You’ve heard these a million times:
- You have to “do” more content marketing
- You have to build more backlinks
- You have to have landing pages
- You have to have all of your pages fully optimized in order to rank better
- You have to rank for these keywords/terms
- You have to promote your website/brand via social media
So, how does one know which of these, if not all, are effective and how does one accomplish all of that?
Most importantly, how does one find the time to accomplish all of that and continue to operate the business?
Let’s tackle the first portion; what is right and how do I do it?
There are essentially three choices; 1) you can do the research yourself, 2) you can hire someone to do the research for you, or 3) you utilize a third party who provides those services for you. The potential issues with numbers 2 & 3 revolve around the competency of either of those two choices along with your trust in who you are hiring to do that work. In other words, you have to trust that the person (or company) you hire has the necessary knowledge to complete the task and that they will get the job done the correctly.
It would seem then if you don’t have a person, or company, that you trust and is knowledgeable in the tasks at hand, you either have to find someone you trust, or do the job yourself.
Choosing to do the job yourself, what does that cost?
Let’s consider the following; how much time is it going to take, how much research do I have to do, how much time do I have, and how much is my time worth?
For arguments sake, let’s assume that your website is constructed properly (as a baseline) and that, while your site may need some tweaking, the primary focus is to get your site to have more visitors and, ultimately, more business generated from it.
With that said, let’s also assume that, in your business, you charge $200.00 hourly for your professional services.
We’ll also add the following assumptions:
- You’re going to limit your research pertaining to What you are going to do and How you are going to do it, to 20 hours of reading and research
- You are going to concentrate on developing relevant content for your site, as well as properly optimize and promote that content
So, just to determine the; what and the how, you have already cost yourself; Twenty hours (20) times $200.00 = $4,000.00.
How long does it take to create, optimize, and promote new content?
All I can do, in this case, is offer my own experiences with developing and promoting content in order to give you an idea as to how long it takes to accomplish these tasks.
Assuming that you have already created a baseline of relevant topics that you are going to write about, then developing the actual article comes down to the additional research and, of course, the writing part.
The research depends on a few variables; 1) your familiarity with the subject matter, 2) the need, or desire, to provide your audience with reference material, and 3) verifying, or at least updating, your knowledge base with current and accurate information.
In most cases, it will take me between 10 and 20 hours over several days to produce enough data, in order for me to write at least one quality article. I do admit though, when I am completing research on any particular subject, I always try to produce enough material that will allow me to end up with 2-3 articles relating to the general subject matter, but will, ideally, be subsets of the overall or main subject.
Once I have compiled all of the material the writing process begins. During my research I have compiled notes, quotes, and reference sites that I will, of course, refer to in the final article with appropriate links to those sources. It normally takes me anywhere from 5 hours to 10 hours to produce a first draft and another 5-10 hours to produce a final article.
Once the final article is produced, I then go back to locate and/or create pertinent graphics, which are essential, not only to the article, but to the promotion of my article through social media and other outlets that I utilize.
Where are we at now?
In terms of our final product, we have previously researched what we are going to do and how we are going to do it, by using 20 hours of our time. In addition, we spent the following time:
- 10-20 hours researching
- 5-10 hours writing first draft
- 5-10 hours to produce the final article
Total time spent on our first article(s): between 40 and 60 hours OR $8,000-$12,000.
Posting and promotion of our tremendously engaging content
Since you already did the research in the beginning, now you merely need to put that piece into action in order to promote your content.
Your initial task will be posting your article on your web site, which should take about a minute. Once it is created on your site, simply add a good title and description along with an appropriate featured image.
Now, since we have already established that your website is setup and configured properly, we don’t need to worry about linking it into the home page; however, we do need to make certain that our article links to any other appropriate pages within our site by using “In Context”1 links to those pages.
I use a specific process for promoting my articles through social media which, honestly, is set up in such a way that I don’t even have to manually visit any social media sites. I simply make sure the articles are scheduled for posting on whichever social media sites that are appropriate for that particular article. For me, the entire process, takes about ten minutes.
But, if you don’t have a, more or less automated system set up specifically to promote your content, then it may take you another hour or two to properly post your summary with an image and a link back to your original article.
How much new content do I need and how often?
That depends on several factors ranging from your customers’ (or potential customers’) engagement, to your desired end result in terms of bottom line impact on your business and your brand.
Many business owners send out periodic mailings to potential customers, run ads in magazines and papers, and even run commercials on radio and/or television. These forms of advertising have two important effects; they build brand recognition, and may influence those consumers that are in immediate need of your services.
That said, there are, of course, costs associated with any marketing campaign and those costs are certainly desired to be in line with the benefit of those marketing efforts. The reality is that the quality of your ad campaign, along with the chosen times/locations in which to deliver those ads to your potential customers, plays a critical role in the effectiveness of those efforts.
Which brings us back to your website. This site is essentially your place online where potential customers can view your business; additionally, they can determine if your business is the one they want to contact when they require services which you provide.
Of course, you would make absolutely certain that your website tells your potential customers; who you are, what you do, and how you can help them. You should also make sure you can show items like; testimonials from customers, frequently asked questions, and, perhaps, some samples of previous work in order to showcase your results.
Let’s assume for a moment, that your site contains everything listed above and looks appealing. You may have spent a great deal of money getting it to look just the way you want, so why aren’t people visiting your site? The real need here is to increase traffic to your website.
How do you get people to come to your website?
Well, generally speaking, you need to have a website that contains information (content) that people have a desire to read or will find useful.
Take a minute… forget about your particular business and what your business objectives are instead, think about your past, current, and future customers. Now think about their wants, needs, and desires. With those things in mind what types of information could you provide that could either educate them or allow them to help themselves?
Another avenue is to think about your peers and ponder whether or not you could compile information which will educate them or help them, in their own quest for success.
With those two things in mind you should be able to, at a minimum, create a basic list of potential topics that you can use to begin creating your content.
Now, back to the main question here; how do you get people to come to your website?
Once you are finally at the point where you have your first article ready to post, then you have to promote it properly with the objective being to direct people to your website to read it.
At the end of the day you want to share your article with everyone. You want to advertise that there is, a very interesting article available, get it in front of people, and, in turn, get them to read it on your website.
Provided you have done the appropriate optimization of your article within your website, then your content page (article) will be indexed shortly and should, if all goes well, begin to come up in search results for related search terms.
So, to summarize, you get people to your website through proper promotion of your outstanding content via social media and other appropriate outlets, thus increasing your site traffic which will, in turn, improve your visibility in appropriate organic search listings. As your search listing visibility improves, it results in even more increases to your website traffic.
Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, it might sound simple, and, in theory, it really is, but, it requires a lot of time and proper execution in order to meet your objectives. You, quite frankly, would be wasting your time creating all of these great content articles if your website is not constructed and configured properly, you have not taken the time to properly setup your social media accounts, OR you don’t have a decent number of followers.
Let’s summarize your costs for this work
Your initial cost of establishing what you need to do and the process of getting those items completed will take you the initial 20 hours for a one time cost of $4,000.
Your first content article that you create will take you somewhere between 20-40 hours to complete at a cost of $4,000 – $8,000.
That brings the total cost of creating your first content article created to $8,000 – $12,000.
Now, we’ll assume you will be able to get your content development time down to between 10 and 20 hours for each article, and we’ll also assume that time includes the posting to your web site and completing the proper promotion of your content. The cost will translate to $2,000 – $4,000 for each article you create.
You will also want to make sure that you allow for the necessary time to gather and analyze the results of your promotional efforts. In addition, you will need to make adjustments to those promotional processes, as necessary, in order to ensure success and maximize opportunities. You can probably figure on at least 5-10 hours per month to accomplish those tasks.
There are several ways you might be able to reduce the time necessary to create at least 2 quality articles per month. After all, who has 20-30 hours (or more) each month to dedicate to the promotion of your products or services?
The fact is, you probably don’t have any “extra” time, but, that said, it is essential to market your business on a consistent basis.
What about hiring an employee to do it or utilizing a current one? That is certainly an option; however, the reality is you’re probably not going to hire someone who is an internet marketing specialist or a marketing professional. So, someone (probably you) has to be educated in the processes involved, as I talked about earlier. Another employee could, however, complete the tasks of writing the content for you, but, at least initially, you are still going to be involved in editing and/or verifying the content before it goes out on your company website and social media.
So, in terms of hiring an employee, if you hire a professional, you expect to pay an annual salary of $61k-$123k or more. If you choose to hire an inexperience person and train them, you would certainly be able to reduce the annual salary, but, then you have to account for the time involved to train them and those associated costs.
There is no easy answer, it is merely a choice, a choice that only you can make.
Now that I have outlined some of the items involved in creating and promoting content for your business, there are some decisions to be made.
Are you going to; Perform these tasks yourself, Hire an employee (or use a current one), or are you going to hire a third party who provides those services for you. Of course those choices could also be modified into some type of hybrid solution where specific tasks are distributed among those three options. The choice is yours, you just have to make the decision in order to move forward.
References and Links to Useful Items
1 In Context Linking: Link Purpose (In Context): The purpose of each link can be determined from the link text alone or from the link text together with its programmatically determined link context, except where the purpose of the link would be ambiguous to users in general. (Level A) W3C.org
2 information on median salary used from here