Persistence is everything in content marketing. As with so many things in life, worthwhile results only come with time and application.

While you might mutter “you don’t say”, it’s not unusual to see a business scale back their content just as they were about to make a breakthrough. When a business has a crisis in confidence, though, there’s little that can be said to make the case that they should persist.

In trying to reason why marketers might give up too soon, EContent argues that producing content “is an art”, and content creators are forever harbouring fears “about whether they’re creating the right art, or whether people like their art, or if enough people are even seeing their art”.

When the data suggests there is little appreciation for their art, a crisis in confidence takes hold, leaving them struggling to find the incentive to persist with their artistic endeavours.

However, if the art world can teach us anything, it’s that success is rarely immediate. Artists like Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet were not appreciated until after they had died.

Thankfully, you shouldn’t have to wait quite as long for your content to get the admiration it deserves… We at least have an online platform to distribute and promote our art – something Van Gogh and Monet didn’t have, according to my shoddy knowledge of history.

So, what can be done to prevent firms ditching their content strategy right at the point at which it’s about to yield some heartening results? EContent offers some words of wisdom:

Make it easy for yourself

You’re more likely to give up if creating content feels like a slog – so make it as easy for yourself as you can. First things first, make sure you’ve got a full content strategy in place, supplemented by an editorial calendar to help define and control the process of creating content.

Only once you’ve given your content creation process some structure and focus should you think about producing some content. Then, when it comes to the creation, you need to be realistic and only set out to produce a piece of work that you have capabilities to produce well.

Again, it might sound like stating the obvious, but it’s much better, say, to create a fantastic piece of visual content than it is to create a sub-standard piece of video content – not just for your customers, but for your own sanity, too.

Don’t live and die by data

Data analysis is crucial in content marketing as it can reveal what content is hitting home with customers and, more importantly, what is lacking in the content that is not. However, data is only really worth looking at and taking seriously when you are far enough along in your content calendar to be able to draw conclusions.

If you view data as being the be all and end all from the off, you’re only going to be left disappointed. At the start – for at least the first 12 or so blogs you create – your focus should be on developing your unique style and tone. Only once you’ve found your feet with your content should you think about seeking responses and tracking metrics.

Give yourself time

Some things can’t be rushed: baking a cake, losing weight, making a film. Not if you want satisfactory results that stand up to the test of time anyway. Content marketing is another practice that requires time.

It takes time to develop a style and voice that is uniquely yours. It takes time to create a killer video. It takes time to build a following. It takes time to be able to learn from your failings. You get the idea…

So, give yourself enough time for your content marketing efforts to be able to pay you back. If your metrics show an upward curve, take heart from it and identify ways to improve your reach. Similarly, if there’s little sign of improvement, make time to identify where your content might be going wrong, instead of just blindly persisting with your current approach. If you’re struggling for time, consider outsourcing your content marketing – just saying.

Remember that discouragement is normal

Any motivational speaker will tell you that it’s normal to feel discouragement, to feel like you are failing. It is those very feelings that usually pre-cursor success – rarely does success come without a period of disappointment. Isn’t that right, Arsenal fans?

So, take strength from the notion that success should be earned, not given, and keep at it. You’ll feel all the better for it when your content – or art – finally starts getting the appreciation it deserves.

Ben Hollom

April 5, 2017