Effort as a differentiator? The reward for going deep on a chosen marketing channel

Doing with no particular direction in mind.

It’s how I’d sum up the majority of brands efforts in content marketing.

Content marketing. The  ‘add-on’ that doesn’t build it’s own traction.

And I think I know why.

It’s not a quick win. In both our consumer and business worlds, we demand next day delivery.

Throwing money into Google Ads? There’s an immediate accountability against the work of the marketer. Spend X. Y return. Good results? Pat on back.

The same for Facebook and Instagram advertising. Especially with shopping ads and dynamic product ads. With your feed in place, you’re half way there to opening the flow on website traffic.

So. Why bother with content marketing when other channels deliver the immediacy we crave?

Especially considering content marketing takes time. It takes effort.

I’m not saying we shy away from effort. The problem is, when you weigh up two opportunities, the easier route is, most often, the chosen route.

Online advertising is now designed and presented as the easy option.

What happens when you make the effort?

Brian Goulet, the founder of Goulet Pens, has been sharing insight from the world of fountain pens, inks and writing insights for 9 years.

Most of those insights are shared through their YouTube channel. At the time of writing their channel has 112,000 subscribers and 25 million video views. This is a highly competitive niche.

Brian’s consistency and persistence in creating a valuable experience for writers and pen enthusiasts has paid off. Considerably.

4 months ago Brian published the following video. It was an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how Lamy make fountain pens in their HQ nestled in Heidelberg Germany.



15 minutes of footage, narrated by Brian, detailing the story and manufacturing of Lamy pens. Rare insight. We, as consumers, love to go behind the scenes.

Because of the brand Brian had already created, he gained the opportunity to do what his competition couldn’t. As a known video maker in the industry Lamy welcomed Brian to share their story.

This would not have taken place if Brian hadn’t made the continued effort to build his subscriber base and build his successful ecommerce business through YouTube.

Consistency is key. Each and every week there are new insights shared by the Goulet Pen company.

Big dollar budget? No.

This is an in-house project. The man in front of the camera is the business owner. He’s making time each and every week to create and share his knowledge. I’ll repeat. A subscriber base of 112,000 keen followers. Pen enthusiasts.

The ‘How it’s Made’ Lamy documentary has been watched 220,000 times. That’s in 4 months. The Goulet Pen company were able to tap into a whole new audience (fans and owners of Lamy pens) through the creation of their video. They won that right through effort.

Where do we go now?

It’s no good dabbling anymore. Dabbling doesn’t win business. It doesn’t expand our reach. As marketers, smart marketers, we need to get our teeth into projects. And those projects will all start at the same point – just like the moment Brian chose to place his efforts on YouTube – zero. Zero videos. Zero views. One blank canvas.

The video below was Goulet Pen’s first foray into YouTube back in 2010. They’ve come a long way.



The easy route, for most, is to focus on buying website visitors.

The easy route is to add ‘one tweet, one instagram post, one facebook update’ to our daily task list. Job done.

What will differentiate us from the competition is the effort we put in to making our chosen channels a success for our business. Building traction over time. Earning the trust of those around us (management and your team) to spend time and place effort on a particular path that you know will lead, eventually, to revenue-generating success.

But again, it does take time.

If you started an ecommerce business selling pens today, would you even enter the territory of YouTube? When you see the grip Goulet Pens has on their space, would you look to other methods of promotion? Would you default, as most do, to the easier route putting your budget on the Google Ads roulette wheel?

Effort created that barrier to entry that deters others from pursuing the YouTube route. How powerful a competitive edge is that?

The choice you face is to play it easy or go deep on a chosen channel.

I’d like to see you roll the sleeves up and choose the latter.

Written By:

Ian Rhodes


Equipping brands with the strategy, tools and optimisation processes that drive ecommerce growth. Consultant, Writer & Conference Speaker.

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