How Content Marketing Really Works

I do a lot with content marketing these days. I have done two presentations related to content marketing recently. One I did a blog post about. It is called “Writing Solid Content. Another one called “The Art of Content Creation”, I didn’t write a blog post about, but you can check out the slideshow here . Now, let’s back on point here. Sometimes you bump into something on the web that inspires you and that happened to me. It happened to be an awesome presentation about Content Marketing and why it (often) fails.

Funnily enough the way I found that presentation and how I am starting to get more into the author and his work behind it is much like content marketing works. And believe me, that means in a not very linear kind of way as you will see. Allow me to write down how, Rand Fishkin, an awesome dude who works at Moz , tells us that, content marketing fails. But more importantly, how content marketing really works. Here are five points that discuss what a big myth about content marketing is, how it really works. But also what elements matter in content marketing including some you may think are nog longer relevant.

Content Marketing Myth

We are told the myth or believe that content marketing works as follows. A potential customer sees a social media post created by someone on the web. Let’s say a Facebook Post. He is interested and clicks next. Then he reads the post. Likes it right so downloads the related e-book, contacts the author immediately for all kinds of services or products he provides. He also starts following him on social media, subscribes to his feed and so on. Basically a lot of people think that you just have to:

  • I make content
  • they click on it
  • they buy your stuff
  • I get paid

Unfortunately this is not how content marketing works. And most of us find out sooner or later. Hopefully sooner than later.

How Content Marketing Really Works

The reality is that it does not work like this. Like a lot of things in life content marketing takes time and a lot of effort. You and I, and also our customers, browse through a lot of information every day. We have a few favorite sites we may visit, we check out Facebook, Twitter and or Instagram. And somehow getting lost on the internet super highway we bump into something that attracts our attention. A site that produces great content in a field you are interested in. Let’s say it is an online magazine about hiking and hiking gear. You click on it. And like a gazillion clicks later you bump into an article there that you really like by a guy who works for a hiking gear business.

A week later or longer you bump into the site by this same guy. You wonder why you like it so much. But you start following the guy and his business on social media and bookmark him and so on. Cause, well, he is awesome. Let’s say it is a site on hiking gear and you loved their gear and whole setup. Then, some times passes, and you tell your wife you would really like to buy these trail crampons. What was that guy’s site again? You Google for it. And there is their hiking gear site! So you go there and buy their crampons. That is how much time it could take and how much of an effort it could take.

So let’s summarize the steps here:

  • I create content
  • Humans Click on it
  • If they like it they will remember it
  • Maybe they see more content again and visit
  • I build trust, relationship with them
  • When they need my product or service they will come back for me

So it is not about converting people into buyers on first, or second or third click. It is about creating trust. It is about creation a relationship or bond between your business and the customer.

Community Matters

You think that when you create awesome and unique content it will automatically go viral. According to Rand, and I agree, it spreads because there is a community behind you that spreads the news around. A community that reblogs, posts on social media and so on. They make things viral. It is not just your content. So you got to ask yourself who will help you make your content go viral. How will amplify this all?

Content AND Marketing

Creating content that is good is just not good enough. You do need to market it at events, on social media and so on. Do presentations, post articles on LinkedIn, market blog posts on social media. You got to go out there. And do not forget. Email is still no one when it comes to marketing of your content and products.

SEO Still Plays a Huge Role

I wrote many articles on SEO already and also did a presentation on SEO as well as SEO related topics like site speed optimization. Despite the fact that a lot of people spend time on social networks browsing does NOT mean that search is dead. When people want to get things done they search. And that means that they then often use Google. And without content marketing it is very hard to stick out and become an authority on the web with a solid Google ranking.  So here you see us coming full circle and back to content marketing again. SEO and content marketing go hand in hand!


Success in content marketing, like anything else in life is not a straight line going up, up, up. It takes loads of times and many times you will stumble or have setbacks. Like Steve Jobs once said. “Sometimes Life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith”. Keep on writing about what keeps you up at night. Show us your passion. And I am sure you will get there and so will your business!


Tagged in : Tagged in : , , ,
Jasper Frumau

Jasper has been working with web frameworks and applications such as Laravel, Magento and his favorite CMS WordPress including Roots Trellis and Sage for more than a decade. He helps customers with web design and online marketing. Services provided are web design, ecommerce, SEO, content marketing. When Jasper is not coding, marketing a website, reading about the web or dreaming the internet of things he plays with his son, travels or run a few blocks.