I can't count how many times I've been told to “just create great content and website traffic will follow,” as if somehow the invisible hand of Tim Berners-Lee will take care of the rest.

Inspired by examples of home-run viral content, content marketers are developing great content only to see it stall when launched on their company blog. I refer to this strategy as “Blog and Pray,” which is the process of creating great content and then waiting (or praying) to be discovered.

This strategy might work somewhere in the land of unicorns and rainbows, but it hinders results in the ROI-driven reality of digital marketing. Successful content marketers know that great content is just the pre-requisite to success--it’s the combination of great content and trusted third-party references that consistently drive market attention for your brand.

Great content for prospects and publishers

Developing highly targeted and valuable content isn’t a new element of the Blog and Pray strategy. However, it is important to understand that great content must not only be relevant to your target audience, but also to the third-party publications where you want your content to be recognized.

Understand which topics are trending on these third-party websites. Integrate these topics into your content to make sure that it will resonate with your target audience as well as the third-party publisher.

Content discovery via trusted publishers

Where does your target audience hang out online? Which online sources are most trusted in your industry? These are the publishers you need to target when driving discovery of your content.

Relevant and authoritative online publishers are key to the success of your content marketing efforts. They are the most efficient channel for reaching your target audience while adding a natural endorsement that drives trust and authority for your brand. This authority is what "raises the ship" for your brand across a multitude relevant keywords in organic search results.

Distill the main value points from your content and develop an original article for these publishers. Remember: compelling and relevant content gets published! It also doesn't hurt to build a network of trusted publishers that love your content for subsequent projects.

Putting it all together

Great content and a targeted promotional effort is the winning combo in content marketing known as earned media marketing. Putting a ton of effort into content marketing that doesn't drive market attention is demoralizing work. Create something great and drive the market attention that your content deserves with earned media.

To learn more about how to drive attention to your content, download our free Guide to Earned Media today.