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3 Great Choices for a Winning Content-Marketing Strategy Social-media marketing is a long-term process that succeeds or fails based the fundamentals you build on.

By Pratik Dholakiya Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

With companies planning to increase their digital marketing spending over the coming months, the spotlight is on online marketers to implement strategies that deliver high ROI. They need to take a hard look at their Internet marketing strategies, evaluate their efficacy and implement those they believe will help meet business objectives.

But the problem is all online marketers worth their salt are doing the same thing. They are putting every ounce of effort to ensure it is their brand that wins the battle for consumer mindshare. So, what is it that separates successful marketers from the ones that aren't able to achieve tangible results?

In one word -- choices!

Successful online marketers make the right strategic choices more often than not; and even if they do get things wrong sometimes, they recalibrate, restrategize and correct course. Here are three choices online marketers must make to ensure they don't go wrong with marketing deliverables:

1. Value over marketing.

This is a tricky one. Internet marketers must focus on value addition rather than promoting the brand and its products and services. The idea is to use a collection of marketing tactics to provide useful, actionable information to target customers. It doesn't have to be all about your brand.

Using the 80-20 rule helps. Ideally, just 20 percent of information should center on your brand, the remaining 80 percent should add value to the lives of your target audience at some level. Think of marketing in terms of customer engagement rather than selling. This will not only help you acquire customers but also retain them over a period of time.

Related: No Matter Your Digital Marketing Strategy, Make Sure You're Adding Value

2. Relationship building over link building.

The era of link building is fading. Don't get me wrong. The importance of links in online marketing remains intact, but you need to stop making a conscious effort to build links; instead, you must choose to build meaningful relationships.

Link building will happen naturally as you forge long-term relationships with your customers, niche influencers and other important stakeholders. Quick Sprout's link building guide has a chapter on "relationship based link building" that is a must read on this subject.

Why is relationship building important? It's because Google frowns on anything that even remotely resembles a link building tactic. It wants you to earn links naturally. But, why would influencers in your niche choose to link back to a post you've written, or allow you to publish content on their site?

They will only do so if they know and trust you. This is why "relationships" matter. The more personal your relationship with authority figures in your niche, the better it is for your link building efforts.

Related: 5 Strategies for Better 'Link Building' and Improving Your SEO

3. Substance over activity on social media.

We've heard industry experts and thought leaders holding forth on the importance of active engagement with existing and potential customers on social media. Yes, it's important to achieve a fair degree of frequency, when it comes to sharing content with your target audience on social media, but frequency or regularity alone won't cut it for you.

Your activities must be backed by substance. For example, you might be sharing links, images and videos, but if they don't benefit your brand or your target audience, it will be of little use to your marketing efforts.

Each and every piece of content you share on social media should be shareworthy.

If you are sharing a link to an article written by a thought leader in your niche, think very carefully if it's something your target audience will love going through. If it's a video you are sharing, check whether it's something your followers will appreciate. Otherwise, it makes very little sense for you to share that piece of content. You will be wasting your time and also that of your audience.

Marketers who're getting the most out of social media marketing know when and how to share, but most importantly know "why they are sharing what they are sharing".

Let me be very clear -- the right choices do not "guarantee" the results you are looking for, but definitely put you on course for achieving your marketing objectives. In the end, you also need to make your choices count.

Related: What Facebook's Crackdown on 'Click Bait' Means for Businesses

Pratik Dholakiya

Founder of Growfusely

Pratik Dholakiya is the founder of Growfusely, a content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO.

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