You can’t turn a corner on the web these days without finding someone who’s talking about the merits of content marketing.  But how do you know if your content marketing strategy is REALLY doing what it’s supposed to?

Just be on the lookout for these 5 things.  They’re all “symptoms” of content marketing success:

1.  You’re making more money

When you combine sales copy that’s focused on legitimate features and benefits with articles and blog posts that establish you as a true expert in your field, you’re going to wind up seeing a lot more people who are willing to give you their hard-earned money.

Selling on the web can be especially tough because you’re forced to compete with millions of people from every corner of the globe, and you don’t even get to talk to potential customers face-to-face like you would in a brick and mortar store.  So, if buyers are choosing YOU, it’s a sign that the web content you’re publishing (both on your site and off) is doing what it’s supposed to.

2.  You have more social media contacts

Remember when you were little and your mother told you that “birds of a feather flock together”?  If you hung out with the “bad kids” at school, everyone else would assume you were a bad kid, too.

Now that you’re all grown up, Mom’s advice still rings true.  People want to be associated with the “right” people.  So, if you’re known for publishing web content that’s chock full of thoughtful insights, deep analyses, and expert advice, you’re going to see people flock to you on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.  After all, being connected to YOU makes THEM look better!

3.  You don’t have to search very hard for guest blogging opportunities

When you first started guest blogging, you probably found it pretty tedious and time-consuming to search all over the web for sites that wanted to publish your articles.  But once you become known as an author that publishes authoritative, well-researched, insightful content, you’re going to see more website owners seeking YOU out to write for THEM.  So, if your inbox is a little fuller these days, it’s a sign that you’ve achieved content marketing success!

4.  You rank higher in the search results, even though you haven’t changed your SEO strategy

A successful content marketing strategy is going to make Google stand up and take notice, even if SEO is the last thing on your mind.  Every time you publish a great blog post or a great guest article on an authoritative website, you’re going to see it syndicated by a bunch of different sites — meaning you’re going to have an influx of new, quality links.

As an added benefit, every time you publish a new blog post on your own website, it will count as fresh content for your entire domain.  That’s something Google specifically admits it’s looking for!

5.  You realize there’s still plenty of work to do

The true content marketing success stories are the people who realize that their work is never done.  If you publish a few great articles, take a deep breath, and think, “well, I’m glad THAT’S out of the way,” you’re never going to be successful at content marketing.

You need to be known as a fountain of knowledge.  You need to keep dedicating articles to new developments in your niche.  You need to keep publishing blog posts that give your readers the information they crave.  You need to keep taking advantage of guest blogging opportunities on authoritative websites.  If you take your foot off the gas pedal, your competitors — you know, the ones who are also reading how important content marketing is — are going to pass you by.