After launching a content marketing campaign, it’s tempting to keep your eyes glued to your site’s analytics whilst waiting for the results to roll in. Who can blame you? The online world moves so rapidly, it’s no wonder marketers also expect equally as quick results from content campaigns…. However, while there are exceptions, this is most often not the case.
The Truth about Content Marketing Results
There is no magic formula to predict exactly when you’ll see results and if a marketer tells you otherwise, be very wary as they are probably trying to lure you in with a set of unrealistic expectations. There are benchmarks you can use, however, to help you set realistic expectations – you should begin to see results within six months of starting your content marketing strategies. This is applicable to both on-site and off-site marketing approaches.
This type of approach to marketing includes things like blog posts, tutorials, e-books, white papers, case studies and other content on your website. This captivates both search engines and prospects. Unless you have an existing large audience, on-site content does not typically produce immediate results as it takes time for content to start ranking in search. This means it will take a bit of time for people to start seeing your content. When your continuously and consistently push content that search engines and people find useful, it should be around six months before you see results. After this time, your site’s metrics should show increased traffic and search rankings.
Unlike on-site marketing campaigns, off-site approaches use content published on other sites that don’t belong to you. Off-site content includes distributing, promoting or publishing awareness campaigns or viral content on other sites in order to lead audiences back to your website. Off-site content placements are usually aligned with the following purposes:
- Exposing your brand to a new audience.
- Attracting attention on social platforms where your target demographic spends time.
- Improving search ranking via inbound links.
Results from off-site campaigns are less predictable than on-site marketing as there are more factors in play. Usually, off-site marketing results start to consistently show around six months, although short-term results such as traffic spikes may occur during earlier stages. For example, if a campaign becomes viral, you are bound to see an immediate, drastic spike in traffic. With off-site content marketing, bottom-line results typically pick up around the six-month mark and continually increase for one to two years. These results increase and improve:
- Search rankings
- Site traffic
- Brand recognition
Slow and steady wins the race.
The timeline of content marketing results
When we talk about results, it’s important to mention that results typically don’t all happen at once – sometimes they occur in waves. Results may increase, decrease and then grow gradually as time goes by. As mentioned earlier, if your campaign goes viral, you will see a significant spike in traffic after its release. This will probably drop shortly after, but should begin to steadily climb, providing both short-term and lasting results. Good things come to those who wait!
Throughout a campaign, different results will happen at different time intervals. During the first six months, you are likely to see:
- Increased traffic
- An increase in number of backlinks
- Higher rates of social sharing
- A spike in PR mentions
Over time, however, you will see other benefits for your site including:
- Sustained increase in traffic
- Higher search rankings
- Increased and maintained lead volume
- More conversions
With patience and consistency, you can effectively launch a content marketing strategy that will grow and lead to valuable, lasting results over time.