The Reason Content Marketing Fails
The reason content marketing fails for many businesses has got nothing to do with articles that no one reads. It’s simpler than that.
In the words of Leonardo Da Vinci, ‘art is never finished, only abandoned,’ lets take out the word ‘art’ and replace with ‘content’ and we’re getting closer to the truth.
Moving Away From The Campaign Mindset
As businesses adopt a mindset that is more about an ongoing commitment rather than a campaign mentality, there is still a mythical approach that if you create content and distribute via LinkedIn or Twitter with a link to a related article to your website, then the next step is someone will then click on the ‘contact us’ page and the sale is 80% done. Based on the strength of one blog post, a pdf download or the first enewsletter that is sent to a prospect.
The biggest discipline I have found when any business looks to adopt a content marketing approach is patience and persistency. As a company that specialises in communications, the days of producing a series of adverts or the company brochure in 2014 cannot sit in isolation to build trust and resonance. Making content work in your favour has it’s grounding in consistency.
When I Nearly Gave Up
It can be an isolating journey, but you have to start somewhere, rather than dabbling for a few months with intermittent messages and cut and pasted copy for every social channel. I was close to putting my blog to one side at the end of 2012 as I believed that no one was listening (or rather reading), the time spent on writing articles was becoming a fruitless task. The reason I decided to keep with the journey was because I guest posted on other blog sites and started seeing the number of visitors increase and where the subscribers to the blog were originally people from within my immediate circle (or rather people that more friends than business associates), I started seeing email addresses from people I had no relationship with (and not an odd reading gmail/yahoo spam address), but were willing to see more from what I had to say.
Make The Most Of The New LinkedIn Blogging Platform
Fast forward to 2014 and keeping patience with building and sharing content, provided an interesting new suite of armoury in April when posting on the new (well since February this year) LinkedIn blogging platform about a story when content marketing goes bad (in fact very bad) with an example from a local estate agent (in my town of Poole). Whilst there is the need to tell a story and the audience to resonate with what you’re looking to say and not blend in with every other article related to brand building, keeping consistent had resulted in the article being shared 262 times on social channels and viewed by over 4,200 people. What I’m trying to highlight is that whilst we can’t build our audiences on land that we are only renting from, it can become a facilitator in directing people to the type of content that you produce.
The Purpose We Need
To start to build resonance you need a purpose and become more human (and also to engage with others), I originally thought that the end result of writing blog posts and sharing information with an audience was purely for others to consume and as a conversion tool, but I now see the purpose is to target a niche audience (small businesses) with articles and downloads that encourages them to stand for something in ways that are far more accessible than ever before. If they are looking for a helping hand, they know where to come. A more valuable and loyal customer is built from someone who sees you as a valuable resource, where no one else is there to reach out to.
By being consistent we want others to make an association and build a rapport with our businesses. However consistency is only built by having a structure in place. If structure is created from a source (your website) and then distributed (via the social channels you’re comfortable with), this can become your key indicator that you are progressing on the right path. Lets not forget to also embrace email as an old friend to the consistency process.
Examples From The Great And The Good
Being consistent, means being present or as Chris Brogan highlighted in his latest Sunday newsletter, is that if you want to ‘get better at something, you need to do it daily.’ He even created a formula for the process:
specificity + frequent practice = success
SEO rankings and industry credibility will never be built from dabbling intermittently with content marketing. The nirvana never originated from the one presentation you made that is now present on Slideshare. It’s similar to the lawn that I’m trying to grow at the moment.
From the seed that was spread onto the lawn back in April, I’m now realising it’s not a case of throwing the empty grass seed bag away and then wait for the results, you have to tend to the lawn to make sure that the grass grows across a consistent area and not a patchy mess. You have to show a level of commitment and a process that you need to repeat over time and accept that the fully-grown lawn may not necessarily be ready for the barbeque this summer. We have to accept that to achieve the best results, we need a longer-term mindset.
To be meaningful, we can’t give up. This is brilliantly highlighted in Jay Baer’s post on convinceandconvert on how he became the person most mentioned by digital marketers on Twitter (this is not a self congratulatory blog, it’s a brilliant piece of reflection). Click here to have a read.
The one thing we cannot do is stop. Patience, persistence and perseverance are the key attributes a business needs to make their content marketing efforts a success. If you’re starting to feel a bit wobbly, the biggest regret will be giving up way too soon. It’s a marathon that we’re on; lets enjoy getting fitter and being prepared.