The misconception about what content marketing can and can't actually achieve for a business hurts many departments as well as agencies because of the lack of sufficient budget and time investment as well as the business owners expectation for quick results.
Many companies who are considering content marketing think they will put one brilliant piece of content on their website, and people will read it, instantly wanting to become a customer. In most instances business owners only want to know how to achieve this type of 'viral' content that brings immediate sales.
- Create an amazing piece of content
- People will fall in love with it
- They will download it
- They will want to share it
- Everyone will want to buy the product or service.
- Tweet about your content
- Facebook about your content
- Google+ about content etc
- People will come
- Hordes of people will come
- 2% will convert
There are a few rare exceptions where this does happen. But generally it doesn't.
Now how it really works:
- Create amazing content
- Share it on Tweeter, Facebook, Google+ etc
- Repeat steps 1 & 2 over and over again
Time is needed to get good at producing the right content an audience wants to read, it takes time and effort and lots of failures to get there and create content that will resonate with an audience.
Forget about step 3 under myth, people don't generally buy from a company they don't know.
How it really works after step 2:
People will come many times to a website to look at new content. They will build up knowledge about a brand and the products or services. Every time they touch a business, either through returning to read content, through social media, or through searches in the internet they are building a positive image of a business. Enough positive touches with a brand will help them to remember one business over another.
When a person has visited a website enough, this creates a bias in the Google search results towards that site. Simply put, Google understands this person is engaging with website A over website B so website A gets a better ranking for that person (personalised ranking). When a person is engaged with a company they are more likely to take notice of that companies name over and above anyone else they don't know who could be listed higher in the search rankings.
Rarely is enough time or money allocated for content marketing to get to the point it will start to succeed. This leaves tons of pressure on content creators, the social media marketer, and the SEO person. Often there simply isn't the budget, the bandwidth or the belief to get to where a business needs to be to succeed, which means most companies give up too early.
Business owners have the misconception that a piece of content can become viral just because it's great. Forgetting about where the content could rank within the search engines, how it can help a website rank for more keywords then service or product pages can achieve alone, and completely forgetting about SEO and linking the content back to relevant stuff through out a website.
Businesses still make the mistake of separating their blog from their main website. If a business is going to build the authority of their website with content, then they should have that content on the main site. Why waste time and effort trying to build the authority of two sites. Internal link building is also forgotten about, linking content to products, services or other relevant content helps people as well as search engines move around a website. Otherwise older content becomes buried deeper in the website causing it to become obsolete because no one can find it.
Keywords should also be used wisely, share content wisely and use Google+ to connect to people to bias Google's personalised search results.
Businesses also don't correctly attribute conversions and assisted conversions (what path a person took to become a customer) which leads to the belief content is not working. A person can make many visits to a site, over days, weeks or months before converting into a customer. People want to learn about a brand and compare products and services to similar companies, they now like to build a relationship and trust a company before they buy. It costs money, but it is well worth finding systems that can track a visitors path through a website and around the internet until they make contact (enquire or purchase) it is the only way a company will truly know what works.
We hope this article helps you plan your content marketing strategy.