Are you looking for a quick win with your content marketing? Do you have a short-term project and want to develop content to support it? Are you looking for a way to build influence or attract an audience right now? If you’re looking for a content marketing campaign, you’re heading for disappointment.
The hard truth about content marketing
Content marketing is a slow burn method of marketing. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a lifestyle choice, not a crash diet. It’s a tortoise, not a hare. If you want fast results, you’re going to be disappointed with the time and money invested in content marketing and you’ll deem it ineffective. And you’d be half right. Content marketing is an incredibly effective way to market your business but you need to stick with it for at least a year before you see real results.
Joe Pulizzi spoke about this very thing on episode 37 of Brand Newsroom.
The problem with a campaign mentality
Conducting a content marketing campaign is a recipe for frustration. Campaigns, by design, are short-term projects with clearly defined initiatives and measurable goals. Content marketing is a long-term strategic undertaking more closely aligned with the idea of publishing.
So, please, lose the campaign mentality when it comes to content marketing. Eradicate the word ‘campaign’ from your vocabulary entirely.
Set realistic expectations
Plan to dedicate 12 solid months of effort to your content marketing before you start to achieve noticeable results. Realistically, it’s probably closer to 18 months of publishing before you gain significant traction. If you’ve never run a content initiative or if you have no experience in publishing, it can seem like an eternity. Too often marketers give up just when they’re on the brink of success. Even if you’re producing great content, you probably won’t get a comment on your blog or video series until you’ve been at it for at least six months. The reason has everything to do with human behaviour.
The trust issue
People don’t trust you until you’ve been around for a while. They watch and wait. They want to determine whether you’re a one-hit wonder or if you’re actually going to consistently produce good content. With so much choice available, one piece or even a handful of good pieces won’t cut through. You need to be a regular contributor before people invest time supporting you.
If you haven’t already seen it – and even if you have – check out Rand Fishkin’s excellent (and hilarious) slide deck called Why Content Marketing Fails. His first point speaks to the longevity issue and why your audience wants familiarity and trust before they reward you with conversions and loyalty.
Building trust is slow work. You need to publish high-quality, original content over a period of time to gain the trust of your audience.
Good news about content marketing
Every piece of content you create is an asset to your company. Potentially, it’s a long-term asset that will continue to drive business your way for weeks, months or even years to come. You might be creating truly valuable pieces in the beginning of your strategy that won’t resonate much because your audience isn’t fully developed. That exact content could very well become popular at a later stage and be rediscovered. (Or, if you’re smart, you’ll rotate it through your social networks every four to six months to be discovered all over again.)
If you’re looking for a content marketing campaign, prepare to be disappointed. Plenty of people will take your money and promise you the world, but don’t be taken in. Content marketing takes a long time to build momentum. Once it does, it continues to work for you long after an average campaign is done and dusted. Lose the campaign mentality and start focusing on building content assets.
Go with experience
If you would like help to set up integrated content marketing strategies incorporating print, audio and video content, give us a call. We have extensive experience in this area to help you plan and create long-term content marketing initiatives for your business.
- By Sarah Mitchell