If you do effective content marketing, the reward will come. Its successes are well-reported: you’ll generate more revenue and grow your business — all the while your customers will like and trust you more. It’s not a new strategy, but it’s one that’s taken off with the age of the informed buyer.
Content marketing takes a different approach to traditional advertising. Instead of pitching to your customers, you make them smarter with educational content that helps build long-term relationships. On average, 76 percent of shoppers feel closer and more positive about a company after reading custom content.
Unfortunately, there’s a misconception about content marketing that it’s cheap and easy — in reality, it’s a big investment and it isn’t for everybody.
Here are the top seven reasons you should not do content marketing.
1. You want to be ‘on-trend.’
Every decision about content marketing needs to make sense for your business. Otherwise, your content won’t be valuable to your customers. If you don’t have a justification beyond “it’s hot right now” or “my competitors are doing it,” you’re not going to create anything new or useful — and a fresh perspective is at the heart of effective content marketing.
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Following a trend without a purpose is a dangerous path, which will lead to meaningless, useless content.
2. You need a quick fix.
Content marketing is a solution that takes months — even years — of dedication to be effective. You need to give away value before you can expect anything in return. That’s why it can take a while to get your content marketing program off the ground.
A lot of companies give up when they don’t see immediate results. Most blogs get abandoned within the first few months, even though the long-term payoff of blogging is huge. For example, brands that create 15 blog posts per month average 1,200 new leads per month. If you’re not willing to hang in there for the long haul, it’s not worth doing at all.
3. You want to improve your search rankings.
Improved search rankings are a major benefit of content marketing, but that shouldn’t be why you do it. As Ian Lurie, CEO at Portent Inc. says, “Content isn’t ‘stuff we write to rank higher’ or ‘infographics’ or ‘long-form articles.’ Content is anything that communicates a message to the audience. Anything.”
SEO is all about providing your audience with what they’re looking for. If you deliver what your customer wants and needs, you’ll be rewarded by ranking higher in searches.
4. You want a cheap alternative to advertising.
If you’re looking for a cheap alternative to advertising, content marketing can seem like a seductive option. It has a massive return on investment. Content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing and it generates more than three times as many leads. However, the problem with choosing something because it’s cheap is that you don’t really see the value. An investment is required, both in time and funds. If you don’t put much into it, then you won’t get much out of it.
5. You want to make direct sales.
Not every piece of content you create will lead to a direct sale, far from it. Your content needs to address different stages in the buyer funnel and lead customers down the path to purchase. It’s about being a valued source of an information and expert in your industry, not about trying to make a sale with every piece of content. Nearly half of B2B marketers support three to five buying stages with dedicated content in order to make a sale.
6. You lack strategy.
Hundreds of content pieces won’t mask the fact that you don’t have a strategy. There’s a lot of bad, directionless content out there that doesn’t serve its customers. If you put together a strategy, you’re at a huge advantage. While 53 percent of the most effective marketers have a documented strategy, around 40 percent of the least effective have no strategy at all.
7. You’re not ready to measure.
Like any other marketing program, content marketing needs to be measured. You can see what’s working (and what isn’t) so that you can continually build on your strategy. Don’t get your content marketing program started until you’ve outlined key performance indicators, benchmarks, and reporting tactics. As marketing expert Neil Patel says, “Smart marketers don’t reinvent the wheel every day…They know what works because they documented their strategy and measured each detail as it happened.”
Content marketing is a lot of work. And the payoff is huge if you’re willing to put in the time and energy to get your content strategy off the ground.
If you aren’t sure about content marketing, that’s okay. It’s better to wait until you’re ready and start for the right reasons. Otherwise, you risk giving up too early on something that could be life-changing for your business.