Content marketing is my personal favorite kind of marketing. Why?
The question isn’t: “does content marketing work?” That’s an absolute yes. The right question: “is content marketing right for my business?”
Here’s the thing about content marketing: you either commit or you don’t. There is no toe in the water. Dive in, or stay away.
Why do I say this? Mostly because if you’re not willing to create top-quality content (and promote that content relentlessly), you’re only adding to the noise. No one likes noise.
John Lee Dumas, founder of the EOfire podcast, once said something to me that stuck:
“Don’t add to the noise. Create something worthwhile. If you can’t add value to the industry and the world, pick a new topic where you can.”
So, in this post, I’ll explain what goes into content marketing (in terms of time, effort, and money) and what kind of results you can expect (ROI) to help you decide if content marketing is right for you.
Excited yet? Here we go!
Successful content marketing requires commitment to excellency. That’s all well and dandy, but what does excellence look like
Pro Tip: Two tools that helped me become a much better writer are the Hemingway App and Grammarly. They show you when your writing is grammatically incorrect, too complex, or too passive.
While hitting on all those points is no easy task, I urge you not to start content marketing unless you can commit to them. The most important of the four points is the clear, actionable takeaway: you should use your content to teach your customers.
Jeff Goins, a famous author and blogger, has four questions he must answer “yes” to before he ever publishes a piece:
Now, this sounds like a lot, and I may be scaring you away. Before you back out, there’s a question I’m sure you’re wondering: “How much time is this going to take me?”
That depends on how many posts you write (or videos/podcasts you create), how long it takes you to create them, and how much time you spend promoting them.
Buffer, a leader in content marketing, takes roughly 2 hours and 58 minutes to write a blog post. Their full breakdown looks like this:
They say seven minutes on promotion – that’s just adding it to their social media schedule. You’ll have to do a lot more promotion if you’re just starting out. As a rule of thumb, you should spend at least an hour promoting for every hour spent creating – preferably more.
If you start with one post per week, your total time per week on writing and promotion will be at least six hours. (Probably more when you’re first starting because you won’t be used to writing and the process will take you longer.)
Of course, you can write more posts (up to 2-3 per week) or less posts (once a month at a minimum), depending on the resources you have available. You can also reduce that time by hiring a freelance writer.
One of the reasons I love content marketing so much is its incredibly flexible cost. You can literally spend as much or as little on it as you want, depending on how much time you can invest. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute:
“Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates more than three times as many leads.”
For example, I’ve used content marketing to grow my own site from 0 to 60 visitors per day in just a few short months with a cost of $0 and some sweat equity.
On the flip side, if you don’t have time to create content, you can hire a writer or content marketer to take over that job for you. While writers vary massively in experience, skillset, and cost, you’ll typically pay somewhere between $.05 to $.25 per word ($50 to $250 per 1000 words).
Of course, there are other monetary aspects of marketing, including paid advertising like PPC (pay per click), display and native ads, and paid influencers. Personally, I don’t pay much attention to these methods – I like to focus on organic methods like SEO and networking.
That said, you can spend as much or as little as you’d like on paid ads. I’d say $500 is a good starting point, then you can go up from there.
Let me warn you: content marketing is a long-term strategy. Moz believes it can take up to six months to truly see results from your efforts – a time period they call the “gap of disappointment”.
Will this vary for you? Yes. Do some people see results faster? Yes.
However, this is a “Kaizen” approach to marketing and business growth. (Kaizen is a Japanese word for small daily improvements, which provide exponential results over the long haul.)
Personally, I love long-term investments because they always tend to pay off better than cutting corners. But, to each their own! 🙂
Answer these four questions to find out:
If you said “no” to one of these questions, you should not start content marketing. (OK, I guess you don’t have to accept #4… but I think a little less of you if you don’t.)
I’ve already beaten the ‘why’ into your head. Do yourself (and the world) a favor and stay away from adding more crappy content.
Did you say yes to them all? Then your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to create a content marketing strategy and calendar. Once you’ve done that, start writing!
Do you use content marketing in your business? Let me know in the comments! 🙂
What are your thoughts?