That’s right, seven secrets. As in, don’t tell anyone. Why?

Because the strategy many of us are using to drive traffic, build authority, and convert leads into clients and clients into raving fans…

…is catching on.

This strategy is called content marketing or inbound marketing.

Let’s first run through a brief overview of content marketing. In a nutshell, it means providing your prospects and customers with useful content that is made easy to share with others. The way we do it is to write on this blog and link to these blog posts from our various social media profiles and via email.

Why does this work? It’s simple. And it’s no different than traditional marketing.

Your blog gives you a space to talk to your prospects and customers about the things they care about. You can answer the questions they ask most frequently and share important information about what’s going on in your industry. Then you share your blog posts with your social networks and engage with your prospects and customers on their home turf. This casts a wide net and helps to build your brand.

So how do you stay pertinent when everyone else starts trying this method? Here are seven tricks that will differentiate you:

#1 Get Inside Your Customer’s Head

Everything you do must start, center around, and end with his or her needs, desires, challenges, fears, doubts, concerns, and biases. If you want anyone to care about what you have to say, then what you say cannot be about you. If you aren’t speaking to them, then you just like the sound of your own voice. And nobody likes that.

#2 Be Your Industry’s Leader

Always strive to hover around that sweet spot where your expertise collides with their interests. Find out what your prospects want to know and then address it. We always keep a running log of questions prospects frequently ask during our first discussions. Then we turn those into blog posts and share our answers with our networks. Remember, your prospects aren’t looking to be sold something. They want answers and they want solutions. You can provide both through your content and your products. Win win.

#3 Strategize

Be smart about how you share your content. There are only so many hours in a day and there’s no sense casting a net over an ocean with no fish in it. Find out where your prospects hang out. Are you a business-to-business company? Get yourself on LinkedIn. Do your products or services photograph well? Get yourself on Instagram. And no matter what you sell, for goodness sake, get yourself on Facebook and Twitter. They’re huge and they’re not going away anytime soon.

#4 Commit to the Long-Term

Always remember that the goal in content marketing is to show your prospects that you are an expert who cares about them and wants to help solve their problems. To do that, you need to make this a long-term, ongoing strategy. If a prospect sees that one month you published ten blog posts and then dropped off the face of the earth for a decade, why should he believe you’re still the industry leader? Why should he think you care about addressing his questions?

#5 Be Consistent

If you do this right, you’re going to find a raving fan. A raving fan is someone who loves what you make, what you sell, what you do, and what you say. That raving fan is going to be looking for your next blog post. He’ll actually keep you in his Facebook feed and ‘like’ what you post. He’ll take advantage of special offers you promote on Twitter. He’ll tell his friends and family all about you and how great you are. If one of them ever asks him if “he knows a guy who…” he won’t hesitate for a second to recommend you. He’s why you wake up in the morning. So give him some consistency so he knows when to expect you. Blog on somewhat of a schedule. Don’t leave him hanging for too long. Don’t give him a reason to start doubting you and how much you value him.

#6 Let Your Passion Shine Through

If you love what you do, people will love it to. Passion is infectious. Show that you care through your tone and choice of words. If you are having trouble mustering up that passion, think back to when you first got started. Why did you choose the path you did and what made you push yourself this far? If you had to do it all over again, you’d choose the same exact career. Why?

#7 Up Your Game

Your competitors are coming up just behind you. How are you going to stay on top? Keep your standard high as you market yourself online. Pretend that each encounter and exchange online is as important as one in person. You don’t let yourself slack when you present in front of a room full of professionals do you? Raise the bar for yourself online and you’ll never fall behind the other guys.