The sad, sad reality of technical content marketing is true for pretty much all content marketing campaigns: they need time to build steam. Expect to see results in 6 months with organic traffic, brand awareness, and share of voice/share of conversation continuing for up to 2 years. Our experience gleaned from our clients bears that out, as well as the experience of several others. However, there is some dependence on the type of campaign, the desired result for your company, the metrics you are focusing on, and some factors contributing to success that you can influence.
When Will I Know?
Is your campaign a success? A lot of information is focused on what to measure, but do you know when you can expect your metrics to point to an overall success or failure for the campaign? Depending on the campaign goals, that could be shortly after you campaign launches or could require the patience for a significant long tail effect. Sometimes, it’s a bit of both.
Factors Influencing Your Timeline
The type, length, budget, promotion strategy, and key metrics of your campaign are the most relevant to determining the timeline for expecting to see success (or failure). Let’s see how.
Type of Campaign. Campaigns that require shifts in the entire market segment you are addressing will take a long time to measure an effect. In particular, awareness campaigns can take a full year to see results. Campaigns promoting an event will see the most results up until the event.
Campaign Length. A short campaign to promote a time-sensitive call-to-action like an offer, free trial, discount, or event should provide results immediately, provided the reward and/or quality is perceived as high. A long-term campaign to improve share of voice will take at least 6 months to take effect.
Budget. Whether it is your budget for content, your budget for promotion, or both, the larger the budget, the faster you will see results. It’s really simple: a better budget for content should be used to create high-quality content that is hard to come by and fills a need. Your technical audience WILL consume it. However, they also need opportunities to learn about the availability of your precious content. The more opportunities they have to become aware of your campaign, and the more and varied the content is that comprises your campaign, the more likely your technical audience will engage with it.
Promotion Strategy. It’s not just enough to just throw money at your promotion. An insightful promotion strategy that promotes content in a variety of places including pay-per-click campaigns, developer newsletters, developer influencers, and developer-to-developer communities is much more likely to build momentum quickly.
Key Metrics. Are the key metrics something that change quickly? For example, you may see a traffic spike to your landing page with every ad impression or with a key influencer’s promotion of your content, but if you are really interested in share of voice or share of conversation, you will need to wait several months to measure whether your campaign is having the desired effect.
It’s Not Over, Even When It’s Over
The beauty is that slow build means a slow burn. Creating high quality content, consistent publication rates, and a ubiquitous presence in the market may take several months to cause the desired effect. However, the effect can be lasting, with content marketing campaigns resulting in higher traffic, brand awareness, and authority that can last as long as 2 years.