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How Long Does It Take for Content Marketing to Drive Sales?

8 December 2014 Svetlana Kuznetsova
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Content marketing takes some time to start working. The question is, how exactly does it take?

There are some experts who began practicing content marketing not so long ago. Their most common delusion is that they expect quick turnaround. Exaggerating, by “content marketing” they mean that yesterday evening they wrote an article on their blog and today they expect sales to roll in. Beginners tend to be under this delusion in every industry. Little by little it dispels, proportionally to gaining experience and professionalism: the little bit more experience they have, the little less their expectations are.

There are also some online marketers who didn’t begin practicing content marketing yesterday. They play “by the rules”. Their blogs work like clockwork. Every day at the same time they publish a new post, they promote it, and many of their posts go viral on social media, but they still don’t get the expected result – an increase in sales. It hurts and kills faith in content marketing.

Content marketing is a long run

In fact, both beginners and non-beginners face the same problem – increasing sales with content marketing is a very hard task. And the less effort you give, the harder it is to get a result.

Before your faith in content marketing dies you must realize that many people can’t evaluate their capabilities correctly and take content marketing for a “virality” of content. They are sure that they must create content that will get hundreds of shares and thousands of likes, that this is a guarantee for sales growth.

Your sales are not going to increase only because your content is popular. Virality doesn’t guarantee you sales generation. It can be proven in practice.

Does it mean that you must not seek to make your content viral? No, it doesn’t. You must seek this, but you must also understand that thousands of your subscribers (if you’re patient enough to get them) reading and even sharing your content don’t think, “oh, what a great post, I should definitely buy all of their products!”

How does content marketing actually work?

What’s the point of promoting your content if you can’t expect that your audience will be inspired to make a purchase?

The point is pretty simple – if you don’t stop and continue investing and promoting your content, then eventually you’ll make your audience get used to your brand, its ideas, and you’ll become a part of their lives. Your audience will trust you. Only after this moment you can expect more – expect that some part of your audience will convert their brand loyalty into real action, which means buying.

This is how it works in practice. You’ll repeat the same things, creating content that attracts people but doesn’t sell , until the day you begin making quants of amazing content resonating with your target audience perfectly. You can’t achieve it in a single day. It’s a very long work that takes a lot of effort and investment.

You probably still expect the answer to the main question, how long does it take for content marketing to start working and generating sales.

There is no certain answer.

It depends on you, your ability to understand the needs of your audience, and to create content that resonates with people’s pain points. And of course it depends on your experience, professionalism, competent approach to investments, understanding that it is expensive and difficult but worth it and, finally, objective market factors which influence your brand.

In conclusion:

  • Don’t lose hope.
  • Change tactics if you lose hope: rethink your content plan, search for new ideas, create experimental content – only hypothesizing and then checking in practice can lead you forward.
  • Don’t forget about search engine marketing. Play by the rules of search engines. For example, remember that keywords are a good way to get traffic from search engines, so they must fit in a copy naturally.
  • Be patient: only stayers with good breath can win long runs (and content marketing is a long run).
  • Remember that getting results from content marketing is a very long process. Lots of shares don’t mean lots of sales. Only at the moment your brand becomes a part of audience’s life you’ll notice the expected results.
Former editor at Texterra online marketing agency. She is a graduate of The Maxim Gorky Literature Institute. Svetalan started working at "glossies", then turned to PR, where she worked for a long time in different structures promoting the "ConsultantPlus" brand.. She has been engaged in online marketing since 2010. Favourite thing to do is to work with copies. Unfavorite thing to do is to do nothing.
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