Why Nothing Great Happens with Content Marketing at Less than 10 Hours Per Week

by Marcus Sheridan

time for content marketingIn a conversation with a company looking to “dip their toes” in content marketing last week, I said something that I’ve said to at least a dozen other companies this year:

“Sorry, but you’re not ready for content marketing.”

Yep, it’s a statement I make all the time, mainly because I’ve come to realize a very simple truth:

Those that “dip their toes” in content marketing generally fail to achieve significant results every single time. (And I’m not interested in companies failing under my watch)

I could literally go on and on as to why this statement is true, but with today’s brief post, I’m going to explain what I’ve seen as the minimum logistical time investment per week needed for companies to experience success and results with their content marketing efforts.

But before I give any actual numbers, let me just quickly mention the general “to-do’s” of someone (be it one person or many) involved in content marketing:

  • Writing, editing, and posting blog articles
  • Studying analytics and reports (traffic, leads, conversions, keyword research, etc.)
  • Learning how to use marketing software (like HubSpot, Salesforce, etc.)
  • Making additions/changes to the company website (includes calls-to-action, landing pages, etc.)
  • Producing video content (generally comes after textual content for most companies, but still a must in today’s visual world)
  • Keeping up with latest trends, tools, strategies, etc. (staying informed and educated)

Although this list could certainly be significantly longer, those 6 actions are ones that most companies (the good ones at least) are dealing with on a weekly basis to one degree or another to make their content marketing work.

The 10-Hour Rule of Content Marketing Success

It is also for this reason that every company I speak with about this is given a minimum work expectancy of 10 hours per week if they plan on making a successful and meaningful go at content marketing.

Anything less than 10 hours a week just doesn’t cut it, trust me. In fact, the bigger the size of the company, the more time is often required.

But let’s assume for a second you’re a small business (we’ll say less than 100 million in sales a year) and you’re trying to understand what goes into this minimum time frame. Here is a simple break-down of where time goes:

Typical Week of Content Marketing

  • 3 Blog articles at 90 minutes each——– 4.5 hours total
  • Keyword research, targeting, and tracking——–1.5 hours
  • Adding a new landing page to the website——–1 hour
  • Learning how to use current sales/marketing tools successfully (this is especially true for beginners)——-2 hours
  • Leveraging social media platforms——–1 hour

Again, there are countless examples of what a typical week of work would look like, but hopefully you see my point, and that is this: 10 hours can go very quickly. This is also why many companies, especially ones that can afford it, have a full-time employee dedicated to content marketing alone.

Some will read this number of 10 hours and laugh at it, mainly because the best answer for the time question is “it depends”—but sometimes saying “it depends” isn’t enough.

This is especially true when a business is considering content marketing but isn’t sure of just how much time they want to invest in the process. It’s also why marketing agencies, consultants, and companies need to be brutally honest with time expectations with these businesses on the front end, otherwise many of these folks will be destined to fail simply because they had no idea what they were getting themselves into. (Note** I literally make my clients sign a disclaimer that says, “If I spend any less than 10 hours a week on our content marketing, we will NOT get the results we’re looking for.”)

I’m not saying with this post that if a company can’t go “all in” with their time that they shouldn’t experiment with blogging, content marketing, etc.

What I am saying, though, is that if a company is looking to get great results, they need to be willing to put in the work, and therefore time, to make this happen. 10 hours is the bare-bones minimum in most cases, and I suspect with time, due to competition, this number will only go up.

Your Take

Ok, so I’ve said my piece on this, now I’d like to hear yours. Realistically, what do you think is the minimum amount of time the average business can spend on content marketing, per week, to experience success? (Saying “it depends” is not allowed for this discussion) Also, how much time does your company spend? Do you feel like that is sufficient?

I’m very curious to read your thoughts on this….

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