Content marketing has been on the rise in recent years despite the concept forming more than a century ago.

But for those new to the game, actually creating content is often a question of cost and where to start

Google’s continual algorithm changes are placing more and more emphasis on content as it applies to search rankings. In a simplified scenario, a company which regularly updates its website with fresh, information-rich and relevant content will rank higher than one which does not (if all other factors are equal).

But search is not the only area where marketers should be looking to succeed with content. In essence, the premise behind content marketing is to use a company’s knowledge and experience to provide existing and potential customers with information. In doing this, a company is by default, increasing its brand awareness and gaining authority within the target market.

But for companies which have not delved into the content production arena before, starting can be a little daunting and confusing.

The best place to start is to consider what you have to offer the target market. Are there elements to your product or service about which you are constantly being asked? Could you produce some content which demystifies this area?

This is exactly what Marcus Sheridan did when his business selling fiberglass pools started to dwindle in the midst of the global financial crisis. At the time the company had been spending about $250,000 a year on television, radio and pay-per-click advertising. It drastically cut that budget to about a tenth to instead focus on producing informational blogs which answered customers’ questions. The company is now in the top 5% of all inground pool companies.

You may be thinking “that sounds great, but I’m not a writer”. Fair enough – this is where the investment decision comes in. Copywriters exist for a reason and this is it. When it comes to producing content, all of the information (more often than not) sits in your head. A well-trained copywriter should be able to sit down with you for maybe 30 minutes (depending on the subject) and then go away and massage the information into a well-written piece of content. This copywriting is a service just like anything else; if writing isn’t your strong suit why would you try to do it yourself when there are experts willing to do it for you?

The next step is to think about distribution. Social media is great for this but many businesses want to direct traffic back to their websites to generate leads. First you need to create a “blog” or “latest updates” portal on the website which you can then use as a link in social media posts. Then anyone who clicks on the post is led back to the website.

You might also think about using your content in other publications such as being a guest blogger or submitting an opinion article.

Content also doesn’t just mean text. Content can be anything from an infographic (which shares information in a visual way) to events your company is holding or presentations you have delivered. Think creatively about any resources which can provide your audience with information and how you can best share it.

Measuring the return on investment in content marketing is not as difficult as it sounds. In an online world all you need to do is analyse website visitation and social media engagement results to see whether your content is having an impact.

Tractor manufacturer John Deere is widely accepted as the pioneer of content marketing with the creation of the Furrow magazine in 1985. The quarterly publication is now published in 14 languages and distributed to 27 countries – demonstrating the success of content marketing.

Talk to Platform about getting started on your own content marketing strategy.