ImageMost business owners today know that content marketing is an excellent way to reach and engage current and potential customers with the goal of creating profitable action from customers. Most businesses also know by now that content must be high quality to reflect a positive image that readers associate with your company. However, not every business knows how to fully maximize their reach with content marketing.

The Three Circle Theory

Recently, Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, wrote an article on how to go beyond brand fans with content marketing. In his article, he describes 3 circles of influence (an idea discussed by Scott Stratten in his book, The Book of Business Awesome) that content marketers have the opportunity to reach: the first circle are our brand fans, the second circle are friends to brand fans, and the third circle are those connected to the second circle.

Pulizzi explains that the only way to reach third circle contacts is through excellent, consistent content marketing: "If the third circle shares your content, they will do it solely because it is amazing information that they feel is worthy of being shared."

Why a Wider Reach?

But what is the point of striving to maintain such a high bar for content? Why should our ultimate goal be to reach beyond our first circle of contacts? The answer is simple: a wider reach means a greater potential for new customers. Keep your content top notch, and those beyond your brand fans will be much more likely to become loyal customers as well.

Pulizzi, as well as other content marketing experts, believe that there are extra steps you need to take in order to turn fans of your content into actual customers.

Email Marketing

Pulizzi says that in addition to being patient with building up quality content over time and becoming a leader in your content industry, businesses must go beyond social media and contact 3rd circle connections through email.

Make sure that your blog encourages readers to sign up using their email address. One way to do this is to make commenting unavailable unless they register. Or you can make your best content only available to subscribers.

Whatever your ploy to encourage signing up, do not lose your email customers by sending them Spam. Think with a value distribution mindset and send emails that continue to provide them with content they want to see. If you would like, you can also ask readers what information they'd like to receive from you via email, and give them the choice of exclusive blog content updates or exclusive product offers from your company.

Social Media Marketing

You can also get more aggressive, so to speak, in your social media marketing to reach third circle connections. Before we discuss this, though, remember that consistent updates of quality content is the key. You have to go beyond thinking like a marketer and ask yourself what kind of content your connections want to see from your industry. If your content is interesting and shareable, your brand fans will promote your posts to their connections and beyond. Keep this up and second and third circle connections will trust you.

Rather than continuing to constantly post videos or blog posts or images, however, you can take social media marketing a step further to encourage a new level of engagement. Create a contest or even an online "party", such as what Art Impressions did on their Pinterest page, or even a VIP circle for your most engaged users. Then provide special coupons or discounts for the winners of your contest, for attendees at your "party", or for VIP members. If one of your requirements for your campaign is for brand fans to share with their connections, then you are actively reaching second and third party connections.

Maximizing your reach in content marketing will mean that your company is seen and trusted by more than just your current customers. And tapping into that 3rd circle is what will really expand your potential for major growth. Just keep your content trustworthy and your brand will build a positive image that no reader can deny.