By Jenna Cyprus

It’s 2017, which means you’re years behind where you need to be if you’ve yet to invest in a content marketing strategy. But with that being said, it’s not impossible to achieve results if you really buckle down and make up for lost time.

How to Get Started With Content Marketing

Not sure where to start? Taking the first step into content marketing tends to be the most difficult, so we’ll provide you with a few helpful tips to ease the process.

1. Launch a blog

The very first thing you have to do is launch a blog. This will serve as your home base for all of your content efforts, so take your time and create a blog that’s fast, smooth, and reflects your brand’s values and goals.

When creating a blog, there are a number of things you’ll have to do. The first step is to choose a CMS platform through which you’ll develop and design the blog itself. There are many choices, but WordPress is widely used and easy for beginners to learn. Next, you’ll need to find a host to actually store your website. There are a lot of good hosts, so do a little research and find one that fits your needs.

2. Create Targeted Content

Once you have your blog up and running, it’s time to populate it with some content. The key here is to avoid rushing into things and spend time finding a voice that allows you to carefully target a very specific and relevant group of readers.

There was a time, perhaps five or ten years ago, when you could get away with posting generic content and driving traffic to your website. Those days are gone, though. In 2017, the only way to drive real results is by creating targeted content. Carefully develop some reader personas and find a way to tailor your content to these individuals.

3. Look for Guest Blogging Opportunities

Once you have the home base squared away, extend your reach beyond your own website and look for a few guest blogging opportunities in your niche. Guest blogging is great because it allows you to expand your reach and point valuable links back to your blog (which enhances SEO and visibility). Check out these tips for finding good opportunities.

4. Master Social Media

It’s impossible to achieve the results you want without getting involved in social media. Sure, people may stumble upon your blog posts after conducting a targeted keyword search in Google, but this won’t happen very often (at least in your first couple of years). That makes social media your most powerful traffic-generating asset. Learn how to master social media and you’ll end up mastering content marketing at the same time.

5. Prepare to Evolve

Content marketing is fluid and the most successful brands are the ones that accept the challenge of change, as opposed to resisting it for the sake of comfort. It’s imperative that you avoid chiseling your content marketing strategy in stone and instead scribble it in pencil. Things will change and you’ll be forced to evolve with the times. Make sure you’re agile enough to do this or you’ll get left in the dust.

Don’t Wait Any Longer

You really don’t have much time to join the party if you’re still on the outside looking in. The internet is already vastly oversaturated with content and it’ll require a strategic effort on your part to cut through the noise and enjoy the results you’ve been looking for. So dig in, give it your best effort, and commit to producing quality content that’s relevant to your audience’s needs.

Jenna Cyprus is a freelance writer from Renton, WA who is particularly interested in travel, nature, and parenting. Follow her on Twitter.