Smart companies of all sizes are generating quality content equal to or better than what many media companies are producing. In so doing, they deliver tangible benefits to prospects and customers by providing relevant content that help provide solutions to some of the toughest problems their prospective buyers are facing.

Here are the seven most important lessons you can learn from smart marketers today:

1. Only content that is intrinsically valuable to your customers will work as a core component of your content marketing strategy.

2. You must have a thorough understanding of your customers and what is most important to them. If you do not understand the problems and challenges they face, you cannot hope to create content that is truly relevant to them. Without understanding their problems, you cannot provide solutions.

3. A comprehensive content marketing strategy may provide a complete or partial replacement of traditional advertising and marketing. Such a strategy can be both more effective and less expensive than doing things the old-fashioned way.

4. Print magazines can be a powerful weapon within your content marketing arsenal. They enable you to reach out with precision to your customers with carefully targeted messaging that is totally under your control.

5. Your best content marketing investment may be in the creation of a dedicated internal or external team who understand how to produce great content and who live and die by the success of your content marketing program.

6. Relevant and valuable content is just the first step in turning a prospect or visitor into a customer. You must then make it easy for them to buy.

7. Most of the best practices from larger companies can be emulated in whole or in part, even by very small organizations. It’s not the money. It’s the content marketing mindset that counts. Big ideas can trump big bucks.

Source: Media Brains July 2008 issue