If you’ve heard that content marketing is the way to your audience’s attention, you may want to find out how to get your words and ideas in front of them. Content marketing is the way to make it happen, but how do you get started?

Make a plan

If you’re starting a personal blog or social media account, there’s nothing wrong with flying by the seat of your pants. You can figure things out as you go, explore possibilities, and change your theme every month until you find the perfect concept that expresses your inner self.

When you’re building a brand, however, you need a consistent and coherent feel from the beginning. Before you start tweeting out the link to your new site, make sure that you’ve done your research on keywords, have an editorial calendar ready for several weeks to come, and maybe even have a few posts already up and waiting before you start publicizing your links.

Decide on a tone

There are as many tones that work for blogs as there are content writers. Content can be formal, informal, casual, or somewhere in between. What’s important is to pick a style and stick to it. If one post is written in a formal, academic style, and the next is casual and peppered with GIFs, your readers won’t know what to expect, and are less likely to return.

Many websites choose to outsource their content to freelance content creators. If you’re doing this, it’s a good idea to create a style sheet with some samples that show the writer exactly what content you want to see on your website, and what isn’t going to be a good fit. This will increase satisfaction with the overall product.

Update your writing skills

If you last took a writing class when most people got their news from physical newspapers, it’s time to update your skills. Writing for the Web is very different from writing for any sort of print. People expect their content to be laid out differently, to be presented differently, and to be designed differently. Overall, online content tends to be sharper, more pointed, and less meandering. Very long pieces can succeed online, but it’s a good idea to break a long piece up into several linked pages.

Ultimately, navigation is key for content creation. If your content gets buried under pop up ads, email notifications, and scrolling text bars, no one is going to read your content.

Chase shareable, not viral

If you’re pursuing long-term business success, your goal shouldn’t be to make your content go viral; instead, look for smaller, more consistent measurements. Combine your content and SEO efforts to grow your traffic and brand. You may want to watch your unique viewers per week, for example, or your views per post, and look to see those numbers increase. You may want to try and reduce your bounce rate or to improve the length of time people spend on your website.

One of the biggest mistakes that people make with content writing is to pursue a direct correlation between content writing and conversion. While content marketing definitely affects your sales funnel and conversion rates, it’s never going to be a 1:1 ratio. Content keeps people on your site, establishes you as a thought leader, and earn links to grow your online presence. When they’re ready to buy, you become the most likely vendor. But that’s not the same as you getting sales because of a great blog post.

Take suggestions from your clients

When you get started with content marketing, it’s a good idea to have a solid bank of ideas to draw from until you get into a steady rhythm with your creation. As you start to gather an audience, however, it’s a great idea to ask for their suggestions and questions. Some of the most informative and engaging blog posts come from answering the questions of customers. If one client has the question, you can guess that many more have the same question, but haven’t asked. This is a great opportunity to turn your customers’ feedback into content marketing machine.

Content marketing is here to stay, and businesses that want to distinguish themselves from the competition are going to continue to develop great content and well-designed page design to attract and interest their audiences. By increasing engagement with their audiences, companies can offer the touch of personalization to their brands that are completely necessary for success.

What are you top dos and don’ts for content marketing?