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.
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.
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:
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.
Natalie Slyman is a content marketing and social media professional. She enjoys reading her favorite blogs, perusing Instagram, and talking about her cats (even when no one is listening).