3 Things to Try Before Giving Up On Content Marketing
If I hear one more person tell me that content marketing “just didn’t work for them”, I think I just might scream.
Why do I find it so frustrating? Because, most of the time, what they are really saying is something like this: “we wrote a handful of blog posts, tweeted about them a few times, didn’t see any new sales, and now we’re going to quit because we’re frustrated.”
Instead of admitting that they might not have tried hard enough, or that they didn’t take content creation seriously, they place the blame squarely on the shoulders of content marketing itself -- complaining that it isn’t worth the hype, or that it just isn’t right for them.
Here’s what’s bothering me most: they are cheating themselves out of sales, leads, followers, and influence. If you are looking for a quick marketing win, then content marketing probably isn’t for you. But if you are willing to make a serious investment of time and energy -- even just a small one at first -- be prepared to receive what you put in.
Content marketing can and will make on your bottom line with the right strategy. Before throwing the towel in, try these three things:
1. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
One of the fastest ways to become disillusioned with any new marketing strategy is by failing to set goals against which your progress can be measured prior to implementation. This is definitely a recipe for disappointment with content marketing in particular, which in some cases requires heavy investment upfront for a longer-term payoff.
How do you know that your content isn’t performing if you don’t know what ‘strong performance’ means?
Content can be used to advance any number of business goals -- anything from connecting with investors to generating leads to clearing old inventory. Taking the time upfront to set S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound) goals that are directly connected to clearly-defined business outcomes will help keep you from placing unrealistic expectations on your content and getting frustrated when it doesn’t meet those expectations right off the bat.
2. Work Your Influencer Network
If you are just starting out on social media, or are in the early days of growing your blog subscription list, you will only have a limited pool of people to promote your content to. This makes it easy to get stuck in a holding pattern, with your content only being distributed to your network and the network of your existing followers. In order to reach the thousands of people out there who are desperate for content just like yours (yes, they exist!) you need to tap into the power of influencers.
Influencers are individuals who are known as experts, thought leaders, or trend-setters. They usually have a sizeable and loyal online following. Working with an influencer not only helps establish your credibility, but also helps you gain visibility. A great way to start connecting with influencers is to do something for them; i.e. link to their blog posts in your own. This not only makes them aware of your existence, but also might inspire them to share your content in the name of self-promotion.
3. Promote More Than You Write
Speaking of promotion, one of the best things that you can do to boost your content efforts is to follow the 80/20 rule: spend 20% of your time crafting high-quality content and 80% of your time promoting it. Good content can only convert if people are actually reading it. And this doesn’t just mean tweeting a blog post a couple of times and posting it on LinkedIn. Each and every piece of content that you publish deserves its own mini-promotion strategy. This could include:
- Emailing people mentioned in or quoted in the post to let them know and inviting them to share with their networks
- Finding opportunities to repost or syndicate your content on other sites
- Creating graphics to promote a piece of content on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook
Don’t Give Up Before You (Really) Start
Entrepreneurs are notoriously tough customers: they are hard on themselves, have high expectations, and hate feeling like they’re wasting their time on low-ROI activities. Trust me, I get it. But content marketing requires you to balance that hustler energy with a strategic approach and a focus on sustainable, long-term results. One of my favorite things about content marketing is that you are entirely in control of how much -- or how little -- success your efforts will yield...you just have to decide how badly you want it.
Unofficial poll: Have you ever gotten frustrated and overwhelmed with content? When you did, did you throw in the towel, or did you push through? Let me know in the comments below, or shoot me a tweet @Renee_Warren.
Photo Credit: Hans Gerwitz