May 29th, 2015
Of all of the forms of marketing, both traditional and digital, online content marketing and its closely intertwined social media element take up the most time, requiring a long-term commitment to build up and nurture an engaged audience.
No content marketing strategy yields results overnight. Instead, it requires persistence and patience, and while it can be expensive, it is also essential that marketers and companies recognize its great importance in the highly competitive online marketplace.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 77% of B2C and 86% of B2B marketers are using content marketing in 2015, with a sizable portion of them planning to increase their investment in it over the coming year.
Committing to a long-term content strategy and diversifying to adopt new formats to reach out to a wider audience will help to ensure long-term success when it comes to building up brand recognition and reputation. However, to understand why content marketing takes time, and why it requires a long-term commitment, you first need to understand how the search engines work and how evolving consumer habits play an increasingly important role in how people consume online content.
Domain Authority is a score developed by leading SaaS and marketing firm, Moz that assigns websites a score out of 100 to help predict how well they should rank in the search engines. Frequently updated to reflect the constantly evolving Google Search algorithms, it takes into account numerous ranking factors such as the age of the site, important link metrics, trust, and engagement.
As a content marketer, domain authority provides you with a useful indicator as to how Google sees your website and its content. However, it takes time for a website to ‘prove’ itself in Google’s eyes, and this is why it gets more challenging and time-consuming to get your website’s domain authority into the higher levels.
Content marketing relies on creating multiple pieces of content in a variety of different formats ranging from blog posts to whitepapers to videos and infographics and many more. In theory, the more content formats you adopt, the wider your reach will be. Obviously, it takes time to create and publish content on a consistent basis, but it is absolutely necessary, since it helps you to increase your website’s visibility and build up your audience over time.
Consider blogging, for example. An increasing number of companies publish a blog, usually as an additional section on their website. The blog will deal with relevant content, such as tutorials, news, and other articles that the target audience might find interesting.
A successful blog is one that builds up a regular readership, but if these regular readers suddenly find that there are fewer and fewer updates when they return, they’ll eventually lose interest and start looking elsewhere. At the same time, the existing content, becoming increasingly outdated and less relevant as time goes on, will lose its ranking in Google, and this takes us to the next important point:
Referring to the previous point, the necessity to remain consistent in your content-marketing strategy is all about building up a relationship with your audience (see our related post about Content Marketing for Lead Generation). After all, content and social media are extensively intertwined, thanks to the ubiquity of social networks and the fact that people not only consume content themselves, but also share it and comment on it. This is also why creating content for the Web is quite different than creating content using traditional forms of media.
When formulating your content, you need to make it engaging enough that people will be more likely to share it and leave behind their own feedback in the form of comments, both on-site and on their favorite social networks. In other words, engaging content promotes itself by helping to build up an audience consisting of people who effectively become ambassadors to your brand. However, your audience will be far less likely to consume content, let alone engage with it, if you are not constantly providing something new.
By nurturing your existing audience and expanding your reach by adopting new formats and content strategies, you will start to see the effectiveness of content marketing increase over time. On the other hand, if you leave your audience with the impression that you have forgotten about them, they will quickly turn away.
You don’t have to look too far to find spam online in the form of low-quality content that provides nothing of interest or value to its intended audience. The reason for the pervasive existence of such content is clear: many marketers still write primarily for search engine rankings while barely taking a human audience into consideration.
Such content does nothing to engage or nurture a human audience, and as Google’s algorithms grow ever more sophisticated, junk content has become increasingly ineffectual to the extent that it will likely hurt a website and demolish the company’s reputation.
Being a key pillar of any successful content strategy, quality is also one of the main reasons why content marketing takes time to yield results. While you can still go to the low-end freelancer directories and hire a writer (who likely doesn’t even write adequately well in English) who will be happy with less than $5 per page and get a fast turnaround time, you will achieve nothing.
Quality content requires experience, expertise, a passion for the subject matter, and the ability to research, and all of this takes time, effort, and skill. Quality content is unique, engaging and offers genuine value to its readers, and this is exactly what the search engines want as well. Putting all of these important factors together, quality content takes time to create, especially since you will need to provide a considerable amount of it to keep your audience engaged.
Don’t be put off by the fact that content marketing doesn’t offer instant results; you shouldn’t expect to see results immediately. However, patience yields success, and a successful, long-term content strategy will equate to increased brand awareness, and ultimately, more revenue.
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