I was recently on a panel about content marketing and one of the audience questions went something like this:
How do you justify investing in content marketing when it takes months before you see any value?
This is a perfect example of a broken telescope question, because it contains an embedded assumption that the questioner didn't notice.
Whenever you hear someone say that content marketing takes a lot of time to show value, that's because they're assuming:
- Content marketing means "blog posts"
- Value means "traffic from organic search"
When in reality, this is how content marketing works:
Content should be remixed across channels. What starts as a blog post can be turned into a podcast, which can turned into a social media post (or the other way around). Content is not just written blog posts, but it can be repurposed to be native on the channels that your target audience cares about, which brings me to my second point:
The time-to-value of each channel is very different. Sure, maybe it does take "a while" for your post to start ranking for target keywords. But it can have immediate value if you put it on organic social and it reaches the right audience. Or maybe it's an article that addresses a concern that buyers have, and you send it to your sales team who immediately start using it in their active deals.
Qualitative feedback matters. There is oftentimes a need to justify a content marketing effort by showing up-and-to-the-right charts in Google Analytics. But content marketing is not a ppc direct-response channel. So we also have to value things like: DMs from contacts saying that they loved your content. Comments from the right target audience on your social media posts. Invites to speak because of your stance on a particular issue.
In this way, content marketing can show value the same day you publish it!
You just have to rethink what you mean by content, and what you really mean by value.