Content marketing is an invaluable tool, if harnessed correctly and consistently. There is a difference between writing a monthly blog and delivering against a solid content marketing strategy with measurable results. As content marketing budgets continue to rise in the industry, more and more marketers are becoming content creators, but what elements make for the best strategy?

1. Map out an end-to-end content strategy  and decide what results you want to see

The ultimate goal of branded content marketing can vary from company to company and therefore before setting out on your ‘content journey’ you must determine what it is you would like to achieve. This is a first and very important step that provides the foundation for a clearly articulated strategy, developing content that goes towards telling the cohesive story of your brand. Before embarking on a campaign, take the time to consider what story you want to tell, and make sure that all your content has an unequivocal focus, in-line with your stated goals.

2. Create an email newsletter that’s about the reader – not your brand

It may seem outdated, but strong and specific weekly or bi-monthly email newsletters remain one of the most important ways to keep your customers updated and engaged. Again, focus on the content aspect of your newsletter. It should not simply be a place to tout your latest product or promote a sale or discount. The unique e-marketplace, Of a Kind puts out a twice-monthly newsletter in which the editors share their current obsessions, from food and beauty products to music. These carefully curated newsletters make almost no mention of the site itself, but do go a long way towards establishing the unique voice and perspective of the overall brand.

3. Understand the foundations of building a branded blog

In the UK, 77% of internet users read blogs. Simple but effective, content-driven blogs are one of the best ways to establish your voice as an authority in your field, and a vital piece of the content marketing puzzle. They are also one of the easiest branded content strategies to get off the ground. In an ideal world, your blog will become a daily destination for consumers looking to learn more about your industry and garner content that they can share. It should also be the first stop for any curious customer hoping to get a better sense of what, beyond the obvious, you have to offer.

4. Deciphering “community management” – get involved in the conversation

When considering your branded content marketing strategy, it’s key to remember that you are a small fish in a very, very big pond. Rather than swimming alone, think about ways to engage others in your community. Consider participating in online industry forums where you can establish yourself as a problem-solver and thought leader. Create tutorials, how-to style articles, or Q&A whitepapers, and offer these resources for free. These resources can have two major advances: firstly establishing your brand as an authority in the field and secondly providing content that is useful and highly shareable, which will go a long way towards increasing your brand awareness.

5. Sharing is caring – increasing share-ability is all about empathy

While your content should of course reflect the voice of your brand, remember: the most frequently shared content is not always the most informative or professional. More often, content that is fun, dynamic, and hits the spot is what goes viral. Even if your brand tends to be more serious, don’t be afraid of videos or photos that give your brand a playful or humorous vibe. The adage ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’ is true when it comes to using video or images and also demonstrates to your audience that your brand is current and willing to embrace digital trends – both great qualities to have in today’s connected world.