Why Your Marketing Investments Aren’t Paying Off

The Minimum Amount of Content a Business Should Create

This past week, I spent a few days in Playa del Carmen with the Dynamite Circle, an entrepreneur group I’m a member of.

I had some interesting conversations while there, and I wanted to share one of them with you. It was with an entrepreneur based out of the UK who runs a software company. He asked me about content and content creation, as people tend to do with me.

He said that they’re going to invest in content, because they’re launching something new at their business.

So I asked, “How much content are you planning to create?”

He responded, “We’re thinking like two posts a month.” 

I looked at him and said, “Man, I have to be honest: If you’re not going to produce at least an absolute minimum of four, and really more like six or eight pieces a month, don’t waste your time.”

“Man, I have to be honest: If you’re not going to produce at least an absolute minimum of four, and really more like six or eight pieces a month, don’t waste your time.”

It’s funny for me to say that, because I’m a content person and I usually celebrate people creating ANY content, because a lot of people just genuinely need to start writing and publishing anything.

This is different for a business, though, which should be investing in and operationalizing marketing channels if it actually wants to succeed with them. 

Two posts a month is not investing; two posts a month is a tiny test.

The Problem with “Tiny Tests” (and Low Content Production)

The bootstrapped or early stage world loves to celebrate “tiny tests,” but here’s the problem with them, and therefore the problem with a low volume of content like my Dynamite Circle colleague was proposing.

People do tiny tests because they’re not convinced that something is going to work, and they’re afraid to fail. People are way more afraid of finding out that they’re not good enough at something than at failing. And if you’re not convinced that that something will work anyway, you’re certainly not going to commit to it,  which means you won’t see results, which means you won’t keep doing it, and therefore you won’t succeed with it.

People do tiny tests because they’re not convinced that something is going to work, and they’re afraid to fail. People are way more afraid of finding out that they’re not good enough at something than at failing.

Then you’ll say, “Oh, content doesn’t work for us,” and you’ll have just wasted months of time and lots of money. And that failure will be totally your fault, and also totally preventable. But you won’t feel it, and you’ll go on to repeat the cycle with other channels. At best, your business will stagnate. At worst, it could die.

See how that cycle works? Let’s break it.

Breaking the Cycle

If you’re truly a creator, have content creation baked into your culture, or just believe that it’s going to work because you’ve seen it work for others, then creating enough content won’t be a problem.

If you earmark enough budget toward it, then your challenge becomes maximizing the value of the content that you’re creating, through distribution (aka marketing!).

But if you’re just getting started with content creation, the way to get good at it—like with anything—is to do a lot of it, not just a little. If you don’t practice by doing volume, you won’t improve at it.

It’s Like Going to the Gym

Let’s take a gym example. If you start going to the gym, going twice a month won’t make you much stronger.

You might get familiar with where the gym is and what machines are at the gym, and you might learn if you like working out in the morning or evening, but that’s about it. You won’t gain much, if any, muscle, and it won’t be part of your identity.

Same thing with content creation.

If you go slow, you might, over the course of a few months, get inklings of what kind of content resonates with your audience, but that’s about it.

If you look at people who succeed with content marketing, they’re doing a few pieces a week, at absolute minimum.

If you go slow, you might, over the course of a few months, get inklings of what kind of content resonates with your audience, but that’s about it.

If you look at people who succeed with content marketing, they’re doing a few pieces a week, at absolute minimum.

Let’s look at a few companies and people who have succeeded with content marketing by doing volume over time.

Moz.com

Back in the day when Moz (SEO software) was really getting going, Rand Fishkin blogged five, sometimes six, days a week. He did it for years, and that’s why Moz got off the ground like it did.

Pure volume, and the quality came later.

(Data via semrush.com)

Ross Simmonds

Look at Ross Simmonds from Foundation Inc. They’re a content-marketing agency.

Ross is an old friend who has been creating great content for a really long time. He literally wrote the book on distribution:, “Create Once, Distribute Forever.” He talks the world over about distribution, because he gets that content creation is not actually the hard part of content marketing. Distribution and eyeballs on it are the hard part.

But you can’t do this until creation is a habit and baked into your or your company’s identity.

So, you need to get through the creation hump as quickly as you can so you can start getting the eyeballs.

The Tropical MBA Podcast

DC Mexico was put on by the Dynamite Circle, which is run by Dan Andrews and Ian Schoen, who also host the Tropical MBA podcast.

Dan and Ian are great. I really enjoyed being on the show in March, talking about productized services, and seeing them again in Mexico. 

Here’s the way I got connected with them, though.

I started listening to their podcast around 2017. I vividly remember walking through a grocery store near Breckenridge, in the mountains of Colorado, looking for mustard and listening to their podcast.

It was another seven years until I met them in person. It was five and a half years from that point before I joined “the DC.”

These guys have put out a weekly episode for almost 15 years(!), since starting their podcast in mid-2009. 

They’ve built multiple businesses over this time, including a number of seven-figure ones, many of which have gotten initial traction because of their audience, which has mostly originated from the podcast.

Long-term success comes from long-term effort.

Alex Hormozi

Look at Alex Hormozi. He founded GymLaunch, runs Acquisition.com alongside his wife, Leila, hosts his podcast The Game (which I listen to multiple times a week, and many of the episodes multiple times), and has a huge social media following. 

Whatever you think of Alex and his attitude toward business and content, you cannot deny that he has built a large and engaged audience very quickly. 

He talks often about a mental unlock that he had when he was publishing a social media post or two a day.

Alex tells the story of speaking with a guy who was doing ~$400 million a year in revenue. They were talking about content and building an audience. Alex said something along the lines of “Yeah, I’m doing like a post per day or something like that.”

And the guy responded, “We’re doing 50 pieces a week.” He was doing literally 10x the amount of content.

“Oooooh.”

Alex has another story about when he was just starting to build his gyms, and people were telling him to do flyers. The in-person, local nature of gyms makes them ideal for  blanketing an area with physical flyers.

So Alex thought, All right, I’ll do a test.

A couple of weeks later, he saw the guy again.

The guy asked, “Hey, did you do those flyers?”

And Alex said, “Yeah, I did.”

“Well, how did it go?”

“I don’t know, I don’t think we really got anything.”

“Well, how many did you do?”

“Well, we did like 300.”

“300?! I don’t test with less than 5,000!”

The guy who was succeeding was testing with literally 18x the volume Alex was.

Commit to Volume

If you’re getting a new business or marketing channel off the ground, you have to commit to doing enough volume. At the start of a new business, time and focus are key. At the start of a marketing channel, it’s volume of time and dollars or effort.

If you’re thinking We’re going to invest in content; we’re gonna do two posts a month to really get our stuff out there, then let me give you a reality check: This won’t do anything for you.

I’m just going to be honest with you: Don’t waste your money. You’ll be much better off putting that $1,000 or whatever into ads, because you’ll get way more reach than two blog posts.

If you’re actually going to do content, then do content. Commit to eight posts a month, at least, and then actually do it.

Tell yourself that it’s a channel that you’re going to do right, that you’re going to learn how to make it successful, and then you’re going to make it successful.

This applies to any marketing channel, by the way. Content is just the one I think about all day.

If you’re going to do content, then actually DO CONTENT, and let it be a thing that you are going to use to drive results. 

If you’re going to do content, then actually DO CONTENT, and let it be a thing that you are going to use to drive results. 

Marketing is not about “Will this channel work for me?” It’s about “How do I make this channel work for me?” 

Too many companies and junior marketers or founders get caught up in this. Advanced people don’t say, “I’m going to try this out and see if it works.”

They don’t say, “I’m going to see if content marketing works.”

They don’t say, “I’m going to try some ads.” They don’t only put $10 a day into ads to start and then never go beyond that. They know that if they do that, and their average lead cost is $300, it’s going to take them 9–12 months before they actually get a closed deal. Most people will quit long before that, which means they just waste their money and don’t learn anything.

This is why most people don’t see success with marketing: They don’t put enough into it.

It’s not about if the channel is going to work for you.

It’s about how you make the channel work for you.

And that’s the mindset shift you need to make.

It’s the mindset shift I needed to make, and still need to remember sometimes.

The real reason you’re not succeeding with marketing is because ymyou’re not actually investing in and operationalizing enough things.

Stop playing small. Go pro and start actually investing in your marketing channels.

We Can Help

If you’re committed to producing a volume of content (at least four articles a month), or you’re already producing that or more and are unhappy with your content production team, EditorNinja can help.

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