Today’s article is brought to you by Idunn’s onboarding process. Most of the clients that contact us complain of this: they write, some even do it often, but they see little to no results.
To be honest, this is one of my favorite dilemmas. It’s rather easy to fix. And we know that content marketing works. It’s the way we get 99% of our clients. Better yet, it’s the way that our clients get clients and grow their business.
Still, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to make it work. Hence the question that’s become ubiquitous in our inbox.
Let’s start with the basics.
The hottest annual content marketing research report is out. Created by the Content Marketing Institute, it gives us an insight into the industry every year. The 2018-2019 report comes with some surprising findings.
Content creation was the area where most marketers increased their spending over the last 12 months.
Because, as the same report tells us, 77% of content marketers see more results out of their content strategy than they did last year.
In other words: because content marketing works.
Now, I’m sure you knew this already. Otherwise, you’d just declare the ‘patient’ dead and move away from content marketing.
Let’s take a look at why some content strategies don’t perform as expected.
1. You don’t have a strategy
You publish content, but why?
Just because you read somewhere that it can help you pad your bottom line? Just because people say ‘it works’?
Those aren’t reasons. Those are places to start.
Once you’ve established that you need content, you have to make sure your content strategy is aligned with your business goals. And, more importantly, with the needs of your customers.
The first thing you need to do is separate your content according to the stage of the buying cycle your customer is in – TOFU (Top Of the Funnel), MOFU (Middle Of the Funnel), BOFU (Bottom Of the Funnel).
One of the biggest content marketing mistakes is assuming that your customers are all at the same stage. Typically, a marketer or business owner will assume that the stage is: “they just need to hear how great we are. Then they’ll buy.”
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Some of your potential customers may not even know they need your services or products.
Here’s an example: a few years ago, every social media marketer was complaining how hard it was to schedule posts for countless networks. Agencies had it even harder: they had to deal with multiple clients with multiple social profiles on multiple time zones. My agency, Idunn, was one of the latter.
Then SaaS social media marketing and management tools appeared. It was a complete game-changer. But, as marketers, we didn’t know we needed those exact tools. We had to be educated on how they could change our lives (TOFU). Then we had to be educated on why they are worth the money (MOFU). Lastly, we needed to find out why one of these tools is better for us than all the others (BOFU).
The bottom line: don’t take guesses on what may work today and what you should be writing about. Map out your process. A well-thought and well-implemented editorial calendar can save you a ton of money and time. Not to mention generating yet another ton of money.
2. You’re focused on selling
I know, aren’t’ we all?
Of course we are!
But today’s audiences can spot a sleazy salesman a mile away. They don’t want to be pushed into buying something. They want to make their own decisions.
How can you do this and still ensure they will make the right decision (read: you)?
Well, that’s what a sales funnels is for. And that’s what authority content is for.
It may sound like hard work, but it pays off way better than pushy ads.
Start by establishing your authority. Great, 10x, well-researched and argued content will do that for you. People will read your content because it provides answers to their problems. Consequently, they will know they can rely on you to solve problems.
Does this mean they will buy instantly? No. Some of them will never buy.
But, if your promotions and targeting are spot on, the customers who are ready will buy. And they will turn into loyal fans.
Here’s an example: what I like to do when I get an inquiry at Idunn is take a look at the client’s journey so far. HubSpot, the plugin we use for contact forms allows us to see what pages our clients visited before inquiring about working together.
Some of them will only view one page. For example, we had a lot of customers read one of my articles on SiteProNews, then click on the link at the bottom of the page and contact us. That’s the ideal situation.
Other journeys take months.
One of our most recent clients contacted us in October 2018. The first contact they had with the Idunn website was in December 2017. It took them nearly a year to commit.
It may sound like a lot. But if you think about it, it just proves the power of well-written content. They came back to read more after the first piece they came in contact with made an impression. Blog post after blog post, their trust in us grew until they were ready to hire us to create their content for them.
This is why educational content works. The statistics say the same.
3. You expect too much from too little
Ever posted a 500-word blog post and wondered when the sales will start pouring in?
If you did, I’m sorry to say I don’t have good news for you.
Content marketing, much like SEO, takes time. Sometimes, a lot of it.
Some of our clients have seen results after one year. Others in smaller niches started to cash in after the third month.
At Idunn, we began to see results after eight months, in an industry that’s crowded to say the least.
Sure, content marketing doesn’t yield instant benefits, like PPC ads do. But the good news is that, once those results start pouring in, they’ll last for years. We still get inquiries from great-ranking blog posts that we published two years ago.
So what can you do?
- Post regularly. You don’t have to post every day. But once you committed to a schedule that fits your needs and your resources, stick to it. Neither Google, nor your readers enjoy seeing you slack off. They enjoy frequent updates to your content base.
- Go long form. Study after study and report after report found that long form content works best. Yes, even for mobile users. What does long form content mean? We found that 2000 to 3000-word articles work best across industries.
Don’t give up
So what if your content strategy didn’t work the first time around? It happens! Heck, it even happened to us.
Go back to the drawing board and start again. This time, think of nothing else except for what your audience needs and wants to hear. Invest time and resources in creating content that truly solves problems. This is the only ‘shortcut’ that will get you there.
And if you need help with making content work for you, my team of marketers and writers is here for you. Let’s talk!