My marketing team and I recently attended HubSpot’s marketing conference, Inbound 2014, in Boston, MA. We spoke with, and learned from, many fellow marketers as well as industry leaders like Guy Kawasaki, Simon Sinek and even Martha Stewart. The conference discussed the importance of content marketing.

The most effective marketers are looking to create more high quality, engaging content. In fact, 50% of marketers are expecting to spend more money toward their content marketing objectives over the next year.

Have you considered adding content marketing to your current efforts? Below are a few tips from #INBOUND14 that you can apply to your small business: 

There is more than one way to write

You’re not a trained writer? No problem. Writing is a habit that is the heart of content writing.  However, content marketing isn’t about grammar. It’s about thinking. Good writing is a matter of thinking deeply.

Convey what you want to say clearly. Think about your customer. How would they react, or feel, after reading something you wrote? Think empathetically when you’re writing.

Ann Handley spoke specifically about this. When writing, she recommends you focus on:

  • Empathy and experiences.
    • Don’t just write more plain, overused articles and blog posts.
  • Relevant and inspired stories.
  • Useful.

Don’t write just to write. Write to have an impact; write to help your target audiences. Aim to have an impact on your audience.  Your brand voice can also play a big part in this as well. With an unforgettable voice attached to an unforgettable post, you’ll impact your audience for the better. Words are your ambassadors that attract brand advocates.

However, that doesn’t mean you should only generate content every once in a while. Make it a goal to never stop creating content. Focus on producing better content to capture your audience.

Know How To Connect With Your Audience

We are a 2.7 second economy. Our attention spans are shorter than a goldfish’s. In order to capture your audience, you have to take the time to get to know them.

After you’ve determined the demographic of your target audience, dig a little deeper. What does your audience want? How do they want to consume content? Not sure how to answer these questions? Ask!

Don’t be afraid to ask your audience what they want.

Relevance is the key to success in content marketing. Conduct an interview and ask your audience what they’re interested in and how they want to consume that information. They may prefer a blog post to an eBook, or an email to a direct mail piece. The true answers of relevance lie in the hands of your audience.

Be Authentic & Transparent

A common theme of the conversations at #INBOUND14 was the topic of transparency.

In today’s modern marketing world, it’s very important for your company to be transparent. It isn’t just important for your employees, but it’s crucial for current and potential customers. Through transparency, your customers will trust you. In a flooded market, trust is the one thing that prevails.

Transparency must follow everything you do. When not being transparent, you risk failing. It should be the very soul of your company. As a rule of thumb, concentrate on always telling the truth. Fact of the matter is, you’re going to screw up. But that humanizes you and your brand!

It’s just as important to be authentic. Authentic brands are multidimensional and customers will love you for each part. Without authenticity no one will buy from you. Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

Create To Be Shared

Just because you build something, doesn’t mean visitors will come. If you don’t consider the share-ability of a piece of content while creating it, chances are it will fail.

For any story to be loveable, it has to be seen – and shared! If your piece of content is something people cherish, they will share it with another person.  During the creation process, consider the reasons people will share the piece you’re crafting.

Camille Ricketts uncovered why people share:

  • To make people think.
  • To define ourselves to others.
    • Do you remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?
  • Positive validation.
    • Example: Selfies!

Once you’ve completed a piece with sharing in mind, be sure to post it to all social media platforms. It’s important to tailor each social post to its corresponding platform’s audience. You may even want to consider adding a link in your next piece of email marketing!

Have you considered adding content marketing to your current marketing efforts? If you have already, how do you ensure its success? Leave a note below – we’d love to hear from you!

This article was originally posted here, at’s blog.