Why Content Marketing is a Long Game (and How to Play It)

Why Content Marketing is a Long Game (and How to Play It)

Reader Comments (42)

  1. There are some great ideas in this article that I’m going to have to try on my blog. I just need to figure out a way to do the same things, but in terms of Influential Leadership content. Thanks Beth for this killer article. It’s in my Evernote now.

  2. As a long game it’s less of an arms race ,and more of a “special ops mission”

  3. Beth, I particularly needed to be reminded of the “Cornerstone” content idea. It can feel trivial to teach basic things, and it’s easy to ignore it just because it’s not “fun”. But, you’re absolutely right. The content should center around the basics of the game. Keep up the good writing.

  4. I love Copyblogger’s “Make your readers go hmmm” articles. I’d stick around for your other great content, but those ones in particular keep a spark for me. 🙂

    Plus, I loved IMFSP Radio. That held a spark for me, too, but I guess I was in the minority? Must not be a profitable venue for y’all right now. But I’m loving that Entreproducer has taken to podcasts.

  5. Great post! In our content planning and forcasting, we have been wondering if there is a “magic formula” for the amount of posts you should write in the different categories? We saw a 70%-20%-10% article, but again no specific evidence that this is a good strategy to go with when plannng out content. Just wondering if you have suggestions for the % of cornerstone content vs. the hmmm content vs. newsjacking? We understand there is no magic number, but there are recipes for success!

    • Hi Vicky! I don’t know of a particular formula that I would recommend — different experts will tell you all kinds of different things. I think it totally depends on your audience. I will say, though, that I would like to see content marketers focus heavily on evergreen content, which is content that’s still going to be useful and relevant two years down the road (or longer). Most of Copyblogger’s content has been evergreen since the very beginning, and I think it has served us VERY well.

  6. Thinking about content in this way — with varied types all fitting into a long-term strategy — is so valuable. I’ve seen so many sites, even been part of a few myself, that were either too short-term in their thinking (all “newsjacking” and going for 24-hour virility, which builds little long-term value) or too long-term in their thinking (making every post “epic” but leaving little room for the agility). Balancing the different post types within a long-term view, as you’ve laid out there, is the best way to go. When you look at websites that have sustained success – and not just in content marketing, but in any topic or field – they do this.

  7. I just have to take a moment to THANK YOU for all of the amazing posts/info you so freely share. After five years of stepping away from my freelance writing/copywriting career to be a full-time mom, I am now diving back in & trying to bring myself up to speed with online marketing literacy. Time & again, I return to your site & posts as the #1 clear, informative & sensible resource. THANKS SO MUCH!

  8. I really liked “make your readers go ‘hmmmmm.'” Loved that. Sometimes we think we have to crank out the tried and proven thoughts and methods within our niche, but you have hit on something major here. In fact, it made me go “hmmmmmm.” I think I’ll try it soon. Thanks, Amy

  9. Hi Beth,

    If content marketing is, in essence, a long game, what are the post types (excluding landing pages in all their iterations) that a content producer would publish on their blog that lead to a reader’s conversion to customer?

    I see you’ve mentioned a few types here and I’m curious as to how often certain post types would nurture the know-like-trust process to a conversion.

    • I think all of the post types that I’ve recommended above are smart choices for content marketers. They all build relationships, help you get found in the search engines, get shared on social media, and lead to conversions.

      • Thanks Beth,

        I’ve been working to fine tune my blogging efforts for new clientele and have been trying to workout the right content market strategy for the audience I’m trying to reach.

        The ones suggested in the article made a light bulb go off and didn’t want to miss any other suggestions you might have.

  10. So I guess content marketing is just a new word for the same warmed over sales letter techniques. Real content marketing is nothing like this. Engaging your ideal customer with media that actually does build trust and sells product is a start. However, “SALES” is not marketing (or sales letters)

    • If you don’t believe that marketing’s ultimate purpose is to make sales, I’m glad I’m not a customer of your marketing service.

      At the risk of being snarky, I’d like to suggest that you may not have read this post carefully enough.

      • Content marketing a huge evolutionary step because it’s about dialogue, just like sales. And unless you live in the world of boiler room sales, you LOVE the warm leads content marketing creates.

    • The content performs most of the functions of a sales letter (everything before the offer) without being “salesy.” It’s essentially the “know like and trust” part that copywriters have to painstakingly establish with copy in a sales letter. Content does it better, because it has independent value.

      And if you think we’re not doing “real” content marketing here, you’re not paying attention. Turning a blog into a mutlimillion-dollar software company makes us the poster child for effective content marketing.

      Please feel free to share what you’ve accomplished with content marketing. I’d really like to know. Concrete examples with revenue and profit figures, please.

    • The way I see it, “content marketing” is about invoking an emotion in your prospect that empowers them to take one of four actions: Share, Comment, Sign Up, or Buy.

      Content that does not encourage someone to do that is not marketing, it’s just content. Nothing wrong with that, just don’t call yourself a “content marketer” if you’re not getting someone to _do something_.

      The difference between content marketing and the traditional “SALES” letter is that one more or less guilts your reader into taking action, while the other empowers them. Very different vibe.

      But yeah, my major question is, how do you measure “trust” or “like-ability” on their own? Any married person will tell you, those things on their own are impossible to gauge.

      • I think of content marketing more as an overall theme. It’s not just about one post or article, but about what you’re doing online over a period of months or years. I think pieces of regular content — ones that don’t directly encourage your reader to do something — are still part of that overall strategy. Straight content builds relationships, and gets your audience to know/like/trust you — so it’s incredibly important. I don’t think we can pick apart a site like Copyblogger and say, “This post is content marketing, but the one last week is not.” It’s ALL content marketing. And it’s working.

        As for your last question, I don’t think we can measure trust or likability on their own — all we can do is measure things like audience growth and sales. Those stats will tell you if your strategy is working or not.

  11. Great post!
    This is the first time I come across a clear definition of the way content works online.
    Many things are said and some speak about copy writing, others about blogging but never everything combined.

    I agree with you we have to write basic topics mingled with trendy topics and always having in mind our end goal.

  12. Web sites are major long-term investments. This is a great post that reminds me that short term gratification isn’t the way to go if you’re a writer.

  13. I can attest to the fact that cornerstone content is often very popular with readers. Facts that are second nature to you are often very fascinating to your new readers.

  14. Thanks Beth and the Copyblogger team for the steady stream of great info. As more of my client work turns toward content development / marketing (e.g., detailed customer case studies lately), your advice on content mix is always worth reading.

  15. Hi Beth, I really loved reading this post! But I would like to differ from you on the point, “Become a newsjacker”. Becoming a newjacker can only help you if you have a well established blog where thousands of people come to your blog daily to know what’s latest. But if someone who is just starting up writes about such topics then no one is ever going to come to his blog (unless some miracle happens).
    I feel new blogs should concentrate more on “Make your readers go “hmmmmm”” type content.

    • Not true. The heart of “newsjacking” is a great idea that gets you media coverage, no matter big or small. It’s what you do to get noticed in the first place, we just did a version of it that we could feed our own audience.

  16. Thank you copyblogger for all that you do. You consistently deliver on your message and I have personally gained tremendous insight from your articles. You have definitely influenced the approach I have taken with my site. With you, I keep getting better and better.

    I have been writing way better headlines, developing greater content and producing many thought provoking tweets because of you.

    What I feel has been working for me and building my audience is a mixture of writing and video. It really shakes things up and I know that it keeps my budding audience on their toes. Also, my subject email lines are becoming bombproof and almost always get opened.

    Thank you again and keep the great content coming please!

  17. Hi Beth,
    It’s so nice to hear someone talk about content creation not as a short-term solution but as a long-term investment…even if that person happens to be an integral part of the content community. I can see how the long game vision needed to grow a business can be related to a long game content marketing strategy. It was so nice to see this post shared with the BizSugar community too.

  18. I always like the idea of new-jacking to create content, and be part of the voice in the “trending” issues

  19. Great post. I don’t like hard sales. I don’t like marketing gimmicks or tactics, so the long,slow, honest style that blogging lends itself to is perfect for me. But I’m still learning everyday.

  20. Copyblogger simply doesn’t disappoint.

    Thanks for the actionable write-up. Easy to follow and useful for my content marketing plan.

  21. The better the content, the more engaging you are. Your pieces of advice actually reminded me of an article I’ve recently read about a guy called Lorne Marr who set up his business here in Canada and then decided to penetrate the online insurance market. He found a little company called Foliovision and entrusted its team with that task and after a few years the guy runs a multimillion-dollar business. And as he explains in the article the key to his success right now is the constant search for high quality content regularly presented on his website.

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