On our digital marketing training courses, we find that the same questions are cropping up all the time. And one of the most popular is… I know content marketing is important but…how do I create interesting content that will get traffic and ultimately get leads and sales? We’ve had a think about this and have come up with four crucial issues when it comes to creating practical, usable content.

1. Think long term and strategically about the type of content required. What are your readers more likely to share on social media? And the key is your readers. Rely on statistics and figures to a degree but never underestimate your own experience and knowledge of your customer profile. Do they respond better to info graphics or text heavy content? What about ebooks and whitepapers? Or is it video that pushes their buttons? Whatever it is, you need to know about it.

2. KIRS – Keep It Relevant Stupid – and this is where the knowledge of your target audience is so crucial. If you want to attract traffic to your site, you need to understand what your customers want to know about. Think about the most common queries you get or even have a look through some of your old FAQs. If there’s enough people asking the same question, maybe it’s time you gave a more complete answer. And remember, content marketing is not just talking about yourself or your business. It’s ensuring that your customers have helpful and informative content and advice at their fingertips. If it can solve a problem or answer a question for them, it qualifies immediately as useful content.

3. Keep an eye on trends – Social Media offers us so much and not just the potential to connect and communicate. With its ‘trends’ functionality, it tells us what others are talking about. It’s almost like eavesdropping on a conversation between your customers! OK – that sounds a little creepy but by using it to monitor ‘trends’, you can use it to kick-start your content marketing by keeping an eye on what folks are talking about ensuring your content marketing is relevant, targeted and on-trend.

4. Know how to spread the word – having the best content in your industry is only relevant when you know how to promote it and syndicate it. Sharing your content on social media and content syndication and guest blogging sites will increase your audience over time. If your content is good enough, it will be shared. It’s up to you to keep all the above principles in mind and create that compelling content.

And that’s the four issues you need to understand when you‘re creating content. Content marketing can do so much for you but it’s your job to ensure you’re producing only the best content marketing material.