As a society, we have definitely become more impatient as the world around us speeds up. We can get an answer to pretty much every question we have immediately at our fingertips by tapping a few keys on our phone. We can get most items delivered the next day if not the same day. Entire meals can be cooked in 10 minutes, and the news is barely a minute old before we see it online. It’s understandable why small business marketers get impatient when it comes to seeing ROI from content marketing efforts compared to other marketing such as paid ads, but it really IS worth the wait! Let’s dive deeper into how long you must wait to see ROI from content marketing.

What is considered content marketing?

content marketingContent marketing is creating and sharing online material, such as videos, blogs, educational articles, eBooks, and social media posts, ideally targeted to a specific audience online. The key to successful content marketing is creating valuable, relevant content to attract, acquire, and engage your audience. Providing helpful and entertaining content can form a strong bond between your brand and customers that continues to grow and strengthen over time. Savvy marketers for businesses large and small know that content marketing can be one of the most valuable types of marketing a company can do. Here’s why:

  • 96% of the most successful content marketers say that content marketing has helped them build credibility and trust with their audience.
  • 95% of the B2B service and product buyers admit that they view content as a trustworthy marker when evaluating a business.
  • Content marketing 62% less than traditional marketing programs and generates 3x the leads.

Why don’t more marketers do content marketing?

You can see why small business marketers are dedicating more efforts each year to content marketing. So why doesn’t every marketer do content marketing? Two reasons: content marketing is hard, and it takes time to see an ROI.

Why content marketing is hard

content marketing is hardIt’s hard because effective content marketing requires planning; even a basic content plan can go a long way to keep efforts organized, but many marketers don’t take the time to create one. Content marketing also requires consistency. To build up a readership, whether it’s on your onsite blog, your email marketing efforts, or your social media platforms, you need to provide relevant information regularly. Hence, people come to depend on and expect to see new, fresh content from you.  If you’re a small business marketer, consistency can become a real challenge if you’re pulled in other directions by marketing tactics that don’t take up as much time.  For your content marketing to be effective, you really must invest in a well-rounded content team (or a well-rounded marketer!). Some of the needed include:

  • Creativity
  • Strategic thinking
  • Strong writing skills
  • Marketing prowess
  • Technical SEO skills

The ROI of content marketing

The bigger challenge for marketers is ROI. Content marketing absolutely provides fantastic ROI, but it takes time to see those results. Here’s the basic truth: content marketing works, but it can take around six to nine months to start seeing substantial results from your efforts. Content marketing takes time to work. It’s a long-term strategy. If you want immediate results, you likely won’t find them this way. But if you want to build your business on a firm foundation and grow into the future, content marketing is one of your best options. Like we mentioned before, content can generate 3x the leads of other marketing tactics. Traditional marketing costs 62% more than content marketing. Businesses that blog get 67% more leads than those that don’t. So, the question is, can you wait to see those kinds of results?

Some content marketing results will come sooner

resultsWhile it does take a while to see substantial results from your content marketing efforts, that doesn’t mean you won’t see anything for the first six to nine months. Certain blog posts will cause a boost in traffic, and some social media posts will entice people to visit your site. You WILL see traction from your efforts! When we say “substantial” ROI, we’re talking about how your content marketing builds on itself over time. As you create more content pieces, your audience grows, your engagement increases, and you build up your reputation as a subject matter expert. None of those results come overnight, but you will see traffic increase slowly, time on your website increase, followers on your social channels grow, and your email list grows if you are doing content marketing correctly. To succeed, here are a few quick tips:

  • Start with a content plan – even a basic one will keep you organized and on track.
  • Know what you’re going to measure – this should include social media engagement, follows, website traffic, email opt-ins, and ultimately leads and sales.
  • Be consistent – you can’t build an engaged audience by being inconsistent. Have and stick with a schedule.
  • Know what your audience wants information on – answer the questions they are asking. Provide the information they’re looking for. Helpful, educational, or engaging content will gain you a following over time. Helpful content marketing is now important than ever!

Content marketing is a long-term strategy, with substantial results likely not appearing for several months. Knowing how to create and maintain a solid content marketing effort will indeed provide ROI over time. A strong content marketing strategy generally takes between six and nine months to yield real results for small to medium-sized businesses, but the results are worth the wait!

Patty Hughes
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