Most businesses are now using content marketing in some shape or form. However, many business owners still don't fully understand how to use content to help them achieve specific goals; namely, increased traffic, leads and sales.

According to the 2016 B2B Content Marketing report, while 88% of B2B marketers report using content marketing, only 6% say it's been "very effective" for their organization. Considering the significant investment of time and money that goes into creating and distributing content, this is a big problem.

This article will provide you with 50 tips that will help you achieve real, measurable results with your content marketing.

1. Know what success or effectiveness looks like for your content marketing. According to the Content Marketing Institute, companies that are clear on these two points achieve greater content marketing success.

2. Create specific pieces of content to meet the needs of visitors at each stage of the buying cycle.

3. Incorporate infographics into your content strategy. B2B marketers report an increase in the effectiveness of industry infographics this year over last (source).

4. When creating email content, the most effective types of campaigns you can use are mobile opt-ins and birthday messages (source).

5. Syndicate your content to reach a new audience and drive traffic to your site.

6. Package up a series of old blog posts into an eBook, and promote it on your site and social media channels as a free opt-in incentive.

7. Have a written content strategy. The most effective content marketers are more likely to have a documented strategy than less effective marketers (source).

8. Regularly promote your blog content to your email subscribers as a way of driving traffic and increasing social shares.

9. Meet more often with your content marketing team. The most effective marketers meet with their team once a day to once a week (source).

10. According to the Content Marketing Institute, in-person events consistently trump white papers, webinars, case studies and videos in terms of effectiveness for B2B companies.

11. Focus most of your content marketing efforts on helping your target market solve key problems. This is a far more effective strategy than constantly creating and pushing sales-based content.

12. Use your content to gently move visitors to the next stage of the buying cycle.

13. Consider increasing your investment in search engine marketing (SEM) this year. 55% of B2B marketers say SEM is effective for their business.

14. Write long-form content of 1,200+ words to improve your search engine rankings and traffic (source).

15. Try out social ads as a way to amplify your social media content and drive more traffic to your blog posts.

16. Promote your paid products or services within your free infoproducts. Example: Visitors download a free eBook on the 10 best ways to find new clients. At the end of the book, provide a call to action to purchase paid business coaching services.

17. If at all possible, use a .com domain for your website. 84% of top-ranking pages use .com as their TLD (top-level domain).

18. If you want your site and content to receive mobile search traffic, it's imperative that you have a mobile-friendly site. 77% of the highest-ranking pages are now mobile friendly.

19. Use marketing personas to inform your content creation process. This will often lead to a better understanding of who is reading your content...and this often leads to increased conversions.

20. Guest blog on popular industry sites. In your author bio, provide a link to back to your site (preferably to a free infoproduct so you can entice people to join your list).

21. Create content that's most likely to get social shares: "how to" posts, lists, quizzes, "why" posts, videos and infographics (source).

22. Ensure your content is properly optimized in order to receive traffic from search engines.

23. Create a free industry survey using Google Forms, and then ask your audience to participate. Create a report with the findings, and then promote it to your website visitors and social media followers as an opt-in incentive.

24. Simplify your blog titles. Using long or convoluted headlines will often leave your visitors scrolling by. When in doubt, go with a basic, to-the-point title.

25. Create content types that are most likely to get linked to: longer posts (1,000 words+), opinion-forming journalism and research-backed articles (source).

26. Focus more of your efforts on your email content. 80% of businesses report that email is either a critical enabler of their business or is directly tied to their primary revenue source.

27. The most effective types of mobile campaigns (in order of effectiveness) are: loyalty, mobile-exclusive deals, win-backs and conversation via keyword (source).

28. Segment your emails so you're sending the most relevant information to your subscribers. This increased targeting often results in higher open rates, clicks and conversions.

29. When asked which social media networking channels were most effective, marketers said: Tagged, video and KakaoTalk (source).

30. Blog regularly. In a Hubspot survey, 82% of marketers who blog daily reported acquiring at least one customer through their blog (compared to 57% for marketers who blog monthly).

31. Place prominent social share buttons next to all your content. Consider using a plugin to make the process of sharing even easier (ClickToTweet is one of my favorites).

32. Use product demos and tutorials to help your prospects use your products effectively, and to help reduce the risk they feel in making the purchase.

33. Create comparison posts and charts to help prospects decide between a variety of products or services.

34. Target long-tail keywords in your content. These will tend to be easier to rank for and using them helps ensure you're creating comprehensive content both the search engines and your users will love.

35. Document your editorial mission statement. 48% of the most effective marketers have one.

36. Send thank you emails to new customers or clients. Consider promoting other products related to their purchase to entice future sales.

37. Guide your website visitors through the sales process by focusing on intent. Allow them to self-select where they're at in the buying process, and then guide them to the content or products they're looking for.

38. Create "modular content" (smaller, individual pieces of content) for your sales team to use as they like. This way they can provide the most relevant snippets of content to customers or clients, increasing relevancy and sales.

39. Create different opt-in incentives for different segments of your audience. This will increase opt-ins and leads.

40. Create a blog post series to drive repeat traffic to your site. Check out Neil Patel's $100,000 Challenge series to see how it's done.

41. Use email drip sequences (autoresponders) to keep new subscribers engaged, and to let them know about your products and services.

42. Spend at least as much time on your content distribution as on creation. For more on this, see my post Why No One's Reading Your Marketing Content.

43. The key to getting traction for your content is knowing exactly what your audience wants to hear/read/see. Use a tool like BuzzSumo to find content that has already proven popular in your industry.

44. If you're in the B2B space, you should be using LinkedIn as part of your strategy. 66% of B2B marketers say it's effective for their business.

45. Use the principles of conversion rate optimization to make sure your content has the best chance of generating leads and sales.

46. Keep a close eye on your analytics to see which topics and content types are working best for your audience. Do more of what's working, and less of what's not.

47. When creating content, focus more on your users/readers and less on yourself: "Don't focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that's great for your readers."--Brian Clark, Copyblogger

48. Ensure your key pieces of content include strong calls to action. Without CTAs, you're essentially inviting your visitors to click off site.

49. Create evergreen content that can act as a traffic source for years to come.

50. Update and optimize old content. When Hubspot started doing this, their monthly leads doubled.

I hope this article has given you some actionable ideas for using content marketing to drive traffic, leads and sales. I'd love to hear your best tips in the comments below!