Many sales and marketing people ask the question, “How long does it take to generate leads using content marketing (sometimes referred to as inbound marketing)?”
Throughout the article, we’ll use the terms “content marketing” and “inbound marketing” interchangeably.
The truth about inbound marketing is that it’s a long-term play. Companies should plan to invest for the long haul in order to reap the rich rewards that content marketing offers.
Statistics provided by numerous marketing agencies have shown that most businesses can expect to start seeing a return on their efforts within 6-9 months. Of course, it is not uncommon for significant results to take upwards of a year in some industries (depending on content saturation).
However, there are three strategies that will improve the rate at which companies can begin to see results faster with content marketing.
1. USE A CONTENT EDITORIAL CALENDAR TO PUBLISH CONSISTENTLY
When publishing content, search engines thrive on sites that produce consistent, relevant posts. Google, in particular, wants to disseminate your content to an audience that’s actively searching for it.
While Google’s algorithms change periodically, each iteration does track one thing in particular… post frequency. To keep the search gods happy, implement the use of a content publishing calendar.
By using a calendar, any member of your team can plan, schedule, and track content post frequency. This will ensure there is always something in the hopper ready to go out at a pre-determined time.
Editorial calendars improve efficiency. No longer do you have to twiddle your thumbs wondering which blog topic is best to publish next. Use a calendar to plan out 30-90 days worth of content in advance. For maximum effectiveness, publish a new blog post at least 3 times per week.
Access your free editorial calendar template from our friends at Co-Schedule.
2. VARY YOUR CONTENT OFFERING FOR MAXIMUM IMPACT
When inbound marketing comes to mind, most people automatically think of blogging. Blog posts are the most widely used content assets, but they are most effective in pulling in visitors when integrated with a mixed medium content strategy.
Companies should be looking at every content type that makes sense for their audience, including some of the lesser utilized (yet highly effective) options:
- Visual Images – Visual graphics with a relevant text message overlay can stand alone and are especially popular on social media. This type of content has a high viewer rate and can be even more effective with the right call-to-action.
- Infographics – A similar type of visual content but typically containing more useful information. Infographics are found most often in blog posts but for those using Pinterest, they are equally popular.
- Case Studies – These are effective content assets when used at the appropriate stage of the buyer’s journey. Case studies provide real proof of the product or service offering being considered. Prospects use case studies to vet solutions providers; while considering their options.
- Podcasts – The explosion of podcasts over the last few years would leave some to think that there is no room left for newcomers. Quite the contrary. Podcasting has yet to reach a tipping point and many industries are still underserved.
Podcasting opens up the doors to a room full of your ideal customers. This content platform delivers targeted listeners who will come back again and again if the content is of high quality. It’s not too late to leverage podcast as part of your inbound marketing strategy.
Stay tuned for a new upcoming podcast produced by Video Social Creative in 2017!
Here is a complete list of additional content formats.
It’s not easy to consistently produce high-quality content, but it is necessary. However relevant and timely your content may be… if it’s no good, it’s pointless.
Quality content can be created with some concerted effort in a few key areas:
- Get to know your audience. Create content specific to your buyer persona and their needs and interests. If you’re a technology focused company and you don’t have a profile of your ideal customer, create one using this template.
- Become the subject matter expert in your space. Use your knowledge and experience to cover the topics your audience wants to know about and that you’re most familiar with. If you lack the experience, then tap your network or collaborate with an influencer that is an established thought leader in your industry.
- Perform extensive research to gain knowledge. Use that newfound information to help shape your content. This helps to establish authority on a particular topic. Some of the best content available is delivered from a position of authority- based on research. Jay Baer, author of Hug Your Haters, is a perfect example of this.
With inbound marketing being all the rage, companies are creating content at breakneck speed. Yet they wonder why they are not seeing faster results.
Content in and of itself does not equal leads. Publishing relevant, consistent, high-quality content in a variety of formats is the key to faster results with content marketing.
Have you thought about inbound marketing for your company but have some questions? Get all your questions answered with our free, no-obligation assessment.
Also published on Medium.