Building a content long tail
Back in 2004, Wired magazine editor-in-chief Chris Anderson wrote an article called The Long Tail.
He later expanded these thoughts into a book of the same name, sub-titled: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More.
His suggestion was to use the long tail concept in business as “the notion of looking at the tail itself as a new market” of customers.
Anderson argued in his book that low-demand products, or those with a low sales volume, can collectively add up to claim a significant market share.
One example at the time looked at obscure book sales on Amazon, which made up a substantial part of total sales, competing with the volume of bestsellers sold on the platform.
But what does this mean for a Financial Planner, interested in selling Financial Planning and investment management services, rather than obscure books?
I’ve decided this month to take a break from publishing new podcast episodes on Informed Choice Radio.
After five years of publishing one or two (or sometimes three!) new podcast episodes each week, we’ve racked up an impressive 475 published episodes, including 250 guest interviews.
Something interesting happens as you publish more podcast episodes (or blog posts, or YouTube videos). While the biggest spike in download traffic is still generated by newly published episodes, the monthly download total grows as your back catalogue expands in size.
On a daily basis now, we see episodes downloaded that were originally published in each of the previous five years. Each previously published episode sits on its own website page as a blog post, optimised for the search engines and pulling in new visitors.
A mistake I often see Financial Planners making is to neglect content marketing because the volume of keyword searches in a particularly area look too small.
Because there aren’t thousands of monthly clicks for a term like ‘independent financial advice in Hampshire’, they believe it’s not worth the effort.
The content long tail approach means creating lots of content pieces, each designed to attract searches with small amounts of search traffic.
It’s often easier to rank first in Google for an obscure search term, and repeat this exercise across a few hundred different searches, than to target the most popular keywords, which are likely to be very competitive.
It takes time to create a long tail of content which can achieve this. Time and patience.
Speaking to a Financial Planner at a conference recently, he explained that he would love an established podcast channel or blog, but felt it was too late to get started from scratch.
As the popular Chinese proverb says: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Until time travel is invented, we can’t go back to create our long tail of content, but we can do the second best thing, and start today.
Writing one new blog post a week, filming one new video a fortnight, or recording a podcast interview each month; starting today and doing these things consistently for the next year, three years and ten years, and before too long you have a long tail of content which is working hard to engage new clients while you sleep.