Do you want to increase website traffic, subscribers, and ultimately sales?

Of course you do...

...as does every other marketing professional and business that generates any portion of their revenues online. And just about every competent website administrator has already heard of content marketing, if they haven’t already taken action by creating and distributing content.

But I’ve got news for you: it doesn’t happen overnight! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and despite what you may have heard, content marketing isn’t as easy as creating content, clicking that lucrative “share” button, and watching website traffic (and profits) hockey-stick into the stratosphere.

Unfortunately, a lot of people suffer from the misconception that gargantuan sales increases can happen overnight, and that each of their posts is going to go viral.

Today we are going to take a closer look at what Rand Fishkin, founder and former CEO of Moz, thinks about the subject. Let's see what he has to say:

The first good point he makes in the video is the misconception that many marketers hold, whereby the only point of content is to inspire readers and digesters of your content to make a purchase.

Au contraire, mon frere! There are many ancillary benefits of content marketing that don’t equate to sales on day one. Rand does a good job of breaking this erroneous mentality into three easy steps as follows:

  1. Trying to create visually appealing content with amazing graphics, imagery, layout, etc.
  2. Share the aforementioned amazing content on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and other popular platforms.
  3. The expectation that hordes of visitors are going to make purchases or subscriptions to a service.

Look, I get it, we’ve all had pipe dreams of striking it rich by making a massive impact overnight. But the honest truth is that there’s a lot more to content marketing than meets the eyes of most business owners.

Rand, however, makes a fantastic point. Before you can find success, you need to reiterate steps 1 and 2 many, many times before you get good at the process.

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He also makes a good point when he says that it takes a while to discover what’s going to resonate the strongest with your audience, and it takes a significant amount of time and hard work. Too many website owners have pie-in-the-sky dreams, thinking that they’ll be able to wow an audience from the get-go.

Building Trust with Your Audience

In addition, people don’t make snap decisions to take action a buy the first time they see your content. Rather, content marketing is a way to methodically build an audience and generate awareness through education.

It’s all about trust, folks, and first you need to put in the time establishing a relationship with people to make them more inclined to take action.

Rand made another great point that, “…teams who invest in content marketing fail to properly plan for the required time and effort required.” If, by now, you are thinking that things sound a little bleak, think again.

Content marketing is a long-term strategy, designed to differentiate yourself from your competitors over time. And when it’s done right, it can reach your target audience in ways that aren’t possible with other forms of marketing.

Instead of giving up after the first few iterations of the content marketing process fail to increase sales by 200%, businesses need to adopt the long term approach to build an audience, build trust, and above all, add value for visitors to their website.

But guess what? The people that give up too early open doors for those who are committed. I've seen this happen first hand. Though any given market may seem saturated at first glance, there is really a lot of useless noise from people who just throw ideas at the wall, hoping something sticks, instead of taking action month after month.

As Rand mentioned, we need to stop looking at content marketing as a purely “viral” effort. Believe it or not, there are many other benefits to content marketing such as improving the value-add of your sites material, and even SEO benefits (as long as you stay away from negative factors like keyword stuffing).

Another good point he makes – one that people don’t often consider – is how many visits it takes before a user has built up enough trust to interact further with your website. Rand revealed that on average it takes about 7.5 visits before a user will sign up for a free trial of their software. So, it’s clear that we need to model his efforts to repeatedly engage our audiences if we hope to increase the results of content marketing efforts.

Yes, there are things you can do to move your visitors along the decision path, and you should definitely be doing them (lead magnets by category or Facebook retargeting for instance).  The content becomes the 'gateway drug' that you ultimately use to get more exposure through joined efforts.

Final Thoughts

Content marketing success is not an overnight process. Instead, it’s more like a marathon.

But the fact that it is challenging is essentially an opportunity, because many competitors give up after their first or second post fails to go viral. With consistency and commitment, however, content marketing is an extremely effective strategy to build an audience, establish trust, cast yourself as an authority figure, and increase revenue.

About 

Will Hanke owns Saint Louis' top independent Internet Marketing firm, Red Canoe Media. In addition to helping some of St Louis' most recognizable brands with their online marketing strategy, Will also is an Amazon bestselling author, speaker and teacher.