If your content marketing isn’t working, ask yourself why and then make small improvements to make a big impact over time
Why Your Content Marketing Fails
Let’s play a little game to get to the bottom of it. It’s called the “Five Whys,” and it will help us break down the issue and ask a series of five iterative questions that will reveal the root cause of the problem:
Issue: Our content marketing isn’t working.
- Why? — Why is your content marketing not working?
We haven’t seen any positive results.
- Why? — Why haven’t you seen any positive results?
Our content isn’t increasing traffic to our site so we aren’t getting more leads or customers.
- Why? — Why isn’t your content increasing traffic to your site so you get more leads and customers?
We don’t have a consistent content production schedule that helps us generate traffic.
- Why? — Why don’t you have a consistent content production schedule to help you generate more traffic?
We’re struggling internally to align our priorities and resources to keep up a content calendar.
- Why? — Why are you struggling internally to align your priorities and resources to keep up a content calendar?
We don’t have an internal process that facilitates successful implementation of our content marketing strategy.
This game could go on for more than Five Whys, but it tells us pretty quickly that the root cause of our issue is a process problem. I’ve seen this time and time again with businesses new to content marketing, or even mildly experienced: They have not set themselves up for success.
Why? They’re looking at things the wrong way…
Systems, Not Goals
Goals are great. I love goals, and so do you. But I think you can agree, what we most likely love so much about goals is reaching them. We did it! Gold star! Pop the champagne! And that’s all great — it never hurts to dream big, especially when we have an ROI to prove or revenue numbers to meet.
The problem is that we set goals for the far-off imaginary future and forget about the time in between — that empty space, the “boring” stuff before the shiny object at the end of the path.
We forget about all the hard work it will take us to reach our goal and the incremental actions we must start taking now so that in one year’s time, we have that ROI proven or those revenue numbers met. We don’t create a system to help us reach our goals.
Content marketing isn’t a rotisserie oven; we can’t “Set it, and forget it!” We must inject a little Zen into our business and embody the idea of kaizen, or continuous improvement that moves us towards our goals with consistent dedication.
1% Rule Of Marginal Gains
Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress.
Ah – that’s one of the best quotes for content marketers right there. It’s also the perfect complement to a system-based, internal content marketing strategy.
Progress is what systems are built on, and perfection is why they die. How can you make progress if you’re waiting for things to be just right? Get out of your heads, do the best you can, and get that content out into the world.
Of course, make sure what you’re producing is quality, but don’t sacrifice consistency for perfection. After all, the sweet spot for content marketing to start showing results is about six months in, so you want to be producing content consistently over that time period.
By being consistent and dedicated to getting your content out there over time, you’re making small marginal gains every single time you press Publish.
After all, content marketing is as much of a numbers game as it is a human one. The more pages and posts you have on your website. You’ll see a hockey stick effect on the graph right around 300 total published blog posts, which doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen over time with progress, not perfection.
This strategy of small margin gains is often referred to as the 1% rule. The thinking is that if you can make 1% progress every single day, it can result in a significant impact over time.
One percent may sound small, but it adds up to be a lot, especially in a business environment. Most businesses involved in a content marketing strategy can benefit from shifting their thinking to a system-based strategy based on 1% marginal gains made every day.
Many businesses don’t think this way, and that’s one glaring reason they aren’t seeing results; they aren’t setting themselves up for success.
Keeping up a consistent content calendar in the case of our Five Whys example is imperative toward making these 1% improvements that grow over time. There can be no excuse for letting one week slide, because you know the importance of that one week in the grand scheme of things.
Creating a system based on 1% gains may feel like you’re moving at a turtle’s pace, but crawling slowly yet steadily will truly win the race when it comes to content marketing. Naps are nice, but winning is better.
Source: Content Marketing