Case Study: How Content Marketing Almost Crippled My Business!
You can’t imagine what this post is about!
But it’s important that you stop whatever you’re doing right now and read through this page.
Content marketing is the buzzword right now, but it almost crippled my business.
As a matter of fact, my fans and family call me a content marketer, because I believed in it. And I still do.
I’ve never written a controversial article ever since I started this blog.
Maybe this one is going to change the way you do your blogging and content writing. I want to begin by asking a question:
Why is everyone talking about content marketing?
Yes, virtually every blogger I know sings praises to it. We’ve all read somewhere, in a book or listened to podcasts that content marketing is powerful. Correct?
What I discovered is that you might be talking and writing about it, even without knowing what it’s about.
I’ve written several posts that raises the bar for so-called content marketers. But recently, I called myself to order to really examine the practice and the results I was getting.
You see, there are several myths about writing quality content and Google had always explained the various factors that can aid your rankings. Quality content is just one of those factors. Relevant links and social signals are also vital.
If you’re the type who follows the crowd to sing praises of a particular marketing system, you’ve to stop and study the metrics yourself.
What you need as an internet entrepreneur is results. You need a community that trust and believe in what you’ve to offer.
You don’t want to labor in vain, and at the end of the day have nothing tangible to show forth. So, stop following the crowd and let’s concentrate on the juicy part.
What really is content marketing?
In order to make this post simple and straight to the point, I’m not going to borrow my definition of this term from any so-called expert. So, in the basic form, content marketing simply means:
- Picking a niche
- Identifying the needs in that niche
- Creating content that can address the needs
- Creating and selling products and services to meet the needs
- Building relationships that can bring repeat customers
- Being consistent and honest
Now, these 6 points should become your pivot when you’re doing any marketing online. It doesn’t matter what name you call it, you’ve to stick to this. This also applies to pay per click advertisers and even media buying experts.
The concept of marketing has never changed and it will continue to address a particular niche.
I’m yet to find any reasonable internet marketer who advertises his “SEO e-book” to the audience who wants to buy jewelry and digital cameras. It’d be ridiculous.
I know that most bloggers who advice their readers to embrace content marketing may have a different definition to what I’ve laid out in the six points.
Some may claim that building relationship comes first, before selling a product. But there is a problem with that strategy and I want you to learn from my mistake.
Caution: Content marketing almost crippled my business
In the second quarter of 2012, I discovered the immense potential in content marketing and decided to give it a shot.
I was told that when you consistently create quality content, that your audience would grow and your business, too.
Of course, it was true.
I started off researching, creating and updating this blog on a regular basis, and before I know what was happening, the number of comments on my recent posts increased.
I also paid for a professional blog redesign which you’re seeing right now.
As a freelance writer, I needed clients at all cost. Prior to 2012, I was actively involved in guest blogging and reaching out to my target audience.
But when I fully embraced content marketing – with the myth that when I have built an active blog, that prospective clients are going to find me easily, but that was when failure quietly crept in.
This happened in 2012 and for 3 straight months, not even a single prospect hired me. Yes, I got few contacts, but those aren’t serious entrepreneurs with money to invest into content creation and guest blogging services. What really happened?
I didn’t focus on the “marketing” side
Content + marketing = profit.
No matter what you do online, even if your content is better than everyone else’s you MUST focus your attention on marketing. You must continue to reach out and don’t rely on prospects to find you.
If they find you either via search engines, social media or word of mouth – rejoice and reap the rewards. But before they do, go find them yourself.
Bear in mind that when you remove “marketing” from content, you no longer have the powerful system to grow your business. You’re merely writing and updating your blog, which is what so many bloggers do.
Like I said earlier, I still believe in content marketing. But my misconception about it almost wrecked my business.
Each time I stop marketing my writing services and driving traffic to my niche sites, my sales and income dropped significantly. I had earlier thought that writing epic content is enough to make a blogger successful – but the reverse is the case.
Don’t believe those who say you can’t succeed online without quality content. They’re lying to you.
Recently, I interviewed 5 super affiliates who make over $10,000 monthly and asked what their keys were – to my utmost surprise, none of them were actively involved in content creation.
They’re more concerned about generating targeted leads and converting those leads into customers. It doesn’t matter how they go about it, but they’re making good money online – and creating valuable products continually.
Which prison has content marketing gotten you into?
If I’m not mistaking, I know that this buzz “content marketing” must have imprisoned you, whether directly or indirectly. You might not realize it.
But if you don’t care about marketing anymore, you don’t care about meeting new people daily, who can add to the success of your business, you’ve been deceived.
Don’t take my word for it. But when was the last time you reached out to your target audience and asked them to try the product you’re selling?
If you’re marketing online, you need to pay bills. You’ve got web hosting bills to pay. What about email autoresponder services?
And by the way, content marketing has also brought about failures in email marketing (more on this later).
Build it and they’ll come is a phrase that’s killing businesses online. That’s why I love shopping sites. They don’t just build it and expect you to come – they reach out to you wherever you are via TV advertising, internet adverting, email adverting etc.
Truth be told, marketing can be defined as finding out where your target audience hangs out and going there to meet them with your product. You can’t expect them to meet you, because they’re Kings.
They’re your asset and from henceforth, change your mind set about internet marketing and start to do crazy marketing. Yes, I just said it, and you can quote me on that.
Why an email list might not work for you
Another aspect of internet marketing that’s so crucial is email list building and relationship marketing. You and I know that the inbox is the most active portal, and free from distractions.
The inbox is better than a facebook wall or page. It’s more targeted than marketing on twitter and could produce results if you do it correctly.
Nevertheless, I see a lot of content marketers making deadly mistakes. Just because some other successful content marketer isn’t selling any product to his list, doesn’t make you the same. Don’t just copy and replicate. Find your own style.
If you’ve a good and helpful product for your subscribers, don’t feel intimidated or insecure to recommend the product.
It could be an affiliate program that you’ve used and found interesting. You’ve got to sell to your list or they’d develop this impression that you’re a free-monger.
I know that Pat Flynn of Smartpassiveincome.com doesn’t sell any product to his list. But that’s because he already makes a lot of money from affiliate marketing and his niche sites.
He’s a super affiliate and earns passive income from web hosting and email autoresponder service. He might not sell through his list, but nonetheless, he does sell through his active blog and resource page.
Whoever told you that content marketing is all about building an email list and never selling products to them has deceived you!
Actually, I was deceived and throughout 2012, I didn’t sell a single product to my list, which made every one of my subscribers to stop opening or reading my emails. I’m damn serious – they didn’t take me to be a serious person. And truly, I wasn’t at the time.
I didn’t know where I got the advice from, but I was literally sending only latest posts to a list of 800+ in 2012. Please tell me, is this effective marketing?
By the time I sent an affiliate program that had helped me in the past, not even a single subscriber clicked to check it out, let alone buy into it.
I want to beg you right now to stop collecting leads if you’ve no intentions of selling any product or service to them.
It’d be a total waste of money on autoresponder service if all you do is collate email leads and forget about subscribers and their needs.
I know that I’m speaking to someone out there – this is serious.
I know that you can get other benefits apart from selling products to your list, but the ultimate goal of building a list and all the relationship processes is to make money. If you’ve a contrary opinion, leave a comment below…
Moving forward into effective content marketing
The only way to get results; drive quality traffic and earn a living online as an internet marketer is to offer value to your target audience.
The value has to begin with a thorough research on the keywords people are using to locate you. See how I pick high-traffic keywords.
Once that is done, you can start creating ‘rich’ content. But this content must align with the products and services you’ve for your audience.
If you’re a freelance writer like I am, you should concentrate on creating content that would interest prospective clients, not fellow bloggers. 97% of your blogger friends have no intention or plan of hiring you. All the content they need, they can create.
So, don’t write to please fellow blogger or friends. Write to persuade website owners, entrepreneurs and people who can work with you.
Don’t just wake up each morning to write articles and expect miracles to happen. It doesn’t work that way.
You must be able to address a particular problem that your audience is facing. If possible, limit the number of articles you write for your own website/blog and focus on reaching out to those who can buy what you’re selling.
The question is, what exactly are you selling? Take it from me. If you’re not selling any product or service, content marketing isn’t going to yield results for you.
I don’t care what you’ve read from any so-called content expert; you MUST offer something for sale or go broke.
Start early to train your readers and subscribers
If you’re building a list like every other website owner/blogger, and you already have readers who love what you’re doing, start to train them now. Before it gets too late.
I mean, don’t create the impression that you’ve nothing to sell, because over time, they’re going to see you like that. And when you eventually recommend an affiliate offer or add a banner to your blog sidebar, no one would click it.
You’ve accustomed their minds to only see Free Stuffs. And now, to get their hard earned money, you’ve to work extra hard. Be ready to lose subscribers and readers when you sell a product to them – but that’s fine.
Each time I send a newsletter to my list, asking them to buy a particular product or invest in a program, I get people who unsubscribe and complain.
Well, good riddance to bad rubbish – and I don’t even need those subscribers in the first place. It was a mistake to have them join my list. Sorry, I’m too harsh. It’s one of the qualities of a content marketer. Lol!
Whatever you do online, focus on building relationships that can bring you sales and money.
I don’t care what you’ve been taught in the past, most of those so-called experts are earning $10k – $100k per month. They can counsel you to NOT sell till you’ve built an active audience.
Don’t do that. Start selling in your own small way. Even if you don’t have 1000 readers yet, let the 50 active readers understand that you’re a businessperson.
You want to help them with free quality and helpful content, and at the same time, you want to stay in business.
Have I touched your heart?
I’ve one goal of writing this post – to give you a wake-up call right now. Content marketing when misunderstood can wreck the way you do business online.
Before I started reading a lot of articles and digital materials on this buzzword, I was doing well because I reached out to my target audience easily. The only difference between traditional advertising and content marketing is the format.
Traditional advertisers may not necessarily have a deep knowledge about their ideal customers, but content marketers do. When you’re using helpful content to persuade people, it must be subtle and devoid of hype.
Don’t be deceived, most internet marketing firms still don’t believe in content marketing as a term. They prefer to call it inbound marketing or relationship marketing. That doesn’t matter. What matters is…
Marketing is the “core”
Always give marketing the topmost priority in your online business.
To grow your website and blog to the point where it sustains itself and you, you’ve to give adequate time to effective marketing.
Start reaching out. If you’ve a budget, invest in press release distribution to generate more targeted leads.
Use press release distribution and PPC advertising. Create videos and podcasts. Harness your energy into building a website that truly delivers value.
Above all, have a product or service to sell. That’s the only way to make content marketing yield results for you.
No matter the amount of traffic your website gets on a daily basis, if you fail to monetize effectively, you’d still be broke. And that’s not content marketing. Or is it?
Do you think that content marketing is the best way to bring targeted leads to your website? Please drop me a valuable comment below. I’m eager to read your thoughts. See you at the top!
Top right image source: Robert