Earlier this year, I published a list of some of the most striking content marketing statistics that all marketers and business owners should know:
Overwhelmingly, these statistics reflect the fact that marketers understand the important role content marketing can play in their campaigns and see the value in investing in it as a business strategy. But let me ask you a question...
Are you actually doing content marketing, or are you just reading about it?
Reading Does Not Equal Action
Back in 1999, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles followed a group of freshmen students to test whether or not visualizing themselves getting good grades on an exam would actually improve the students' performance.
Spoiler alert... it didn't. In fact, the students who used the visualization exercises designed by the researchers actually did worse on their tests.
Ali Luke of Pick The Brain offers one possible explanation for the results: "Think of it this way: if you spend a lot of time imagining that perfect future, you might start feeling a bit too sure of it."
Basically, you're tricking your mind into thinking you've already done something and that no further work is required. I'd be willing to bet that the same thing is happening with your content campaigns.
Reading an article about content marketing strategies might make you feel like you've accomplished something. And yes, studying best practices is important - taking action isn't that effective if you're taking actions that have become outdated.
But reading alone doesn't put content on your website. It doesn't create the viral lead magnets that'll earn your business new customers and subscribers. Only action can do that.
What Does Content Marketing Action Look Like?
I've written pretty extensively about the content marketing strategies I use, but the following list includes many of the actions I take on a regular basis to drive results:
On any given day, I'm actively involved in both my own content production and the campaigns I carry out for my clients at Web Profits. I do make it a point to stay up-to-date on content marketing trends and research, but I challenge myself to not let those activities steal my productivity away from actually doing my content creation and promotion work.
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I've had years to learn the difference between taking action and thinking about it, but if you're newer to the game, I understand how difficult it can be to distinguish between the two.
If you're struggling, I love the simple 3-step process to taking massive action laid out by Tony Robbins:
Robbins goes on to emphasize the importance of this process, stating:
"Once you have absolute clarity about the exact result you want and why you must achieve it, the next step is to create the MAP (Massive Action Plan) to get yourself there. Using a MAP goes beyond goal setting; it changes the emotional meaning behind all of your activities and forms a stronger link back to the outcome, making it more likely you'll achieve it."
"Emotional meaning" might sound a bit woo-woo for something as business-driven as content marketing, but think long and hard about what a successful content campaign could mean for your company.
Having a killer lead magnet, for instance, could mean the difference between a mediocre list and one that's responsive to your promotions. Hell, it could turn your end-of-year numbers from red to black if you fully leverage the power of content marketing to drive real results for your business.
It's that "fully leveraging" that's the problem for most people. You might remember that, apart from the positive statistics I shared above, my earlier Inc article also mentioned the following:
That's not great, and in my opinion, it represents the disconnect between marketers who only think about content marketing, and those who take meaningful, massive action.
Challenge yourself to be better. 2017 is right around the corner. Will it be another year of wondering why your competitors are doing so much better at connecting with your target customers through content? Or will it be the year you stop reading, start doing and start profiting?
BYSUJAN PATEL, CO-FOUNDER, WEB PROFITS