I know one business owner who hired a content marketing agency because he wanted to build his business.
The agency said it would bring in over a dozen inbound leads per month.
After four months of preparation and two months of releasing content, he ended up sacking the agency because it had not brought in a single lead.
Of course, he’d already spent several thousand pounds with them by then.
So how do you avoid this happening to you?
Tip #1: Understand what content marketing is
At its simplest, content marketing is a way of proving you are an authority in your field.
It makes you more credible: people are more likely to choose you before others.
This means giving people advice so that when they decide they need a product like yours, they’ll think of you first and get in touch.
For example, you might sell an IT system that helps companies comply with health and safety legislation.
If so, it makes sense to offer advice on how the latest legislation is likely to affect them, the trends in the industry, and so on.
In the old days, this was simple. You struck up a relationship with someone in your relevant trade press – or the local press – and wrote articles for them.
That’s still an option. But now you can also get your information out via a blog, downloadable reports on your website or an email subscriber list.
And that’s not even mentioning the various social media.
Then there’s the question of how often you need to create content.
This leads to some important questions:
Do you know your market well enough to write about it convincingly? If not, you need to hire someone to do it for you and they will not come cheap. Come to think of it, if you don’t know your market, you won’t survive long anyhow. And come to think of it again, many peoples’ idea of what their market is turns out to be spectacularly incorrect.
Do you have a clear idea of how best to reach your market? Yes you can write a blog, but if your customers prefer to read the trade press then blogging won’t help you. And if nobody reads your blog – often the case – you’re wasting time anyhow.
Do you know how often you need to put information out? Once a quarter? Once a month? Once a week? Once a day? There is no fixed rule. You need a feel for what will interest your customers – otherwise you can end up wasting a lot of time and money putting out useless content. And you need to be constantly thinking what will interest them. Every time you think of something, communicate.