I may be new to content marketing, but after many months of content creation and outreach I have learned a few valuable lessons.

Content marketing is more than just writing guest posts. In order to utilise content marketing to its fullest potential for your clients, you need create interesting and engaging content that people want to both read and share. Below I have outlined a few of the different types of content that I enjoy creating, and that yield the best results in terms of both outreach and engagement.

Delicious data

Many content marketers are still in the habit of regurgitating existing content. If you search for the subject of any noteworthy news article, you will find a succession of articles featuring the same topic but with slight variations of copy. These types of articles are unnecessary and don’t add any value to a reader’s experience. If you want to avoid creating a blog post of a blog post, find something that no one else has written about. One of the best ways to do this is by generating data. Surveys and studies provide you with valuable new data. The questions you ask are almost as important as the responses you get. This data can provide you with insights into your client’s industry sector, as well as opinions and trends of your client’s target customer base. This data can then be used as the basis for a whole host of content, from articles, whitepapers, interactive infographics, to case studies.

If you’re looking to conduct a survey, I would suggest using the services of OnePoll and Toluna. OnePoll is the best choice if you have clients with a bigger budget. It's expensive but it's worth it! You have the option of paying for the survey, or the survey along with outreach (OnePoll have some great press contacts). However, if you are looking to get a survey with a limited budget, Toluna is the option for you. The prices of Toluna surveys depend on the number of questions you ask as well as the number of responses you want. In each of these cases, you will be provided with the raw data that’s broken down by age, gender, location and so on.

Create relevant content

If you do decide to go down the guest editorial route, make sure that you are contributing new and relevant content. A way of doing this, whilst also benefiting the perception of your client’s brand, is to enabling your client to become a thought leader. No one is going to know their industry sector as well as your client does, so why not use that expertise to provide valuable insights to the wider community. You can either find opportunities for your client to write for relevant websites and trade journals, offer interviews, or include quotes from your client in an article.

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to finding business communities in your sector, start by taking a look at Guardian Networks like the Small Business Network. Here you will find insights and advice for and from SMEs. Alternatively, sign up to Help A Reporter Out and receive requests for quotes from journalists directly to your inbox. 

Tap into existing resources

As well as creating data and using your client’s industry knowledge, find out whether your client has any untapped resources that can be used to create content. These resources can take many forms from research they have undertaken, guides and whitepapers they have produced, to captured customer data that reveals new market trends. Each of these examples can be used to create something new that will pique the interest of both editors and industry professionals alike.

If you are working with a new or small business who hasn’t had the time or resource available to create their own content, the next best place to look is the Office of National Statistics. The ONS is the largest independent producer of official statistics in the UK and is a great resource for finding free data on a whole host of topics.

Crowdsourcing and ego bait

Don’t just focus on creating content that your target audience will want to read, get them involved! If you are writing about how an event is affecting a particular demographic, get their opinion and include it in your content. As well as crowdsourcing quotes, get opinions from influencers in your industry, such as bloggers and journalists. By including quotes from these individuals you can tap into their existing audience and social followers.

As well using Twitter to find trending hashtags, you can also use it to source quotes. You can use the hashtags #bloggerrequest, #journorequest and #prrequest in order to connect with bloggers, journalists and PRs. 

Celebrate business successes

If you are struggling to find ways of promoting your client’s brand, look to their business activities. If there are positive developments happening within the organisation, from hiring new staff to raising money for local charities, get those off-page successes on-page. This can be publicised on the client’s blog and social media profiles, and where applicable this can be used for outreach to local newspapers and business websites.

FireCask coverage in Manchester Evening News

If we can do it, so can you!
Read our coverage in MEN

Although it doesn’t feel like it at the end of the month, content marketing isn’t just about building links. It’s about finding new and creative ways to create brand buzz and customer engagement. Content needs to act as a resource, whether that is to entertain or inform. Always endeavour to create content that attracts and engages, and results in them sharing that content with others.