So many people want to do content marketing but end up frustrated because they don’t see the results they expected right away. It’s important to understand that content marketing can make a big difference for your business but it’s not an overnight success program. It takes time. And resources. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. What resources do you really need to be successful? How you answer that question might surprise you. Read on.
Let’s take a deeper look at what’s happening within the industry. Many people feel that their biggest challenge is a lack of resources however, I suspect the issues are deeper than just resources. The Content Marketing Institute compiles an annual survey of both B2C and B2B marketers and the results help us better understand what’s happening within the industry. And it seems to me that a lot of businesses are struggling with their content marketing for reasons other than just a lack of resources.
Many will say the reason content marketing is challenging is that there’s just too much work involved. I’ve talked to business owners who started a blog and didn’t see immediate results and decided to focus on other areas because, “blogging didn’t work for us”. Blogging can do a lot for a business and help the bottom line in many ways. However, it’s not going to happen overnight. Nor will it happen without the right strategy behind the efforts.
I think the challenge many marketers face is that they have unrealistic expectations about what content marketing can do for their business today. Content can make a big impact, if done right, and given the time to work. However, if you don’t allocate enough resources and time, you won’t see the success.
If you have a boss do they understand that content marketing isn’t the magic answer to their marketing woes today? Are they OK with the fact it will take 12-24 months of continued effort before seeing the results of your work? Are you OK with this? There can be tough days when you’re trying to build a business through content marketing. Even when you know it will take time, it’s hard not to get frustrated by the lack of success from day one. How you manage these expectations matters. Understanding and accepting that it takes time is a key factor to your content marketing success. There’s a reason there are so many blogs that are started and abandoned within a few months. 90% of the most successful content marketers say their organization is realistic about what content marketing can achieve. Only 52% of the least successful ones say the same according to the CMI 2017 report. And only 38% of the least successful respondents say that management gives ample time for content marketing success, compared with 75% of the most successful. Setting the expectations from the beginning is important.
Did you know that only 40% of marketers have a documented content marketing strategy? That’s less than half. Another 34% have a verbal strategy but haven’t written it down according to the CMI 2017 survey.
If you want to be successful, you need to determine what your goals are, how you’re going to achieve them and write them down. In fact, 49% of the respondents said content strategy issues contributed to their stagnant success over 2016. That’s almost half who had issues relating to a lack of strategy or challenges adjusting strategy when necessary. Nailing your content strategy is critical.
Not surprisingly, 63% of the most successful content marketers have a documented content strategy. And 78% of them feel their strategy is extremely/very effective. Only 5% of those who are the least successful feel their content marketing strategy is extremely/very effective.
If you’re reading this post right now because you’re frustrated with your content marketing program’s performance, answer honestly…
If you can answer the three questions above, great! If not, it’s time to focus on your content strategy. To be successful, you must know what you’re trying to achieve.
Next, let’s talk about the customer we’re trying to reach
Interestingly, once you nail your content marketing strategy, audience insights, and sales funnel information, you may find that you don’t need more resources. Or you may find the resources you thought you needed are different. By no means am I saying you don’t need additional resources. You probably do need help. But before going for more resources, make sure your strategy is spot on, you have your audience identified, you know where to market to them for success. Once you have a strong foundation, then you can truly identify what else you need to be successful.
Maybe you need help creating a great content marketing strategy or identifying your audience and mapping their needs to steps within the sales funnel. This isn’t likely a full-time job for someone so a consultant or agency might be the right match for this part of the project.
You may determine you need to produce 3X the content you’re creating today and that means you either need to staff up or partner with an agency or freelancer to write more blog posts and website copy.
Maybe your team is great at writing copy but struggles to come up with ideas for blog posts. Or they don’t know how to tie them into the SEO strategy so you’re seeing some success but feel there’s more that you could do.
This is where you determine what resources you need. 49% of the respondents in the CMI 2017 survey have small content marketing teams devoted to the entire organization. When you’re running a lean team, you often need a bit of outside help. Working to identify which additional resources you need is important.
If you can show management or your stakeholders what you can do in-house vs what you need to contract or hire for, it hopefully, will make it easier to get the buy-in you need. Work to establish the expectation that it will take 12-24 months for success and help them understand why it takes time. Then, work to get the resources you need in place and get started.
Once you know what help you need, it’s easier to find the right person, agency, or team. If the team at Etched can be of help, please contact us. We’re here to help you create a content strategy, identify your audience, map their needs to the sales funnels, create a content calendar, write your blog posts, optimize everything for SEO. If it’s content marketing related, we can help. And we’d love to help your team succeed.