Content Marketing and the Treadmill in the Corner

Content Marketing and the Treadmill in the Corner

May 4, 2021 | By Julie Jarnagin

Have you ever had an unused treadmill or exercise bike in some dusty corner of your home? It’s always there reminding you that you need to use it. You know you should get on it, and you plan to…someday. But right now, the pile of laundry on top is more important because your family is complaining they’re out of clean underwear.

Content Marketing can become the laundry-covered treadmill for marketers. We know we need to give it attention. We know it’s important, but for some reason, it keeps falling to the bottom of the to-do list. That project you were so excited about at the annual planning meeting has now been sitting on your list (making you feel guilty) for three months.

Let’s start by defining what kind of content marketing we’re talking about in this post. For the most part, new home marketers we interact with have a good handle on the e-commerce side of content. We all know we need photos, floor plans, renderings, and other basics online, and we manage to stay on top of those things.

What many marketers are struggling with is the content that relates to storytelling, trust-building, and the emotional side of the equation.

Right now in this great market, not many would disagree that it’s a good time to focus on content that draws homebuyers in and cements their brand as being unique. So why are marketers still struggling with it? What’s holding us back? There are several things keeping us from lacing up our running shoes and getting to work, including that we can’t quantify the return on investment, the work-in-progress doesn’t match our expectations, we fail to focus on consistency, and we underestimate the power of accumulated content.

1. We can’t always quantify the return on investment

It’s easy to feel productive when we’re doing something that we can prove is driving sales. When you’re working on a campaign that is producing x amount of traffic to the website, x amount of leads, and ultimately x number of sales, no one in your company questions what you’ve been working on or your value to the company.

If your CFO asks what you did today, and you’ve been writing a blog post, how would they react? Would they ask the question you’re dreading to hear–How many homes is that going to sell?

Content creation is something that has a big question mark at the end of it. As our own Kevin Oakley has said, when it comes to content Energy + Time = ?. We have to get comfortable with the psychological insecurity that we can’t substantiate the amount of traffic, leads, or ultimately sales a piece of storytelling content will produce. One piece of content probably won’t move the needle in an obvious way, just like one walk on the treadmill isn’t going to make me look good in a bathing suit this summer.

Is quality, emotional content going to pay you back? Yes! When and how much? It’s impossible to know. Just because it doesn’t feel like it’s providing value, doesn’t mean it won’t. Don’t let the fear and psychological uncertainty of answering those questions hold you back.

2. The work-in-progress doesn’t match our expectations

With any creative project, the idea stage is often fun and exciting. That idea for a series of blog posts, videos, social posts, or photos often seems perfect in our minds. Once we start taking action or even thinking about the next steps, things start to get dicey. Suddenly, our idea doesn’t look so shiny anymore, and we fear we won’t live up to the original spark of brilliance we had with the idea. This can lead us to abandon it, keeping it safe (and useless) in our minds.

One of the great things about a career in marketing is that we have to use both sides of our brains. We’re constantly switching from the analytical side for analyzing data and studying the numbers to the creative side, but this switching can also create new challenges. You have to approach the creative tasks differently. We have to give ourselves permission to create ugly first drafts and to fail. Otherwise, you’ll never get to the other side where your most creative work lives.

3. We fail to focus on consistency

If we spend five hours on our treadmill once a month, we’re never going to get the benefits we desire. That’s not how our minds and bodies work, and it’s not how we build momentum. It’s obviously better to spend 30 minutes, three or four times a week on the treadmill. Creative work is often the same.

You must figure out what amount of work you can put into something that you can do with great consistency. True success over time comes from that consistency. Actually scheduling time to get out in the field with a camera or setting aside a quiet time away from the office to write is so important. Can you set aside 30-minutes a day? How about Friday afternoons? When in doubt, start small and build from there.

4. We underestimate the power of accumulated content

When looking at trust-building content, we have to look at the sum of the whole. One blog post, one podcast episode, or one video probably isn’t going to make a significant impact. However, an entire library of podcast episodes your team can use in follow-up and as a resource for homebuyers going through the process will be a beneficial tool for your team.

While we can’t quantify an individual piece of content, we do know that each additional content piece added (assuming a minimum standard of quality) makes the entire library more valuable in aggregate. A single Zillow listing isn’t worth much, but the accumulation of all Zillow listings past and present make up an indispensable tool. Someday, having a collection of bingeable content across your website, social media, and online will be worth a lot and you’ll thank yourself later for putting in the hard work.

We work with so many creative, smart marketers in our industry. If you’re struggling with creating consistent, emotional content, take a look at the patterns that are holding you back. Then, you’ll be able to step up and produce amazing content for your company.

If you want to hear Kevin, Andrew, and Jackie talk more about this topic, check out Episode 143 of the Market Proof Marketing Podcast.

The post Content Marketing and the Treadmill in the Corner appeared first on Online Sales and Marketing for Home Builders - DYC.

Julie Jarnagin
Marketing Strategist

Julie Jarnagin

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