You’ve probably heard the analogy that executing a content marketing strategy is a marathon, not a sprint. This has never felt truer for me at Influence & Co. than this year. If content marketing is a marathon, what my company and I have experienced lately feels like finally hitting that runner’s high.
Honestly, it felt like magic.
So what the heck happened?
Conjuring Dreams Into Realities
One morning in March, I woke up to five emails in my inbox, which together felt like a perfect example of the culmination of years of consistent content marketing. They included:
- A contributor at Entrepreneur who wanted to feature a quote from me in an article about creating content for your website.
- An individual sponsoring a conference about behavioral health trends in the workplace who read my article, “How We Rewrote Our Company’s Mental Health Policy,” in Harvard Business Review and invited me to speak on a panel at the conference.
- A contributor to BusinessExperts.com who wanted to quote me for an article on learning SEO and content marketing.
- The host of a podcast inviting my co-founder, John Hall, onto his show to talk about content marketing.
- A prospective client reaching out to ask whether an article that John wrote on account-based marketing was similar to what I had advised for his company’s content marketing strategy.
Now, it’s not incredibly uncommon for business leaders to be approached about speaking at conferences, providing quotes for articles, or being guests on podcasts — what is rare is for it all to happen at scale.
That kind of opportunity can happen only when you’re regularly creating content that showcases you and your company as experts and distributing it to the right people in your audience.
Practicing Your Magic Over Time
Each of these email requests have resulted in new opportunities for Influence & Co. because we got in front of new audiences of potential customers, employees, or partners. And each happened because my team and I have been creating content consistently for five and a half years.
The key piece of that last sentence is “consistently for five and a half years.” You’ll notice these incredible opportunities didn’t come to us because we wrote one or two good articles in a few months’ time. Mornings like that one in March — that feel like actual magic — can happen only if you’ve invested in content marketing for a long period of time.
Not every one of the opportunities that landed in my inbox came from the same piece of content; they came from multiple, diverse pieces published on a variety of online publications over several months.
High-quality, engaging content builds on itself over time. Regardless of whether these email senders referred to a specific article, chances are that they’ve come across our content at some point — and that familiarity probably helped us become top of mind when it was time for them to find a conference panel speaker or podcast guest. Because digital content has a longer shelf life, you’re more likely to see this kind of magic happen the longer you continue practicing content.
Why This Magic Can Be Tricky to Predict
Every company, thought leader, and marketing team we work with wants to understand what return on investment to expect in six months or a year. Our own content marketing teams, called “pods,” have these conversations with clients to help them match their content goals to the right metrics, and it’s immensely helpful — but it isn’t enough to completely pull back the curtain on their content marketing magic.
Explaining every moment of those magical mornings to clients and prospective clients is a difficult task. It may start happening in 12 months or three years, depending on their strategies. And when it does happen, it all feels so serendipitous and so magical that many people have a hard time understanding exactly to what they can attribute this new interest in their companies.
Because the majority of our marketing efforts at Influence & Co. are spent on content published in online publications, we can be fairly certain that even individuals who don’t highlight specific articles, social posts, or press mentions when they contact us have still come across content from one of our thought leaders.
However, if you’ve already been publishing content consistently for years and you’re still not experiencing these magic moments, you may want to revamp your content marketing strategy. And if you haven’t been consistent, there’s no better time to start than today.