There is a TON of content online.
We all know this. But do you know just how much a TON really is?
It’s 1:15pm on the east coast and approximately 3,684,000 posts have been published just today on just WordPress. That’s a lot of attention seeking.
I tried to calculate how many posts that comes out to per month and my laptop calculator couldn’t handle it.
Back in 2010, when dinosaurs roamed the internet, written content was created for search engines. If you wrote solid content consistently and with SEO in mind, you automatically entered into the Google race to the #1 spot. Getting as many eyeballs as possible on your articles was the goal.
Now, in 2020, the blogs getting the most eyeballs are those who built their authority back in the 00s and early 10s. For almost any topic you choose to write about, there’ll be 3-4 established high authority domains who have placed their stakes in the 1-10 spots in Google. Beating them takes time, extreme niching and money.
I’m not saying SEO shouldn’t be part of a content strategy. But, it is a much longer game now. You should “do SEO” now so that in 2025, maybe, as your posts age, you’ll see some significant love from Google.
So is content marketing even worth it?
Yes! Here’s how content marketing works now.
Volume and breadth is no longer the best strategy.
Instead of striving to get the most eyeballs, the goal of content marketing now is to get the right eyeballs, and keep those eyeballs so that you can convert more efficiently.
In this post, we’ll dig into the the three necessary steps to achieving a positive return from your blogging efforts.
Know thy audience.
Whatever your business, you have an ideal customer. Once you’ve identified that ideal customer, interact with them out in the world. Discover what they’re talking about, what questions they’re asking, what they’re complaining about and what they’re raving about.
Chances are if that one person has a pain point, others will have the same. If one person finds something helpful, so will others.
Create content for that one person. Pretend like you’re talking to that one person. Address that one person’s specific concerns.
Then, instead of writing for everyone (and therefore talking to no one in particular), you’ll be writing for someone. Remember that the people reading your content are real, living, breathing human beings who want to feel like someone understands them.
When you write in this way, you put your audience through a filter. You attract people who want to be there because they feel a connection to your content – this will be very important when it comes time to engage and convert.
Instead of relying on Google to show your content to the world, take a boots-on-the-ground approach to distribution.
By controlling your own distribution, you’ll reach fewer people, but more of the right people. Moz has a fantastic Friday Whiteboard session on distribution.
The idea here is to proactively reach out to your intended audiences by either directly reaching out to them or by putting your content in the paths you know they’re traveling down.
By taking this active approach to content distribution, you’ll substitute brute numbers (like the ones that would come from ranking in Google) with refined numbers. Fewer hits, higher relevance.
If you’ve done a good job at identifying the right eyeballs, chances are your content will be relevant. Now the next job is to keep the relevant information engaging. Sure, maybe clients who are looking to improve xyz are here to learn all about xyz. However, simply putting up a dry list of facts about xyz isn’t enough.
Your content needs to connect with the brain and heart behind those eyeballs. This is where many get tripped up.
There’s valuable content that is dry like unbuttered toast and then there’s juicy content that lacks any substance.
What you want is to hit a sweet spot where value meets personality.
Writing relevant/informative content in an unengaging or hard-to-read manner and expecting readers or prospective clients to convert for the sake of the information itself is a rookie mistake.
At the end of the day, sales are successful because of a personal human connection. And the only way you’ll establish that connection is if you have a person’s attention. Gary Vaynerchuck famously said that he’s in the business of daytrading attention.
There are several stages to grabbing attention – from knowing where to fish for it, to producing content that hooks in the first couple of lines.
To keep that attention once you’ve captured it, you need a unique voice, you need to build relatability through storytelling, and you need to use the writing techniques that foster engagement.
And everyone likes attention. It’s great knowing that your audience eats up your stuff and comes back for more like growing puppies. But, the numbers that represent this type of attention are what we call vanity metrics.
The last step – and possibly the hardest – is taking that attention and converting it to cash.
It’s virtually impossible to convert if you have not persuaded your visitor that you are offering something that they need.
In order to successfully get to this point in the first place, you have to make a connection and build trust with those who are already engaged.
But, most important of all, you need to tie your content back to your services. It’s not enough to have 50 beautifully written, engaging posts about the problem your company solves, if those posts never once mention that your company solves that problem.
Offer value first, then guide your reader to where they can find that value. Whether you’re offering your own product/service or an affiliate product/service, your guidance toward it will make or break your earnings.
Content marketing is primarily about building long-term relationships. Building trust should be the focus of marketing strategy. But part of building trust and rapport is showing how you have thought so deeply about your reader’s problem, that you’ve even created/found a solution for it.
If you get the right eyeballs but you don’t keep them on your page, then you won’t convert. If you’re good at keeping eyeballs but they’re not the right eyeballs in the first place, then you won’t convert. To see real returns on your content marketing efforts, you have to grab the attention of the right people, keep their attention long enough to get to your offer, and then actually make the offer.
Learn more about how Content Pattern Optimization (CPO) can help maximize your chances of grabbing, keeping and converting those eyeballs.