Content marketing is the strategic marketing effort of creating valuable, relevant and useful content, then distributing it to reach the right audience at the right time. This content is created and managed with the aim of influencing or changing consumer behavior with information. This type of marketing is non-invasive, meaning it is meant to inform and educate rather than to sell.

Great content enables and empowers marketing efforts Click To Tweet

Content marketing is an ongoing process vital to any business marketing strategy. Great content enables and empowers marketing efforts with consistent, quality resources and is key to driving inbound traffic and leads. Learn more about how you can craft and follow an excellent content marketing strategy from nine professionals who specialize in content.

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1. Amanda Maksymiw

Why follow her? Amanda was Content Marketing Tactician of the Year in 2012 and is responsible for setting and managing Lattice Engines’ content marketing strategy.

The communications revolution has changed the way we receive and share information. @amandamaks Click To Tweet

Amanda’s approach to marketing is to focus on the customer and deliver customer-centric vs. product-centric messages. She recommends creating and distributing quality content on multiple different channels, and to deliver information that customers actually want. Amanda also says that sales and marketing messages must align to ensure a company is sending out cohesive and uniform messages.

Learn more: Check out the Lattice Engines blog.

2. Waynette Tubbs

Why follow her? Waynette is a content marketer with the Bronto marketing platform and the former Content and Communications Manager Extraordinaire at SAS.

To establish credibility, talk about your CUSTOMERS and not yourself! @WaynetteTubbs Click To Tweet

Waynette focuses on an integrated approach to content marketing. She states that content marketing should support and enhance other marketing efforts, such as events, community marketing and thought-leader advocacy. Waynette talks about the content strategy lessons of 5 different banks and how they succeeded with their content marketing.

Banks such as ANZ excelled in getting high page ranks by using content; they provided answers to customers’ banking questions. They invested in content because their marketing manager realized that’s what people were searching for. If ANZ provided the answers, it would lead customers to the bank and establish trust. ANZ’s content marketing strategy is to keep their content current, provide content their audience wants, disperse content through multiple channels and measure results.

Learn more: Read Waynette’s posts on the SAS blog.

3. Joe Pulizzi

Why follow him? Joe founded the Content Marketing Institute.

Successful content marketing-driven companies put all their energy into one channel. @joepulizzi Click To Tweet

Content marketing is all about delivering concise and relevant information to the right audience at the right time. It builds trust in a brand over time by consistently providing clear and informative content when people are searching for it. Joe is a content marketing expert and founder of the Content Marketing Institute. He teaches many different lessons on content marketing, including the value of intelligent content.

Intelligent content is rich in information, making it adaptable to many different scenarios. It’s content that your audience can easily discover and rediscover when facing different challenges. All of our content must evolve to address multiple problems, be reusable and be easily discovered.

Joe also reminds marketers that part of strategy is deciding what not to do, which translates into content marketing as well. He recommends starting out focusing on one content channel before branching out to others. For example, focus on creating a series of blog posts, or just create a series of podcasts.

Learn more: Read Joe’s Content Marketing Institute articles.

4. Nick Kellet

Why follow him? Nick brings structure to social content by combining two interesting trends on the web (crowdsourcing and interactive social polling), through his company,

Create original content, generate a following, communicate, curate and share ideas. @NickKellet Click To Tweet

Nick Kellet says that the best content marketers must be open to reinventing their marketing approach, focus on the big picture and understand their competition inside and out. Marketers must also invest in an efficient content creation supply chain and integrate social media strategies into their content marketing plans.

Social media is an essential tool in content marketing. It makes content easier to find and share, expanding your reach exponentially. You can also use social media to gain organic views by directing followers to your blog or website, where you can store useful information about your brand and products.

Learn more: View Nick’s informative slides on marketing, social media and more.

5. Robert Rose

Why follow him? Robert helps marketers become storytellers and is the Chief Strategy Officer at the Content Marketing Institute.

Successful marketing organizations differentiate themselves by being different. @Robert_Rose Click To Tweet

“In a world where every brand is a conversation, we’ve got to make sure we’re delivering our content marketing for the right people, at the right time and through the right channel. But maybe most important of all is to make sure we’re listening with the right ears so we can be responsive and measure success.” – Robert Rose

Robert emphasizes the importance of an adaptable content marketing strategy when creating and distributing information. When crafting your plan, you must understand who your target audience is and how to reach them. Content marketing is more than just selling–it’s about engagement, entertainment, and education.

Learn more: Check out 5 Questions with Robert Rose on Content Marketing.

6. Ahava Leibtag

Why follow her? Ahava authored The Digital Crown: Winning at Content on the Web, leads AHA Media Group and writes for the blog Online it ALL Matters.

Make sure you create the right types of content and distribute across the right channels. @ahaval Click To Tweet

The best content marketing plans utilize concise, informative and attractive content. According to Ahava, great content has four basic building blocks; Inform, Instruct, Inspire, Initiate.

Begin by introducing consumers to your brand before trying to sell your product. Once they know and trust your brand, instruct consumers on how to use your product. Think of yourself as the teacher, showing them what makes your product special and walking them through each phase of the buying cycle. Inspiring content helps your consumers form an emotional connection with your product, and great content always initiates action. Make readers feel like part of a community, and ready to share it with others.

Learn more: Read Ahava’s articles on the Aha Media blog.

7. Eric Roach

Why follow him? Eric is the CEO and co-founder of EveryoneSocial.

Employees are assets when advocating for your business on social media. @veroach Click To Tweet

Eric speaks about the value of employee advocacy as a part of your content marketing strategy. Social media is an excellent tool wherein your employees can generate new leads and customers by speaking about your products and services in their own distinct voices. However, not all employees will immediately be willing to share their social media profiles with your brand.

In order to inspire employees to make meaningful contributions on their personal social media accounts, consider helping them build their own personal brand, encouraging the development of thought leadership, showing employees the value and impact of their advocacy by using tracking software, sharing the big picture with them, and creating incentives for their participation. Contests and prizes are a great way to get employees excited about sharing your brand on social media.

Learn more: Read Eric’s post on 5 Things To Do Before You Jump Into Employee Advocacy on Social Media.

8. Scott Abel

Why follow him? Scott is a content management strategist and social media choreographer.

Our writing rules help us reach less than 6 percent of the world's population. @ScottAbel Click To Tweet

Technology is expanding the borders of business to encompass the world, and because we are now able to market to a global economy, our content marketing strategies must evolve alongside our audience. Less than 6 percent of the world’s population speaks English, and if we want to market to the other 94 percent we must create content they can understand.

Scott’s content strategy is to create intelligent content that can reach a global market. Our content must evolve so that it can be comprehensively translated into different languages by machines. He recommends using shorter sentences, eliminating jargon, expressions, metaphors and similes, and anything else that may not be understood in other languages.

Learn more: Read Scott’s article, To Reach A Global Audience, Consider Writing for Computers First, Humans Second.

9. Rebecca Lieb

Why follow her? Rebecca is an author, columnist, journalist and frequent speaker on all things digital advertising.

Content has become bigger than marketing. It spans across the enterprise. @lieblink Click To Tweet

Rebecca recommends conducting regular “content audits” on all your business communications. The aim of this is to perform a qualitative analysis of any and all content your business puts into the world. When conducting this audit, marketers must analyze whether content is relevant and useful to their target audience, whether it’s consistent, and whether it represents the company well.

When assessing your current content (whether it’s on a website, social network, or print marketing materials), make sure it’s branded, professional, search engine optimized and logically organized. You should be looking at whether people are finding your content, through which channels, and whether there is missing content that needs to be created.

Learn more: Read about How to Conduct a Content Audit on Rebecca’s blog.

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