Doesn’t it suck when you see everyone online talking about how great content marketing is, yet you can’t seem to make it work? A professional beauty blogger and YouTuber recently reached out to me on LinkedIn and shared her frustration with content marketing.
“I’ve been publishing videos on YouTube and blogging for one freakin’ year, and I feel like I’m just not growing fast enough. I feel like it’s not working.”
It’s not the first time I’ve heard such statements. As a content strategist and writer, it’s a common theme. Most clients come to me desiring help with their content creation and seeking assurance that this time it will work. They want to know that “this long-form blog content” or “email auto responder sequence” that I’m creating for them will be the thing that finally gets them magical results and makes them rich.
I don’t know what your frame of mind is. But if you’re anywhere in the vicinity of that kind of thinking, it’s time for a reality check. Content marketing does not work like that!Don’t get me wrong. Yes, content marketing works. It is the most cost effective method I have seen in today’s digital economy. But you need to learn the truth about what it is, and what it is not – before expecting it to work well for you.
Nothing is more discouraging than pouring your efforts, time, money, and resources to create content only to have it fall flat!
In this article, I intend to help you get out of the weeds and finally start experiencing an abundant harvest with your content marketing efforts.
Let’s jump right into it.
1. Get a Content Marketing Strategy and Document it.
The big obstacle many small business owners have is they do not have enough clarity on the marketing puzzle. If you don’t know what you want and have no clear objectives laid out with an actual plan of the goals you wish to achieve, how will you know what works and what doesn’t?
For you to achieve the results you wish to have you need a roadmap. Something that gives you and the team structure.
You must have a way of layering up the content you create with your buyer’s journey. Assuming you have a carefully crafted marketing funnel, it’s essential to have each section of that funnel meeting the needs of your ideal buyer. That way, he or she can find exactly what they need. And, they see you as the trusted authority as they move through the buying cycle.
This is why you need a documented strategy. It takes off the guessing game, makes you more organized, and enables your brand to remain super relevant to your ideal client in all your content marketing efforts.
2. Focus on Finding and Hitting the Sweet Spot.
There’s a sweet spot?
And yes, if your content marketing isn’t hitting that sweet spot, then you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. No wonder you feel so frustrated. *Sigh* Assuming you’ve done your audience research well and you know a great deal about what your ideal buyer wants, the sweet spot you want to reach is that overlap between their desires and challenges and your business solution.
The value you give + the client goals/problems + the client desires are meant to overlap at some point. That’s the point your content marketing should be focused on hitting as much as possible.
You can create all the long form content you want but if it doesn’t resonate with your audience, it’s not great content marketing. It’s right in theory but not practically.
Quick story time:
I was giving a content strategy session to a new client who has a unique workout program for brides to get in the best shape of their lives before the wedding.
It takes six weeks, and anyone can do it. Unfortunately, she kept missing the sweet spot in her content marketing efforts. Month after month, the results were stagnant. When I took her through this exercise, she realized she wasn’t quite hitting the sweet spot. She thought that by creating content focused on “looking good in your wedding dress for the photo shoot,” brides would find her offer irresistible.
I told her as a former bride; there’s a lot more to it than just looking good in the pictures. The desires and challenges of the bride when it comes to her body transcend the photo shoot session. It’s about finding the time in her already hectic life to give up two hours at the gym. That’s a challenge.
It’s also about feeling sexy and confident being naked (or half naked) for the majority of the honeymoon trip. I mean the bride wants to know that the honeymoon will create a lasting passionate experience that makes her all the more desirable to her new husband. That’s a huge desire.
My client’s solution combined with both the challenge and desire this bride is facing (consciously or unconsciously) produces a sweet spot that goes deeper than just looking good for a photo shoot. There is an overlap between these three things and the new content that resulted which far outperformed the previous stuff she had created six months before.
All this is to remind you of one thing. The more focused you are on finding that overlap between your value-adding solution and the desires and challenges being faced by your ideal audience, the higher the Return on Investment (ROI) you will see with content marketing. Have you identified your sweet spot yet?
3. Change Your Mindset and Expectations.
If you can come to the clear understanding that content marketing isn’t advertising or infomercials and that it’s not a short-term game, you’re already out of the weeds!
Stop. Take deep breaths. Change your approach to content marketing.
This is designed to be a long-term game. It’s a relationship builder, not a quick moneymaker.
It’s time to acquire the right mindset and set the right expectations for your business. Instant gratification and viral content cannot be a priority if you want to win with content marketing.
If you focus too much on “selling” your beautiful app, product, tool, or service fast, then you risk self-sabotaging the longevity and success of your business. Don’t even bother getting into content marketing if you’re in a rush or desperate to make a quick buck. Stick to more direct and traditional methods.
Consumer habits have changed dramatically. People hate being sold to nowadays. They hate ads that feel slimy, over-exaggerated, and superficial. They also hate being rushed. As with any relationship, you must nurture and give generously. When you set out to start a content marketing campaign, be sure to set clear goals and a reasonable timeline to experiment and measure.
4. Change Up the Type of Content Marketing You’re Using
Another common cause of results is caused by the use of the wrong type of content marketing. You can also think about this as the right key but on the wrong door. There are different types of content marketing available to business owners and marketers. If the approach you’re currently using isn’t working. You may want to try another strategy or a combination of strategies.
For example, say you have been trying to use YouTube to increase interest in your brand but haven’t seen results. You could try another medium like blogging. Or, you could combine 2 strategies. Like using Instagram Reels to drive people to your YouTube channel.
You can also do a similar thing with podcasting and blogging. If your blogging efforts aren’t working as expected, release a 20-minute blog episode on the same topics you are blogging about. These combinations will help your target audience decide how they want to consume your content. This may entice them to go to you for information more frequently.
Content marketing is something I ultimately believe in. Many successful business and marketing gurus preach the same message. But here’s the thing, it just doesn’t work when approached carelessly.
Too many small business owners are getting drowned in misconceptions that only lead to frustrations and no revenue. Don’t fall for the same traps when it comes to your content marketing efforts. Leverage the recommendations I have shared. If you still need a little help or some clarity on how to do it, you can always reach out to me for some additional support to ensure that your content marketing is living up to its full potential.
This article was first published in February 2019 but has been updated and expanded