Nobody “gets” content marketing right away. It’s not something you can major in, and it’s not something you can study objectively for a few hours and suddenly come to a bold realization of how to implement it. Instead, it’s something that needs to be toyed and experimented with, gradually leading you to conclusions about which facets of your strategy work and which ones don’t.
Most people don’t have time for that. I’m a content marketer, so not only do I have time for it—it’s all I do.
Whenever I bring on a new client, I try to establish a high-level understanding about content marketing that establishes a foundation for our relationship. If there’s anything to know about content marketing, it’s these five core takeaways:
- Content marketing isn’t instant. Content marketing is a strategy that slowly yields better results over time. It usually takes at least a few months for momentum to start building, and the longer you spend making consistent effort in the area, the more you stand to benefit.
- Quantity doesn’t equal quality. When most people start with a content marketing campaign, they get excited and want to post as often as possible on as many platforms as possible. What’s important to realize is that quantity doesn’t equal quality—quality is far more important, especially in the early stages of a campaign.
- Traffic is the primary goal. Content can do a lot, but it can’t work miracles. Its primary goal is to drive traffic to a site and build a reputation for your brand. It can also increase conversions, but usually as a peripheral benefit.
- The results aren’t perfect or entirely predictable. I’d be lying if I said every client I brought on had the same awesome results. Some exploded in popularity after just a few weeks of work, and some took longer to develop. The course is different for every brand and every strategy.
- I don’t know what’s going to work. That’s right. I can make a pretty good guess at what’s going to work based on my experience, but I won’t know until I put it to the test.
If you understand these five facets of content marketing, you’ll have a solid foundation to move forward with. The rest of the details are bells and whistles that you’ll figure out with time and experience.