Content marketing is a blooming awesome way to market your business. You share your knowledge, invite people into your brand world, and it’s all online so it’s not so expensive as advertising. But for all the time you’re putting into content marketing, you’re left scratching your head and wondering “why isn’t my content converting?”

It’s also easy to think that someone holds the magic pill that’s going to make your content marketing work. Do that LinkedIn course so you know how to get all those sales into your DMs. Or get a load of new followers on Instagram so you can get them buying your stuff. Or hit that top spot on Google so everyone comes to you.

It all sounds so easy on paper or watching someone else do it online. Yet, what we’re seeing is not the whole story. Those people who look like they’re killing it online and making content marketing magic are either seeing the culmination of hard work pay off or they are faking it till they make it.

Now, I know which of those two I’d rather be. And being honest, there is work I put in years ago on my content marketing that is only now starting to pay off. At the same time, there are strategies I use to build up sales fast.

Tortoise and Hare

tortoise and hare

The reason the tortoise and hare fable is so powerful is that it’s true. And while we’re told ‘slow and steady wins the race’ sometimes we need an injection of sprinter speed to shimmy things along. The key is not to be in hare mode all the time. You’ll burn out and need to check out for some time, putting you right back to where you began.

At the same time, we all know that if you trudge along at tortoise speed, you’ll get there in the end but it will take time. Also, as a slow runner, I can categorically guarantee that it needs to be a blinking long race for the tortoise to win it.

Hare Mode

When you’re in Hare mode, you’re solely focusing on getting those sales. You want to sustain that high energy in a short burst to bring extra business in. This usually looks like a launch or sales campaign.

If you’re a product-based business, you’ll have a sale or package up your product in a new way, or bring out a new line to push this energy with your potential buyers.

It needs to be a short, sharp launch because if you’re in launch mode or hare mode all the time, you will hit the wall of burnout pretty fast.

I worked with someone who was always launching and it was exhausting. It was also exhausting for their customers and the people on their email list. There was no time to warm folks up. It was constantly selling the next thing.

At the same time, if you don’t know what your launches and campaigns are in the year, you’ve got a bit of a problem. Bumbling along at the same speed doesn’t give anyone the imperative to buy.

I’m working with my mentor clients at the moment and we’re looking at the best times of year to launch their businesses. This is different for each business although some industries see downtimes at certain points in the year.

Knowing when these points are and properly planning for them can really help you stack up the energy you need to get through the hare-mode of business.

What does content marketing look like in hare-mode?

This is getting your sales emails out, perfecting your sales pages and pumping out that reminder content, testimonials, and FOMO posts to your audience.

You want to go big or go home selling your latest product. It’s scary because it means putting yourself out there and you might annoy some folks by posting too much. Or emailing too much.

You’ve got to build a thick skin to that because those who want to buy will be happy to see your posts. Plus, not everyone sees everything you post out.

Content marketing during hare-mode is not SEO. Although that doesn’t mean you need to do social media marketing for this. You can sell through your list, get people on the phone, sliding into the DMs.

But you want your content marketing to really sprint. This is you heading to that finish line with all the energy you can muster.

Tortoise Mode

Now, content marketing comes into its own during tortoise mode. Here you are not selling at all. You are building brand awareness, getting to know your community and having conversations.

Here you want to dig into those content buckets or pillars – the talking points that your customer is interested in and that showcase your values and expertise.

The most you’re asking anyone to do at this point is take a leap of faith to sign up to your email list or send you a message or maybe follow you. Your content at this point should absolutely not be about selling. It should be about people finding you and understanding if you are their kind of person. Or if your brand is their kind of brand.

The content you publish here is going to pay off in the long term. That doesn’t mean you can’t get quick results from this content. It does mean you should expect it.

What does content marketing look like in Tortoise-mode?

This is your long and thoughtful blogs, or your podcast and video channels. It’s often the content that lives on your website. You can also include your regular emails in this kind of content. It’s about building a relationship with those who love what you do.

If you’re using social media, the tortoise mode is the kind of content you put out to get those lovely new fans of your brand to notice you exist.

How to help content convert

Now we know that there are different times to post different kinds of content we can dig into why some of this might not be converting.

Let’s focus on the Hare Content because that’s the stuff that you want to convert. It’s the Tortoise content that is doing the groundwork, building up those foundations of trust.

Your speedy sales content should be the last line you need to push someone over.

Now there’s a bunch of different reasons why that content isn’t converting.

You might have missed out on:

  • Fully explaining the benefits
  • Looking at how it will transform
  • Giving enough to back up your claims with results and testimonials.

Or it might be that the copy, videos, and images simply aren’t up to the job of bringing in the sales.

It could well be that what you had created is not what’s needed to get someone across the line. Let’s face it, if you’re wanting someone to invest hundreds or thousands with you then they are going to want to talk to you before they part with their cash.

But for smaller things, it might be getting the timing right or making what you sell sound so damn good that they can’t possibly say no to it.

Let’s say you’ve got a lovely sales page and you know your sales emails are working because people are clicking on the link and checking out the page. But they are not buying.

Here you want to check that your big headline is really calling out to them. It’s digging into what they expect when they hit that page. You want to make sure you’re giving them all the right information they need to make a decision. And that you’re speaking to any objections they have.

People come to your sales page to buy. When they get there, they are looking at reasons not to buy. The emotional side of the brain has taken them this far and now there’s a threat of spending money so the logical side has kicked in to make sure it’s the right decision. Give that logical side everything it needs to decide.

If your slow content isn’t converting

Remember this content isn’t to necessarily drive sales but to get people to know, like and trust you. This should in turn lead to sales. Your goal from this content is usually to get someone to follow you on your chosen social media platform and join your mailing list.

If your slow content is SEO then you’re going to want them to trust you enough to give you their email address. So making sure you’ve got the right call to action on your blog, podcast or video is super important. This might be to get a freebie or it might be to read some more blogs.

Small commitments are important as they lead to bigger ones. Plus, you can always follow up with some adverts if you need to. But let’s say you’re getting people hitting your blog, but they are leaving the site pretty sharpish.

Here you need to have a look at your blog copy. You might be hitting a search term, but is it the right one for your audience? You can check this using Google Search Console which tells you what people are putting into Google to find your blog.

Use your analytics to see how long they are staying on the page and if they are looking at anything else. You can also see what else crops up for that search term.

If the wrong audience is hitting your website, change your copy. If the right audience is finding you but not staying then tweak your copy and also any lead magnet or pop-up on your site. It’s also worth checking how fast your website loads on different devices.

It’s like playing detective. Eliminate everything until you get to what you need to change. It might take some testing along the way.

Okay, so what if the problem is with the social?

Well, here you can do some testing. Usually, if the content isn’t converting – and by converting I mean someone taking some kind of action – then it’s down to the content itself.

Let’s say you’re trying a new platform. You’re not going to get loads of comments, likes and follows right away. You need to test, and more importantly, you need to get involved.

It’s too easy to blame “the algorithm” or think that we’re not quite getting it when what we’re trying to do is schedule up a bunch of content and then post and run. Aside from building conversations on your own posts you also need to get involved in conversations on other people’s posts.

In fact, I’d say that it is one of the biggest missing elements of any content strategy – being a part of the community rather than broadcasting to it.

Some quick things you can check to improve your social content:

Make sure your videos and images are good enough quality.

There’s a difference between getting it out to avoid perfectionism and thinking “that’ll do” when you know it’s not spot-on.

Is your content telling a story?

Does it have a purpose for being there? And is that purpose helping your dream customer? Or is it you shouting about what you’re selling?

Are you clear about what you want someone to do after watching?

Click like, leave a comment, click a link, follow you – whatever it is, make sure you’re saying it.

Does your content represent your brand?

It’s really important that your brand look and feel are at the heart and soul of your content.

Did you create this content with your customers in mind?

If not, go back and talk to your customers. See what they want.

And if you’re still not sure why your content isn’t converting, you can book a Content Clinic with me and I’ll help you understand why your content isn’t converting and give you some solid tips to change it for the better.