We’ve reached the point where pretty much all small business owners know they should be using social media, blogs and other content marketing tools to build engagement and brand visibility. Even small business owners who held out for a number of years are starting to make the move into some basic content marketing techniques. As they do so, many of them are finding immense success — but others are finding only failure.
Forgive the bluntness, but it’s true: A lot of small business owners just aren’t getting the results they want from content marketing. This is not a failure of content marketing itself, and in many cases, it’s not because the small business owner is simply dense: It’s because he or she has the wrong expectations or an improper mindset.
Marketing professionals can work to remedy this problem — helping set the right expectations and get small business owners thinking about content marketing properly.
Too Much, Too Soon
One big reason why small business owners see their content marketing efforts fail is that they expect too much too soon. They think that content marketing is the silver bullet, the thing that will suddenly get them first-page Google visibility and new customers by the droves. Of course, this is unlikely to happen, and it’s surely not going to happen overnight.
Content marketing requires patience, and a long-term strategy. Small business owners who are embarking on this journey need to remember that it’s a process, and that results won’t come overnight! As relationships are formed and brand goodwill is nurtured, however, there will be some benefits seen.
All About You
Sometimes, small business owners fail at content marketing because they think it’s just an extension of traditional advertising. When content marketing becomes all self-promotion, all the time. However, it ceases to really engage users and instead becomes off-putting. Content marketing is about educating and informing, not directly promoting — and that can be a difficult thing for small business owners to grasp.
The mindset to have, though, is that content marketing works best when trust is formed. That’s what builds brand equity and client loyalty, and that’s what ultimately translates into dollars and cents.
The Whole Bag of Tricks
Sometimes, content marketing efforts fail because they’re just not the right efforts for the brand in question. Remember, content marketing is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. Getting it right means picking the right social media platforms, the right voice, the right types of content — there are many moving pieces, and not everything is going to work.
It’s tempting to say that since your efforts on Instagram haven’t worked, maybe it’s best to just give up — but instead, business owners should switch from Instagram to Facebook and Twitter, or else vary up the posts they’re doing. Content marketing sometimes requires trying different things just to see what works.
All of this is simply to say that yes, true enough: Sometimes, content marketing doesn’t work out. That’s not a reason to give up, though, but to regroup. For small business owners, it’s an opportunity to check your expectations, refine your mindset, and then build a new strategy for success.
Amanda E. Clark is CEO and Editor in Chief at Grammar Chic, Inc. You can follow her company on Twitter. Amanda’s last article for SEMrush was “How to Be Consistent with Cross-Platform Social Marketing."