Content Marketing: Playing the Long Game
Humans are not known for their patience. When we want something, we want it now, especially when our career, happiness, or financial well-being is on the line. That’s why content marketing can be a bit of a double-edge sword.
The power of the written word is indisputably awesome, but the efficacy often comes at the expense of speed. Adding a blog to your site or revamping your homepage will pay dividends, but you might not see the results for weeks or even months.
Content marketing is the very definition of a long game. Here’s how to play.
Concentrate on Establishing Authority and Building an Audience
One way to minimize potential disappointment when that amazing sales letter you sent out doesn’t immediately result in a 300% increase in sales is to broaden your idea of what constitutes success. Yes, obviously the main goal is profit, otherwise you’ve got a hobby not a business, but if making the sale is the only target in your sightline, you’ll lose out on a ton of valuable assets along the way.
Start by creating cornerstone content or pillar pages that will form the foundation of your brand messaging. These can be landing pages or blog posts, among other options, and they serve three purposes:
- Boosting SEO
- Showing consumers you know your stuff
- Encouraging engagement by starting a dialogue
Foundational content should be evergreen, meaning it reads as well a year from now as it does today. Avoid using words like “recently” and “new,” and address the basic tenets of your platform or expertise rather than spending too much time on trends.
With your foundation in place, turn your attention to of-the-moment topics that suggest a sense of urgency. Blogs that tie into current events, opinion pieces based on industry news, newsletters full of actionable advice—all of these things catch your audience’s attention and train them to come back again and again for more. That’s how you develop a following.
One important note: be careful that you don’t lose your voice while you’re chasing the spotlight. Everybody wants to go viral, but there truly is such a thing as bad publicity. Off-brand content that resonates with the wrong demographic does nothing for your brand. Attracting a crowd means nothing if it’s not the right crowd. Quality is everything—100 new subscribers who are highly interested in your products is infinitely more valuable than 1000 new subscribers who quickly realize they’re not actually into whatever you’re selling.
Sticking to Your Strategy
Every piece of content you create should fit into your funnel and be created with that space in mind. The stages of that sales funnel:
Reframe your idea of content marketing to fit within that funnel and your journey becomes a series of wins, loses, and tweaks rather than a tedious, anxiety-riddled slog towards one solitary goal. Social posts that introduce your company to new people, resources identify a key problem and tell onlookers how you’ll help them solve it, a video extolling the benefits of your patented technology, follow-up emails or push notifications gauging customer satisfaction. All content, all vital, all signs you’re making great progress.
When your content fails to gain immediate traction, take a deep breath. Don’t abandon hope. Release the idea of instant gratification and embrace consistency. That’s how you master the long game of content marketing, and it’s totally worth the wait.