Content marketing has become one of the most effective strategies for SEO and growing an online presence. Unlike some SEO tactics of the past, which trend in and out depending on what Google deems acceptable, content marketing focuses on quality and building links naturally. Quality content and natural links is completely in line with what Google wants, which makes content marketing an effective and safe long-term approach.

So, how do you get started with content marketing? Let’s dig into it a bit deeper with these three actionable steps.

1. Create Content that is Excellent

While the whole ‘content is king’ mantra has become a bit cliche, it still holds true and needs to be the foundation of any content marketing strategy. The goal here is to generate links, likes and shares for maximum visibility and promotion for your content in the search engines. To do that organically, the content needs to be so excellent that people feel compelled to share it.

Not good.

It needs to be excellent.

To be clear, this does not mean throw up a bunch of mediocre, outsourced blog posts containing your target keywords. Excellent content means putting effort into what you publish so that it will benefit your audience in ways that are unique to your industry experience. The content needs to be so excellent that when it hits your audience or an influencer, they will feel they are doing their industry a disservice by not sharing it.

What should you do?

A few examples could be a video series detailing a recent client problem and how you, with your unique industry expertise, were able to help them and create the perfect solution.

Or, create a bad-ass infographic that details a complex process in your niche that people consistently have difficulty understanding and that will actually help people better grasp the concepts.

Now that you’ve nailed down excellent content, it’s time to move onto phase two.

2. Build an Outreach List

Unless you already have a large and engaged audience, you will need to leverage the audience of others in your niche to get your content in front of the people that it can benefit. To do this, create a list of top influencers in your niche who will see the value of your content and be compelled to link or share.

Use resources like Klout and Followerwonk to put together your target influencer list that you will leverage to share your content.

Now you’ve got your killer content, you’ve identified those in your niche who the content is relevant and beneficial to, you’ve only got one more thing to do…

3. Engage and Pitch

Although it’s easy to get ahead of yourself and want to spam your outreach list with tweets/emails telling about your most amazing content ever, restraint is best. What you should do is start by going through your list and building some rapport. Follow them on the social networks. Read and comment on their blog. Share their content to your audience etc.

Don’t ask for anything yet.

First you just want to get on their radar by helping them by engaging with and promoting their content. If you keep up the comments, likes, shares and retweets long enough, eventually they will notice you.

This is when you go for your pitch.

Once you’ve built up some rapport and gotten on your target influencers’ radar, now is when you can share that awesome content. Explain to them how your content is unique and how it will benefit them as well as their audience. Don’t expect a 100% share/link rate. But, if the content is good enough and you’ve build up enough rapport with your target influencer, many of them will link or share.

If done correctly, this approach will generate organic links and shares of your content which will greatly impact your SEO. Moreover, it will get your content and company in front of the eyes of your target audience in a potentially viral way.

What do you think of content marketing? Have you used it successfully? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comment section below!