I have a confession. During my time as a content marketer, that’s what I touted. If you write great content consistently, you will get more customers. In fact, you’ll get tons of them.
For a few lucky ones, I was right. But for the majority of people who see minimal gains after investing time and effort into legitimate content creation, it’s dismissive to say the problem is just bad writing or publishing too infrequently. The problem is thinking of content marketing as a replacement for inbound marketing, rather than a subset of it.
If after a few months of dedicated content creation, you still find yourself wondering where your hordes of leads are hiding, consider these 5 content marketing confessions, leaked from an inbound marketer in recovery.
5 Confessions of a Content Marketer
1.) Content marketers care too much about traffic. Don’t get me wrong, inbound marketers want to see those traffic numbers climb, and content marketing is one way to make that happen. But site traffic is just one measly metric. What good are those skyrocketing visits if the readers just…leave? Inbound marketing takes that content and figures out how to convert the traffic it attracts into leads with killer calls-to-action and well optimized landing pages tailored to every piece of content.
2.) Content marketers think great content will naturally rise to the top of search engines. It’s more accurate to say bad content will naturally sink to the bottom. There’s tons of great content out there, but if it hasn’t been optimized, search engines can’t find it and won’t return the page in the SERPs. Your writing may be incredibly clever to a human, but a crawler doesn’t know how it relates to a search query when you ignore SEO.
3.) Content marketers think great content will go viral. Will It Blend? The Old Spice Guy. Elf Yourself. These campaigns went viral because the content was great, so if I make great content, it'll go viral, too. Right? Wrong. Even if you’re one of the lucky few whose content goes viral, what are the chances you can replicate that? There is another way to get the thousands of views you crave, and that’s a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy that includes email marketing, social media, and PR to get people sharing your content.
4.) Content marketers can’t get butts in the seats. There are only a handful of sites that I visit every day by typing in their domain name. The rest I find through my RSS, Facebook feed, Twitter feed, LinkedIn, Gchat, links from other sites, email subscriptions…point taken? A content marketing strategy will get content published on your website, but most of your prospects aren’t going to proactively type in your website's URL into their browser and arrive at your site via direct traffic. You need an inbound marketing strategy to get that content in front of people in the places they’re already hanging out online.
5.) Content marketers are missing the big picture. Content marketers are focused on the content creation process; inbound marketers look at how that content fits into the larger inbound marketing strategy. An inbound marketing strategy will set the standards by which a piece of content is measured, monitor performance, and iterate on successes and failures. Is one of your ebooks bringing in leads with an incredibly high conversion rate? If you’re a content marketer, you might not know the answer to that. If you’re an inbound marketer, you’re already promoting it more and fixing the poorer performing assets to emulate what the ebook is doing right.
In an age where information has never been more accessible, creating good content just isn’t good enough. Don’t waste your time creating killer content that nobody can find and doesn’t help your bottom line. Rather, start creating content using the mind of a strategic inbound marketer!
Image Credit: Matthew Conroy