Not Taking Content Creation Seriously Made My Business Underperform

by | 1 Jan 24

In this blog, I’m talking about a lesson learned from a decade-long mistake. Yep, you heard me right! This error was a ten-year journey, starting in 2010 and finally resolved in 2020. But, you know, better late than never.

Here’s a bit of context for you. From 2005 to 2021, I ran a tech business called OTrack. Even though I sold OTrack in 2019, I continued leading the company for another 18 months. During that time (2005 to 2019), we had three significant competitors.

The first one was a tough nut to crack, they had a solid 25% of the market. Then there were us, OTrack, and our neck-to-neck competitor, Classroom Monitor, each holding onto about 12% of the market share. Along came 2016, and a new player, Insight Tracking, began making waves.

So there you have it, a quick lay of the land. Keep these names in mind: OTrack (that’s us), Classroom Monitor (our main rival), and Insight Tracking (the new kids on the block). They’re important to this story.

And they’re important to the tips I’m going to give you so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.

Table of Contents

Use these links to jump straight to the part of the article that interests you most.

> A Quick Disclaimer
> A Missed Opportunity
> I Was Wrong
> Data To Prove I Was Wrong
> What You Should Do

A Quick Disclaimer

Alright, before we go any further, there’s something I need to be clear about. This isn’t a tale of villains or bad blood.

In fact, I’ve had the opportunity to build some pretty great relationships with the founders and key people of these competitor companies. Over time, many of them have become more than just business contacts, they’re friends. So, let’s be clear – every one of these businesses, and the people behind them, are genuinely good folks doing good work.

Like any healthy competition, we at OTrack had our strengths, and so did they. It’s the balance of the universe! Now, for this blog, we’re going to focus on where they outshined us. Not to dwell on regrets but to learn and grow from those experiences.

Now, imagine if I could hop in a time machine and take this very blog back to my 2005 self. Armed with this info, I’m certain we would’ve gone well beyond our 12% market share. We might’ve even given that 25% market leader a run for their money!

A Missed Opportunity

OTrack was a brilliant tool, it hit the bulls-eye on our original intent: to save users loads of time. Now, just imagine the ripple effect of that. With all the extra time in their hands, our users, who happened to be teachers, could focus their energy on activities with real, tangible impact. And what’s more impactful than shaping the minds of young learners? It’s quite an incredible chain reaction! Anyway…

We were amazing a referral marketing. Most of our growth can be traced back to our referral schemes and activities. I’ve even shared some of these strategies in my previous blogs.

But, when it came to content marketing and content creation, we were like a fish out of water. To be honest, it wasn’t that we were bad at it. The truth is, we didn’t even attempt it.

Back in the day, blogging and sharing content on social media didn’t even make it onto our to-do list. I was sceptical, to say the least. I didn’t buy into the ‘hype’, nor did I think it would lead to sales opportunities.

Looking back, I was wrong, really wrong!

I Was Wrong

If we had paired content creation with our referral activities, I’m sure we would have achieved more sales.

In 2019, I realised my mistake when I saw Classroom Monitor and later Insight Tracking successfully using content and social media to boost their sales. I was late to the party.

After selling OTrack, we found ourselves under the same parent company as Classroom Monitor. My former competitors were now my colleagues. For years, Classroom Monitor had always been slightly ahead of us in the market share. Every potential customer we met had heard of them, while they knew about us only through referrals.

When we became colleagues, I got a peek behind the curtain. I began to understand how they marketed themselves and built their brand. They consistently created and shared content, not just from the business, but also from individuals within the company. They had become the go-to experts in our industry, all thanks to their content strategy.

Insight Tracking had a similar story. They hired someone who was already a ‘thought leader’ on Twitter (as it was called back then!). His regular blogs and tweets significantly increased Insight Tracking’s market share, which continues to grow even today!

Looking back, I regret not taking content creation seriously. I wrongly dismissed it as mere ‘vanity’.

Lesson learned: never underestimate the power of a good content strategy!

Data To Prove I Was Wrong

OK, let’s rewind a bit. When I began to grasp what Classroom Monitor and Insight Tracking were doing differently, my thoughts were based on observations, not solid facts. I had no concrete evidence to suggest that if we had adopted their strategies at OTrack, we would have captured a larger market share.

So, here’s what I did. I decided to dig a bit deeper. I started to search for research and reports that could either validate or debunk my theories. And, I found some very interesting stuff! It turns out, I was 100% wrong, and Classroom Monitor and Insight Tracking were onto something!

I stumbled upon goldmines of information on websites like contentmarketinginstitute.com, statista.com, and datareportal.com – vast repositories of data that I wish I had discovered sooner. Here are some fascinating stats from these companies:

  1. Content marketing generates 3 x more leads than any other marketing activities
  2. People in revenue-generating roles say that 70% of customers who move from early-stage awareness to showing an intent to buy have seen one or more of their blogs
  3. 83% of companies say content marketing helped them generate more leads than any other demand-generation tactics in 2023

Since working this stuff out, I’ve made it a point to stay on top of these trends and ensure I don’t repeat the same mistakes.

What You Should Do

It’s easier than you think.

Check out the websites I mentioned above. Make them your go-to bookmarks and keep an eye on their regular reports. Before you know it, you’ll be nodding along with my conclusion: content creation deserves just as much attention as customer referrals (and any other lead-generation activities you do).

I get it! Carving out time to create weekly blogs and daily social media posts can feel like climbing a mountain for many businesses… but don’t worry! 😄

Drawing from my journey and the lessons I’ve learned, we’ve put together something truly special. It’s an innovative, tailor-made content creation service we’ve affectionately named ‘Expert Voice’.

Unlike relying on generic AI-generated blogs and content that doesn’t resonate with your target audience, and doesn’t cut through the noise, our Expert Voice service is a ground-breaking and highly personalised content creation solution. And it only takes 60-seconds of your staff members’ time, each week.

We make the process so easy, in 3 simple steps:

Step 1: Each week we send your revenue-generating teams a burning question from your prospects and customers.

Step 2: Your team members just click a link and use their phones to record a genuine answer, in less than sixty seconds!

Step 3: We then use your people’s unique expertise as our guide. Within 2 days we craft blog posts, social media posts, and FAQs that draw your customers closer and build a bridge of knowledge and trust between you.

Find out more on our Expert Voice page.

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With our innovative and highly personalised content creation service

Our unique approach turns your team’s expertise into engaging and genuine content that builds trust and grows your business. No more struggling to come up with ideas or finding the time to write – we make it easy for you!

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