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When a content marketing agency stops making content

by | Oct 30, 2020

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5 Minute Read

 What happens when a content marketing agency stops making content?

We went against our own marketing advice to see what would happen.

 

Friggin 2020. 

👉🏽 #friggin2020

You’d think being locked in a house with nothing to really do but watch more Netflix (no sports!!! 😡) would motivate you to begin creating creative content. You know – without all of those distractions?

Personally, it was basically the opposite for me…for our whole team, really.

Motivation and creativity – the two extremely needed items – were exactly what we were lacking this year. 

Sure, we stayed on top of our clients’ work. We pulled the creativity out of us….but I felt like it was 3 times harder. You know?

In the midst of everything going on, we started to think about the advice we often give to our clients.

“Make a lot of content. Keep doing it. Then share it where they hang out – social media, email, etc. Make it engaging. Do it often to stay at top-of-mind. You may not see direct results from posts, but you’ll see an overall steadiness or growth to your business. But if you stop, you risk seeing those sales and/or leads drop.”

“If you stop, you risk seeing those sales and/or leads drop.”

It was around the end of spring/earl summer we actually thought to ourselves “what WOULD happen if we stopped making content? Like, what WOULD the results be?” 

Not saying you stop selling or using social media AT ALL. But what if you actually stopped doing content marketing?

We’ve seen what happens when you begin posting content. We’ve seen the growth. 

We’ve been doing this strategy and seeing these results since 2014, but I haven’t been able to study anyone who actually just simply stopped.

In the year of 2020, we saw a lot of businesses choose to stop certain things to help balance the books or make sure they’ll be able to make it through a possible recession. Makes a lot of sense.

For us, 2020 actually brought back several customers from past projects. Like right when the pandemic happened, we booked a lot of meetings about revamping past projects or new projects with old clients. It was pretty neat.

As we began getting busy and beginning to lack in our content marketing strategy, we had a thought….”Does social media work anymore?”

“Does social media work anymore?”

Something I personally like to pride myself in is that I constantly question myself….sounds more like a weakness when you write it that way, but think of it this way: If I constantly think I’m right, when will I know when I’m wrong?”

In my mind, a great leader is one who can find, see, notice, and listen to others about doing better or seeing the other perspective. It’s how we innovate. It’s how we change for the greater good.

So in this situation, we wondered if social media was a thing we were doing “because we’re supposed to.” Not because of actual, data-driven results. 

I know plenty of small businesses that are doing well and don’t do content marketing. I’ve always known that if you run a good business, that’s what matters at the end of the day. I also believe networking is the first way to grow any sales or business…but it doesn’t always have to be social media networking…networking comes in a lot of form. It doesn’t always begin with content.

We made like NO CONTENT for 9 months this year…like, a couple of pieces. But really nothing.

But I have also seen the effect of making content and sharing it on a regular basis.

Just this year before the pandemic, we had a client hire us to start a YouTube channel (Busted Cribs). They wanted to do a show/vlog like Fixer-Upper while they flip houses together as a couple, which they do alongside their other construction business.

After only 4 months of making content, they saw sales an influx in new business. Not directly from their content, but simply by others noticing their work more. Their content was helping their brand grow in value and bring more business. 

But I still thought to myself – what if a company just stopped worrying about social media? And how could one get results from this?

So we did something that could be really stupid…I tested it on our own company: Paper Jacket.

We made like NO CONTENT for 9 months this year…like, a couple of pieces. But really nothing.

At first, we didn’t feel or see a difference. I was still networking, selling, etc. Just not making content. Here’s what happened…

Nothing. And that was the problem.

We knew what was happening…we were becoming less relevant.

 

 

 

 

It’s not like our current clients left and I lost all of this revenue. Our business kept up from our current retainer clients and previous client work…but I had no new meetings. Referrals from my networking group began to die down. At first I thought it was the time of the year (summers are typically slower for us, and it was also 2020). Again, we weren’t going negative…but we weren’t gaining anything either.

But we knew what was happening…we were becoming less relevant.

I’m not gonna act like we had this huge following that suddenly went away. We didn’t have a crazy amount of followers and engagement to begin with. But while that’s important, that’s not the key element to make content marketing profitable for your business.

 

Staying at top of mind is the goal of content marketing. 

After nine months, almost 30 days without a new sales meeting, and me feeling like my networking was becoming useless, we felt like we needed to turn the ol’ content generator back on.

In September, we created a content marketing plan for our team using all old content and redistributing it creatively. Something that would give us at least one post a day for the rest of the year starting in October.

We still didn’t post during the month of September. The numbers stayed the same…nothing. 

October comes. We told our team “launch the content slowly.”

It was one week, guys. One week! We suddenly had multiple meetings lined up. 

What happened was that our current audience remembered us again. 

You’re going to expect me to say that they saw the content, saw commercials, etc. But no, that’s not what happened.

What happened was that our current audience remembered us again. 

When someone would ask on a Facebook group “who’s a good marketing company?” we would see notifications come through quickly suggesting Paper Jacket.

Those who know us, follow us, use us – they began recommending.

Word of mouth is the best marketing when it comes to small businesses or start ups…But word-of-mouth is spread by how people relate to the brand or company.

Those were the same people who were beginning to see our posts. Posts that show samples of work we have done, posts/stories that show what we’re currently doing, posts straight from John and me to be relevant or funny. Not commercials. Just content on a regular basis and throughout our platforms.

Exactly what I thought to be true stayed true – content marketing keeps your brand at top of mind…by being at top-of-mind, you receive more business overall. Because you’re staying relevant.

Word of mouth is the best marketing when it comes to small businesses or start ups. I’ve always believed that. Heck, I first heard about Uber through word-of-mouth. Not their marketing.

But word-of-mouth is spread by how people relate to the brand or company. Obviously if you do a good job, they’ll boast about you. But they’ll boast about you more if you have a post for them to easily share or comment on. When they see your name in their email inbox, whether you open it or not.

Staying at top of mind is the goal of content marketing.

You have to constantly be growing to stay relevant or ready for the “down times.”

Yes, creativity and relevance is the key element to this strategy. You need to be attractive, interactive, and able to grab attention. And we never leave it to simply posting organic content on social media. 

But the point is that we took a risk to see what would happen. And it was nothing – which is the worst thing that you can do for a small business. Because you have to constantly be growing to stay relevant or ready for the “down times.”

Our brand and content for four years helped us stay in business this year. But unless we keep growing the same way we have, we won’t survive the next surprise. 

You don’t have to grow your business big, but you always have to keep growing.  

So learn from our “mistake.” Find a way to do content marketing on whatever budget you have. Stay relevant. Never stop networking. 

You don’t have to grow your business big, but you always have to keep growing. 

Content marketing is about creating opportunities – opportunities for you to then maximize. 

Content marketing has become the new website for digital marketing. Websites used to be special, then they became normal. Now, if you don’t have a website, your legitimacy is questioned. So lack of content is becoming questioned as well….to where you become less relevant. 

In my opinion, growing a business is all about maximizing opportunities. The more opportunities you have to then maximize, the further you’ll grow.

Content marketing is about creating opportunities – opportunities for you to then maximize. 

~ Fin ~

Thank you for taking the time to read this! We deeply appreciate it! Let us know if there is any other content you’re seeking from Paper Jacket!  

 

– Jeremy Hicks

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