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The Secret Ingredient for Succeeding at Content Marketing The competition is ferocious in online markets but, if you are methodical, you'll find you have everything needed to win.

By Brett Relander Edited by Dan Bova

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In recent months, the focus on content has become bigger and bolder than ever. As we move forward into 2015, that trend is not only going to hold true but become even more pronounced. In the past, companies have been told that they need a content marketing strategy in order to remain competitive. Companies have now taken that message to heart and 85 percent of companies now have a content marketing strategy, according to the Content Marketing Institute.

With the majority of companies now having a content marketing strategy in place, it is important to focus on what you can do in order to set your content marketing strategy apart from the competition. So, what is the secret ingredient of content marketing that can take your content marketing strategy from ho-hum to extraordinary?

Related: Don't Be a Content Marketing Dinosaur -- 5 Must-Haves to Stay Current

It is no longer simply enough to plan for a content marketing strategy. Many companies now have a strategy in place, but it is a verbal strategy. The focus now is on documenting your strategy. In the Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America report released by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, it was found that only 35 percent of B2B marketers state they have a documented content marketing strategy. Of the companies surveyed, 48 percent stated that they have a content marketing strategy that is not documented. Companies that do have a documented content strategy tend to rate themselves higher in terms of content marketing effectiveness. The report goes on to state that 70 percent of content marketers are now creating more content than they did a year ago.

Related: 4 Ways to Evolve Your Content Marketing Strategy

Steps for documenting your content marketing strategy.

1. Begin by writing down your content marketing strategy. Think about your brand's story and what it is that you want to share with your targeted audience. Begin by creating a framework, and then work on filling it in.

2. Create an editorial calendar. Once it is jotted onto your calendar, you will be more likely to actually implement your content marketing strategy. Remember that consistency is key.

3. Set content publishing goals. Determine what is it that you want to accomplish with your goals.

4. Establish a consistent publishing schedule. How often should you publish? This may depend upon your specific goals. MarketingProfs reports that companies that publish an average of 15 blog posts per month are able to generate more than 1,200 new leads.

5. Publish content that is relevant to your target audience. The goal here is to provide content that your audience will find valuable and informative.

Since content is the medium used for connecting with your audience, whether through social media or some other forum, content is what ultimately drives your audience back to your site. As a result, it makes sense to invest in it. The best way that you can invest in your content marketing is to plan for it. Documenting your content marketing strategy is an excellent place to begin.

Related: 4 Essential Pieces of an Awesome Content-Marketing Strategy

Brett Relander

Managing Director at X1 Sports Nutrition

Brett Relander is founder and managing director of X1 Sports Nutrition (http://X1Fuel.com). He has a degree in exercise science, is certified as a Master Fitness Specialist and in the biomechanics of resistance training, and is an advocate of all-natural nutrition and advanced performance training.

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