from debris. Goggles will block dirt or dust that may blow into your face as you go downhill. Your helmet should fit comfortably over the goggles. [14]

Purchase biking clothing. Purchase tighter fitting, non-cotton performance or cycling clothes that wick sweat. The material in bike clothes helps regulate temperature and are made to fit your body in the cycling position.[15]
Performance or biking clothes can be found at bike stores or online.

Popular brands of cycling clothes include POC, Mavic, and Benard.

Baggy clothing can get caught in the chain or gears of your bike, but it’s usually fine to wear comfortable clothes if you don’t have anything designed specifically for biking.

Wear protective armor over your clothes when going down advanced trails. Knee pads, elbow pads, or even full body armor will help minimize injuries if you fall off your bike. If you are going down more advanced tracks, buy biking armor online or at a biking store.[16]

Tailor your tire pressure and suspension to the track. If you are biking on wet ground, you can set your bike to a slightly lower suspension to get more grip on the trail. If you are going along dry ground, set your suspension higher to achieve higher speeds.[17]
Play around with both of these settings on your bike and find a setting that feels comfortable for you and the trail you’re riding on.

Proper mountain bike suspension should sit about ⅓ of the way down when you sit on the bike on dry terrain.

Bring water and snacks. Water is an absolute essential, so don’t forget to fill up and bring a few bottles or a water bladder when you go riding. Snacks like granola bars or trail mix are great to have on hand as well.

EditReferences
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