Aug 28, 2012

Content Marketing: It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Written by : Rachel Parker| 0 |
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 Content Marketing: It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Content marketers: More Stephen Kiprotich than Usain Bolt

I think I’m going to have to break up with a client.

Mind you, this client has always paid her invoices on her time. She’s very pleasant to deal with. And she’s very good at what she does.

Here’s the problem: We’ve been working together for two months, and she’s clearly frustrated that no business has yet resulted from my efforts on her behalf. (It doesn’t help that she’s in a firmly relationship-based industry.) Many a time have I tried to explain that content marketing is not a quick fix, but she seems to believe that after eight weeks, she’s waited long enough to start cashing in on her investment.

In other words, when it comes to marketing, she’s looking for a sprinter.

In thinking about this quandary, I couldn’t help but think back to the 2012 Olympics. Sure, the world leapt up and cheered when Usain Bolt struck gold in the 100m dash (and rightly so) … but how many even know the name of Stephen Kiprotich, who ploughed through hot, humid conditions for over 2 hours to win his own equally impressive gold in the marathon? 

Not many. Because we’re human beings, and we all yearn for instant gratification—especially in this day and age, when we find ourselves rolling our eyes at a microwave meal that deigns to take a whopping eight minutes to prepare. (And yes, I’m as guilty of this as anyone.)

Ironically, it’s the emergence of this gotta-have-it-fast-gotta-have-it-now consumer that has given rise to the decidedly marathon-esque practice of content marketing.

Why? Back in the day (Which day, you ask? I dunno, pick one), you could wow a consumer with a glossy ad crowned with a clever tagline, and they’d race to be the first in line to buy. Fast-forward to late 2012, and we’d be hard-pressed to name the product touted in the last ad we saw.

So what does work with this ADD-esque consumer? I firmly believe that it comes down to two things: relevance and consistency. 

Sexy, no. Effective, yes. Because relevance is the key to getting customers’ attention, and consistency is the key to keeping it … so that when they’re ready to buy, yours is the first name they think of.

Of course, all this takes time, the one thing that brings out the miser in all of us … which brings me back to my impatient client. I really wish I could show her a crystal ball of what she could have a year from now: a solid tribe, carefully built via email, Web, and social media, comprising individuals who know and trust her … and who will turn into customers as soon as the need arises.

Maybe I’ll give it one more shot …

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Content Curator

Rachel Parker

A self-proclaimed geek who can recite entire episodes of South Park by heart, Rachel Parker helps businesses publish content that connects with their audience … and converts those followers into customers. She’s also the host of the Content Marketing Podcast and a sought-after speaker, having presented to many major business and marketing organizations.

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