By Larry Alton

Content marketing is now known as one of the best ways to drive traffic, build brand awareness, and achieve conversions. Old sales tactics are struggling, but convincing customers that they need something through related content is a strategy that’s still going strong. However, it’s only as effective as your approach.

Tapping into social networks and your target audience’s interests is the key to a successful content strategy. If it’s not something your customer base will want to share with their friends and peers, it’s not going to do very well across the board. With this method of distribution as part of your content strategy, you can use the following tactics to boost your content marketing strategy as a whole.

1. Planned Content. A successful content strategy involves frequent posting of relevant, timely content, and planning ahead is an important part of achieving that goal. It can be difficult to make a plan for your content, however, because you don’t always know what’s trending.

“Look at your website analytics to see which pages are most popular and check the referring pages to see how people are getting to those pages,” Amanda O’Brien, VP of Hall Internet Marketing, told AmericanExpress. “This should give you a decent idea of what types of content your website visitors are looking for.”

Make your content plan flexible so that you can add any breaking news or unanticipated trending posts, but for the most part, you should be able to plan ahead with your content strategy to get the most out of it.

2. Data Journalism. An increasingly popular, but underused gem in a content strategy is known as data journalism. Essentially, this form of content is capable of telling a story while also including relevant data visualizations. It’s a much more interesting method for portraying large amounts of data.

“Data journalists gather data from hundreds of sources filter it and visualize the outcome,” says a blog post written by Agata Kwapien, contributor for datapine. “It enables them to transform something abstract into something everyone can understand and relate to.” If your company is looking for something to engage customers on a new level while conveying important industry data, data journalism could be the solution.

3. Video and Visual Use. “According to the Content Marketing Association’s 2015 industry report, photos and memes account for the biggest proportion of shared content (33%),” reports Emma Featherstone, contributor for The Guardian. “Meanwhile, video is responsible for 50% of all mobile traffic.” In other words, video and other visual representations perform extremely well in content strategies.

A consumer looks for content that pops, and a plain blog post doesn’t always cut it these days. It’s important to have content in motion or with more visual interest than just a few words. Blog posts aren’t dead, but sometimes videos, graphs, and infographics are the best ways to gain conversions.

As a small business, it can be very difficult to draw attention to your brand. You can’t use the same techniques that major companies use to spread their content. Still, don’t underestimate the power of using the right content strategy on social media and your blog. Before long, your business will begin to expand, thanks to your tireless efforts.

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.