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The Results You Should Expect to See From Your Content Marketing

Patience is a virtue. But when it comes to content marketing, patience is a must-have.

Don't groan! We promise you that your patience will pay off. But, if you're embarking on a content marketing strategy and expecting to see a ton of leads flood your site after you publish your very first blog post, then your expectations are way out of whack. Content marketing is a long-term strategy.

However, there are tremendous benefits from implementing that long-term content strategy for you and your company. If there weren't, I wouldn't be writing this, and Influence & Co. would be a very different company. Have whiplash? Just bear with me.

Results Are Contingent on Strategy

Before we can even discuss the kinds of results you should expect to see, you have to understand the different types of strategies you can pursue because, ultimately, they determine results.

1. Thought leadership strategy  If you want to build your credibility, you need to be creating a ton of high-quality content in your name or in the name of your company's subject matter experts. You'll also want to focus on building up your social media profiles and utilizing the content you create to build your network and social following so you can start being seen as a leader in your industry.

2. Lead generation strategy  You're all about figuring out how you can get the content you create to generate more leads for your company. Simple as that. This generally involves having your sales team use the content you're creating to answer questions and help expedite the sales process, using inbound marketing tactics to move leads through your funnel, and converting on-site visitors to viable leads who could use your services.

3. SEO strategy  You want your content to make you more visible to your prospects. You want your content to rank higher so that when your potential customers are searching for resources in your industry, your content is the first they see. This means you need to have a website that is user-friendly and optimized as well as an idea of what sort of keywords your audience is searching for so that you can craft content that uses them.

Strategy + Consistency = Better Results

Like a fine wine, your content strategy gets better with age. The longer you stick with your strategy, maintain consistency, and track the right metrics, the more results you'll see. It's not a terribly hard concept to understand, but sometimes we let our impatience get the best of us. Three months in content marketing world is more like three days in the real world. Content is an investment, one that you'll see benefits you the most after you've been sticking with it for some time.

In an effort to get as specific as possible, though, I'll walk you through how we work with our clients and what they typically see in our partnership three, six, and 12 months out:

Thought Leadership Strategy

  • At three months — We help our clients focus on nailing down a content creation process, create their documented content strategy, and map out the publications that make sense for them to target their guest content to. We want to ensure we're building the foundation before we build the house, or their content initiatives will fall flat. Also in this time frame, it's common for our clients to start seeing some content publish. 
  • At six months — Our clients can expect to see some more of their guest content published at this stage, and they should have a steady stream of blog content going live per month as well. This helps establish their credibility, and they should be leveraging this content by sharing it on social platforms and using it to apply for awards and speaking engagements for their company or subject matter experts. Clients typically see their on-site engagement increase, so tracking time on site, finish rate, and which blog posts are getting the most views is crucial in identifying success.
  • At 12 months — By consistently following the editorial calendar laid out in their strategy and actively using the content they're creating, it isn't uncommon for our clients to be booking some speaking engagements at this stage. If they've incorporated press mentions into their strategy, then after a year's time, contributors might even be reaching out to them for their input on content opportunities.

Lead Generation Strategy

  • At three months — As mentioned earlier, it isn't realistic to expect hundreds of leads to pour in from one piece of content. Instead, effort should be focused on ensuring everything is in place to adequately track the leads that result from the content we're helping our clients create. This means making absolutely sure they have gated content (e.g., whitepapers) on their site and are leading people to it, a CRM to track and store these leads so their sales team can organize outreach, and a marketing automation system so they can continue to nurture leads with more content. 
  • At six months — At this point, we're actively getting our clients' guest-contributed content published, ensuring that (wherever possible) guest content contains links back to their on-site content, and making sure that the on-site content has links to gated content so they can generate new leads. There is no hard and fast number here, but I'd say it's common for our clients to see a couple of new leads per article. We also look at the average lead score, which will tell us the quality of leads our clients are generating, which is more important than the quantity. We make sure our clients measure how their sales team is using this content to nurture leads and shorten the sales cycle. 
  • At 12 months — By this point, we have our clients' strategy and process down pat, which will allow for a pretty steady stream of leads being generated from their content. Depending on their output, this could be anywhere from three leads per article to 20 (or even more). But — and this is crucial — we stress that our clients adequately distribute this content and do their part to get as many eyes on it as possible. After a year, we've established a pretty good understanding of what types of publications work well for our clients, and we have a solid bank of gated content built up.

SEO Strategy

  • At three months — We take this period to examine our clients' websites and ensure they're optimized. This means weeding out any broken links, pages that load too slowly, or duplicate content. We perform some keyword research to understand what our clients' audience is searching for online, which will help us determine which terms they'll want to rank for and therefore use in the content we're creating. We utilize this information to inform their content strategy and develop a list of topics to cover based on the keywords they're targeting. Also, we track where they're ranking so we can monitor changes after their strategy is underway. 
  • At six months — With SEO, it's possible to see some quick wins. During this six-month period, we make our clients aware of how their keyword rankings are shifting and by how much and whether their organic search traffic is seeing a burst. We help them create pillar blog posts, which will give them cornerstone pieces to focus on and increase search traffic to. At six months, we track the performance of these pillar posts to determine whether we're going about it the right way or need to make adjustments.
  • At 12 months — By this point, our clients see their content ranking higher and higher on search results. Their organic page views, entrances, bounce rates, and total number of keyword rankings are generally all positively affected by the strategy we're helping them implement. To get an idea of the results one of our clients experienced, take a look at this case study on ProSource and how we helped them incorporate SEO tactics that increased their organic search traffic by over 130%.

While each breakdown above is pretty typical with regard to what we see with our clients and communicate to our leads in terms of expectations, it isn't a guarantee that you'll have the same exact experience. A lot of this is contingent on how nimble and efficient your team is and how well you can track success and make adjustments where necessary.

Content marketing is definitely not a quick-fix solution or an immediate-results strategy. Success depends on paying attention to what is and is not working and making appropriate changes. The upside is that when you put in the hard work, the outcome is absolutely worth it.

Set up a call with us to discuss how our team can help you achieve a content strategy that delivers on your goals.

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About Natalie Slyman

I love meeting new people, and my drink of choice is champagne. I prefer to spend my days outside, riding my bike or catching up on my favorite blogs. I enjoy telling stories about my cats, even though no one is listening.

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