Chances are you’re using content marketing to supplement your other marketing strategies. After all, content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads, according to an infographic from Demand Metric. Pretty impressive, I know.

But are you doing it right? Are you creating enough content or using the right distribution channels? Whether you’re new to the game or just in need of little a refresher, below are some critical content marketing do’s and don’ts and some links to some other content marketing thought leaders on the topic:

  1. Do create a solid strategy: As with any new marketing venture, you must have a solid strategy or roadmap in place. Creating and disseminating custom copy that aligns with your corporate brand messaging is a big responsibility—and one that’s a lot harder than you may think. Create a strategic roadmap outlining everything from goals, deadlines and processes to alignment with upcoming events and product releases. Trust me it will pay off. Lee Odden from TopRank Online Marketing has an excellent new eBook on “Building a Content Marketing Strategy” that takes multiple perspectives on why a strategy is important and some key areas to focus on.
  2. Don’t be a sleazy salesperson, but don’t think we’re stupid either: The ultimate end-goal of all marketing is to drive sales; content marketing is just another way to guide prospects through their buyer’s journey. But it is different in the sense that it should be used to educate, entertain and inspire buyers to take action. Doug Kessler from Velocity wrote a good post a little while ago that I really related to. What resonated with me was his point on transparency – we exist as marketers to help sell something, so embrace it, but leave the used-car salesman act at home. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and do your best to make it valuable to them. Make what you have to say compelling, enlightening, even inspirational. Because people want to feel inspired, to be that hero that brings a new solution to their workplace; make them understand why it should be your solution.
  3. Do make it social and shareable – Lucky for you, users love sharing great content – and when they share it, they actually get more out of it themselves. The New York Time Insight Group conducted a study on why people share content, and they found that 73% of their survey respondents say that they process information more deeply, thoroughly and thoughtfully when they share it. Talk about increasing its impact! Give your visitors the tools to do just that by integrating social sharing buttons. What’s more, don’t forget to socialize your content via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ to spark the conversation and increase consumer engagement.
  4. Don’t forget about design: Sure great content will keep visitors coming back for more, but what about the look and feel of your blog and the site that houses it? Besides looking pretty, your site needs to be easy to navigate. Good design leads the viewer’s eyes from one area to the next and highlights key messages along the way (like this list of bullets I’ve created here). After all, what good is creating content if no one can find it? Never underestimate the power of a solid-looking site.

Do use multimedia: Content marketing isn’t just tied to blogging. It now spans an ever increasing number of form factors, everything from traditional data sheets, case studies and videos, to infographics, eBooks, SlideShares and podcasts, to tweets and Facebook posts. Make sure you change it up a bit and give your users a well-rounded experience – because people can now interact with your brand across multiple channels, and the more opportunities you give them to interact with you, the higher chance you have of getting them to share what you produce and maintain engagement with you. Perform some testing to see which types of tools resonate most with visitors.