15 Content Marketing Challenges and How to Overcome Them
Overcome your content marketing challenges with these expert tips. Content marketing doesn’t have to be a struggle!
Content marketing is an essential part of any successful digital marketing strategy.
Content can help businesses build brand awareness, attract new customers, and increase sales. However, content marketing doesn’t always come easy, especially when you are first getting your business started and operating with a small team. There are many content marketing challenges you’ll experience along your journey with creating engaging and effective content.
In this article, we’ll discuss 15 common content marketing challenges you might encounter in your business and offer strategies for you to overcome them.
High-Level Content Marketing Challenges
1. Lack of Budget and Resources
If your budget for content creation or production is low or nonexistent, it can be difficult to publish high-quality content on a regular basis.
This challenge may seem obvious but many small business owners don’t realize the importance of having enough resources in order to produce quality content regularly. If you’re struggling to find time to write blog posts, do some research into what other companies have done before you. You’ll likely discover they’ve already created great content about similar topics.
You can use these existing topics as inspiration for developing your own content marketing strategy. From there you can create content that elaborates on these topics and tie back to the products or services you provide.
Repurposing and recycling content is another way to stretch a tight content marketing budget. If you have an existing library of articles that can be revamped—do it! You can rework older articles to align with your current SEO strategy as well as update any old information, products, or services, and confirm your brand voice is consistent. Or try repurposing any long-form content such as white papers or an ebook that can be reframed into other types of content or expand on a trending subtopic.
A video library is also ripe for repurposing. If you have informative webinars that do not have a corresponding written blog post, then you are missing a great content marketing opportunity.
As you continue on your content marketing journey, you might consider outsourcing content creation. This helps ensure the content production is consistently high-quality and your return on investment is satisfactory.
2. Lack of Stakeholder Buy-In
A lack of buy-in among stakeholders can result in many problems including missed deadlines, poor quality work, and ultimately wasted time and money.
To overcome this challenge, start early and involve everyone involved in the project. If possible, find people who aren’t directly tied into the project so the input isn’t limited. Also, don’t forget about those outside of the team like clients, partners, investors, etc. They may also need to weigh in on decisions made during the process.
To keep stakeholders invested in the project, you may consider having a clear objective in place for each piece of content you create in the form of a content brief accompanied with a brand guide or writing style guide are excellent starting points.
Objectives for the content may include the desire for generating more traffic or converting more leads. Keep track of how well the content achieves these goals using analytics. This evidence can be used to convey clear information to stakeholders making it easier for them to stay invested in the project.
3. Mixed Brand Messaging
This next issue in this list of content marketing challenges is mixed or unclear messaging.
Unclear messaging is an easy mistake to make and it can manifest in a couple of different ways. One way is by simply not providing information on what the readers can do to interact, make a purchase, or how to get in contact with someone that can answer questions.
Clear call-to-action messages are a necessary addition to any piece of content. These do not have to be overt sales pitches (in fact, they often shouldn’t be!) instead they should provide actionable steps that the reader can easily follow through on.
Another form of unclear messaging is tone-deaf messaging that is disconnected from the audience. Using cliche ad-speak style language is one way to alienate and turn off readers.
To avoid this, great care must be taken to ensure you really know and understand your readers and ensure you convey authenticity in your writing. This will help prevent readers from seeing you as just another salesperson begging them to buy something.
4. Long-Term Sustainability
In order to make a content strategy work, the benefits of the strategy must outweigh the costs. If you are sinking large amounts of time and resources into a content strategy that is not helping to achieve your goals then it cannot be sustained for long.
To help prevent this content marketing challenge from occurring, you must develop a content marketing strategy that makes sense for your business and your specific goals. Not only will this help dictate the type of content that you create but it will help you identify the point at which your strategy will become unsustainable. That way you will know when and where to scale back before you lose out on your returns.
You’ll need to have an idea about what kind of results you want to see from your content marketing efforts from the start. Then you’ll need to map out a path for how to achieve your goals. Finally, decide whether or not your current approach is sustainable over the long term. Only once you’ve done all this, then you should continue utilizing your content marketing plan.
If you find, that your current strategy is not sustainable then it might be time to get an expert opinion on what your content marketing strategy should look like.
Too Much Focus on Areas Outside of Your Control
5. Evolving Digital Marketing Trends
Marketing trends are notoriously ever-changing. Because of this particular content marketing challenge, you might find yourself struggling to stay relevant. To combat this issue, always strive to learn about current industry developments. Read books, attend conferences, watch webinars, and listen to podcasts. By staying informed, you won’t fall victim to outdated practices.
For example, there has been a big shift towards paid promotion in social media advertising. This makes organically promoted content less visible even if it is super high-quality. Unfortunately, there is not much to do about this particular marketing trend other than to join it if it is financially feasible. Of course, before pursuing this particular trend make sure you know exactly what your goals are before investing.
Changing search engine algorithms are another challenge content marketers have to contend with. Google has made many updates since its inception, so there will inevitably be times when certain keywords no longer rank highly. However, these challenges can also provide opportunities to improve your strategy. When a strategy isn’t reaping benefits, view it as a learning experience rather than a failure.
So consider investing in tools that help you track which strategies are performing well and which ones aren’t. Most of all, when it comes to changing trends and algorithms, staying informed is the best practice.
6. Elusive and Constant Social Media Policy Changes
Changes in social media policies seem to be a regular occurrence in today’s online space.
These changes can derail certain campaigns if they violate new policy guidelines. Unfortunately, there is not much that you can do to prevent or change this one of the content marketing challenges you’ll surely be faced with.
Instead, the solution for this reality is to stay as informed as possible on upcoming changes so that your business will not be hit unaware and left scrambling to adjust. You can use tools such as Google Alerts to monitor news stories related to your industry. Once you identify a story that relates to your company, read up on its details.
The best thing you can do is to remain proactive rather than reactive when it comes to keeping abreast of changing regulations.
7. Market Saturation
The next of the major content marketing challenges we’ll discuss is market saturation. The reason why this is such a big issue is when companies saturate markets, competition increases which make it harder for businesses to stand out.
In order to combat this problem, focus on creating unique value propositions that set you apart from other competitors. You can accomplish this by focusing on areas no one else has touched before. Again, staying informed about the latest trends will help keep you ahead of the curve.
If you are too busy to keep abreast of all the trends, changes, and regulations that govern the content marketing space then working with a content marketing agency might be the right solution for your business. Because they are so deeply ingrained in the industry they will be out front of important changes as they happen.
8. Online Market Competition
If you want to succeed in today’s digital marking world, then you need to compete against bigger brands many of which are very experienced in capturing the attention of audiences.
So, how do you compete in such an environment? Well, first off, you should know that competition isn’t necessarily bad. As long as you offer unique value, customers will flock to your site.
If you want to stand apart from the crowd, you need to create high-quality content that provides genuine benefits to readers.
Quality content comes down to three things: relevance, authority, and trustworthiness. These qualities ensure your audience finds your content useful and trustworthy, in turn making you a reliable source. This ensures existing readers come back and new readers find value in your content.
Providing consistent high-quality content that resonates with readers is at the core of competing for attention in the online marketing world.
Content Marketing Challenges in Content Creation and Production
9. Lack of Creative or Innovative Ideas
Being afraid to go out of a content comfort zone is a common issue in content marketing. Some businesses lack the confidence to try something new while others feel too intimidated to try anything different, especially when what they are currently doing is seemingly working.
To combat this, try scheduling in new types of content to test them out. This could mean trying visual content instead of just writing blog posts. Or maybe even taking a chance and posting a photo essay rather than sticking to text.
You never know where these experiments might lead!
Getting out of your content creation comfort zone is also part and parcel of staying relevant in the hyper-competitive world of digital marketing. If you don’t stay ahead of the curve, you’ll fall behind. And falling behind means losing potential clients.
So, take risks with your content marketing strategy and see how far you get.
10. Lack of Focus on the Target Audience
One of the most important issues that undergird many of the content marketing challenges listed here is knowing your target audience.
Understanding who your target audience is is an essential part of creating a content marketing strategy. After all, if you do not know who you are creating content for, how can you expect to reach customers?
The problem is some businesses get hung up on this step. It is easy to go too broad or too narrow when identifying your target audience.
The solution is to start broad, then zero in on your target audiences—segment by segment. By creating subcategories of your target audiences, you will be able to make the content that is relevant to readers. Although, you should still keep the broader audience in mind so you’ll still appeal to readers consuming your content for the first time.
When it comes to focusing on a target audience, balance is key.
Sometimes the problem is the wrong audience has been identified. Overeager content marketers might choose a certain audience that appeals to them but just does not make sense for the brand. This can happen when a business decides that they want a different generational demographic for their customers because trends have changed.
While it is a good idea to keep your appeal broad across demographics, care should be taken to not alienate an existing audience or customer base. Again, balance is the solution.
11. Consistently Produce High-Quality Content
Consistently creating high-quality content is a big issue among content marketing challenges. There’s no doubt writing good articles takes practice and skill. But if you want to see results from your efforts, then consistency is key.
One way to overcome this challenge is to use templates. Templates allow you to quickly get started without wasting too much time. They also ensure that all aspects of your content are uniform so that readers know exactly where to look for information.
However, using templates does have some drawbacks. Template-based content can get stale quickly and appear too cookie-cutter to be compelling for readers.
To avoid this problem, try using different types of media such as infographics, videos, and podcasts. These formats provide more flexibility than traditional text-based content.
Repurposing content also comes in handy for solving this content marketing challenge because it gives you the opportunity to revisit high-value topics. When repurposing keep in mind how you might make the content even more valuable to your audience. This might mean providing more how-to style articles for using your product or service.
12. Content Creation and Production Burn-Out
Speaking of the importance of balance—let’s talk about the next issue on our list of content marketing challenges—burnout for content marketers.
The push to consistently create high-quality hyper-relevant content on a set schedule is demanding to say the least. The nature of content marketing makes it is easy for content marketers to be drained both creatively and physically.
Not only is this bad for the marketers’ health, but it is bad for the health of the content overall. If a creator is on the path to wearing themselves out, producing content that is gradually getting worse, then all the effort is going to waste.
To solve this issue, it’s important to have a sensible publishing schedule, which can do wonders to prevent burnout in content production.
Knowing your team’s limits is also essential for preventing burnout. So, outsourcing part or all of your content production is another way to ease some of the burdens that content creation can have on businesses.
Unrealistic Expectations for Content Marketing
13. Rigid Publishing Schedules
Publishing schedules shouldn’t be set in stone.
Instead, they need to be flexible depending on the needs of your audience. For example, if you publish weekly blogs, you could change up the schedule every few weeks to keep things fresh. Whatever works best for your company depends on who your target market is and what type of content resonates most strongly with them.
The point here is that publishing schedules shouldn’t be rigidly enforced. It’s important to understand not everyone reads the same amount of content each week. And if trying to stick to a schedule that only emphasizes rapid production hurts the quality of the content, then your efforts are going to waste.
So instead of setting yourself up for failure by forcing yourself to follow an unrealistic schedule, just adjust accordingly.
To get a gauge on what your publishing schedule should look like, do some research. Discover how often your top competitors are posting and compare that with your current publishing schedule. Also, take into account how well your current publishing schedule is faring. Does some content perform worse because of the time it was posted?
This information will help you better shape your content publishing schedule making it more effective and avoiding the pitfall of adhering to an unrealistic schedule.
14. Unattainable Goals
When starting out with content marketing, it’s easy to think everything must happen overnight. The truth is though, building a successful content marketing strategy requires more patience and setting realistic and attainable goals.
So rather than expecting instant success, focus on making steady progress towards your goals.
If you’re working on improving your SEO rankings, don’t expect to see immediate improvements. You’ll have to put in some serious effort before seeing any real gains. Similarly, if you’re trying to build traffic through paid advertising campaigns, don’t expect to start getting lots of new visitors right away. It may take months or even longer before you notice any significant changes.
So remember, slow and steady wins the race. Don’t let expectations derail you from achieving your ultimate goal.
To help keep your content marketing strategy expectation in check keep these guidelines in mind: know your limits, keep an eye out for potential issues, stay flexible, communicate, and try not to promise too much.
15. Quantifiable Results for ROI
Our final issue in our list of content marketing challenges is the problem of determining your return on investment (ROI).
It can be quite difficult to accurately analyze the return on investment when it comes to content marketing strategies. In order to get a clearer picture of how your ROI is fairing, make sure you have your goals clearly identified.
You must know the answers to these questions if you want to determine if your strategy is working:
- Are you building your audience to include new readers and customers?
- Are you looking to engage more with your existing audience?
- Are you looking to convert new leads?
- Make more sales?
Once you are clear on the specifics, use tools to quantify the success of your efforts. Make use of Google Analytics to identify and track conversion rates. BuzzSumo is useful for viewing changes in reader engagement. With these tools (plus knowing your goals) you will be better able to determine the success of your content marketing efforts.
Final Thoughts on Content Marketing Challenges
As we’ve demonstrated, content marketing is not without its challenges.
Many of the content marketing challenges we have outlined here stem from these three core fundamentals—knowing your goals, knowing your audience(s), and creating consistent high-quality content. Once you’ve tackled these issues, you can then strategize how to manage other issues like burnout, measuring ROI, and market saturation with greater ease.
One solution that will have a huge impact on solving or preventing these challenges is to outsource your content production to a content marketing agency.
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