Is Content Marketing a Waste of Time?

Posted on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 No Comments


Yesterday I came across 17 Advanced Methods for Promoting Your New Piece of Content on KISSmetrics. It’s in Growth Hacker’s Must Read list and has a lot of comments and shares. It’s an excellent list of ideas for promoting content, and it really got me thinking.

It got me thinking that content marketing is a waste of time.

The post outlines 17 ways of getting attention for your content. They’re all great ideas: reaching out to influencers in your field, contacting people who have previously shared similar content, converting your content into another format (such as a PDF or slideshow) to put it in front of a different type of eyeballs, and so on.

Go read the list and see how you feel afterwards. I felt totally overwhelmed and discouraged. The idea presented in this list, and many others like it, is that you have to do all of these things for every piece of content you create, or your content will never be seen.

I posted a comment:

Bonnie Apr 15, 2014 at 6:14 pm

This is a great list, but here’s my question: How in the world is someone supposed to do all that? It would take at least an entire day to do this for each piece of content.

Do the bloggers who made it big really do all of that? Or do they pick 2-3 methods to focus on?

It seems like these big lists of promotion methods get shared around a lot only because they give hope to people who are struggling. That’s not the same as using this method for another kind of content.

It’s like those affiliate scams … “I made a million on ClickBank telling people how to make money on ClickBank, but really all I’m doing is teaching them to sell my method for making money, which makes ME money.”

So what is a small business owner REALLY supposed to do?

Thanks for the thoughts.

The author was kind enough to reply:

Aaron Agius Apr 15, 2014 at 10:40 pm

Bonnie, it does take work – a lot of it. Getting the content in front of the right people can be very labor intensive and time consuming. At first there are not many options other than to get in and do the work yourself while your blog is building an audience. Once you are getting traffic to the site, capture that audience by getting them to opt-in to a mailing list so you have a pre-built audience moving forward.

Content marketing takes a lot of time and effort and the most successful content marketers are spending far more than a day of work marketing an individual blog post. A number of people mention spending 20% of your time creating an amazing piece of content (regardless of how many hours it actually takes to put it together), and then 80% of the time actually marketing that content.

So in answer to your question – business owners are meant to get in and do the hard work, do what works now and begin to hand off some of these content marketing tasks to staff or contractors as your business and audience expands…. or hire an agency to help you with it all.

If we believe this, then as a small business owner, you’re supposed to spend maybe 3 hours creating an insightful, original, and well designed/written piece of content, and then spend perhaps 10 hours promoting it. That’s nearly 2 full days of work spent on one blog post, infographic, or video.

Nobody has that kind of time.

Aaron’s suggestion is to buckle down and do it yourself for a while until you’re making enough money to hire someone else to do it. (Someone who probably understands your business and market far less than you do, by the way.)

I feel that it’s very unlikely that this strategy will ever get you to the point of being able to hire someone. Plus, content marketing is supposed to be something you can do for free. It’s not free in time, but it shouldn’t cost money, at least if you’re trying to bootstrap a new business.

You can’t dedicate two working days to one blog post and expect to grow your business. Tweet This

Here’s what I think, and it goes back to tried-and-true marketing concepts.

1. Find out where your ideal customers are.

2. Spend your effort THERE. Not on 17 widely varied places that drain your energy.

There’s another benefit to this.

When you split your attention between 17 different marketing methods, you won’t be doing any of them particularly well. Tweet This

If you focus on 1 or 2 social media sites, you can grow a larger following and interact much more than if you were trying to keep up with all of them.

So read the lists of 17 Advanced Methods for Promoting Your New Piece of Content but pick out two methods that you want to implement. Two methods that compliment your clients, your industry, and your market. And do those two well.

The alternative is to do a crappy job at all 17 and waste your time.

Not all content marketing is a waste of time, but trying to do all kinds of content marketing is a waste of time. Tweet This

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