Hey, your blog looks great! And those videos certainly add the finishing touch. Congratulations!

Now what?

Is it really enough to create your own content, push it out to your list, and wait for sales to boom?

This strategy may bring some measure of success to business owners with lists consisting of hundreds of thousands of contacts, but not for the average entrepreneur.  According to Yaron Galai, the CEO of Outbrain, a content-discovery platform that places their clients' articles, mobile, and video content on high-profile publisher sites, you need to get creative about how you market your content. 

So, ask yourself: What's your most outstanding digital content? Does your content marketing plan to ensure that it's actually found and appreciated by the right people?

"Whether it's through the social Web, sponsored placement on a publisher site, or via others channels, readers are not searching for your content," Galai says. "It's vital to provide them with the opportunity to essentially 'happen upon it.'"

Of course, to qualify as recommended reading you'll want to produce the most brilliant content possible and, regardless of earned media, many brands and businesses are doing just that. Here are Galai's tips to ensure that your efforts produce quality pieces of content--not just thinly veiled marketing pushes that your readers can see right through--and always fail to produce results.

1. Don't Skimp on Design

Sure, it's the quality of the content that will keep your visitors coming back, but don't underestimate the power of a slick, eye-catching site. Designing your site with a high-quality screen resolution will help your viewers to think of your site as premium, as does using high-quality images that take up their entire frames.

2. Don't Go for the Hard Sell

Although the ultimate purpose of all marketing is to drive sales, content marketing employs a fairly nuanced approach. The focus is on educating, entertaining, and delivering value to the consumer, rather than giving a hard pitch for your products or services.

3. Do Make It Multimedia

This goes hand-in-hand with investing in design. Varying the type of content you show on your site is essential to providing an engaging, well-rounded user experience that sucks people in and keeps them clicking for more.

4. Don't Leave Dead Ends 

When it comes to content marketing, the old adage about "leave 'em wanting more" most definitely does not apply. The best time to engage your audience is when they're already in content consumption mode, which is why every page on your site should offer plenty of links to further content.

5. Do Run Both Earned & Owned Media

Have great press coverage or a fantastic review? This is a perfect opportunity to maximize your earned media. Adding it to the mix of your own content is a good way to engage your audience and increase your brand's credibility.

6. Do Make Sharing Easy

If you create great content, there's a good chance that you'll garner some fans along the way, which is why it's so important to give them mechanisms to share that content with their friends.