One of my copywriting friends has no online presence at all. She is fully booked due to word-of-mouth referrals and a regular set of clients. In a recent mastermind meeting, the rest of us were discussing our content marketing successes (and, ahem, failures…). Maybe this social media thing was something she should try, she wondered aloud.
“Nooooooooooo…” I cried out.
Why undertake an activity so potentially soul-sucking, energy-draining and time-consuming if you don’t have to? In fact, I recently took a break from social media—and from content creation overall. It felt like a blessed relief not to have to crank out new content every week. It’s been such an uphill battle against the algorithms, the competition, a lack of time and to some extent my own inner-confidence demons!
Surely I’m not the only professional services provider to feel like content marketing is a necessary evil. And that’s the question: Is content marketing necessary at all? How does it serve us, and dare we possibly give it a miss altogether?
My content marketing hiatus came to an end, partly because I used that time to get much clearer about my “why”—and therefore the “how, for whom, when, where and what” of my business. However, I’m sure I haven’t finished grappling with the frustration and fickleness of content marketing. So, why should we persevere with it? How does it support our business growth? And when, if ever, can we give it up as more trouble than it’s worth?
5 Reasons to Continue with Content Marketing
Creating online content helps you build awareness, share value, and attract people to your offerings. Audio, video, and written, it encompasses many formats from websites and blogs to social media posts and podcasts. This content can help people from the very moment they realise they have a problem, right through to helping them find the right solution.
Depending on the stage and nature of your business, content marketing plays a role in several ways.
Attracting visitors to your website directly, through SEO, or indirectly via other platforms might be a core reason for creating content. Even if your business development process happens more offline, good content marketing can drive opportunities and good-fit clients to you.
Email list building
Slightly different to direct client lead generation, incentivising people to hear from you regularly can be a great way to build an engaged, relevant audience. Now you can build a relationship with and deliver value to your email list. At the right times, they can be the first to know about special or new offers.
Authority and credibility
One of my clients does all her business development offline. She meets face-to-face with senior executives, building strong relationships that lead to work engagements. Should she quit content marketing? Well, regularly updated content gives potential new clients the opportunity to confirm that she walks the talk, and they can review what others say about and to her. This can really reinforce their decision to work with her, even though evidence of their online engagement may be less obvious.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search engines are more likely to rank you higher if you have fresh, regularly updated, relevant content for your target audience. A high-ranking website can also reinforce your credibility with potential clients.
Content marketing can feel hit or miss, but don’t underestimate the power of being visible in people’s feeds and searches—even if you don’t get active engagement. Last year, 50% of my revenue came from posting on LinkedIn, even though at times it felt like I was shouting into the void. As I discovered recently after my two-month online absence, if you are not online, they definitely won’t see you…
3 Reasons for Not Doing (Regular) Content Marketing
Since the turn of the century, content marketing has been an excellent way for small business owners to get around the hurdles that made traditional print, TV and radio advertising so out of reach, cost and resource-wise. We should be grateful, right? And yet, if you’re getting scant website visitors, little social media engagement, and you’re paying for writers and ads, it is worth reconsidering whether content marketing is right for you right now. If it is time-consuming, distracting, and resource-depleting both in manpower and money, it’s time to review your approach. It’s time to pause it, if not ditch some elements of it altogether.
Other marketing activities are more effective
In-person events, sponsorships, presences at expos and conferences, along with other types of marketing, including (hushed voice) ‘traditional marketing’ might be more effective at driving leads and sales in your business. Some businesses even take an active stance that social media is not for them (e.g. Lush Cosmetics and Nestle—for different reasons no doubt!).
Your audience is not everywhere online
Content marketing is not about being everywhere online. Platforms change (don’t they, Elon), formats and trends change (just look at Buzzfeed and do you remember Vine?), and your audience is not scrolling through every platform. There’s no point being on TikTok if your corporate clients are only on LinkedIn. Save yourself some time and focus on where it makes a difference. By tracking your content inputs (like blogs, posts etc.) against content outcomes (like followers, engagement, leads) you can actively refocus your efforts on what is working for you.
You have no content marketing strategy
I admit this was me for a while. Being unclear about your value or giving mixed messages about who you’re for and you may find engagement declining. Combine this with social media platforms encouraging businesses towards paid ads and it can feel like the algorithms are against you, no matter how consistently you post. Take a pause, critically review your content and determine what is driving traffic and visibility, or lack of it.
What can you do if content marketing is not working for you?
Track your content marketing stats
Are you measuring how much traffic comes to your site as a result of content marketing? Bounce rate? Click-through rate? Where is traffic coming from? Much of this can be answered by Google Analytics, so make sure you’re connected to the latest G4 which replaced Universal Analytics on 1 July 2023.
Review your online status
Who are you competing with online for attention and who are your competitors (they can be two different things)? What is social media engagement like? A content marketing and SEO audit can help determine reasons behind the status of your traffic and your current visibility.
Experiment with different content marketing approaches and cadences
For example, try posting on LinkedIn only. LinkedIn posts tend to have a longer lifetime than on other platforms, meaning you don’t have to post as frequently, and, of course, a more business-focused audience. Or you might try paid ads, email list referrals or other ways of building your audience…
Clarify who your audience is
Redefine them if your business has changed recently. Where do they hang out online and offline? What are their ambitions, hopes and dreams? What are their challenges, problems, and insomnia triggers? (And is your current content geared towards solving those?) The outcome of these questions might lead to a plethora of ideas for new online content, and a fresher, more efficient approach.
As a content creator, I know exactly how challenging content marketing can be, both for me and my clients. This is why I developed a content-focused SEO optimisation review offering. You receive a report that considers internal and external factors impacting your online presence. You receive:
- An overview of your online presence
- Review of your competitors and what keywords they rank for
- Review of who you’re currently competing online with and the keywords driving this
- The keywords and key phrases most likely to draw traffic to your site
- Summary of SEO audit issues identified using a licensed SEO tool
So, interested in improving your online presence? Email me at email@example.com and we can arrange a 30-minute discussion to discuss your content marketing needs.
I’m Rananda, a Sydney-based writer and editor
With 25-plus years in corporate life, a financial background, a science education, and a lifetime of writing, I know there is more to starting and growing a loyal following than just the words on your website or saving that draft manuscript in a folder.
I bring comprehensive practical experience to supporting your writing needs.