Many financial advisors and other small business owners give up on content marketing because it feels ineffective.
And who can blame them? Who wants to write 50 blog posts when none of them get read? That’s a blow to the ego for sure.
The bigger problem, however, is the time, energy, and money you poured into all those blog posts that didn’t translate directly into a single paying client. Now that sucks.
Whether you do it yourself or hire someone to help you, you need to see a return on all the resources you pour into keeping a stellar website, blogging, getting on social media, sending out email campaigns, and everything else you do to market yourself with content.
If the content you create doesn’t actually contribute to building an audience or attracting prospects you can close into clients, then yup — you’ve got a huge waste of time on your hands.
It’s frustrating. And expensive, whether it’s your time or someone else’s that didn’t generate a result for you.
But the problem may not be that content marketing “doesn’t work.” That’s the easy thing to say when you don’t see results from your efforts.
Content Marketing Works — But Only If You Know How to Use the Tools with Skill
Content marketing for your business is just like any other tool. You can use it well, or you can use it poorly. The way you use the tool will impact the result.
I know content marketing is crazy effective when done the right way: with a strategy, a plan, and a way to consistently take action on your ideas.
My philosophy is that content marketing is the best way to achieve big, long-term business goals like generating sustainable growth and establishing authority within industries.
It allows us to show up as our authentic selves and just share in the interest of serving someone else value — while simultaneously positioning you and your business as a trusted authority that others want to work with and buy from.
But you can easily go from success to flop if you make some fatal errors when you go to plan, create, and distribute content with the intention of gaining influence and getting clients.
Before you dismiss content marketing as a waste of time, I implore you to take a look at this list of common missteps that derail potential progress. If you can correct these mistakes, you can transform your efforts from wasteful to productive.
You Try to Talk to Everyone
…so you reach no one. This is probably the number-one way to ensure your content marketing is a waste of time.
Creating content with broad-based appeal doesn’t work, and I’ll tell you why. There’s just too much good content out there.
You need to help the people you want to reach identify you. Give them a clear reason why you are the best person to connect with and why your content will provide them with the answers, information, inspiration, and ideas they seek.
In other words, find your differentiator. Locate your niche and dig deep into it.
There are countless financial planners out there. Only some of them feel compelled to help women. Fewer still want to serve women who are in their 20s to 40s. And I know of just one who helps professional women of working age in the tech industry figure out their finances.
That’s Meg Bartelt of Flow Financial Planning and her content stands out to me because she’s in a specific niche, writing about specific issues that her ideal clients face in their own nuanced and unique lives.
Her voice rises above the rest because she makes bold statements with clear opinions. I have no trouble spotting it from miles away — and her prospective clients can spot her just as easily.
You’re wasting your time if you speak broadly.
Find your space. Draw a line in the sand. Don’t be scared to have people disagree with you. Or even flat-out dislike you. That’s totally okay, because you’ll be too busy receiving the exact kind of person you want to work with at your doorstep.
Develop a philosophy you can stand for (no matter what) — and then stand for it through the content you create.
You Create Content Haphazardly
To see the value of content marketing — and to prevent it from being a huge waste of time — you need to make a plan and commit to taking consistent action to execute it.
Pam Capalad of Brunch and Budget cohosts a radio show and podcast. It’s a weekly podcast and she has never missed a single week.
Through travel, illness, business growth and struggles, family, and countless other obligations, Pam and her cohost Dyalekt (who also happens to be her husband) recorded, produced, and delivered 135 podcast episodes to their growing audience.
It takes hours of work, but their consistency over time is what allowed them to build that audience and continue expanding it today. The success of the show would not be possible if they did not commit to producing a new podcast when their listeners expect it and show up ready for new material.
Pam wouldn’t enjoy the same success if she only recorded a podcast when she felt like it. And you will waste your time with content marketing if you only write, record, and create when you feel inspired or when you have some free time.
If you haven’t figured it out already, the life of a firm owner is busy and the workload only seems to increase. Leaving your content creation up in the air wastes whatever time you spend on it.
Don’t be afraid to get help, either. Project management can keep you focused with a strategy, action plan, and accountability if you have the ideas but struggle to execute well.
Consistency is key. Choose the actions you’ll take with a blog, podcast, video channel, social media platform, newsletter, and whatever other content you want to use to market your firm.
Then commit to showing up every day, week, month, or quarter. Frequency is great, but consistency is where the value’s at.
You Hate What You’re Doing
Why do I write 2,000+ word articles? Because I love to write.
Why did I never jump on the podcasting bandwagon? Because I hate to talk.
Of course there’s value in podcasting. And there’s also value in pushing your limits and taking on tasks that you may not find easy, fun, or exciting at first.
But I only have so many hours in a day and I need to wisely choose how I spend my most limited resource (time) to market my own business. Which is why I started with a blog.
I want to expand into other platforms, and video is something that really interests me right now. I’ll pursue this new avenue in the future, but I also know the power of the written word and that’s not going anywhere.
So I want to first focus on mastering mediums that require writing. I play to my strengths.
When you’re limited in marketing resources — be it money, time, knowledge, or interest — you need to get strategic with your actions to make the most of what you’ve got.
Hate writing? Record Facebook Live videos instead. Eric Roberge is killing it with that exact style of content right now on Beyond Your Hammock’s Facebook page.
Can’t stand the thought of videoing yourself? Develop brilliant, thoughtful, and compelling email campaigns instead.
Doing something you hate at this point is a waste of time. Life’s hard enough. Don’t throw more obstacles in your way and make marketing even more stressful than it already is by focusing on something you don’t like (and aren’t good at).
And you don’t need to do anything if it’s just not your jam. Content marketing management can take parts or all of this work off your plate, so you’re free to focus on work you actually enjoy.
Make the Most of Your Content Marketing Time
Content marketing is so powerful. It provides an opportunity anyone can take advantage of to create an audience of people who show up for you because they like, trust, and admire you and the work you do.
But you need to be careful, because it does require a lot of time, effort, and thoughtfulness.
This type of marketing can completely waste your time if you’re not willing to clearly define who you want to talk to, show up for them consistently, and produce content that you actually enjoy and allows you to shine in your best light.