Why Content Marketing is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

We’ve all heard by now that creating great content is one of the top ways to attract an audience to your website, convert casual visitors into long-term customers, and elevate your brand online by establishing an authoritative and influential voice in your industry.

Easier said than done, right?

Generating success, which ultimately means generating revenue, can be a very difficult process for an individual/company who’s new to content marketing and doesn’t have a clear idea of where they want their content initiative to take them. They may just be thinking, “Let’s start a blog. We’re experts in our industry and everyone will love to read about how we do what we do!” Great!

The Realities of Content Marketing

Let’s assume that you’ve defined the goals for your blog, established measurable key performance indicators (KPIs), defined your audience personas, developed a “keyword universe,” and created an editorial calendar of what you’re going to write about and when.

Now let’s say three or four months have gone by and your content marketing efforts haven’t generated the results you initially thought it would. What now?

One of the biggest challenges companies face today is whether or not they should continue to invest in content that has struggled to attract readers after a short period of time. You believe you are writing valuable content and think there’s an audience out there who would love to read your stuff and drop you a comment about how awesome it is. But a month or two into a content marketing campaign, many of us start to wonder if we’re  spending our time and money wisely.

Set Realistic Expectations

We’ve all seen the stories out there that highlight some blog that took off and has seen spectacular results in a matter of a few months. We start to think to ourselves, “This person’s blog is one of the most popular blogs out there and he/she just started. Why is mine struggling!?”

One thing we have to remember is that many times when certain things/people get highlighted through mass media, it’s because they’re outliers. In order to succeed with content marketing, you have to set realistic expectations about the amount of time it will take to grow and reach more viewers.

Market Your Marketing

A common problem we see with content that isn’t gaining traction is that there’s no marketing plan for the content itself. You’ve got to market your marketing! You’ve got to leverage your social media channels to build relationships with people who are not just interested in your content, but who can help you promote it. It takes time, patience, and a very clear cut marketing strategy in order for your content marketing efforts to generate revenue for your company.

Here’s a well-known example from Rand Fishkin that shows where most people give up on their content marketing efforts versus where they actually begin to succeed:

blog traffic1
Source: http://moz.com/rand/so-why-do-i-have-the-platform-the-recognition/

As you can see, many people give up way too soon. But being patient and being willing to fail for a long time may end up paying off big. A well-executed content marketing strategy will create “a rising tide that lifts all boats,” by steadily building an audience and dramatically increasing your overall visibility within your industry.

Content marketing works if you set the right expectations, measure and iterate, and most importantly,  don’t give up too soon. It takes commitment, time, patience, and a great marketing plan. Follow this strategy and you just might end up with the fantastic search results you once dreamed about.

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