4 Content-Marketing Methods to Stay Above Your Competition It's important to come prepared with the right ammunition.

By Yoav Vilner

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Promoting irrelevant content to your customer base is as useless as bringing a knife to a gunfight. The question is no longer whether targeted content is a competition worth entering, but how to bring home the gold.

With 86 percent of buyers "frequently" using mobile phones to access business-related content, it's no wonder marketers and publishers are leaving their pay-per-click and display tactics in the closet and opting for the gold medal of all advertising methods: content marketing.

Related: 7 Steps to Finally Master Content Promotion in 2016

Here are some of the methods being used by winning companies:

1. Leveraging influencers

Influencer marketing is the force of nature shaking the online marketing world. There are two things to know when utilizing influencer-based marketing: it's expensive and it works. With that said, choosing the right influencer takes much more than a bit of YouTube browsing. Successful influencer marketing doesn't end once a video goes live. It is important to follow up with comments and viewer queries across your channels, as well as the influencer's.

Recommended app: Mention allows brands to identify the best influencers for their brand and, with tools such as the influencer scorer, to know the amount of traction his or her brand will offer. The Mention dashboard also allows for you to connect with users directly.

2. Making it move

Digital storytelling should be as engaging and fluid as your content. Having a compelling user experience is exactly what your brand needs to draw your customer in and retain them. Content should be moving with your customer and enhancing their online customer journey.

Interactive content is also a highly useful way for testing audiences' online preferences, allowing for brands to elevate the content they curate.

Recommended app: Apester allows brands to engage using personalized experiences such as quizzes and interactive content.

Related: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Online Marketers

3. Creating for your customer

A surprising 61 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that delivers personal content that is specific to their wants and needs, according to Custom Content Council. Being that content has such an impact on conversion and retention, having an awareness of trending topics and industry keywords is a great way of understanding what your customer is searching for online.

It's crucial to remember that content should be targeted to your customer's needs, not your own. While self promotion and PR are huge forces in marketing, giving information to your clients with no strings attached is the best way to organically reach your customer base and keep them for good. By knowing your customers' personas and breaking down their pain points, you can adapt your content to your target customer and create deeper connections.

At the same time, if you are truly creating content for your customer, it should never be a one-way street. Instead, your content should be a catalyst for a dialogue. To make your content genuinely useful, encourage your users to add their own insights. This not only enriches the content itself, but it also empowers them to become loyal users.

Recommended app: Popular sites such as EW.com use Spot.IM's social sidebar to make such conversations easy and simple.

4. Letting the journey drive content

The competition for outstanding content begins with a keen understanding of the customer journey, so that your brand can improve it. By creating a road map for this epic, you can position your content to tell a consistent story -- one that individually addresses each action and motivation of your customer base. Much of the content story can be boiled down to smart planning and a well-devised content calendar.

Recommended app: This one I haven't tried yet, but searching through many blogs I've found DivvyHQ to be highly recommended. With it, you are able to plan and manage your calendar on one dashboard, allowing you to be ready for your customers' journeys. Remember that the customer journey isn't necessarily linear, but is constantly in flux.

Related: 7 Marketing Mistakes That Could Sink Your Business

Yoav Vilner

Entrepreneur, thought leader and startup mentor

Yoav Vilner has founded several companies, and is currently CEO at Walnut. He is also a startup mentor in accelerators associated with Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and the U.N.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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