The 5 Stages of Content Marketing: From Honeymoon to Happily Ever After

content marketing

Content marketing is a commitment. Like a romantic relationship, it’s something you have to work on daily if you want to enjoy the results, but that’s not always easy to accomplish. To add to the struggle, your relationship with content marketing will likely wax and wane, taking different amounts of mental energy and time that you don’t always want to give.

Just as romantic partners can stick together through the hard times, you can stick with your content marketing to make it from honeymoon to happily ever after with a little fortitude and the right tools.

1. The Content Marketing Honeymoon

Signs of the honeymoon stage: You spend an entire day getting editorial calendars in order, downloading new social marketing tools and reading whatever Moz has to say on the latest SEO dust up —€” and you’re still excited. You are ready to rock this content marketing thing, and you know by the end of the week, you’ll have 1,000 more followers and revenue will be climbing.

Common challenges in this stage: When you first dive in to content marketing, you might be overwhelmed by the work ahead and all the information you need to ingest. Once you start reading and processing, though, it’s common to move quickly into the honeymoon stage. Be careful that your excitement over content marketing doesn’t overtake your life, though: you probably still have other professional and personal obligations. (TL;DR: Don’t be that person who ignores everything else for the new love in your life.)

You also need to be realistic with goals and outcomes. Content marketing is a long-term strategy, and if you rely on significantly boosting followers or revenue in a week or two, you’ll probably be disappointed.

What you need to get through: Good advice. In the romantic world, this comes from a friend over coffee. In the content marketing world, make a few expert sites and blogs your coffee break companion. Our own Crowd Content Resources offers a lot of information, and we also recommend Moz, Search Engine Land and the Content Marketing Institute.

[ctt template=”4″ link=”e1Sv3″ via=”yes” nofollow=”yes”]From honeymoon to happily every after – #contentmarketing is more like a relationship than you might think. [/ctt]

2. Disillusionment with the Process

Signs of disillusionment: Your new interest isn’t nearly as shiny as it was a few weeks ago. You’re sick of reading about content marketing, and seriously: does someone have to come up with a new method, idea or tool every single day? You’re also starting to realize how difficult it can be to make time regularly to update content, push out social campaigns and engage with the audience. If you work in a larger organization, you may be having trouble getting buy-in from others on the process.

Common challenges in this stage: Often, brand marketing managers and small business owners reach this stage and realize they aren’t even sure where to start or if they’re doing the right thing. There really is a lot of info out there, and figuring out what works for you can be the biggest challenge.

What you need to get through: A plan that includes a realistic but challenging goal, definitions for how you’re going to measure success and the steps you’ll need to implement. Despite what you thought in the honeymoon stage, you can’t do everything at once, so create priorities and work through each milestone one step at a time.

Related: The Farmville Lover’s Guide to a Winning Content Marketing Strategy

3. “We Need to Talk” Syndrome

Signs of “We Need to Talk” syndrome: You’ve started your plan, but it’s not working like you intended. The need to dump your content marketing strategy for something new and exciting is very real, and many people actually make the mistake of bailing before results are fully in.

Common challenges in this stage: Remember that content strategies take time to come to fruition. You wouldn’t plant carrots, decide in three days that they weren’t performing like you wanted, and rip them all up to go with cucumbers instead. Don’t dig out your content marketing fields before you even reach the harvest.

What you need to get through: Patience. (We know. It’s hard for us too.)

4. Seeking Content Marketing Therapy

Signs it’s time to seek some therapy: Even with good tools, a strong plan and patience, things can go amiss. Not every romantic relationship is meant to last forever, and not every content marketing strategy is right for you. If you’ve done all you can and things still aren’t working — or if your content efforts seem to be hurting your revenue or brand — it’s definitely time to seek outside help.

Common challenges in this stage: Some brands and SMBs are worried about seeking outside assistance with marketing strategies because of budget or control concerns. But if you’ve been through these stages and reached break-up phrase one or more times, working with content marketing experts may actually result in overall savings and more control of your message and results.

What you need to get through: A good content therapist. Our content strategists and premium and enterprise teams are available to help you calibrate and define your content requirements before generating content that consistently meets your needs.

[ctt template=”4″ link=”C7_S3″ via=”yes” nofollow=”yes”]Does your #contentmarketing strategy need a content therapist?[/ctt]

5. Happily Ever After (at Least for a While)

Signs you’ve finally made it: You’ve perfected your editorial calendar and created and published your content. Your site ranks in Google, and people visit it and convert. All is well with the world.

Common challenges in this stage: Some people make the mistake of setting it and forgetting it when it comes to content marketing. Doing that with a romantic relationship in the happily-ever-after phase gets you shunted back to disillusionment, and the same is true here.

What you need to get through: Attention to detail, strong partnerships and analytics that let you know when certain elements of your content marketing strategy need tweaking.

 

Sarah Stasik

Article by

Sarah is an experienced writer and copyeditor with a background in project management. She’s Six Sigma Black Belt certified and leverages her knowledge of statistical analysis, process improvement and content marketing to help clients engage audiences and increase conversions.

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