Ready to get started with content marketing?  Although the process might sound daunting, there’s really no need to reinvent the wheel.  Instead, take a page out of the playbooks of the following five industry-leading content marketers.  Adding these strategies to your own content campaigns can take your 2014 marketing initiatives from zero to 60 as easily possible -- helping you to avoid common content-marketing speed bumps along the way.

Philosophy of Rand Fishkin, the ex-CEO of marketing site Moz
Rand Fishkin
Image credit: Nakeva via Flickr

1. Philosophy of Rand Fishkin, the ex-CEO of marketing site Moz: “Over-invest in big content.”
In an interview given with Marketing Land, Rand Fishkin, the ex-CEO of Moz, comments on how the rapid pace of content-marketing adoption means that the bar for content quality will grow higher in the future.  As a result, what works today might fall below the minimum barrier entry just a few years from now.

Fishkin’s strategy is to invest in big content, rather than spreading resources too thin producing smaller, less valuable pieces.  Your company can adopt this strategy by reallocating funding and human capital away from run-of-the-mill marketing pieces in order to concentrate on big content, including mini-sites, videos, interactive infographics and other show-stoppers.

Related: The Moz CEO's Wonderfully Refreshing Reason for Stepping Down

Philosophy of Neil Patel, founder of analytical and marketing companies Quicksprout and KISSMetrics
Neil Patel

2. Philosophy of Neil Patel, founder of analytical and marketing companies Quicksprout and KISSMetrics: “Combine your content marketing with SEO.”
Neil Patel states on his blog, “If you are trying to grow your qualified search traffic, you have to combine your content marketing with your SEO efforts.”

To do that, you’ll first need to isolate the keywords that are driving the most traffic to your website, as well as those you aren’t currently targeting that have the potential to generate more visitors.  Once you’ve identified these phrases, build high quality content around them – content so good “that even Wikipedia would love to link to” it, in the words of Patel.  It’s a time-consuming prospect, but one that stands to benefit your company from both a content marketing and SEO perspective.

Heidi Cohen Philosophy of Heidi Cohen, author of the Actionable Marketing Guide
Heidi Cohen

3. Heidi Cohen Philosophy of Heidi Cohen, author of the Actionable Marketing Guide: “Marketers and media firms must create stories people want to read.”
In her book Actionable Marketing Guide, Cohen emphasizes that content marketers must become storytellers.  This advice is especially relevant, given Fishkin’s comment on the increasingly competitive nature of content marketing.  Stories draw people in, so if you want to stand out, becoming a better storyteller is a powerful way to do so.

Related: Good Content Marketing Starts With Knowing Your Customers

Cohen’s blog lists three key factors that make up a strong story – using a hook to pull in readers, ensuring every story you tell has a beginning, middle and end and delivering an ending that’s worthy of the build-up used throughout the story.  Try planning a few of your content marketing pieces according to these criteria and see how your results change.

Philosophy of Scott Abel, the content-management strategist behind The Content Wrangler
Scott Abel

4. Philosophy of Scott Abel, the content-management strategist behind The Content Wrangler: “Look for ways to connect data with documents in innovative and meaningful ways.”
Scott Abel is another content marketing guru predicting an era of increased competition.  His suggestion for combatting combat fatigue, however, relies on marketers working with content engineers to harness the power of new ideas, techniques and tools.

One specific example he cites is infographics, which he refers to as being “dead on arrival.”  A better alternative, in Abel’s view, is the type of interactive data visualization being created by companies like InfoActive.  If your company’s resources allow, consider adding this new type of content to your marketing plans. 

Philosophy of Barry Feldman, a writer for Social Media Today
Barry Feldman

5. Philosophy of Barry Feldman, a writer for Social Media Today: “Answer your prospects’ top 30 questions.”
Writing for Social Media Today, marketer Barry Feldman and owner of Feldman Creative, offers one of the easiest possible strategies content creators should implement today.  Instead of wasting time brainstorming topics your audience might not care about, simply choose 30 of their top questions.  Then, write a blog post, publish a video and release a podcast for each question.

The rationale behind Feldman’s theory is simple.  As he says, “Your prospects aren’t going to buy your stuff until they get the answers they seek.”  By answering these questions preemptively, you’ll both demonstrate your thought leadership on the subject and cut through the clutter of content that doesn’t provide information your audience is actively seeking.

Related: The 7 Secrets to Shareable Content