This article was originally published on the Spectrum blog. 

This Fourth of July, after the party has died down and you’re sitting with your family and friends watching the fireworks show, make sure to have a look around – people watch for a minute.

Take in the glee that’s all around you. Listen for the oohs and aahs from parents trying to heighten the moment for their kids. Toothless smiles are everywhere on the Fourth.

There’s no doubt fireworks are beautiful. But their true purpose is to draw out happiness, which, in turn, brings people closer together. That’s the real point of it all. Sometimes we forget that.

I don’t think I have to stress how vital happiness is. A healthy, consistent dose of it will help you live longer and feel more fulfilled. It may even help you be more successful professionally. But you already knew that.

Same goes for making other people happy. Spread joy and you’ll inevitably benefit, as well. But you already knew that, too.

But did you know that you can make people happy as a business owner. Not by selling a great product or providing exemplary services, either – that goes without say. I’m actually referring to your company’s marketing.

That’s right. Online marketing – when done right – can really make people glad to know you. Business owners that create selfless, accommodating and generous online marketing materials stand to reel in more leads, more sales and more repeat business.

Talk about fireworks.

Here’s how to create some of your own with Content Marketing:

Make a Connection. Earn Trust.

Before the Internet became completely accessible, people either watched television, listened to the radio or read newspapers and magazines for their daily dose of news and entertainment.

Now make no mistake: all of the aforementioned mediums were invented, first and foremost, to collect advertising dollars. Marketers knew that people had no choice but to experience their ads – a practice which is known as “interruption marketing.”

Before the Internet, there was no DVR or Netflix. People couldn’t simply “x” out of a window. You had no choice – you had to sit there and be bothered over and over and over again.

Not anymore, chief.

Today’s humans have become very, very good at blocking out the messages they don’t want to receive. Hence the invention of Content Marketing, which is all about engaging your ideal prospects with entertaining, informative, highly tailored material.

Let’s dive into that.

Content That Informs

Informative content is valuable content. And people love value.

Content marketers create articles, infographics, videos – you name it – that are as informative as they are easy-to-share. Therein lays the golden ticket: shareslikestweets. People will share your smart, educational, helpful content via social media, which means more eyeballs for free.

So next time you create a content asset, make sure people can take something away from it – something they’ll remember and use in the future. Don’t worry about whether they buy from you or not... that doesn’t matter just yet. What matters is that you’ve implanted your message in the mind of your customer.

Implant enough messages and people will begin trusting you, which is the first step to making a sale.

Content That Entertains

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Don’t inform your potential customers to sleep – that’s not good for business. Be professional. Stay true to your brand. But at the end of the day, try to have some fun. Be intriguing. Have great headlines and subheads in your written content. After all, you’re trying to get people’s attention, so create content that appeals to them.

Also, it’s important to remember that you’re writing for the Internet, where a casual tone typically works best.

Content That Fits

Per my last point: the Internet is HUGE. I’m guessing you don’t need everyone as a lead. You need the right type of leads, which means you need to be calculated in your approach.

Content Marketing isn’t mass marketing. It doesn’t necessarily have to be for everyone; it’s for a specific group of people: those who can benefit from your product or service. Therefore, it would behoove you to create content about your particular trade. If you’re a painting contractor, give your audience some DIY painting tips. Ditto if you’re a mover or a remodeler.

Be specific and create content that fits the needs of your target audience – you’ll find it easier to influence people this way.