It’s time to move past the objections and start generating the kind of content that gets results. Here’s how
The value of content marketing has been well documented (here, here and here among thousands of other places). And yet, despite the many great reasons to produce consistent quality content that attracts, engages and converts prospects, so many businesses get tied up in fears and objections that hold them back.
We get it. There are many factors that can so easily shelve our content dreams: Lack of time. Small or no budget. Endlessly searching the internet for some spark of inspiration (yes, even the prolific content creators get caught up in this rabbit hole!)
But the more we hold back and wait for the perfect confluence of ideal circumstances to create or revamp our content marketing plans, the more we miss out on opportunities to build awareness, generate leads and connect with our audience and customers. Especially now, when customers are looking for genuine communication from brands more than ever.
According to Hubspot, companies that publish 16+ blog posts per month get 3.5x more traffic than those that post four or fewer posts per month. And on top of that, content marketing reportedly costs 62% less than traditional marketing, yet generates about three times as many leads. (And there are more great proof points in favour of content marketing all over the internet). But if 78% of CMOs believe custom content is the future of marketing, and gurus like Seth Godin have proclaimed it to be the only marketing left, who are we to argue? (We wouldn’t argue anyway, we’ve seen content marketing work brilliantly for so many of our clients).
It’s time to stop wasting time debating whether content marketing is right for your business. Get your content plans rolling and keep at it. Do it well and the results will come.
Still not sure? Okay, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common objections and how to overcome them.
Does anyone really care about what we have to say?
Sure, there’s a lot of content out there (more than 5 million blog posts alone are published each day!). And you probably don’t care about most of it. So it’s fair to worry that most people might feel the same way about your content. And you’re right — most people won’t care about it. Then again, most people won’t ever actually see it.
If you target your content well — specifically to your intended audience — and address their unique needs in relevant, useful and genuine ways, and then distribute it in channels where your audience members spend time, they will see it, and they will care. And some of them will engage with you, and eventually become customers. We guarantee it.
But what if people disagree with or are offended by our content?
Well, the power of the internet is such that anyone can have a voice — including trolls and haters. And unfortunately, those people are everywhere and there’s a chance they’ll find your posts and comment all over them.
There’s no shortage of examples of brands that have made very public faux pas only to be taken to task by the online hordes. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t publish regularly. Yes, you want to ensure your content is accurate and kind and helpful and authentic and inclusive. But you also need to consider how you will stand out in the crowded online space, and that means sometimes taking risks, being creative and making content that’s different from everything else out there. Brace yourself for the good and the bad reactions, and be bold and unafraid to put your brand and your work out there.
But I really don’t have any good stories to tell.
Come on, we all have good stories to tell — from our founding or core purpose story to the value we deliver, to customer and staff success stories. Of course, when it comes to content marketing, it’s not necessarily about the stories we want to tell, it’s got to be about what our audience needs and wants to hear.
That’s why you should never start creating content without knowing who you’re targeting and why. Creating audience personas and user paths can help you get really clear about what your target audience needs to hear from you, and what will move them along in their customer journey.
We like to use Hubspot’s content mapping tool to get to the heart of the kinds of stories that will attract, engage and delight audiences. Once you’ve got that figured out, stories and other content ideas are easier to come by.
Is our content actually going to lead to sales, though?
Absolutely it is. But keep in mind that the customer is on a journey, and that journey starts with awareness of your brand and offerings. Most customers do not go straight from awareness to purchase — they need to be entertained and informed and engaged and nurtured before they make a commitment.
Successful content marketing is a long game. Those who are consistently producing content and who stick with it over the long term are more likely to see results that include increased sales.
When on earth will I find the time to do this?
Like all things in life, you make time for the things you prioritize. And if content is a priority, then recognizing that it does require a time investment is the first step toward making it happen.
We often include operational plans when delivering content strategies to our clients, because it helps them to get past the overwhelm and start taking concrete steps to put their plan into action. This can often include designating people who will champion content in your organization, setting up useful tools to ease the process and creating a content calendar and publishing schedule for all channels.
That all sounds costly. What if this is just not in the budget?
Not a problem, you can start small. You really don’t need a huge budget to set the foundation for your content marketing. A small, starter strategy and a commitment to one new piece of content per month — or even per quarter — may be all you need to set your content marketing journey in motion. And once you’re able to show some positive results, you may find yourself with a solid business case for more budget.
3 Quick Tips to Get Started
- Consume Less, Create More: It’s great to get inspiration elsewhere, but it’s easy to get stuck in a rabbit hole, or a pattern of consuming rather than creating. If you find yourself spending more time with other people’s content than your own, block out time each day or week that’s solely dedicated to content creation and aim to cut down your consumption time.
- Turn One into Five: Maximize the value of every piece of content you create. From one blog post, video or case study, you should be able to generate at least five other pieces of content you can share on your social media channels such as visual quotes, knowledge carousels, video and audio clips.
- Refresh and Republish: Older content can be as good as new when you take the time to update it, add to it and republish it. If creating new content is too onerous, try refreshing older content and repositioning it in a current context.
Ready to ramp up your content marketing plans? We’re here to help! Get in touch if you’d like some guidance or support in strategy, operations or outsourcing.