When we talk with prospects about the value of content marketing, most do seem to appreciate how it MIGHT work for some folks. But there is a natural resistance to trying new things, especially if you aren't convinced that the new thing is actually doable. In our experience, the following five things tend to be the biggest sticking points for those wrestling with whether they have what it takes to commit to content marketing.
- We barely have time to do our jobs now. How in the world can we commit to producing quality content on a regular basis?
This is the one we hear most frequently. Most of us in the SMB (small and medium-sized business) world are challenged daily to keep up with the workload we have before us. Committing to something new, that is certain to take time and effort to maintain is understandably problematic. The good news is that there are solutions to this dilemma. There are agencies (like 30dps) and freelancers that can help you produce quality content. But remember that it does still require a commitment on your part to feed that process because, especially initially, your helpers won't know everything you know.
- We've had a blog for a few years... but nobody ever signs up (and we haven't had a new post in forever).
Sadly, the average corporate blog has only three posts (which is almost entirely a result of someone adding a blog at website launch, with no real commitment to ongoing content creation). That statistic is especially tragic when one considers that brands with active blogs result in 55% more visitors than those without, and those with 15 blog posts per month average 1,200 new leads per month. A blog is an excellent platform from which to launch a content marketing program, but it does require persistence and a commitment to quality content—content that answers prospective customers' questions and addresses their need for insightful information.
- We don't have all that much to say.
Interestingly, this is a common obstacle to many considering an investment in content marketing. While it is sometimes easy to overlook the qualities that make your product and service offerings special and unique, it is critical to identify the niche that few others know as well as you, then refine and dominate that topic. Often times, you already have great content that you have in non-digital formats. You will be surprised at how much you have to contribute once you get started. But you can't stop! We all experience writer's block from time to time... but if you really don't have that much to say about your niche, then perhaps you don't yet really know what your niche is!
- None on our team are really writers or content producers.
Understandably, many of us don't consider ourselves writers. But most of us have something to contribute to the creative process, especially those that have experience and insight into your business niche. If you really don't have the writing skills you need, you can always outsource that to agencies such as 30dps. But regardless of how polished your composition skills are, your team should be able to both generate high level ideas, and the foundation of the content upon which a professional writer or team of writers can build a solid piece of content. A good and accomplished content marketing firm can help you produce high quality content consistently and affordably.
- We have no idea where to start.
There are a plethora of great books and online resources, in addition to content marketing specialists that can help you figure out where to get started. The most important first step is to understand who you're producing content for (through a process of developing personas), and from that basis, define or refine your content focus. You need to understand how to speak the language of your intended audience, and how to address their specific needs. You will want to assemble a team to support the ongoing content creation needs, and you'll want to do an inventory of all of your current content. Again, there are many out there that have been down this path before you, so seek out the expertise you lack, and get started!
Content marketing is a long-term marketing strategy with a huge upside. But it does take a commitment from management because it isn't something that has an immediate payback. In fact, we often tell our clients that they should expect to see noticeable results in six months or so, but that persistence and consistency pays significant dividends. It is called content marketing, so it's critical to not lose track of the fact that the purpose is "marketing." However, you should also realize that sustainable business growth occurs when we genuinely care about the needs of others. As my hero Zig Ziglar often said, "You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want." That is largely the premise of content marketing, and the reason that it works as a solid marketing strategy.
While there are undoubtedly many reasons companies are reluctant to make a real commitment to content marketing, those listed above are the ones we hear the most. And while they are understandable concerns, all are easily addressed. If you would like to discuss how content marketing can make a significant difference in your business growth, please take advantage of our no-obligation offer of a free consultation. As one of the top content marketing firms, we would love to offer you insights that will help you ultimately decide to take the plunge.