From the January 2012 issue of Entrepreneur

Chris BroganMarketing is often an interruption. What if you make it more of a flow?

As business owners and entrepreneurs, there's this awkwardness to our efforts to communicate. Sometimes we make the mistake of bugging people only when we need something. Other times we interrupt people and try to push our way into their attention because we haven't yet earned the visibility any other way. And sometimes we forget to talk to people during those in-between times--times when we don't need anything, but when it would be nice to acknowledge that we know the other person is out there somewhere.

To me, there's an alternative. If you want to save your seat at the table for the next time your prospect or customer needs you, consider doing more with content and communication online. Let's look at how we might cultivate visibility for you in between "asks."

Decide on your goal.
Your goal with content and visibility might simply be to equip your buyers with good advice in between other sales-specific contacts. For instance, if you sell boats, maybe you post blogs and video content about fishing techniques, or accessories like a portable bar for the boat.

The goal might be to keep prospects warm, to encourage new leads, to seek referrals, to build community. Once you have a goal, you can build up your process.

5 Ways to Deliver Your Content
1.E-mail
E-mail marketing is still alive and well. Be brief in every message, and have only one "ask" per e-mail.

2. Twitter
Point people's attention to what or who might help them. Sometimes you, often others.

3. Google+
It's a multifaceted social network heavily searched by the No. 1 search engine in the world. Get on this now.

4. YouTube
It's the No. 2 search engine. Make search-term-ready videos for your company.

5. Blog
This is free search juice for your website, and helps your community learn who you are at your home base.

Build an editorial calendar.
Take a monthly calendar view and look at how you intend to create and share content of interest to your market. This isn't the where as much as the what (though we'll get to the where shortly). In this, you might decide to mix up behind-the-scenes posts where people get a sense of how you deliver what you sell, add in testimonial videos and create some recipes or serving suggestions for ways to better use the product. You might also add in posts that honor your buyers for matters far outside what you actually do or sell.

By building a calendar view of this content, you'll know better what to write about, and know when you're in jeopardy of flooding buyers with one kind of content, or overpromoting.

Expand distribution.
See the sidebar below? Here's how I would use those services. I would use e-mail marketing to tell more sales-y stories, use Twitter to point people's attention to items that might interest my community, use Google+ to collect anything that wouldn't naturally work on my blog, use YouTube to seed the second-largest search engine and use my blog to augment the sales marketing efforts of my main site. Yes, I'd work to keep all five areas active, because to me, that's the net I use to cultivate visibility and build value.

Be seen.
To create the best value for your community, keep a steady flow of interesting and useful information going. It beats raw marketing. Your customers and prospects will appreciate it much more. And you'll see rewards. I promise.