Despite the widespread adoption of content marketing, there continues to be a disconnect between getting it done, and getting results. I believe one of the reasons so many small businesses and marketers struggle is because they believe that content marketing is going to automatically be effective. But it takes more than creating content to be successful.

As Ann Handley of MarketingProfs writes, "Create content that reaches your audience's audience."

Even when you do a lot of things right with content marketing, you can still come up short. While every campaign is going to be unique when you consider factors like the vertical, industry, channels, and more, there are still some things you can do to get a lot more out of your content marketing.

Keep these three tips in mind when you're crafting your next campaign to improve the impact of your content marketing.

1. Do less with your content marketing

What is your overarching goal with your content marketing? Do you have a list a mile long of everything you want to achieve when you're publishing new content?

It's fine to want to drive sales, build revenue, boost the opt-ins for your newsletter, grow your social followers, and increase the number of content pieces they read while on your site. You're not going to achieve all of those things, though. You need to focus and try doing less.

Choose one of those goals, and make it the focus of individual campaigns. Continue to focus on that one goal until you can achieve it in a way that is measurable. You might gain some extra shares, new likes, and even leads from a post--forget about them. If that's not your focus, then it's just a side effect.

Gary Keller, author of The One Thing, writes, "You need to be doing fewer things for more effect instead of doing more things with side effects."

For example, say you want to make email sign-ups your primary focus. You have to think about the process and individual steps that will help you achieve that goal. For your blog, that means writing killer content that will be shared, with a strong call to action that drives the reader to your signup form.

2. Get a better writer

"Content isn't King, it's the Kingdom," notesLee Odden of TopRank Marketing. Yet with all the weight and importance we put on content marketing, it's amazing how many business owners and marketers will cheap out on the talent side of things.

If you want quality content that's going to bring in the results you want, then you have to have quality writers. You can't spend less than $20 on an article from some freelancing platform and expect the stars. Elite writers and experienced content creators are going to cost more, and it's because they're worth it. Their content brings results.

You can't just churn out $5 articles and hope for results based on search saturation, like you could have at one time. Quality is now a ranking factor, so you have to selectively push out only the best content.

Consider these factors in determining what is "good quality" content:

At its heart, content marketing is a discipline about storytelling. A good writer will write in-depth content that focuses on telling a story that connects you with your audience. This is the type of content that will get shared over and over again, and help your content go even further.

Remember, you can have all the content you want produced, but without catchy headlines that get attention, hook the readers, and draw them in, it won't do you any good. There are tons of formulas for writing killer headlines. Neil Patel also has a great chapter on writing headlines that convert.

An experienced writer can take your topic ideas and produce amazing content that will hook your audience and inspire them to share to the ends of the earth. It's always worth the investment.

3. Use the right tools to promote your content

Focused, well-written content is a start, but it's not going to get you anywhere if you're not actively promoting it online. Your audience has to find it first to be able to share it. This is one of the areas where a lot of business owners come up short. You can't just write it and forget it: you have to promote your content.

There are a few ways to get your content out in front of influencers and the channels where your audience lingers.

Manual Promotion--You can personally spread your blog content out to your social networks, as well as the sites and groups where your audience hangs out. It gets the job done, but you're limited by the number of hours you can devote to it, and it's incredibly time-consuming.

Hire an Assistant--If the one thing that's stopping your great content from delivering a return is a lack of promotion and you're strapped for time, then hire a virtual assistant. Sites like Zirtual can get you set up quickly so a virtual assistant can aid with manual promotion of your content or submission using promotional tools and apps.

Promotional Tools--There's a host of apps and tools that can help you promote your content, like Notifier. Notifier helps you use social media more effectively by tweeting at companies, people, and brands when you've referenced them in your content. And the best part is it's automated, so you can let the software notify the people you're talking about, and their followers will see the conversation and link in their feeds.

If you're not using this tactic, you should be. In just one step, you can get wider exposure. I've seen large companies like UPS, SBA, and Evernote share my content because of this tool.

What are your tips for improving the reach and return of content marketing? Share in the comments below:

Published on: Apr 26, 2016