I recently spoke at the Digital Summit conference in Kansas City where I asked the audience, ‘How many of you have been successful with content marketing for at least a year?” In the audience of approximately 300, only about 10% raised their hands. Because content marketing has been in the mainstream of digital marketing tactics for several years, I was quite surprised. I followed up my ad hoc survey by saying, “Well then, you came to the right place!”
In the workshop, we focus on the customer journey, the channels, the strategies and tactics that make for effective marketing in the digital space. I explain how, in the end, success all comes down to one thing: implementation.
“It’s important to have a sound idea, but the really important thing is the implementation.” -Wilbur Ross
The image above is from my Digital Summit presentation and the slide behind me illustrates just how frustrating it can be for some businesses to be successful with digital marketing. It takes persistence, consistency and publishing the right kind of content over an extended period. And the number one reason for this frustration and failure is:
Many marketers think the reason their digital marketing is failing is because they have the wrong strategy. You can have an awesome strategy in place, great content and focused resources but if you don’t implement (read as ‘publish’), your traffic, leads and conversions won’t increase. You will get frustrated and, in many cases, just quit.
Google can’t index 100% of the content on your computer. You’ve got to publish it to grow your domain authority and to get found in organic search.
Why Aren’t You Publishing Content?
Hesitation to publish content revolves around these three things:
1. Trying to make everything perfect prior to publishing
Waiting to publish until the content is deemed perfect in someone’s eyes will stall your efforts and may cause you to fail. See the case study below for proof!
“Perfect is the enemy of done.” Too often, businesses want to get their content perfect prior to publication. It keeps them from moving forward. I’m not suggesting that you publish crappy content, I am suggesting that it doesn’t have to be perfect.
2. Not having a process or framework in place
When we work with client’s, we must know who is accountable and has the authority to publish content (roles and responsibility). We use the acronym, RACI to describe how we work with clients. You might consider this as a foundation for governance of your content and internal content creation workflow.
In some cases, RACI might involve just one person. In larger organizations, it could be leaders in different departments. The key is to identify who needs to sign off on content prior to publication. If there is no process or framework in place, publishing gets delayed along with the success of the content. Not solidifying RACI is one of the biggest roadblocks to creating an effective process.
3. Wanting to hit a Grand Slam with every piece of content
Many businesses have the notion that every time they publish content it should go viral. That’s not the way content marketing works. Very few content pieces go viral. The odds are stacked against it. It’s the regular, frequent and consistent publishing of content your users are actually searching for that will grow your traffic and conversions.
What is Content Moneyball?
As we publish content, we’re not trying to hit grand slams, we are trying to get on base. Just like the Oakland A’s, in the movie Moneyball, their objective was to hire players that could get on base. They didn’t have a big budget like the New York Yankees, so they had to come up with a different out-of-the-box strategy. Many businesses are in the same situation. They don’t have a huge budget like some of their competitors, so they’ve got to think differently.
The more runners on base, the more potential runs and the better chance of winning. We look at it like Content Moneyball.
What we know based on our experience is that the more hits you get (published content) the better chance you have of getting runs (more traffic) and winning (ROI). Play content moneyball and publish great content as frequently and consistently as your resources will allow.
“I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars. I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.” – Warren Buffett
Let me give you an example of success and failure with digital marketing based on a real case study.
Implementing vs. Not-Implementing
We have two clients that are very similar.
- Both are B2B service businesses.
- Both have about the same number of employees.
- Their sales cycles are similar, and their target audience is business owners.
- At the start of our engagement, both websites had very similar traffic patterns in terms of visits and engagement.
- Both companies are involved in our coaching program.
We assign a well-seasoned digital expert to clients and they coach them through all aspects of digital marketing, make weekly assignments and hold the client accountable for producing their own content as well as coaching them on other important aspects of digital marketing.
As with any kind of coaching, the player (client) can only improve if they follow the coach’s advice and practice the techniques and training.
This is where it gets interesting and where the case study shows the dramatic difference between just listening to the coach and actually implementing.
This client was actively engaged with our coach. They met consistently and soaked up all the advice like a sponge. The CEO of the company, as their best internal subject matter expert, wrote the content and published at first on a weekly basis and then twice a week. The client was diligent and stayed on course publishing content consistently.
Results after one year:
- Organic traffic +808% YoY
- Leads +385% YoY
- Online revenue +137% YoY
The client learned that playing content money ball works. They repurposed much of their content in various formats, thus saving time and resources and helping to increase the frequency of publication. They kept a consistent voice and focused on their target audience. They also learned to tap other internal subject matter experts to extend their ability to publish frequently.
This client was also actively engaged with our coach. They met consistently and learned how to do content marketing effectively. The difference was in the amount of content and their frequency of publication. The CEO wanted the content to be ‘perfect’ prior to publication and took too much time editing and proofing rather than publishing. Much of the content was delayed in publication or not used at all.
The difference in results says it all:
- Organic traffic up 30% YoY (the increase is great, but not compared to Client A)
- No data was concentrated on the number of leads or revenue, due to not implementing.
This client was very frustrated and wanted to quit working with our coach until we showed them the above results from Client A and talked through the reason why their results were so different…they didn’t implement.
This got them motivated and during the fourth quarter of last year, they published 9 posts (versus 12 published in the first 3 quarters) which resulted in their best quarter for leads. This client is now starting to see great leaps in their traffic similar to client one in this case study. All because they listened…and…implemented.
This scenario has been repeated time after time. It is one of the lessons we learned as an agency early on. Our clients must publish. Without adding new content on a frequent basis growth is stymied and your business will not reap the rewards of effective content marketing.
“What I found over the years is the most important thing is for a team to come together over a compelling vision, a comprehensive strategy for achieving that vision, and then a relentless implementation plan.” – Alan Mulally
Build Your Own Audience, Then Leverage It For Revenue Growth
We measure everything we do. We can show you the average results for all our clients, and they are impressive.
- Our average SEO & content client increases their traffic by 66% in the first year.
- Our average coaching client increases their traffic by 96% in the first year.
- Our average Paid Media client saw increased leads of more than 140% and decreased costs of more than 40% last year.
We let our results speak for themselves – and they are, indeed, typical.