The content ‘bug’ has bitten marketers across all businesses: blogs, vlogs, infographics, interactive… content marketing has exploded.

The challenge is in getting cut through with your content, making it something that your customers, both current and prospective, find engaging and useful. But in a world where we’re increasingly swamped by content overload, how do you find a way to do that? As with many aspects of business, the key is often going back to basics.

1. Be clear on what it is you’re creating

Legendary director and producer Steven Spielberg once said: “through…good storytelling, you can get everybody to clap at the same time”. He’s right, good story telling will help, but there’s more to it than that.

Many businesses still lack a coherent strategy when it comes to content. At the same time, they struggle to settle on clear-cut themes for their content activities, which hampers cut-through.

Typically, a successful content strategy will involve selecting themes you’re passionate about and then taking a robust position. People won’t always agree with you, but they’ll respect the fact you’re not teetering insipidly on the fence. Once you have some core themes, choose topics where you think you have a leadership position – usually this will be aligned with the expertise within your business.

2.Keep to a schedule

Consistency is the first rule of content, and it’s important you settle on how periodically you’ll deliver a blog or newsletter. Audience engagement is the key to moving customers and prospects along the sales pipeline. Therefore, content should be as relevant and timely as possible. That said, make contact too often and your content will habitually end up in email trash boxes.

Once you’ve determined a suitable content schedule, which will be based on your budget and customer preferences, give someone within your organisation the responsibility for your content program. This is onerous in larger businesses, where content can come from multiple contributors. The trend to have a specific team or a designated staff member to manage this process is becoming the standard. For small and medium sized business, the challenge is squeezing in the time and resources to stay on track. This makes a content schedule that is deliverable an even more desirable marketing tool.

3. Do your research

As a thought leader, your opinion matters. But it is sound practice to have solid proof points supporting your position. To this end, valuable data or market research is a perfect way of substantiating the idea you’re articulating. A statistical gem can often be the bait that hooks your audience.

As any journalist worth his or her salt can tell you, look for some ‘white space’ issues and topics your competition isn’t talking about. White space issues might deliver a front-page exclusive to a journalist, and equally they can deliver more prospects to your business.

Finally, by referencing other information sources, you’re:

  1. Demonstrating your subject matter knowledge – and that you’ve researched it and have an educated point of view.
  2. Attaching that information to your brand. Your subscribers attribute the benefit of that knowledge to you, which amplifies the benefit you’re presenting to them.