Companies are constantly being bombarded with messages telling them to ‘create more content’, ‘educate and engage your audience’, ‘become a publisher’ and so on. Yet most of them face huge challenges in this area, be it lack of resources, budget, time or all three.
Unless they can overcome these challenges, these content marketing messages simply blend in to the mass of white noise.
So let’s take 5 of these challenges and propose some ideas as to how they can be overcome.
Creating enough content is often quoted as the biggest challenge, whether that’s due to lack of time, internal resources or ideas! So instead of churning out content into the small hours of the morning – which, to be fair, is probably going to be poor quality and detrimental to your brand anyway – try these ideas:
- Curate: this involves collating content from other great sources, almost like a daily/weekly round-up of the best content you’ve come across. This saves your audience searching for it themselves!
- Re-use content: look back at content you’ve created in the past (check in Google Analytics which ones drove the most traffic to your website) and re-purpose it. Take a blog and turn it into an infographic, a podcast, a video or a slide share presentation. This also helps to widen your content portfolio, allowing you to connect more effectively with people at different stages of the buying cycle.
- Create evergreen content: this is content that doesn’t date ie ‘how-to’ guides, checklists etc. If you’re short of content, revisit these pieces, make any required tweaks and re-promote it.
This is a tough one as a limited pot of money is, well, a limited pot of money. There are a couple of ways I would initially try and overcome this.
- Could you move budget from another area? Do an analysis as to how well your other forms of marketing are performing – are you running full page ads in magazines every month because they generate a good ROI or because it’s just what you’ve always done? Are you getting a good return from all the shows you’re doing or is there one you could drop to free up some money?
- Is the lack of budget due to a lack of buy-in from above? If the powers-that-be don’t believe that content marketing works, then why would they assign more budget for it? In this case, you need to demonstrate the ROI of content marketing – too much to cover in this article but a great piece here Everything Marketers Need to Measure and Prove Content ROI by Hubspot.
There’s nothing more frustrating than creating what you believe to be a great piece of content but then nobody shares, likes, RTs or comments on it. When I’m creating content, I always keep this diagram in mind. Some of the characteristics need to be present in every piece ie. High quality, original and non-self-promotional but the others you can pick and choose.
Create content that ticks these boxes:
This is a common one and will be a never-ending challenge unless you define what it is that you actually want to achieve. From there, you can decide what to measure, be that website traffic, newsletter sign-ups, white paper downloads, re-tweets and so on.
- Use Google Analytics to track referral traffic
- Use social media software such as Sprout, Hootsuite to measure reach, RTs etc
- WordPress Download Manager
Most companies, when embarking on their content marketing journey, will initially look to their internal resources to take on the responsibility for content creation, usually the marketing department. There are two problems here:
- The marketing team usually already have a to-do list as long as your arm
- Most marketers are not trained in writing commercially-neutral content such as industry news, white papers etc (that’s not to say they can’t, just that it’s not usually their bag).
- One option is to recruit a journalist – they are highly skilled at spotting opportunities, telling stories that get shared and subtly influencing and nurturing your readers along the buying cycle.
- Out-source to a content marketing agency – this means you’ll have a whole team of journalists and designers providing you with a wider mix of content (news, blog posts, videos, infographics etc)
What about you?
How have you overcome some of these challenges? I’d love to hear!