There is a big difference between content and filler. The key is to be sure that your blog posts, articles, newsletters and white papers are lively, engaging and well-written, and that they consistently convey your key messages–clearly, but without screaming or preaching.

Content marketing requires a nose for news–what’s the real hook in your new product, special event or quality initiative? (Hint: It’s not the technology platform you’ve chosen, the number of rivets you’ve used or the entree you’re serving.) It also requires a keen eye for the value proposition: How does the interesting story help take your audience in the direction you want them to go?

More than 20 years ago, I named my company Words Into Action, Inc., for just that reason: Content writing may inform, entertain or educate. But those are only the means. Action–in the workplace or in the marketplace–is always the goal.

—Laura French, March 2013