One of the most important aspects of your online strategy is content marketing. In order to get your product or service “out there,” you need have a good content marketing strategy.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds (or as easy as some guru will tell you it is). Before you get too far into your content marketing strategy, here are 5 things you need to understand:

1. Good Content Isn’t Cheap

A long time ago, I left the world of freelance marketplaces. In these settings, I discovered that I had to lowball myself to get a job. It’s hard to compete, pricing-wise, with someone who is willing to write the same number of words for a fraction of the cost.

However, just because the word count is the same, it doesn’t mean that the quality is the same. If you pay next to nothing for your content, there’s a good chance that’s what your content will be worth. Your content marketing strategy won’t be as effective if you go for the cheapest content.

2. You Need a Purpose for Your Content

Before you order content and start publishing, figure out the purpose of your content. You should know what each piece of content is designed to do, whether it’s to inform, draw people to your site, or attempt to make a sale. From blog posts to what you share on Facebook, you need to have a reason for your content. A measured approach will help you develop the content that will engage your audience.

3. Product Branding is Different from Personal Branding

Today, all the rage is personal branding. And you do need to build your personal brand. However, it’s important to understand that your product brand is different, and you need to build that separately. I’m a freelancer, so my personal brand is, essentially, my product brand. I’m not building out a different business, so I can keep the two connected.

The story is different if you have a product. You need to be able to draw the line between your personal brand and your product brand if you want people to recognize the difference and buy your product.

4. Know Your Expertise

Are you really an expert? What makes you an expert? Where do your qualifications come from? I have a journalism degree, so I often call myself a journalist. For a long time, my writing expertise was rooted in the process of interviewing, researching, and writing news-type articles based on what I found.

Now I’ve had years of experience in the world of personal finance, and I have built my own successful freelancing business. These experiences have added to my knowledge base and expanded my expertise so I feel like I can write on these subjects without “faking it.”

Your own content marketing strategy should consider this as well. Where are your areas of expertise? And do you need to hire someone to fill the gaps you have?

5. You Need to Differentiate

The world is full of content creators. Anyone can start a blog or write a long piece on LinkedIn or post on Facebook. If you want to stand out and draw people to your content, you need to look for a way to differentiate yourself. Your content marketing should focus on the value you can add — value that is different from what others offer — rather than just doing what everyone else does.

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I'm Miranda and I'm a freelance financial journalist and money expert. My specialties are investing, small business/entrepreneurship and personal finance. The journey to business success and financial freedom is best undertaken with fellow travelers.

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