Video: How to get maximum return on your content marketing investment

Let me guess. You've spent thousands on content marketing, and haven't yet seen a return on investment. You might be wondering:

  • Is content marketing worth the hassle?
  • Did I pay for bad advice?
  • Am I doing something wrong?

The fact is, it usually takes about 18 months to see a return on content marketing spend. Yep, even when you do everything by the book, overnight success is rare.

However, there are plenty of things you can do to help ensure your content delivers. In the first instalment of our Mint Conversations series, James and I discuss three ways marketers can make their content work harder. 

Have a watch (or read the transcript below) and let us know what you think!

Video transcript

James
Hi, I'm James from Mint Content.

Amy
And I'm Amy from Mint Content. Today we're going to have a chat about how to get the maximum return possible from your content marketing investment.

One of the first mistakes that a lot of companies make is forgetting to create products and content that are valuable. They don't focus on the customer.

They tend to be all about, "Well, our strengths are this and we can do that," and ... there's kind of nothing in it for the customer.

Customers don't care about companies. They care about, "Well, can you solve my business problem?"

When it comes to creating content, I've worked with clients before who thought that in every single blog post, they needed to at list extensively all of their services and their competitive advantages. It is completely the wrong approach.

You should be showing your customers that you are the best to work with, and you know your stuff. Show that through highlighting your expertise, showing what you know that maybe your competitors don't, and being very generous with your knowledge.

Sometimes companies get a bit like, "Oh, I don't know if we should be giving away so much information for free."

James
Exactly. I think so many companies over value their intellectual property. At the end of the day, the internet exists.

There is no such thing anymore as real proprietary intellectual property that's so amazing that only your company possesses something like that. Especially in the services industry. 

Amy
Goodness. That saying, what's the saying that if you give away enough stuff for free, people will just pay you to do it for them.

James
Exactly.

Amy
People are rarely going to go and implement all the stuff that you show them on their own.

James
Totally.

Amy
It is proof that you know what you're doing. [Customers realise] it's much easier to call you up and say, "Hey, I want to buy your product," or, "I want to use your services."

James
Exactly. I think a lot of the time, customers are really buying services from companies or buying software from companies because of the time savings. 

Everybody is capable of learning a service or learning how to do something, but often it's easier for a customer to engage a company to perform the service for them.

Content marketing is a terrific way to show the customer that you know what you're talking about. You do that by finding problems that your customer base has, and solving them.

Amy
Yes, absolutely. But that is not the only way to get a better return on your ... like, creating valuable content is absolutely critical.

You can't have any sort of return without great content, but then the next kind of step to getting the best possible return is then making the most of that content.

James
One of the ways to do that is to break your content up and distribute it through multiple channels and mediums.

Find elements of your content that are shareable. Maybe you can distribute the content through not only your blog on your website, but through Twitter, through Facebook, wherever your customers are, through LinkedIn ...

Amy
If you have an ebook or white paper, most companies these days do have that sort of collateral, then think about breaking all of that down into as many chunks as you can. Distributing all of that through ...

James
100%. Great image to think about when you're trying to maximise return on investment for your content marketing is the Russian doll. You start with a big Russian doll, like a big thought piece or an ebook. You can break the central ideas of that down into smaller and smaller pieces. 

You can create blog posts. You can repurpose those blog posts into smaller Facebook posts or LinkedIn posts, eventually getting down to the granular level of tweets and things like that.

Amy
That works because some content is just inherently more shareable than others. If you want to get your content in front of as many eyeballs as possible, just tweeting a link to your white paper probably isn't going to be super effective.

If you take some of your key findings from the white paper and put them in an infographic and tweet that, you'll expose your audience to your expertise and reach a greater number of people than what you would have otherwise.

James
Exactly. Exactly. A great way to think about all of these delivery channels and mediums is your own personal television station or your own personal newspaper. 

All of these elements, all of these social networks are tools for you to leverage in the way that makes sense for those mediums and channels.

Onto our final point, which is that return on investment for content marketing takes time. This is something that a lot of companies and a lot of people forget. Content is a long game. 

It takes a long time to build up the intellectual property to brand capital and to really get inside your potential customers' minds as the preeminent supplier or preeminent provider of value.

You can look at content marketing as a very long term project, months to years.

Amy
Eighteen months, probably, is about average. That's what we recommend to our clients.

James
Exactly. If you engage in consistent and persistent creation of content and marketing of content to your customer base, that's the length of time that you can expect before you start getting a real return on your investment.

Amy
I think a lot of people come to content marketing and they expect a quick fix.

James
They do.

Amy
They think that after a couple of articles and a case study and an e-book ... and the number of leads being generated hasn't gone up significantly and ...

The thing is that content marketing isn't about quick fixes at all. It is about building really long-term relationships with your target audience. It is not an easy thing to do. 

Even if you do want to make return on investment in 18 months, you still have to, as James was saying, you have to be consistent. 

You can't just publish a blog post here, and an e-book over here, and something on LinkedIn over there, and you know, there's no pattern to it, you've got no real strategy. 

That is not going to get you anywhere at all. It is about understanding that [content marketing return] takes time, but also following the best practices for putting your content out in the world in a really thoughtful and considered way so that you can reach as many people as possible.

James
Exactly. Exactly.

Amy
Well, I think that's a wrap for today.

James
I think that's a wrap.

Amy
Excellent. See you next time.

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