In today’s marketplace, grabbing the attention of potential clients is a difficult task. With people so inundated with advertisements, their tolerance has gotten lower and lower. Any old message or clever tagline isn’t going to pique their interest — what they crave now is useful, interesting content.

By now, you’ve probably read enough about why content and content marketing are important for your business. So, we’re here to answer the “what” and “how.” A lot of blogs will tell you to think like a publisher, which is funny, because the traditional publishing industry is kind of dying.

We’d rather encourage you to think like a businessperson who is using publishing as an effective conversion tool. Why? Because people simply reading and liking your content isn’t going to increase product sells. Rather, you have to make sure your content builds trust in your brand, positions you as an authority figure, and assuages any fears your reader might have in working with you.

So what you need is more than just content. You need strategy. You need a plan for how you will engage with audiences and how to turn that engagement into profit. A starter kit on how to do content marketing right.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you get started.

1. What do I want to accomplish?

Copyblogger has an excellent post on the 10 Content Marketing Goals Worth Pursuing that will help you define the purpose of your content marketing. While all the goals are great, we definitely co-sign on:

  • Building trust and rapport with your clients.
  • Attracting new prospects.
  • Providing solutions to client problems.
  • Building strategic partnerships.
  • Building your reputation with SEO.

2. What type of content should I publish?

If you read the vast majority of articles on content marketing, you’ll be falsely led into believing that writing blog posts is all there is to it. In reality, the definition of “content” is really up to interpretation.

For more concrete examples, check out our Pinterest and feel free to explore our Real Estate Marketing Academy. What you’ll see is a mix of audio, visual and written information meant to help or enlighten our clients in some way. For us, our content marketing ecosystem includes:

  • Video
  • Infographics
  • E-books
  • Blog posts

Those, of course, are merely content forms. Within those categories, we have different segmentations, like types (guides, tutorials, tool and templates, etc.) and topics (lead management, lead generation, marketing, sales techniques, etc.). If you’re a real estate agent, you might use types like:

  • Buyer basics
  • Seller strategies
  • Neighborhood necessities

And so on. (You don’t need the alliteration — we’re just having fun.) But content can be anything you think could be useful to clients, partners or leads.

3. What resources will I need?

This depends on the type of content you want to produce and how large your company is: Are you a solo agent or the manager of a brokerage? What does your budget look like? And so on. Regardless of size, however, it’s imperative that you have someone on your team who is a strong writer and editor. If you can swing it, a graphic designer will also do wonders for your business. After all, real estate is a profession that relies quite a bit on aesthetics — from the agent’s demeanor to the house’s decor, it’s all about presentation.

At Placester, even though I lead the sales and marketing team, I create a lot of the content myself so I can make sure it’s expressing our company’s DNA. Even though our small marketing team cranks out a ton of content, we realized there were lots of voices within the company that have great value to share with our audience, so we’ve recently encouraged members of the sales and support team to begin writing and sharing their specific expertise. We have the benefit of having professional editors on hand to ensure a consistent brand voice, and so far that’s working out well for us.

When you get ready to begin scaling your content marketing team, check out these great tips by Smart Insights on Hiring the Right Content Creator for Your Business.

Remember: It’s not enough just to create content. If no one is reading or sharing, you’re simply wasting time and money. Hire great designers, writers and editors who will create clickworthy content likely to represent your brand well and bring in new clients.

4. How do I measure my efforts?

As we’ve mentioned before, simply creating content won’t cut it for your business. You must also track what’s converting well for you: What type of content or topic is inspiring current customers and pulling in new leads?

One of our favorite tools to determine these numbers is Google Analytics. We look at how our numbers compare weekly, monthly and yearly, and plan our content accordingly. You can see an example below:

Google Analytics

You should also check out this great infographic by Brandpoint, which focuses on awareness, consideration and conversion to determine how well your content marketing efforts are going. also has an excellent post on the specifics of measurement:

  • Consumption: page views, video views, document views, downloads and social chatter.
  • Sharing: likes, shares, tweets, +1s, and pins, forwards, number of inbound links.
  • Lead generation: form completion and downloads, email and blog subscriptions, blog comments and your conversion rate.
  • Sales: Look at both online and offline sales that are influenced by content.
  • Thought leadership: requests for guest blog posts.
  • Loyalty: advocates, referrals and word of mouth.

You also need to look at what devices they are viewing your content. Are they looking at it at work from their desktop or on the go from their mobile device? And which of those devices are driving the highest intent customer?

5. How can I get started?

After you’ve answered all of these questions and determined the best content, measurement and creators to use for your marketing efforts, check out these tools below to help execute your plan:

I hope this guide was helpful in getting you started with content marketing. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. You can comment below, send me an email, or find me on Twitter: @sethstuff.

Seth Price is director of sales and real estate marketing at Placester, a Cambridge, Mass.-based technology company specializing in building online marketing tools for the real estate industry.

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