When you see really successful example of content marketing, it’s hard not to feel just a tiny bit jealous. You see these organisations and individuals who are doing (seemingly) exactly the same as you – writing blogs, producing key content etc. But, the difference is, they seem to be so much more successful than you. It’s almost enough to make you think about giving up on content marketing.
Don’t. Please Don’t.
The apparently ‘overnight’ successes in the content marketing space are nothing of the sort. To an outsider looking in, the success seems like straightline, hockey stick growth, as though each an every piece of content they’ve ever produced just keeps on adding to the traffic and increasing the ROI of content marketing.
But in fact, it’s nothing of the sort. While it looks like successful content organisations (like Upworth and Buzzfeed) just have overnight success, they’ve actually been working hard for years to get to where they are today. Their reality and how they got to where they are today is very different to the overnight success perception.
How does success actually come for content marketers?
Reality, for the vast majority of content marketer, looks more like this. They start a blog and this blog will get some traffic, but it won’t be significant. Then, over time, you’ll start to get one or two posts that start to earn some attention. But, after these peaks, it’ll start to drop back down to the normal run rate. It seems, then, that nothing is going to help your blog grow and reach the next level.
This is the point that most people will give up and claim that content doesn’t work for them/for their business/in their niche. After you’ve had these peaks of hope, then it’s easy to see why you might be deterred if things don’t continue to pick up. This is where most people stop investing in content marketing and scrap all the hard work they’ve already put into creating and distributing their content.
Often, though, it’s the people who push through these early setbacks and the frustration that comes along with it, who make it to real success with content. They’re the ones who emerge as the overnight success. It’s just that overnight has take 3-4 years of consistently producing content, refining this content and building trust and a relationship with their audience.
Why is this the case? Why doesn’t content marketing work instantly?
So if the reality of content marketing is that it takes time, why can’t we make it work faster?
First of all, you have to build the community for your content. This certainly isn’t an overnight job. It’s a slowburn process that can take many months, if not years to reach it’s full potential. But all content marketing successes have to go through this. No blogs start with a ready-made audience. Not HubSpot. Not Buzzfeed. Not Huffington Post.
Second you have to learn what really works for your audience. Every audience is different. So what works for one content marketer won’t work for another. And you have to learn this through doing, which, again, takes time.
If you try and shortcut audience growth and content refinement, you’ll find that you’re left without the building blocks you need to grow beyond mediocre reach.
The price of successful content marketing is a few failures on the way.
Hopefully each of these failures becomes an opportunity to learn. As, it’s only though learning, that you’ll realise what works, what doesn’t and how you can generate long-term, consistent content marketing success.