by Nick Stamoulis

Ask any marketing professional and they will most likely tell you that the key to online marketing success is great content. Content is what compels people on your website to buy; it’s what the search engines use to properly index and rank your website, it’s what helps you connect with you target audience, build your online brand presence and authority, drives your social media marketing campaign and more. In short, without great content you’re pretty much dead in the water.

However, producing great content on a consistent basis is no easy task. Even if you are keeping the physical writing in-house to keep the budget under control, you have to factor in the sheer amount of man hours it takes to develop, implement and sustain a strong content marketing campaign. Plenty of site owners think content marketing is “free,” but just because you don’t have to pay for equipment or hardware (aside from Microsoft Office), that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some cost associated with content marketing. And if you have an employee investing X hours of work each week writing great content, of course you are expecting some return for their effort.

Let’s say you do luck out and have a fantastic in-house writer that is a content marketing machine–churning out really good blog posts, articles, white papers, webinars and more on a regular schedule. Even if they create the most brilliant blog post ever written, it’s entirely possible that you won’t benefit from it. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but a lesson that every marketer and site owner must learn: even great content can go unnoticed.

There are plenty of blog posts out there that tell you the secret to content marketing success is to write great content. And it’s true. Great content is much more likely to get the attention of your target audience and other industry professionals. People want to share great content, so it’ll get a lot of love from the social networks and other bloggers. This benefits you because your site gets a lot of quality inbound links and you build a bigger online brand presence. But there is one thing that many posts about content marketing forget to say: just because you created a great piece of content, that doesn’t guarantee that people are going to care.

Think of it like this–if you are heavily invested in a content marketing campaign, it’s probably safe to assume that your competition is as well. Right from the start your great content is going head to head with their great content (they know the secret too!) for readers, shares and links. If you arrived to the content game a little late, you’ve got quite the uphill battle ahead of you because it takes a long time to fully develop a business blog (which in my opinion is the most important component of a content marketing campaign), find your niche and voice, understand the kind of content your audience is looking for, earn readers’ trust and loyalty and become a respected source of information. That kind of success doesn’t happen overnight (it might take years depending on how crowded your niche is) and you’ll need to be publishing great content every step of the way. That’s a lot of content that is going to get overlooked/overshadowed.

It’s very easy to get discouraged with your content marketing after a few months of hard work and little to show for it. Many sites abandon their blogs after a few months because other projects pop up and writing gets pushed to the back burner, they stop searching for guest blogging opportunities because they mostly hear “no” from bloggers (if they get any response at all) and the newly engaged customers aren’t flooding their website like they had expected. Like anything else in life, either personal or professional, it’s hard to give it your all when you feel like no one is acknowledging your work.

Creating and maintaining a strong content marketing campaign is one of the most important things a marketer or site owner can do for their online brand, but it’s not an easy task. Consistently creating great content is hard enough, but learning to accept the fact that some of your great content isn’t going to get you anywhere is even harder. For site owners struggling with their content marketing campaigns, my advice is to just keep plugging away at it! Online marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, and the longer you keep at it the more reward you’ll get in the long run.

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Original source article: Search Engine Guide