Content Marketing: Expectations vs. Reality
You know when that shirt doesn’t look as good on you as you imagined it would?
Or when you realize that, no, you can’t put together that IKEA chair by yourself?
That’s when reality slaps you in the face.
We’ve all been there. Sometimes it comes from our expectations being skewed and sometimes it’s because IKEA put extra pieces in this box, right? Where does this screw go?!
When people are disappointed with content marketing, it’s usually because their expectations are off.
Not that they’re too high or because that style of marketing doesn’t work for them, but they just had a misunderstanding about how it works.
So to clear up some of these misunderstandings, let’s talk about five expectations and five realities of content marketing.
Content marketing misunderstanding #1
Expectation: I'll just put out a few good posts or videos. People will keep coming back to those few pieces.
Reality: You have to consistently put out good content to see results from you content marketing efforts. It requires building up a library of excellent content to let readers know that you know your stuff and they can trust you.
The crux of content marketing is that you put out good content on a regular basis, positioning yourself as a voice of authority in your niche. And because you’re an authority, people will come back to you again and again for new info (or old info that is still up-to-date.)
Think about it: two veterinarians have a blog. One posts regularly about pet health, fun things to do with your dog, the best cat food, etc. The other one has a few posts about how to keep your pet healthy. They're good posts, but there are only a few of them.
Which blog do you read?
The first one, right?
Of course. And if that vet is in your area, you’d probably feel good about taking your furry friend to that office. Content marketing has paid off for that vet!
#2 or, why "going viral" isn't as easy as you think
Expectation: It'll be easy to go viral! I'll just make this funny video and voilà!
Reality: Going viral is actually a science. It takes a lot of careful planning and even then, it can misfire.
A continuation of the previous point, many people think they can go viral easily and if they just get that one piece that goes viral, they’re set. Someone will tweet about it and it’ll be all anyone talks about (until there’s a dress no one can quite agree on the color of.) The sales will roll in and they’ll be a household name!
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s not that easy. Even the best content marketing fails to go viral.
That’s not to say that it can’t happen, because it definitely can. Just don’t put out one great YouTube video and expect it to see it on Good Morning America the next day. It doesn’t quite work that way (unless you're very, very lucky.)
#3: Why name recognition isn't everything
Expectation: I just need to put out content so people recognize my name, I don’t need to worry about selling to them. As long as they know my name, they'll come back to me.
Reality: Well, no...but that’s not completely wrong.
Like I just said, content marketing is about positioning yourself as a leader and voice of authority in your niche. But you shouldn’t totally leave selling out of your content.
You don’t have to do it in every post or video, but you should take the opportunity to remind people that you offer the service(s) that you talk about. You can’t assume anyone will see your post and remember what you do forever.
How many times have you seen a commercial on TV and not been able to remember the company’s name? Or maybe you can remember their name but not what they do? I know that happens to me all the time.
That’s what you want to avoid and you can do that by putting a call to action in your posts:
Email me for XYZ!
Give us a call to start today!
Need ABC? Email me, I’ll hook you up!
You get it.
People have a million things going on in their lives and they see a million pieces of content and advertising every day. Remind them of your name and what you do.
#4 or, why content marketing isn't like running an ad
Expectation: This will be quick and easy, like running an ad on Facebook.
Reality: Nope. Content marketing pieces aren't - and shouldn't be - like ads.
Some people think content marketing works like traditional advertising and that publishing a post or video is the same as running an ad.
It’s not. They’re totally different animals.
An ad is meant to get people to click, purchase, subscribe right then and there. When you run an ad, you want your reader to take action immediately.
Content, by its very nature, is meant to inform, not sell. You're not trying to get them to do anything but keep reading.
Aside from a short call to action, your blog posts or videos shouldn't be trying to get someone to do something right now.
You can't do it all (#5)
Expectation: I'll just handle content marketing by myself. I can squeeze it in and get it done in an hour or two a week.
Reality: Researching, writing, editing, optimizing it for search engines, and sharing it is a full time job, especially if you’re doing it consistently.
If you’re running a business and trying to carry out a full content marketing plan by yourself, you’re going to be one busy person.
It’s more than just putting together a post and hitting “share” on Facebook. That’s why businesses have in-house content writers and creators.
And it’s why smaller businesses hire digital marketing consultants and writers like me to help them. I take the ENTIRE creation process off their hands so they just publish and share it. It's a super easy, low-stress alternative to trying to cram one more thing onto your already full plate.
If you're interested in seeing how I can help take the reins of your content marketing, send me an email. I'd love to help your business grow!