In 1996, Bill Gates, owner of Microsoft stated ‘Content is King’.
Bill Gates said:
“ Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the internet, just as it was in broadcasting “.
Content marketing allows you to reach customers at the exact moment that they’re looking for something. You’re not interrupting them, you’re attracting them to your brand by providing useful and relevant information that helps to answer their questions or solve their problems.
In 2021, 79% of B2B marketers reported that their organization had a content marketing strategy. 42% of B2C marketers reported that their organization has a documented content marketing strategy (up from 33% the previous year). So you can see how many marketers are starting to see the importance of content for their business.
Anything from a blog post to emails, images, infographics, videos, or whitepapers can be used to provide expertise and thought leadership to your target audience to encourage them to interact with your brand and eventually buy from you.
Whilst content marketing is an extremely important and effective part of any digital marketing strategy, there are also a few content marketing challenges to be aware of that should be addressed and overcome to create a successful strategy.
Challenge #1: Producing High-Quality Content
High-quality content impacts your customer’s buying decisions more than any other technique, according to Hubspot. Content might be one of the most effective ways to promote your business but it must be of high quality. The quality of your content will have a direct impact not only on how it performs in the SERPs (search engine results pages) but on how your target audiences react to and engage with it.
Each and every piece of content you produce needs to be different and better than anything else out there. Your content should provide your customers with something that’s of value to them otherwise they’re going to click back and have a look back through the SERPs (search engine results pages) for content that will provide them with what they want.
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If you’re not skilled in producing content, it can be difficult to know what high-quality content looks like and what it can offer to your customers. To make sure you offer something better or different, have a look at what your competitors are doing, how their content performs in the SERPs, and get an understanding of what type of content you need to produce.
The difference is, you will need to exceed the quality of your competitors’ content and provide your customers with something a little different.
Challenge #2: Creating Content Consistently
For your content to be effective and have an impact, you will need to produce content consistently. You want to be seen as a thought leader or expert in your industry and content allows you to do this. However, if your blog page or website is only populated with a few pieces of content produced a couple of months apart you will struggle to make an impact with your content.
Ideally, you will need to produce a couple of pieces of content a month at a minimum – more is better, to start seeing results from your content marketing efforts. To make sure you produce enough content on a regular basis, it is recommended that you create a content marketing strategy and plan that covers at least the next six months.
A clear strategy should outline the content you need to produce, when and who will produce it. This will help you to prioritize your content marketing campaigns and show your stakeholders how important it is for the growth of the business. This will save time over the long term as it will provide you with a clear outline of what you need to achieve and when and will save you from scraping around to find something to write about once a month or once a week.
Challenge #3: Aligning Your Content with Customer Journeys and Customer Personas
Many marketers struggle to align their content with the different stages of the customer journey and different customer personas.
All of your customers are different. They may share similar interests and values but they are still different and prefer to consume content in different ways. If you have a content strategy in place, you should already have an idea of who your customer personas are.
Use this to think about the content they want to consume and how they want to consume it. You can repurpose the same piece of content in different formats to suit these customers.
In addition, you should make sure that your content serves the needs of your customers at every stage of their journey. Making sure you target your customers with the right content at the right time can be a huge challenge.
47% of buyers view at least 3-5 pieces of content before they contact a business. 82% of customers have a more positive view of a brand after reading their content. This shows just how important is it to make sure you provide information throughout the buyer’s journey, and not just at the top of the funnel.
To overcome this challenge, sit down and look at your customer personas and the journey they take before buying from you. Map out the pieces of content that will help to push them through your sales funnel and create and share them in the right places.
Challenge #4: Measuring ROI
Historically, it has been very difficult to measure the ROI of your content marketing strategy. It can be challenging to relate conversions and metrics to specific pieces of content and to measure and evaluate its impact on the bottom line of the business. However, it’s not impossible.
The ROI of your content marketing strategy is subjective and based on your business objectives or mission.
To effectively measure ROI, it’s important to outline what you want your content marketing to accomplish before you even start. Are you looking to drive more traffic to your website? Do you want to generate leads? Do you want to become a thought leader in your industry?
If you don’t know what you’re looking to achieve through your content, it will be very difficult to know whether it has been successful or not.
Starting to produce, publish and share content without knowing why you do it will make it difficult over the long term to understand the impact it’s having. Setting out clear goals and knowing how you will track these will help you to evaluate the success of your efforts and help you to justify the time and resource spent too.
Challenge #5: Limited Resources
Producing high-quality content frequently and consistently is a skilled task that can take time. A lack of time can prevent many businesses from being able to create content consistently. You might be a small business or a large business without enough capacity.
It doesn’t matter who you are, not having the resources to create content is something that many businesses struggle with. It can often be pushed to the bottom of the list as you focus on more important tasks – such as the day-to-day running of your business.
A lack of budget is another huge obstacle faced by businesses when it comes to content marketing. Content production can be done in-house or you can outsource it. Either way, it takes time and budget to produce.
If you don’t have someone who is experienced in content in-house, the best solution may be to outsource to another company that can dedicate their time to helping you create the right content for your business and distribute it in the right places.
Challenge #6: Choosing the Right Channels
With so many marketing channels and social media platforms available, knowing exactly where to distribute your content can be a challenge. Always focus on the channels that best connect you with your target customers.
It may take a little bit of trial and error to find out which channels work best for you but it’s important to find the right channels for your business. If you post everywhere and anywhere, you could be wasting your marketing efforts and budget in the wrong places and never reach the right people with your content.
Take the time to get to know your customers and the channels they use and engage with. Your buyer personas should help with this and, if you’ve been running your business for a while, you should have an idea of the best channels for you. For example, if you’re a B2B business, LinkedIn is the perfect platform. However, it’s not the best place for B2C!
Challenge #7: Increasing Competition
With so many different businesses out there, there is also a huge amount of content out there too! Whatever your subject matter is, it’s likely that there’s another business writing about it as well.
So many businesses are competing for the attention of the same customers so it can be difficult to get your content seen online by the right people and, most importantly, to get them to engage with it too.
Take a look at what your competitors are doing and make sure that your content offers something more or different to make it stand out. As the competition in your industry increases, your customer’s expectations will also become higher which means your content will have to keep getting better and better.
Make sure that everything you publish and share is as good as it can be and keep this up over the long term to keep building and engaging with your audience.
Challenge #8: Shifts Towards Paid Promotion
As the content landscape shifts more and more towards the prioritization of paid promotion, it’s sometimes just not enough to create great content.
Organic social media is still a great way to get your content out there but platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer paid methods of segmenting audiences to help you reach the right people. As a result, these platforms now focus on paying to get your content in front of the right people, on the right channels.
If you’re looking to build a social media following to reach a bigger audience, it is a good idea to look into paid promotion options. You spend a huge amount of time and resources to create high-quality content so having a budget to make sure people actually see it should be part of your plan.
If you already have a larger social media following, you may find that organic social media works well for you and helps you to achieve your goals.
Challenge #9: Impatience and Unrealistic Expectations
It doesn’t matter how large your content marketing team is or how big your budget is, it can take years for your content to start showing results. Whether you’re producing content for SEO and want to appear in the SERPs, or you want your content marketing to start bringing in leads, it takes time.
Establishing an audience and building credibility for your brand is a long-term strategy that should be implemented alongside shorter-term strategies such as paid search. Although content marketing can take time to show results and takes up a huge amount of resources, it’s also one of the most effective marketing strategies you can use and will continue to pay off for years to come.
Many content marketers face executives and managers who have unrealistic expectations about the results they can expect to achieve from content marketing and how quickly. They’re used to traditional marketing strategies which provide an immediate return on investment.
Explaining the process to managers and executives and letting them know what they can expect and in what time period will help to set expectations internally and allow you to continue producing content that will make an impact on the bottom line of the business.
Whilst content marketing presents a number of challenges, the payoff from an effective strategy can far outweigh these. Creating a strategy that you can stick to, understanding your objectives and your audience, and creating high quality, consistent content will ensure that you get the best results from your content and overcome the above challenges.
Please contact our team at TSDigitals to find out more about how we can help you with your content marketing needs.