7 Common Examples of Expectations vs Reality in Content Marketing

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By Tomislav

Key Takeaways

Volume and Quality of Content: Achieving traffic growth requires publishing over 100 articles, focusing on high quality and relevancy, not just quantity.
Content Creation and SEO: Content creation is time-intensive, often requiring several hours per article, and success in Google rankings relies on user engagement, comprehensive coverage, and SEO expertise.
ROI and Skillset in Content Marketing: Effective content marketing demands a diverse skill set, understanding of SEO, audience needs, and patience for long-term results, challenging initial expectations of quick success and easy execution.

Volume of Content

Expectation: “10-15 articles should be enough to bring a flood of traffic to my site.”

Reality: crickets

The truth is, most sites only begin to attract significant traffic after publishing 100+ articles, sometimes even more.

This assumes you’ve nailed essential aspects like SEO, keyword research, competitor analysis, search intent, and content relevance.

While there are exceptions, don’t bank on your site being one.

Content Quality

Expectation: “The BEST content isn’t necessary, right? A little effort should suffice!”

Reality: In many niches, especially competitive ones, the standard for content quality increases daily.

This is particularly true in evergreen niches like health, wealth, and relationships.

However, it’s still possible to make your mark, even in highly competitive niches.

But this requires more than a “good enough” attitude.

Aim to create the best content possible.

Content Relevance

Expectation: “My thoughts and rants are bound to be a hit!”

Reality: Generally, people search online for solutions, not opinions.

You may have extensive industry knowledge, but initially, focus on addressing specific problems for your audience.

Once you’ve built a reputation and people start seeking your content for its reliability and value, you can then occasionally diverge into more personal topics.

Remember, while “content is king,” it’s relevant content that truly rules.

Content Creation Process

Expectation: “I’ve got half an hour… let me just bang out a couple of articles real quick.”

Reality: In that time, you’ll struggle to outline even one article.

It’s true that some are quicker at content creation.

However, on average, expect 2-4 hours to craft a 2,000-word article.

Remember, simply typing words into a document is just the beginning.

You’ll need to edit the article, find imagery, and upload it to your website.

This process is often more time-consuming than anticipated, especially for beginners.

Sure, AI can help you out in this process, but even then, you want that content carefully edited to remove the AI footprints and insert your voice and personality, etc.

To do it really well where you’re still creating unique content that sounds like you, you’re still looking at significant time commitment even with the help of AI.

Google Rankings

Expectation: “I just created the best article on fly fishing ever! Let me upload this bad boy and watch it soar to Google’s first page. I hope my site handles the incoming traffic!”

Reality: 6 months later – the article languishes on page 8.

Unestablished websites face a lengthy journey to rank, even for low competition keywords.

For a new site, competing for a term like “fly fishing” is a nigh-insurmountable battle.

Even if your article is top-notch, Google requires concrete evidence of its merit, which includes:

  • User Experience: Google evaluates if audiences are genuinely engaged with your content.
  • Backlinks: Links from relevant websites are seen as a community endorsement, lending authority to your site.
  • Content Relevance: Your content must effectively solve problems.
  • Topic Comprehensiveness: Covering a topic in-depth and including related keywords is key, as search engines favor comprehensive content coverage.

Content Marketing ROI

Expectation: “Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates three times as many leads? I’m going to see returns quickly!”

Reality: The cost-effectiveness of content marketing hinges on your proficiency in several areas:

  • Understanding SEO
  • Knowing your competition
  • Grasping your audience’s needs
  • Creating relevant and comprehensive content
  • Persevering until content marketing yields results

For instance, you might invest your entire marketing budget in 50 articles in January, only to find your business struggling by July because those articles haven’t yet attracted significant traffic.

And, ironically, some of those articles might begin to perform well in December, potentially after your business has ceased operations.

Content Marketing Skillset

Expectation: “I’ll just write articles for my site, create YouTube videos, and publish content on Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn daily. It can’t be that difficult, right?!”

Reality: Such an ambitious approach demands a diverse skill set, including writing, editing, copywriting, SEO, and social media management.

You also need extensive knowledge about the specifics of each content marketing channel.

However, this doesn’t mean it’s unachievable.

Be ready for a few months of intensive learning and honing your skills.