People dance around the topic of conversion with content marketing but never really explain how it actually pays for itself with sales. Maybe they don’t want to share their trade secrets—or maybe they don’t know. What we know is that is content can deliver sales if done right. Here are some approaches to consider.

#1 Find a Niche
Developing content to further marketing means writing to your target audience and addressing their concerns. That means drilling down. Start with your company’s unique selling propositions: what makes it great and how does it serve the customers? That can kick off ideas.

Example: Office supplies. Depending on the company, lots of customers may be small business owners stocking up on supplies. So one area for your content to explore could be the challenges they face, such as hiring, getting financial help to expand, tax planning, dealing with problem customers, managing a lean inventory system, etc.

With some ideas in place, Google them. See what else has been written on the topic. Instead of following the crowd, build some twists into your content topic to stand out. This way, your content has its own identity and becomes more valuable because the target audience doesn’t have 100 other places to find this information.

This won’t convert off the bat—but conversion starts with traffic, and you won’t get good traffic without offering content that’s distinctive to your brand Remember, there are a lot of voices shouting in the wilderness that can drown yours out.

#2 Build in Offers 

Let’s say you start a blog and push it out to get some traffic. People find your site and read your posts. Like any other media outlet, you can run ads for special offers. These can be sidebar banners or you can embed them directly into blog posts. Your offer doesn’t have to be a discount—it can be an eBook or infographic that solves a very specific problem…one that your product happens to solve. The reader clicks and downloads the eBook after entering in their contact information. Now you know a bit more about their interests and can contact them, perhaps with a specific offer. Or, you can combine the eBook offer with a discount code to see if this spurs them to buy.

#3 Retarget—with More Content
When you visit a company website, they’ll often retarget you with an ad in your Facebook feed. This can be effective, but you may lose out on potential clients with the immediate hard sell. Yet if you retargeted people with a specific content offer, you could get a better idea of their potential as a prospect and target them more effectively.

For example, a beauty site could retarget customers who visit its site with a video tutorial on eliminating dark circles. Those who click on that tutorial are more likely to have dark circles. Once they see the video, offer an eBook with even more tips. At that point, the potential customer is further qualified—and the landing page to download the eBook can capture their contact information. Then, you can target those clients specifically with email offers for products that remove dark circles. You can set up your retargeting to offer content with a range of problem solvers to further segment out people who have specific interests and thus address their concerns rather than push out different general advertisements that you hope will ring some bells.

#4 Reward Them
A compelling, exclusive content offer that accompanies a product offer can incentivize a customer to buy, such as a free eBook tutorial on cutting-edge wrinkle removal or access to how-to videos on a site that is password-protected. Another application is to build content into reward programs for frequent customers that no one else gets. Of course, this requires strong development work so that any content you offer is not easily found anywhere else. It’s unlikely you can make it unique—but you can certainly make it distinctive, and that will make the offer valuable.