The failure to succeed in content marketing is quite often due to a crisis in confidence. And this crisis in confidence can lead to giving up too soon on your content marketing strategy and activities. I believe that this happens in large part due to an overall lack of appreciation that producing any content — text, illustrations, infographics, slide decks, podcasts, photos, and video — is an art.
And art is hard to do. Especially when it has to be done as an essential business activity, such as marketing and sales. It means having to produce art on a tight schedule at a pace that doesn’t allow much time for “artistic exploration.”
It also means there’s a lot of pressure to get it right, every time. All of this combines to exacerbate the fears that content marketing “artists” have about whether they’re creating the right art, or whether people like their art, or if enough people are even seeing their “art.”
The impact of this on the individual or marketing department is often to give up on a content marketing initiative before it’s had time to mature and achieve results.
Here are some thoughts about what to do to make sure you don’t give up too soon:
Do This Before You Start
Write your Strategic Content Statements. While writing a full content strategy and making editorial calendars are important, Strategic Content Statements are short, sweet and easy to do. These statements are essential to staying focused on the work ahead by instilling a sense of purpose to your work.
Start Easy Before Embracing the Difficult
In reality, relatively few people or teams are fully capable of producing more complex content such as audio podcasts and videos. Improve your odds of not giving up too soon by starting with easier to produce content, and for most people that means blogs and newsletters. View this “easier” content as a way of training yourself to stick with the editorial tasks of content marketing before embracing the more difficult and challenging content types, such as videos.
Love the Dashboard, But Don’t Let it Define You
Metrics are going to be important. There’s no denying this. But if you’re just starting a new content marketing initiative, your metrics basically are going to start at zero. It will be critical for you to not fixate on the metrics at first, but to stay focused on creating your art, to develop your style and your tone. Develop a critical mass of content (a dozen blog posts, for example), to establish your point of view, style and tone, before you start seeking responses and tracking metrics. Then, of course, start tweaking your content based on the responses and metrics you do see.
Give Yourself Time
Content marketing is a marathon and not a sprint. You have to give yourself time, or your management has to give you the time, to allow a content marketing initiative to play out over a long enough period of time to build a following and to start to get the metrics that tell you that you’ve got it dialed in, and that your content marketing is working.
Be Aware that Being Discouraged is Normal
Almost everyone that has achieved a degree of business success with their content marketing activities will tell you that they were discouraged at some point in time. They were discouraged by about the amount of work they were putting in with apparently little to show in return. It will seem like you’re spinning your wheels, or that you have hit a plateau and not progressing. This is normal, with a capital “N,” so be sure to power through the phases of discouragement.
Final Thought …
Write this Robert Collier quote down on a piece of paper and place it on your wall, your desk, your laptop, or wherever you’ll be creating your content marketing art, and read it everyday: “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”