Content Marketing Challenges and how to overcome them.

Brands face multiple obstacles when organizing the content function. They must grapple with content proliferation; inconsistent and uncoordinated content creation; the lack of strategic direction in the content insights process; and the difficulty for consumers, customers, and prospects to find content that is relevant and timely.

Startups and B2B often aren’t even sure where to begin with, marketing, let alone how to address the lack of content on their websites to drive leads and growth.

Content marketing is a journey, and it’s not easy. In fact, it’s freaking hard. Too many of the marketing professionals we know are miserable. They try to fight every day to do work they can be proud of. Marketing that works!

The major themes that emerge include tying content marketing efforts to business value, limited resources, and internal tensions that hinder the content production process. Let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest challenges that are keeping marketers up at night.

#1: Insufficient Resources

Producing content is easy. Producing good content is much harder.

It takes time and skill to produce quality content consistently. Many small businesses tackle their own content marketing efforts, and for good reason. After all, nobody knows your business better than you, so you’re the perfect person to blog about whatever it is that you do.

Unfortunately, producing consistently great content can get in the way of other things, like actually running your business.

A lack of time is arguably one of the biggest barriers to content marketing that many businesses face. The other is a lack of sufficient budget. After all, if you don’t have time to produce your own content, it stands to reason that paying someone else to do it makes sense. The problem with this approach is that, since it takes skill to produce great content, many would-be content producers are faced with what is known as the project management triangle.

How to Overcome It

Whether you outsource your content production or keep it in-house, you’re going to pay for it – one way or another. Either you accept the time investment required to produce consistent quality content, or you’ll have to pony up and pay someone to do it for you.

Outsourcing might seem like the more affordable option, but it’s not without its risks. For starters, you’re at the mercy of another company when it comes to maintaining a regular production schedule. Secondly, you risk publishing content that fails to leverage your expertise and industry knowledge, or even meet your basic expectations in terms of editorial quality, which can harm your brand.

Alternatively, choosing to produce your own content can save you a lot of money, but unless you’re somehow able to balance running a business and running a blog, you may have to be willing to put in a lot more hours.

It’s tempting to think of content as a “free” marketing strategy, but it isn’t. Be prepared to deal with the tangible costs of content marketing long before you sit down to write your first post – or ask someone else to do it for you.

#2: Increasing Competition

Whether you’re blogging about your small needlecraft business or enterprise-level IT hardware, someone else has already been blogging about it for a long time. Unfortunately, this challenge compounds the first. As competition for limited audiences (even large ones) intensifies, what can you do? Create better content, which requires more time, money, or both. The result is a figurative arms race – who can produce the best content, the most frequently? In addition, as competition for audience attention escalates, the expectations of your readers become higher, placing you under even greater pressure to consistently deliver not just good content, but truly exceptional content.

How to Overcome It

There are no guarantees in content marketing, but one thing’s for sure – if your content is crap, you’re doomed to fail. Each and every post you publish has to be as good as it possibly can be, and you need to keep this up for years if you hope to build and sustain a sizable audience. It’s virtually impossible to hit the mark every time – even the very best blogs still publish mediocre content from time to time – but you have to strive for nothing less than excellence.

#3: Consistent publishment

What would yield better results in content marketing, publishing short articles frequently or creating long content with less frequency? That’s an ongoing debate among content marketers. Still, a survey with 1000+ writers shows that producing content consistently is the 3rd biggest challenge of being a writer, as 36% of them find it challenging.

Besides, the same survey also shows that publishing 2 to 6 times a week would get 50% better clicks, rankings on search engine results pages, etc.

How to Overcome It

The ideal number of articles published is between 2-6, which can be demanding for the writers that may result in a lack of motivation in the content creation process. Being flexible with them but providing feedback and the results of their efforts would give them authority, increasing their motivation to keep consistency.

#4:User Experience (UX)

Readers use the Internet to be educated on a topic, get help from a service, or make a purchase. While doing so, content readability elements such as content with small font or plain text that does not highlight the crucial parts gain importance as they can lead to a negative experience.

How to Overcome It

In content marketing, the readers are of utmost importance, as without anyone reading the content, there would be a waste of effort and time. Thus, having a customer focus and paying attention to their content reading experience is crucial as a content marketing strategy. For the readers to get the best out of the content: 

  • Splitting the content into different parts
  • Using bullet points
  • Inserting engaging content such as short videos 

#5:Personas on different social media platforms

Publishing content in the right channels can be challenging, considering the number of different marketing channels through that companies can share their content, such as 

  • social media posts
  • short-form videos
  • blog posts
  • podcasts

As each medium has its unique target audience, they all include different buyer personas, and finding the right medium that includes target customers to generate leads is not easy.

How to Overcome It

Among social media users between 18-29 years, while 70% of them use Facebook, only 30% state that they use LinkedIn. The same study also shows that 1 out of 2 college graduates have LinkedIn accounts. Thus, when choosing the right channel for publishing content, considering the different buyer personas in these platforms is crucial not to waste money.

#6: Distribution channels

Different ways of distributing content depend on the budget, resources, and brand awareness; however, deciding where to start might be challenging.

How to Overcome It

Decide whether the content marketing budget is enough to cover paid promotion options such as paid influencers, social media promotion, etc. For instance, without enough budget, paid channels might waste resources. Or, owned channels such as blog posts and e-mail marketing cost less, and the companies control their brand image. However, insufficient resources, such as qualified writers or high-quality content, may risk the brand’s reputation.

Understanding each channel’s requirements and comparing them with your company’s capabilities can give insights into which channel brings the most value.

#7: Focusing Too Broadly (or Narrowly)

One of the most common mistakes that many content marketers make is focusing too broadly on a vast subject area, or zeroing in exclusively on the tiniest niche.

Achieving a balance in terms of editorial focus is a challenge for even established, well-resourced content production teams. Cast your content nets too widely and you could face an uphill struggle to establish a name for yourself or risk losing traffic to larger, more established publishers.

On the other hand, focusing on a highly specific niche might seem like a great idea (and it can be), but by doing so, you may struggle to expand your readership further down the road, or even run out of genuinely new and insightful things to say about your industry.

How to Overcome It

Begin by starting with a broad category relevant to your business, then come up with increasingly granular ideas for potentially relevant subcategories. Remember, though, that the narrower your editorial focus, the harder it may be to expand your audience as your content strategy matures. Leave yourself enough breathing room to come up with exciting posts about relevant topics, but avoid targeting vastly broad subject areas.

#8: Difficulty Measuring ROI

Once upon a time, proving that content marketing “worked” was very difficult. Even today, with increasingly sophisticated analytics technology at our disposal, it’s still a major challenge that even large, well-established publishers wrestle with. Fortunately, with a little planning, it doesn’t have to be a nightmare.

How to Overcome It

Firstly, you need to determine what you want your content marketing to actually accomplish. Do you want your blog to expand your social audience? Generate leads? Elevate the profile of your thought leaders. All of the above? Without clearly defined goals, measuring the ROI of content marketing initiatives is going to be very difficult.

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