What Content Marketing Expectations Should You Have?
Key to success in any situation is managing expectations. This holds especially true when implementing business strategies. If you think you can do something simple that will have exponential gain, you'll be disappointed when it doesn't, even if it was a great idea that did reasonably well. If you put a stack of money towards a project, and it turns out you could've done the same good thing for much cheaper, no one will be happy, even if the results are good. The same thing goes for content marketing expectations.
Content marketing is a proven way to boost your brand, add value to your consumers, and gain an attractive ROI. That's not going to change. How you market your content, and what content you create, might change. But whether it works will not. Sadly, many people and organizations give up or write off content marketing simply because they don't have the right expectations going into it. Whether you're just setting up a plan or have been at it for a while, these are the content marketing expectations you should have.
1. You're not going to see immediate organic results from content marketing.
Unbounce, a successful marketing software that specializes in creating landing pages, created and distributed content for six months before they saw any significant results. It took another six months before organic traffic was flowing like they wanted. Going into it, they knew it would take time, and it has certainly paid off for them.
Sure, you could create one awesome piece of content, put a few hundred bucks behind it on Facebook, and get enough leads to make that seem like a good choice. But you're not going to create a few pieces of content, and then have your targets flock to you in droves. That's not a realistic expectation. There's too much already out there for your few pieces to shine through. As you create and create more, distribute and distribute more, you'll begin to see increases in traffic, leads, social sharing, organic search, etc. Obviously, it takes time to make all this content.
2. It's going to take about six months to see significant organic growth.
There's several factors involved in this, but two big pieces are how much content is on your website, and how long your site has been active. If you have 500 pieces of content on your website, the chances of someone finding that content - and finding value in you - are far greater than if you only have, say, 25 pieces of content on your website. There's no magic number, but if you really want to shoot for a goal, then you need 200 pieces of content. Around 200 is typically where a business will see a massive spike. The faster you get to 200 pieces of content, the quicker you'll see organic traffic, referrals, backlinks, shares - everything - grow. As far as realistic content marketing expectations go, this might be the biggest one for you to grasp.
3. Content marketing isn't something you can simply throw on autopilot and expect results.
Crucial to content - really to any business strategy - is that you're constantly trying to optimize what you're doing. You're learning more about what your targets want and need, what's most helpful, what phrasing converts, what kind of pictures and ad copy people are more likely to click, and where the best places are for you to intentionally place your content.
A/B testing (testing and comparing two or more variations of the same thing, such as by using different headlines or cover photos) is an integral part of optimizing content. A piece of content might be doing okay, but you always need to find a way of making it better. The end goal with learning what works best in which situation(s) is to increase your conversions and revenue, while decreasing your cost per acquisition and general expenses.
It takes time for content marketing to prove its value and its ROI. But it's something everyone needs to be doing. How fast you can create valuable content, and how much optimizing you're able to do along the way will drastically effect your results. With the right content marketing expectations, this strategy will bring you exactly the results you need for your organization to blossom.