Why You Should Treat Content Marketing Like Financial Investing

Stefani Forster

Stefani Forster

Stefani is a multimedia content strategist with experience at some of Canada's top agencies and publications. She worked at Touché! Media and PHD Canada on various national brand campaigns before moving to the content side, serving as an editor and content manager at The Huffington Post Canada, Hello! Canada magazine and Corus Entertainment, writing articles, producing videos, and spearheading social growth.

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Many people put off financial investing because they’re uninformed (can I afford to?) or overwhelmed (where do I even begin?).

Content marketing is a lot like investing. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme, but rather a consistent, sustainable way to grow your brand. Of course, figuring out how to invest to set yourself up for future success can be a real challenge. The key to investing is developing good habits based on a long-term strategy.

Content tells your brand story. Your brand is your greatest asset, and like stocks, it may grow in value over time. Read on to find out why you should treat your marketing strategy like financial investing, and five tips for building a high-return content portfolio. 

Don’t be lured by ‘quick wins’

Warren Buffett is famous for the phrase, “The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient.” Marketing works the same way. Balanced, long-term investing is the only way to guarantee sustainable returns on your investment. Slow and steady wins the investment race, according to MoneySense.

In other words, asking a team to “make a post go viral” isn’t the best way to build a trusting, meaningful relationship with your audience, nor is it a great way to maintain a consistent ROI. While so-called “quick wins” do happen, they’re unpredictable and can sometimes even backfire on your brand. That’s because immediate, quick-win thinking glosses over all the important details you need to know for long-term, sustainable growth. Target audience, goals, voice — all of this should be determined before you start pumping out content willy nilly in hopes of a one-hit-wonder.

We all love instant gratification, but with content, you need to play the long game. No content strategy is going to drive substantial results immediately, so set realistic expectations to succeed in the long term. And there’s data to prove it. A study by McKinsey found that companies focusing on long-term strategies outperform those who focus on the short-term and, in fact, those who focus on short-term create long-term damage for their organizations.

Have clear goals

Goal-based investing emphasizes investing to reach specific life goals, such as saving up for a vacation, buying a house, saving for your child’s education, or having a healthy retirement fund — instead of comparing returns to a benchmark. This is a great way to approach your business’ content marketing strategy. Short-term goals can include driving social engagement or ranking on search engines and will lend themselves naturally towards fuelling continual goals, like driving brand awareness. Meanwhile, longer-term goals can include generating new leads, attracting strategic partners, deepening loyalty with existing customers, and driving revenue. Remember, these short-term tactics should feed into (and not replace) your long-term strategy–something we’ve already talked about.

Diversify your content portfolio

Don’t put all your content eggs in one basket. We can never be sure what will happen in any market, and things can change very quickly. A diverse portfolio can weather most storms and will yield a higher return.

Experiment with new post formats. Get in Google’s good books with long-form content; produce videos, gifs, infographics and other forms of shareable content that will get your brand seen. Above all, don’t be anti-social. Social promotion and engagement is a major component of content marketing, so focus on targeting your content with platforms segments that work for your audience.

Notice how we say “platforms,” plural. You don’t want to spend all your money building up one social media platform only to have an algorithm change unexpectedly and blow up your hard-earned wins. Diversify early on to know what content works best and where.

Mitigate risks

Investing a reasonable amount of time and money in content isn’t a gamble. The real risk comes when you invest too heavily without an ideal strategy. First, you have to spend the time and resources to gather information about your audience so that your investment will be both effective and scalable.  

When content marketing fails, it’s usually because executors failed to properly look at the data or weren’t willing to invest in the strategy. If you do the legwork and research properly at the get-go, there’s little risk involved.

Never invest without a strategy

Successful traders with experience know how to find low-risk, high-potential investment opportunities. As with any other investment, you need a solid strategy, based on research and backed by expertise, if you want to succeed. The real beauty of content marketing is that a great strategy always pays off.

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