How Patient is Management? Content Marketing (rampping up)

Google's SEO Starter Guide gives advice about content for SEO, but not much about content marketing.
Google’s SEO Starter Guide gives advice about content for SEO, but not much about content marketing.

We keep on hearing about the need for more content, better content, attractive content, informative content… just about any adjective which applies to “content”. We also hear a complaints on how slow content “converts”. The need to get results quickly is a business driven requirement. This requirement is heard today more and more in the social media world. As Ronald Reagan use to say: “wweeeeellll… before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement“. I wish I could have used that Ronald Reagan line a few times (but I didn’t). It’s not always how long it takes to “write, edit and publish”. The writing process by itself is short. In the media world, it’s equivalent to sending a reporter to the scene of a crime. Getting the picture printed and editing a copy. It’s also not the amount of time it takes to build a network of followers (messages go viral faster than ever before). Networks expand at an amazing rate with attractive content. So what makes a company’s message so slow to “filter” and then “influence”? It’s getting the right message, to the right audience at the right time. Messages go viral if they are useful right now. This is the nature of the mobile internet’s immediate life: essentially the behavior of Twitter (text messages) and Instagram (pictures and videos) (as of 2018). 

It comes down to a few basic factors: Messages, Audience, Format, Style & Promotion. There are plenty of references on how to develop and style these content factors. These factors are hot topics on blogs and social media discussions as well. But it takes work to master each element and make it your own. It takes effort to apply knowledge to a market segment: audience, competitors, affiliates and the overall landscape. This takes time since specialists need to master their craft in a your field. My experience in B2B and B2C shows how SEO skills and experience is different even between two financial products (portfolio management and security trading). This is even more prominent in technology sectors where products and their uses are different (satellite equipment is not sold as VoIP telephony equipment).

In many niche markets, good work takes time to master. Finding messages, recruiting audiences (building groups and networks), developing a unique form and style and eventually promoting the content takes experience. There is a misconception among executive management on how message delivery works. The misconception comes from the speed of publishing and feedback. Publishing an article takes essentially no time. Getting feedback, both analytics and comments is also fast. So what can take time? Once a few articles with different messages are tested, a writer, editor or promoter should be off to the races. Yet most executives do not see the actual work it takes to “bait and hook” a prospect. Writing is not simply typing and proofreading, the material has to be useful, informative, even controversial. Posting in different locations (different groups on LinkedIn or accounts on Twitter), sometimes slightly different text version also takes time. Monitoring analytics, even in real-time, is not just a few clicks and then analyzing reports. As the amount of content grows everything takes longer.

Inpatient specialists and managers need to understand the process and gain patience as the work progresses. It may seem like results should come quickly (after all this is the mobile internet, we are in the immediate access era): first write and draw (photograph), then corrective actions and optimization, then better results – and the cycle continues. Yet only a few companies actually achieve quick results. This sadly leads managers to give up. Usually after a few months or a year, you see blogs abandoned, social media stream stop. A few continue and eventually find their effective message, audience and style. To figure out who is effective in your field, take a look at companies which publish their newsletters, mail campaigns or offers (contests, demos and case studies, white papers) on a regular basis. Also look for company blogs, straight content and social media activities. Is the activity steady? Is their audience numbers growing? Is the audience concentrated in specific geographic location? Is the audience participating in the discussions? Is the material shared? The internet and content marketing is an open book. You can see what and how people publish and promote. Search for text quoted and shared. But it takes effort, more than ever before. This may be news to most executives. So us specialists need to clearly explain. We also need to show the work, results and eventually return value on the effort.

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