If your content falls in the forest and no one ever reads it, does it make a sound?

Actually, no, it does not.

That is the biggest question our prospects ask us – how does anyone find our content?

Being sure that your prospective customers find your content is critical. Content marketing can’t just be about the content; it has to be about the marketing too. Anyone who has ever worked in journalism knows that attracting an audience is a critical aspect to the job. Yes, there are journalists who believe that it’s beneath them to “market” themselves. But there are no successful organizations that ignore audience engagement; as organizations, they know that the truths they tell don’t matter if no one hears them.

And the same is true for your content strategy; you must also have a content discovery strategy.

With that in mind, here are some strategies to help grow your audience:

Give the people what they want.

Focus on entertaining and engaging your audience, NOT on lead conversion. You have to start there – if you deliver entertaining or useful content that is not salesy is the way to draw your audience closer. It begins with understanding your audience and creating persona profiles. From there, you must have an understanding of how to cultivate long tail keywords – typical search terms that your audience is likely to type into search engines.

Engage in social media.

That’s engage, not pimp out your own material. This is time consuming, but you need to get involved in a two-way conversation. Don’t be the blowhard at the social media cocktail party that only talks about himself; consider other people’s viewpoints. This demonstrates to your audience that you care about what they have to say. And, as with any conversation you engage in, you might learn something new.

Guest blog.

Don’t be hyper-focused on simply driving traffic to your organization’s website. By offering up your brilliant insights to another website, you are helping them, but you’re also growing your own credibility and demonstrating for that other website’s audience that you might just be someone worth paying attention to.

Build links.

Once upon a time, this was the foundation for SEO campaigns, but it was done in a slippery way; the whole SEO industry was largely built on “link farms” – websites that existed purely to link to other sites and provided absolutely no reader value. Changes in search engine algorithms have squashed this practice, and now reward high quality, share-worthy content. Use a tool like Link Prospector to identify sites that accept comments. Engage in the conversation on other sites and – when appropriate – include some links back to your site.

Rinse and repeat. Frequently.

Evidence suggests that organizations that create content every day have greater success at turning engagement into new business. Creating high quality content frequently is very difficult; not everyone can do it.