Search engine optimization—or SEO—is the magic sauce to being found on the great plain that is the Internet. Or is it? Some folks contend that all we know so far about search terms, search marketing and SEO is pushed upon us by “SEO dorks” and marketing people.

Even Jason Falls says, “Targeting a primary keyword is a smart way to rank well quickly.”

And that makes perfect sense to me. But is that true SEO strategy or is it just common sense? Are we being clouded by snake–oil SEO methods when right in front of us is the holy grail—good content that speaks to our audiences? In my experience, content marketing is more powerful than just buying up keywords and paying an SEO specialist to get your page rank up.

But how can you do this yourself? Today, I’ll share a few techniques you can try—methods that have worked for me and my clients. First, let’s define content marketing…

So says Jeff Cutler (me), “Content marketing is the process of putting out relevant content for your audience, and doing so on a regular, semi–predictable basis. No more, no less.”

Now, what’s that mean? What is content? How can you create content that attracts people while still concentrating on your job? Great questions… let’s get into them with two points that can start you on a content–marketing path.

By the way, if you are unclear on content here’s another of my definitions…

“Content is anything you share with your audience. And for this discussion, your audience is your clients, customers, colleagues and the media. Content can take the form of words, audio, video, images or any combination of these items. Content has a message.”

1 – Create content that attracts your audience

How? You know your company better than anyone else. You are immersed in the operation and success of the organization. You (presumably) know who your best clients or customers are. And you have spoken with them and found out what’s important to them.

USE THIS INFORMATION to create content. Here are three quick ideas for content based on this…

a. Create a FAQ resource for your audiences. It will lighten the load on your staff and help keep customers and clients informed.

b. Create a video ABOUT section for your company. This should be a series of 1-2-minute videos with every core member of your staff. Cap the entire ABOUT section with a 2-3-minute video on your company’s unique value proposition and mission. Have the most recognizable and well-spoken person record this last video. Post all these on YouTube AND on your Website.

c. Explore the use of social media to update your audiences on happenings within the company. This doesn’t mean you should broadcast mini 140-character press releases out via Twitter. It does mean you can start to have conversations with the world via social tools so people get to know your company better.

2 – Set goals for your content

This is the harder step because it’s goals-focused. What do you want? More money, duh. But what goal can you ask your content to accomplish that will get you to the more-money Shangri-La? Pick something.

Do you want to create leads from your blog posts? Then keep the bulk of the posts behind a subscriber wall that asks for email and other information. Better still, give away the blog posts and set up a RESOURCE PAGE that is only accessible by validated subscribers.

This gives valuable content to your audience who has to exchange their information for access.

Do you want to generate buzz from your videos or other content? Then be topical, opinionated and active. You will need to produce content about five to seven times a week and you’ll need to have three or four of those content pieces be original and thought-provoking.

This probably requires more staff or a specialist in content creation. *If you’re creating more buzz, that probably results in more sales which could likely pay for the content specialist’s services.

Understand content curation. This is sharing content from other sources. See the link above to Jason Falls‘ blog? That’s a form of content curation.

Another method is sharing bits of pieces of articles and content you found interesting. Put excerpts on your Website along with your commentary. Then encourage folks to give their thoughts. You’ll build community (another goal of content and getting found) and subsequently generate even more connections.

That’s just a primer on content marketing. A full session on this takes days and requires specialized content skill. But if you’re still wondering whether paying an SEO guy a couple thousand bucks on a regular basis is the best way to get found, now you know it’s not.

Create some good content. Share it widely. Reach out to your audiences and then repeat. THAT is the magic to getting found.