Companies need to provide sufficient time for their content marketing programs to develop and mature. This way, they can harvest the results.
Many companies are excited to get their content marketing program off the ground and quickly generate results. Unlike a traditional media buy where you spend the money upfront and get the results very quickly, content marketing programs accrue their bottom and top-funnel results over time. After making the contribution upfront, you’ll only start to see the results appear months after you’ve made the initial outlay.
Why do companies cut their content marketing programs within the first 6 months of launch?
In our experience, we’ve seen this happen with some companies for various reasons, common ones being:
1. The executive sponsor has unrealistic expectations for the content marketing program. They haven’t been educated on how content marketing programs work over time.
2. The company didn’t align their content marketing program with their strategic objectives. As it progressed, it further went astray. Eventually, the content marketing program will stop. By then, you’ll either ultimately restructure the program or permanently end it.
3. Company leaders get too excited about the possibilities that a content marketing program bring for their company. They then go too broad in developing their content marketing strategy. As a result, they don’t get initial traction quickly because the program was too broad.
When do content marketing programs begin generating sales funnel results?
Defining top-funnel results
This sales funnel means that you’re now starting to drive visitors to your site. Your company is also starting to show up in search queries. People are clicking on those queries, and now they’re having their first interaction with your company. They aren’t likely to convert initially, so you may have some spot conversions happen here and there.
However, the key here is that you’re now starting to get visibility with the search engines. They are now regularly indexing your website pages. You’re also starting to show up maybe on position 59 in the search results (but at least you’re now starting to show off in the search results).
For most companies, if you narrowly focus your content marketing program around long-tail focus keyword phrases, you’re going to start seeing top-funnel results hit as early as 6 months into the program.
Content marketing program performance over time
Here is a chart outlining a typical performance curve over time. Note that the content marketing costs are incurred during each interval of time, with a larger investment within the first unit of time.
The larger investment reflects the costs of developing the content marketing strategy. These include assembling the tools, technology, personnel and other resources needed to effectively operate the program. Regardless of whether it is a media buy or content marketing program, there are always costs of getting a program off the ground, either hard or soft costs.
Bear in mind that these results don’t happen magically. You need to do smart work. If you want to cross the chasm from top- to bottom-funnel results, you have to:
- Continue with the consistency of your content marketing program.
- Optimize your content marketing program based on what you’re seeing work and what’s not working.
- Making sure that you’re doing an effective job of amplifying your content and driving inbound links back to your content.
If you do that, then you’ll start to see bottom-funnel results.
Defining bottom-funnel results
“Bottom-funnel” is a loosely thrown term in marketing. For the purposes of your content marketing program, it is defined as conversion events such as new email registrations, inbound leads, new revenue and other things that drive your business forward.
How do I improve my content marketing program so it starts to yield results sooner?
For most content marketing programs that are starting from scratch, various inputs can help accelerate the program’s success. The two biggest ones are financial and internal resources.
The larger they are, the quicker and more frequently you’ll be able to create compelling, thoughtful content. The more you can also spend on amplification. More compelling content and more amplification equal faster SEO performance.
However, even if you throw unlimited money and resources toward your content marketing program, results are not instantaneous. In our experience, in 99 campaigns out of 100, you’re not going to show up in the #1 spot for your desired focus keyword phrases on day 1, let alone week 1. Even with an incredibly aggressive budget and limitless resources, 30 days is realistically the fastest possible to see results.
What are realistic results for companies with large budgets and strong internal and external resources?
Our experience also has shown that if you can post content each business day consistently for 2 to 3 months, you’ll start to see top-funnel metrics up to 50% faster than if you’re posting one to two pieces per week. When this is done, you’ll start to see results.
A note of caution to readers
If you are creating a significant amount of content each week or each month, you must be consistent. It’s not good enough to go and just publish 20 or 30 pieces of content in one week and then sit back and hope that you’re going to get a huge amount of traffic.
It’s not going to work that way. Consistency is just as important as quantity and quality. It relates to SEO and specifically to content marketing programs supporting an SEO program.
Make sure that you understand what you’re trying to achieve with your content marketing program before initiating it. Make sure your program is narrowly focused and that you’re allocating enough resources against your objectives. This way, you can achieve success. If you do that, after 6 months, you can reasonably expect to see consistent top-funnel results with your content marketing campaign.
Need content marketing help?
If you have a content marketing program or are planning one, download our ebook 100 Mistakes Businesses Make When Starting, Optimizing and Scaling Content Marketing Programs.
This ebook will walk you through the mistakes of hundreds of other companies and the challenges they faced in implementing their content marketing programs. To learn more about how Tempesta Media can help you streamline your content creation process and deliver quality content at scale, contact us today.