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You’ve probably heard the buzz phrases:
Focusing on traffic numbers isn’t what content marketing is about.
Don’t chase the numbers.
Usually, the people who say this already have the audience and have revenue flowing in from multiple sources, which may include advertising on their blogs which are seeing massive traffic numbers, speaking gigs, consulting, maybe events and other areas related to their area of expertise.
Once you are an established thought leader it may potentially be less important to focus on building audience. I say may because really it’s always important to figure out how we can grow our relevant audience.
Perhaps, some people try to dismiss traffic numbers because it’s actually relatively hard to grow relevant audience. I remember when I was working with media companies, journalists were often saying similar things. Now it’s (content) marketers.
Things journalists would say to me: Why do we have to focus on traffic numbers? Does that mean every headline needs to have “cats,” “sex” or something similar in them?
And producing your own relevant content and growing your audience are two very different tasks. In the old days of journalism, newspaper journalists would write articles for the newspaper. But ultimately, they weren’t in charge of promoting the newspaper and there was little need to anyway. In the 1970s, just about all households in the United States was receiving a newspaper.
In the blogging and social media world, it really comes down to two things:
- Producing content that people actually want to consume and that is different from others.
- Marketing this content to the right people and get them to sign up for your blog so they stay in touch.
With hundreds of channels for consumers to connect with brands, thought leaders and their friends, the competition is fierce. Everyone wants to blog and many do. Some blog about the same things others have blogged about for years. After a week or two, they say it’s not working because they haven’t gotten any new customers. And they haven’t people a reason to leave the blog they’ve read for a long time.
It’s a long-term process and while it’s quite OK to monetize content marketing initiatives from Day 1, growing audience does take just a bit of time. And to grow an audience you need to get to a “minimally viable audience” – a term coined by Joe Pulizzi in “Content Inc.”
As you get started sharing your relevant, authentic and unique stories, totally focus on audience. Set daily goals, watch them and see what’s performing well. Then do more of what’s working while holding true to your authentic story line.
Keep growing that audience on all relevant channels while producing great and useful content at the same time. It’s about a 50-50 relationship. Fifty percent production. Fifty percent marketing.