Moving Beyond Virality To Long-Term Content Marketing Success #231

Get ready to embrace your uniqueness, because in this episode, a content marketing expert spills the ironic beans that entrepreneurs must show up authentically and use their unique voice to build a sustainable business that transcends the fleeting success of “viral” content.

“You have to make sure that you’re using content as a filter. Good content will turn off more people than it turns on. It’s a filter. It is a freaking obstacle course for the people who don’t get you. But your people will get it, and the rest will move on so you can serve your people better.”

Here’s what I cover:

  1. Why content marketing? There are a LOT of other tactics other there, right?
  2. What are the steps to organizing a long-term content marketing strategy that sets you up for sustainable success? 
  3. Master the art of using content as a filter to attract the right customers while repelling the not-so-great ones.

Listen to this episode on:

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Highlights in this episode:

[00:00:32] The viral content type of content rarely leads to business success. Content marketing isn’t a short game; it’s a slow burn.

[00:01:28] Beyonce now has more Grammys than anyone else. But she still hasn’t ever won best record of the year. 

[00:03:45] There are three steps to organizing a long-term content marketing strategy.

[00:05:01] Content marketing helps you stand out from your competition. It allows you to establish your unique voice and share your story with a wider audience. 

[00:07:45] Being on social media is going to be part of a visibility strategy.

[00:10:18] The reality of a course business is you have to keep growing your audience to continue serving more people. Your marketing plan has to make allowances for losing audience members.

[00:13:47] Content marketing takes time.

Moving Beyond Virality + Short-Term Success: You Have To Show Up

Viral content seems to be the holy grail if you follow the Instagram or TikTok crowd. It gives you a whole lotta good feels, right! People like you! But this type of content rarely leads to business success–some of my most-viral content not only didn’t result in a single lead, it actually detracted from my marketing message. Your marketing efforts have to consider the long-term impact of your content if you want to set yourself up for long-term success. Content marketing isn’t a short game; it’s a slow burn. And that burn still kindles into a fire at some point but it takes time and effort to get there.

We’ve got a pop-culture moment that is the perfect example:

Did you hear Beyonce has more Grammys than anyone else now? When I first heard that, of course, I was impressed. But then I also read she still hasn’t ever won best record of the year, and I was floored. I immediately thought it was so much like going viral, but then fading away… versus consistent quality, month over month.

Another example, Meryl Streep, who has a running joke that she gets nominated for Oscars only to lose them. Do you want to be Meryl Streep? Or do you want to be Geraldine Page one of the first people she lost an Oscar to–who I’d never heard of till I googled that today?

It’s okay to be Geraldine Page. There’s nothing wrong with having some short-term success in the movies and then enjoying that, or moving onto a different career, whatever. Many are thrilled with that short-term success. But if you’re in it for the long haul, the only way to be sustainable is to be YOU. YOU have to show up. Your voice. Your values. Your ideas.

…So to quote Lin-Manual Miranda (who’ll probably end up overtaking Beyonce at some point, too!), “You’re face to face with greatness… and it’s strange.” The hardest part of all this is owning you are good enough. That YOU, yes you, on your own, are enough.

You won’t reach the alternative to short-term success without embracing your involvement in the great content that leads your audience to you.

3 Elements of a Successful Long-Term Content Marketing Strategy 

Organizing a long-term content marketing strategy does not have to be an overwhelming process. With the right steps and an eye for detail, you, a content marketer, can craft a plan that will make your content stand out from the competition–and deliver your best client right to your inbox.

Choosing strategic content

crafting quality content for long-term success

The first step is to create strategic content that speaks to your target audience. You need to build it on your brandscape foundation for that. Intentionally choosing where it goes and how you break up long-format content into smaller pieces you can use on your chosen social platforms is part of that strategy, though that’s more of a one-time decision and less of a day-to-day decision.

When it comes to what you’ll say day-to-day, choose topics with long-term impact so you can depend on them. Choose topics that play well with each other and lead your audience on a journey to trusting you as part of the solution to their problem.

Show up for your people

The second step is to hone an evergreen strategy that focuses on delivering valuable content on a consistent basis over time–and that means showing up with the attitude that you’re here to serve your people.

This is true whether you’re a B2B, B2C, or B2E business–your audience needs a voice they associate with your brand. 

When you’re actually posting and creating compelling content, there’s a filter you need to run every single piece through: what’s in it for me? Are you posting something to boost sales? Then it’s not aimed at your best client.

Instead, are you posting something that helps them reframe a perspective that’s been holding them back? THAT is for them. And it will likely lead to a sale, but the goal is helping your people.

This takes dedicated action over time.  

Multiply your content efforts

Finally, make sure you track results regularly so you can adjust any areas of the strategy as needed in order to boost effectiveness. I’m a big fan of having a content dashboard as a one-stop place to see the ROI of all your current content testing. Then it’s incredibly easy to see what will repurpose well and become part of the evergreen content plan. Following these three steps will help you successfully organize a long-term content marketing strategy.

Key Takeaway:

A long-term content strategy depends on a personality-driven marketing machine.

Why Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a way to elevate your business. It helps you stand out from the competition. And it provides an opportunity to establish your unique voice and share your story with a wider audience. Your unique voice is what separates you from the ADHD business coach up the road–even if you have the same training and same work experience.

By creating content that resonates with your best client, you can:

  • build brand loyalty
  • create trust
  • increase engagement. 

Content marketing is like a dynamic store window, where you can show off who you are and what you offer to passersby, inviting them inside to see what else they can find. It also allows you to foster relationships with potential customers through meaningful interactions–that are meaningful because you showed up from a place of service over sales. Content is the key element in any successful business strategy as it serves to

  • inform
  • educate
  • entertain
  • engage people all around the world.
content planning expertise

Bring the “you” back to your content

The unique combo of your energy, your personality, and your knowledge being the exact right fit for others is a hard concept for some. If Imposter Syndrome is basically your uninvited stage-4 clinger, you’ll be thrilled to hear that creating more content is actually one of the best ways to work through it. You can’t help but become an expert in your field when you keep talking about your stuff–you end up working through all the nigglies that caused it to begin with.

But what about your audience, what if they don’t like you? That’s a common question for those embracing a true content creation plan.

I’d like to give you another perspective: if they don’t like you, they were never your best client. And they really shouldn’t be in your audience. You’re not making content for your mom or husband’s approval–you’re making it for your audience to decide if they like and trust you enough to become a part of your community.

Key Takeaway:

Creating content with your best client in mind is the number one goal, test, and filter for how + why you create content.

Make sure you’re using content as a filter

“You need to turn off at least as many people as you turn on or you don’t have a brand, you have an advice column with lackluster personality.”

Good content will TURN OFF more people than it turns on.

You need to build a filter. It’s a freaking obstacle course for the people who don’t get you. But…your people–your ideal customers–will get it. And the rest will move on. So you can serve better.

Your content is a filter, but it won’t filter out the bad fit unless YOU show up. You with your whole self.

Why engaging is part of your content strategy

It’s kind of popular these days to say you just don’t do social media–and if you’re not in business, I think that’s a fine policy. But you are in business. You do need an audience. Long-term content success can no longer be built by easy-button tactics.

  • The heydey of treating Facebook ads like an ATM machine is over
  • Spamming your blog posts with SEO keywords doesn’t work.
  • Content isn’t just fill-in-the-blank templates that you can send to your social media manager. 

Being on social media is part of a visibility strategy. And it’s more than that–you have to show up with your whole self. You need to come with a spark of service for your people.

Allowing your audience to see enough of you to grow that know, like, and trust factor is the goal. And they won’t get that if you simply hire a social media manager and duck for cover.

The emphasis should always be on crafting quality content that is targeted to your best client–rather than going viral. If your video earns 1 million page views or ten, it won’t make a difference if it does not reach the right people. Of course, if it doesn’t reach anyone at all, we have a different problem…

Do you need help creating a content marketing plan that allows you to shine?

We offer complimentary one-on-one consults to help determine if a done-with-you or done-for-you approach is best for you and your business right now.

A Cautionary Tale: Inconsistent Content

Picture this: you’re at a conference (possibly for the first time in a few years?) and you can tell the whole lineup of speakers has been designed to push the attendees into a sale for a big program. The speakers know their buyer persona. They’ve built a large audience over the years.

speaking to stage to a nurtured audience

The moment for the big pitch has come. Maybe they weren’t even hiding it–maybe they even shared all the actual details of the program in advance to give their attendees the best information to make an informed decision.  And the pitch happens, but there aren’t people jumping out of their seats in droves. In fact, the speaker even asks for a raise of hands and it’s not quite crickets, but may as well be. There could even be a full-on cicada chorus, for how awkward the moment is.

I’ve witnessed this exact moment. It’s heart-wrenching.

And in this particular case, it’s worse because… I saw it coming. 

The speaker in question has been incredibly inconsistent with their content marketing efforts for a while. Though they’re probably sitting on years of gold–content that has performed in abundance in the past, they weren’t sharing it. I’ve been on this person’s list and received spotty, hot for a moment, and then cold for months emails. I’ve seen their social media peak and decline. Their audience hasn’t shrunk–but they haven’t been nurturing their people with consistency and care.

They haven’t shown up from a place of service.

The reality of a course business is, you have to keep growing your audience to continue serving more people–especially when you run live, cohort-based programs. Your marketing plan has to make allowances for losing audience members:

  • due to a bad fit, either for values or other reasons
  • leaving the business
  • because of bad timing in their real life

Content marketing is a long-term investment, so anytime you take a break from the production or distribution of that content… you lose out on rebuilding your audience and keeping the numbers of loyal community members high enough to support your launch goals.

Marketing campaigns don’t exist in a vacuum. Your people need you to continue showing up!

Key Takeaway:

Bigger businesses need to nurture their audience between selling periods just as much–if not more–than smaller businesses. It’s a must for us all!

Long-Form Content Provides Consistent Success

What types of content marketing are there?

Inbound marketing, as Hubspot has famously called it, is using content to attract potential buyers into your world. Content Marketing Institute says, “In short, instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent.” Ultimately, the reader will buy from us as a result of this education.

Given that, the most common content marketing endeavors for established online businesses that launch digital information products like courses are:

  • long-form content like podcasts, video channels, and blogs
  • short-form content like Instagram or LinkedIn posts
  • short-form content disseminated from long-form content
  • mashups of all the above, like LinkedIn newsletters or carousels that distill long-form into bite-sized chunks

The next question you’ll be asking is, how do I know what to try? What’s worth the time and money investment?

Are you spending your time on what is time-worthy?

Knowing your content marketing ROI is the key indicator of whether something is worthy of your time. If you’re not measuring your current results, you won’t be able to plan for better content in the future. Some KPIs you need to determine:

  1. Website Traffic: One of the most basic KPIs for measuring the effectiveness of your content is website traffic. How many views are relevant articles getting?
  2. Engagement: Engagement metrics, such as social media likes and comments, can indicate how well your content resonates with your audience. I’ll argue that shares, retweets, and saves show better engagement.
  3. Conversion Rates: sign-ups of emails and subscribers, purchases, or downloads. How many can you tie to each piece of content?
  4. Time on Page: Measuring the time that viewers spend on your content can show how engaging and valuable it is.
  5. Click-Through Rates: Click-through rates (CTRs) can help you determine which content is delivering viewers to key pages like sales pages.

What does high-quality content look like?

Quality content is both simple and complicated. It’s simple because it’s engaging content that proves its return on investment. It results in shares, newsletter subscribers, and drives traffic into your program delivery funnel (whether that’s a discovery sales call, challenge, webinar, etc.). So… just create more engaging content, right?

Creating successful content that does all this, of course, is a bit more complex. It will always circle back around to your foundational brandscaping:

  • who are you serving?
  • how are you serving them?
  • what serves them at the place where they are today, so they can see themselves at the place where your offer is a good fit?
  • where do they hang out?

Content creators who do content marketing right live and breathe these questions. They constantly run each piece of content through the “what’s in it for me” filter as if they were their ideal client. They not only run content through that filter, they also run it through the kindergarten “plays well with others” filter so it creates an easy, meandering path of brand awareness to purchase. They need a plan that walks that client through a journey where they can’t help but trust you. And they build themselves, and their personality, into each step in that journey.

Do you need help creating a content marketing plan that allows you to shine?

We offer complimentary one-on-one consults to help determine if a done-with-you or done-for-you approach is best for you and your business right now.

Resources Mentioned

Music by Michael De La Torre. Thanks, Mikey!

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