The Wong Questions to Ask About Content Marketing

August 27, 2012By

More companies today are considering content marketing.

The main reason for the interest is because other companies are having success with the strategy:

These are just a few examples. When others see this they wonder if their company can also use content to in crease traffic, leads and sales. It’s certainly possible, but as you get started with the strategy there are a couple things to consider.

These are some of the questions I hear from business owners when they start asking about content. I feel these questions are not necessarily wrong, but from the wrong frame of mind.

Wrong Question #1: What is the SEO strategy?

This question is not really wrong, but when it’s one of the first thoughts you have it’s time to readjust the strategy. When most people think about SEO they think about rankings. This sets you up for failure to chase rankings and get away from the kind of content that actually produces results.

Content is about people. The search engines have said this for over 10 years, but it’s hard to stay focused on that fact when you’re chasing SEO rankings. It’s something many people have fallen into over the years.

Correct Question: Who is the targeted reader and what referral sources can send them to our content?

This is a loaded question, but it’s getting your mind into the right frame. Content marketing is about getting traffic, leads and sales. In order for this to happen you need to understand who your target customer or reader is and then figure out the referral sources that can send you those people. Usually this is a combination of search, social, email and even word of mouth. Yes, it’s true. People still talk about you offline with real people. They will talk about your blog if the content is great and has helped them or entertained them.

Wrong Question #2: When will search engines index the posts?

This is another SEO question. For 10 years SEO was the main source of traffic for many blogs. While SEO continues to be a part of content it is not as big as it used to be and that percentage will probably slowly decline in the future. Don’t think about your blog in terms of search engines. You’re trying to reach your customers. You want them to discover your brand and feel like they can trust you.

Correct Question: What is the content marketing success timeline?

This question gets your mind in the right place for setting content marketing expectations. This is not paid advertising where results are instant. Content marketing is a long-term strategy, but it’s one that can pay off more than paid advertising. Most blogs start seeing things gain steam after six months to a year and in some cases even two years.

Some variables include post frequency, your company’s brand recognition and writing resources.

Wrong Question #3: How often should I write?

Writing is much more than actually putting down thoughts on the computer screen. There is research to be done and formatting to take care of throughout the process. If you’re new to blogging then it’s great to get started, but I’m always skeptical when businesses opt for this strategy because the tendency is for people to give up on blogging too soon. It happens probably 95% of the time (statistics based on my own observations).

Correct Question: What resources are needed for content strategy?

A better question here is to ask about what it takes to create a content strategy. In almost every case it will be more work than you anticipate. You’ll need writers that not only enjoy writing, but enjoy the entire process of research and formatting. These are the less glamorous parts of writing that people often fail to mention. Everybody wants to have a finished article, but few people want to actually do the work to write it.

If you start with the proper expectations you’ll be in a better position starting out.