If you write it, they will come, right?
To hear some folks speak of it, that's how content marketing works. Sadly, it's a bit more complicated than that.
Allow me to explain. At this point, there's no question that content marketing is among the most effective ways to increase the visibility of your brand.
Like many business owners, however, you may be hoping that posting a blog here and an article there will suffice.
If only it was that easy. For your content marketing efforts to be effective, you need to be realistic about them. With that in mind, I've identified a few cold, hard, potentially disheartening facts about content marketing.
Learn them and live them to give your content marketing strategy the best odds of success.
1. Serious Effort is Required
On the face of things, producing content sounds simple and straightforward enough. These days, though, content must be truly on-point in order to generate any results. By on-point, I'm saying that real effort should be put into it. Effective content is timely, engaging, informative, interesting, entertaining and so much more.
It's crafted in a way that reflects your target audience's values and pain points. It's written in a tone and language that your ideal customer understands. If you plan to put the least effort possible into this pursuit, don't even bother.
2. A Major Time Commitment is Mandatory
When kick-starting their content-marketing strategies, newbies often figure that they can safely devote a few hours to their efforts per week. In reality, effective content marketing takes a lot more time than that.
To come up with something really valuable for your audience, you have to brainstorm topics, do research, write the thing, edit it, publish it and promote it. This should be done multiple times per month, as it's generally best to churn out decent amounts of content on a consistent basis. Whether it's written by you, someone on your team or someone you hire, you must be willing to devote decent amounts of time to the work for it to, well, work.
3. You Must Be in it for the Long Haul
Another common misstep in the world of content marketing is assuming that you can create and publish a huge amount of content and then sit back and relax for the foreseeable future. In actuality, effective content marketing must be a full-time, ongoing pursuit. There's definitely no finish line. What's more is that it can take quite a while for your efforts to bear fruit, so patience is a must too.
4. You Get What You Pay For
If you were convinced to try content marketing because you were told it's "basically free," you've been misinformed. Sure, producing many types of content is virtually free in the sense that writing words doesn't cost actual money. The problem, though, is that it's virtually impossible to get anywhere with content marketing without spending decent amounts of money.
From hiring experienced, talented writers to paying to promote it, content creation is a worthwhile investment. It may not seem like it at first, of course, when everything that you produce is seemingly greeted by crickets. Over time, though, you'll realize amazing returns.
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5. Creating Content is Just the First Step
Even first-rate content doesn't magically attract relevant users. For that to happen, it must be promoted properly. By properly, I'm talking about marketing it to the right audience on the right channels.
Fusioo, a SaaS vendor selling CRM and project management software for digital agencies, is a good example of a brand rocking the content marketing game. For best results, they promote the same piece again and again from time to time, and that provides them opportunities for getting it in front of entirely new audiences. That’s something to emulate. While promoting content effectively can be pricey, promoting a piece of content once isn't enough, either.
6. Content Must Be Optimized, and SEO is Always Changing
To increase the odds of your content getting in front of the right people, it must be optimized in a way that reflects SEO best practices. Unfortunately, those best practices are not set in stone.
Google is constantly tweaking its algorithms, and this affects the way in which SEO should be handled. Therefore, you must either commit yourself to keeping up-to-date about current SEO best practices, or you must hire writers who are in the know. Naturally, the way in which you optimize your content will evolve right along with SEO standards.
7. An Organized Approach is Crucial
One of the biggest mistakes that brands make when engaging in content marketing is failing to have a clear, written strategy in place. Most of the time, this is because companies underestimate just how much is involved in executing an effective content marketing campaign. As eager as you probably are to start producing content, your first step should really be putting together a comprehensive content marketing strategy.
If you’ve seen the campaign strategy of Resume Builder, you’ll see how it outlines every aspect of how the campaign will work, including their target audience and user personas, the types of content that work the best, the channels through which they will promote their content and more. Emulate that, and make sure to actually follow your strategy and to adjust it as needed.
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I wish that I could paint a completely rosy picture about content marketing for you. However, I’d prefer that you succeed rather than feel like everything’s fine and dandy. As such, it’s my duty to be blunt: content marketing isn't easy. Serious work is required.
The silver lining, however, is that when it's done properly, content marketing can take your business to amazing new heights of success. By entering into it with the cold, hard facts, you'll have a much easier time. What do you think will be the most difficult aspect of content marketing for your business?