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5 Reasons Why Content Marketing is a Long-Term Strategy

March 7th, 2024 | 3 min. read

By Kim Kovelle

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An hourglass surrounded by floating yellow letters, symbolizing content marketing

Content marketing can take months to gain traction — and even up to a year or more. It’s a long-term strategy that pays off. Still, all that time and effort can feel a little frustrating.

I feel your pain. Over the past two years, I’ve written blogs for Zoe Marketing & Communications. Heaps of marketing blogs already exist, and it’s a tough field to crack. As we’ve grown from six blog posts to almost 140, I’ve witnessed the time it takes to get growing.

Based on this firsthand experience — and my content research — I’ve pinpointed five reasons why content marketing is a long-term strategy, including:

  1. Content creation is intrinsically time-consuming
  2. It can take Google many months to recognize and rank you
  3. Building trust and authority is a gradual process
  4. Cultivating a loyal audience takes time
  5. Trends and audience preferences are always evolving

Whether you’re looking to create content solo or with an agency or media partner, I aim to explain why this type of marketing requires dedication and patience.

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Content creationg is time consuming1. Content creation is intrinsically time-consuming

Writing good stuff is a process. That’s true even with — and especially because of — AI. Sure, it pumps out words faster, but even with training, it’s more generic (and Google doesn’t like that).

Quality blogs and articles require personal insight and experience, whether from you or other experts or resources. That means research, reflection, and interviewing.

There’s keyword research involved, too, for search engine optimization (SEO). And, of course, the actual writing, editing and publishing. I’m easily looking at 3-5 hours for a Zoe blog. When wrangling interviews and coordinating with designers and editors, it can get more complex.

A healthy content stream is at least 2-3 articles per week, and it adds up. If you speed through or cut corners, your quality — and web traffic — can suffer.

It takes Google time to recognize and rank you2. It can take Google many months to recognize and rank you

I can attest to this, too. It took Zoe four solid months to start popping up in results for certain keywords. That’s because it takes time for Google to index new content and recognize its value.

“Also, Google is always changing,” adds my colleague Claire Charlton, who writes sponsored content for Zoe’s sister companies, Metro Parent and Chicago Parent. “It doesn’t take too many searches to figure out that every time you search, the results page looks different.”

Some keywords are more competitive (I’m looking at you, “content marketing”), and it’s slow going to “break in.” Google judges content based on many factors, including relevance, quality and user engagement. It won’t notice or respect you right away — particularly when you’re starting from scratch.

Building trust is a gradual process3. Building trust and authority is a gradual process

What do you know, and how do you share it? These are key ingredients in building your content’s credibility with Google. And this too can take 4-12 months or more.

Specifically, Google is looking for four things: expertise, experience, authority and trust (aka EEAT). Consistently publishing valuable, informative content helps build your authority. As time goes on, you earn the trust of your audience. Not only does Google take note but, more importantly, this sets the stage for long-term customer relationships.

“You’ve put time and effort into educating your prospects,” Charlton says. “This tells people that you’ll put time and effort into the work you do for them when they become your customers.”

Cultivating a loyal audience takes time4. Cultivating a loyal audience takes time

There are two layers: People who return to your site to learn more from your helpful content — and those who invest in your services regularly. The second, of course, often starts as the first.

Loyalty isn’t easy to come by. In its latest customer loyalty report, commerce platform Yotpo put it plainly: “With prices going up, customers want to see that value made up in other places.” If they don’t feel connected to you, you’re more likely to lose them to a cheaper option.

Offering valuable content, whether blogs, social media posts, or emails (ideally, a blend of all), can build this loyalty. One study found that 70% of consumers say content marketing helps them feel more connected to a company, underscoring the value (and slow-burn payoff).

Trends and preferences keep evolving5. Trends and audience preferences are always evolving

With content, what’s worked for the past three years or last month won’t always keep working.

Even in my 15 years working with SEO, Google’s algorithms have become more sophisticated. Plus, to thwart the recent rush of bot-generated content, it’s valuing human experience more.

People’s preferences evolve, too — from the content they want to how they consume it. Today, quick videos, graphics and easy-to-digest content are all part of this. Tomorrow, expect more change. This process requires ongoing analysis, experimentation and refinement. “Meaning,” Charlton points out, “you have to go back and update your content on the regular.”

Keeping up with your audience’s needs and interests is also essential. Yet again, that type of research consumes time.

Your next steps for embracing content for the long term

Expectations are crucial with content. It's very effective for connecting with people for the long haul. But the reality is, it isn’t quick. Here, I detailed five reasons why — including the creation process, Google’s role, and how your ideal audience is processing all of this.

Writing content is work! If you’re looking for help, talk to us. In tandem with our sister companies in Detroit and Chicago, Zoe has 40+ years of expertise in writing engaging content.

If you’re just getting started, be sure to weigh out 4 problems with content marketing. Or, if you’ve been at it a bit, discover 8 ways to generate fresh content ideas for your blogs.

Free Guide

Download the Sponsored Content Guide

Discover what “spon con” is, the benefits, costs and if it’s right for your company’s digital marketing strategy.

Kim Kovelle

As Zoe Marketing & Communications’ content manager, Kim Kovelle brings nearly 20 years of writing and editing experience in metro Detroit. She has strong roots in community journalism and a knack for making complicated topics make more sense.