Content is King! Well that’s at least what professionals in the online media industry have been saying for the past year or so. While content is very important, if you do not optimize your content, and distribute it… it’s worthless. Businesses are starting to realize the importance of content marketing. 55% of consumer marketers are looking to spend more on their content marketing in 2013. But what is content marketing?

Content marketing is creating and owning originally produced content and distributing it over various media outlets. Whether you are creating blogs, photos, or videos – creating original content is important.

Great content marketing can help a business retain loyal customers and clients, generate leads, improve brand awareness, and boost customer engagement and website traffic. But where do you start?

First, develop a blog on your website. For starters, your blog can be your central hub for content. While many people believe blogs are only used for personal online diaries, or sharing your latest trip around the world, they can be very informative and beneficial to your business.

Once you have your blog set up, it is time for strategy. What are you going to write about? Where are you going to share it? When developing content keep in mind the following: does this follow my brand? and is this useful to my audience? Month to month, start to develop content that you would like the world to see, our at least your target audience.

Blogging: Try to write a blog once a week. The blog doesn’t need to be long; a short 300-500 word blurb will be perfect. The blog doesn’t need to be long, but it must be beneficial to your audience. Why would they find it beneficial? Share important industry news, large announcements by your company that will affect your customers, tips and advice your audience can benefit from.

Optimize: Once your blog is written, make sure to optimize your content for search. If you write a blog without optimizing it for search engines, it is like building a beautiful home without any windows or doors. Your home may have gorgeous hardwood floors and crown molding, but no one can enter your house to see it. You want to optimize your content so that it is able to appear in search results; in turn, letting people see your home.

For basic optimizing, select a long-tailed keyword that you believe your audience may type into Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Also, make sure your keyword includes a location. You want to try and target an audience in your specific geographic area. For example, for this post I may choose “content marketing strategy rochester ny.” With this keyword, I am trying to let Google know that this article is about content marketing and would be beneficial to individuals in the Rochester, NY area. In turn, I am hoping that the post will be indexed and recognized for these terms. Then, when a Rochester small business owner visits Google to learn more about content marketing, s/he may type “content marketing strategy rochester ny,” and this post will appear in the search results.

For basic optimizing, include your keyword in the page title, page description, post URL, and post tags.

Share: Once you have developed quality-optimized content, it is time to share! The best way for sharing, is spreading your content over social media outlets. If you have created company Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, you are well on your way. Every time you publish a new blog to your website, copy the URL and write a catchy headline for your social outlets. By sharing a link on your social media pages, you are extending the reach of your content. Everyone in your network has the ability to see the link, and share it him or herself. Be sure to engage with your social audience on a regular basis.

Another way to share your great blog content is through a monthly email newsletter. There are plenty of sites to help you develop your newsletter. You can use your blog posts in your newsletter each month. You then are able to send your quality information to your mailing list once a month. By sharing your newsletter, you are able to stay top of mind with relationships you have developed in the past.

These are just some of the basics to starting your content marketing strategy. Start with the company blog. Stick to it. Make sure you are writing quality content regularly, and optimizing it for search. Once your blog posts are polished and published, share them on social media. You want to extend the reach of your content each time it is published.

The goal is to be seen as a thought leader in your industry, and to draw relevant traffic back to your website. Once current or potential customers find your content, they then have the opportunity to dig deeper into your website. After they learn more about your product or service, it is time to develop your relationship.

Visit the Denhoff Media blog regularly for marketing industry news and strategy. Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, or follow me on Twitter. Good luck with your content marketing strategy!