CONTENT CREATION: 6 HURDLES TO OVERCOME
Nine out of 10 companies use content to market their products and services. But why is it becoming more and more challenging to marketers; especially in the digital space?
Implementing a solid content marketing strategy can reap benefits for a business in a myriad of ways.
Specifically, in terms of:
- ‘seeding’ social media conversations
- acquiring new customers and nurturing them through the sales cycle
- increasing brand awareness
- retaining the interest and loyalty of existing customers
- building a strong CRM-based marketing function
Developing an overarching, formal content marketing strategy can be a massive time-drain for content marketers. And, according to research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute this year, only 40% of UK marketers have a documented content marketing strategy for their business. Why are so few actually formalising this process? Too busy ‘doing’ to have the time to plan?
A jungle of jargon
We’re also living in a minefield of marketing buzzwords. Over-used/clichéd terms, such as ‘thought leadership’, have now been taken for granted and have become meaningless for many. There are so many individuals putting themselves forward as experts, it is hard to tell who is actually authentic.
However, whilst many firms want to convey a distinctive position which demonstrates their expertise and values, content marketing has now reached a level of sophistication whereby it’s less about what the firm can do. Increasingly, it’s about the intended audience and what their needs are. Where is the value for the reader? Thought leadership is also a ‘slow burn’ strategy which won’t yield instant results. It’s about positioning; and building authority takes time (when you’re at such a distance from your readers).
The coupling of art and science
The truth is that these buzzwords like ‘thought leadership’, ‘storyscaping’ and ‘growth hacking’ are hollow. Digital marketers are realising that effective campaigns are best created using a blend of both art and science. There must be room for creativity, but it should be executed with a cold, calculated method in mind. So in today’s marketing landscape, more time, thought and skill is needed in order to shape and optimise content. In part, this is due to the amount of ever-increasing, competing content that writers are faced with.
More progressive businesses are choosing to recruit dedicated ‘content creators’ for their marketing teams as a result. According to Contently.com, 57% of firms now have at least two people dedicated to creating content within their marketing teams. These experts become worth their weight in gold, because they understand both sides: the technology and objective planning process - combined with creating interesting content which readers want to consume.
In turn, established content writers are learning lessons from the past, and becoming savvier with their copy; ensuring that both the tone of voice used is appropriate, that the volume and technicality of copy is pitched right, and that the end user reaps at least some benefit from what they’re reading.
This evolution of content marketing is a really positive thing, but with the sheer volume of content out there in the ether, there are an ever increasing number of boxes to be ticked for today’s content creator.
6 important content hurdles to overcome:
These usually include:
1. The challenge of turning around topical, relevant content quickly
2. Keeping your audience coming back for more
3. Creating content that stands out from the crowd
4. Using marketing software to effectively segment, measure and re-market
5. Balancing the use of ‘owned’, ’earned’, and ‘paid’ platforms when pushing out
6. Making sure that the content you create is optimised for the purposes of SEO
Spinning all the plates
Board members and senior managers in your organisation will always be interested in the cold hard stats. If you’re a marketer, one of your biggest challenges will be 'time'. So how do you make sure you adequately plan, complete everything on the above list, get your audience to engage, and then also show ROI (which may well manifest itself as ‘time cost’, rather than money spent) to your senior managers?
CUTTING THROUGH THE NOISE
The reader also faces a few dilemmas of their own. For example, how do you know that the person authoring the content really knows what they’re talking about? And, when you’re faced with a sea of content, how do you know what you should spend your time reading - and what you should ignore?
Glossy practices such as ‘content curation’ have sought to remedy the latter. The practice involves sorting through the best, most credible works on ‘content discovery platforms’ such as Pulse, Reddit, and so on (it’s like ‘facing out’ your best titles in a book shop, say).
If you’re working as a content writer /digital marketer for a B2B audience though, you’ll have enough trouble just trying to cut through everyone else’s’ content to make your messages stand out.