There is no denying that content marketing is the trendiest thing in marketing these days. Every conversation we have seems to focus on content, content, content. And organizations that have embarked on a content strategy say it’s working. According to a new survey, 44 percent of marketers say that content marketing is more powerful for generating sales than good old-fashioned advertising.
So, given how powerful content marketing is – given that it connects brand awareness to top line revenue growth better than any other marketing discipline – we believe strongly that content marketing is here to stay.
The companies that are embracing a content strategy now are the early adopters and should be applauded for seeing around the corner to the future of customer engagement.
But actually executing a content marketing strategy is difficult for most organizations. Brands need to think like publishers, but very few professionals outside the media have any idea how to do that; that’s not a criticism, it’s a reality. Having worked in both business and in newsrooms I can tell you that the two are extremely different; creating an in-house content team that functions as a unit of your business is much easier said than done.
Successfully executing a content strategy is a big hill to climb. It can get knocked off track at numerous places along the trail. Here’s a look at the five biggest obstacles to content marketing success:
- Inspiration – good old writer’s block. It impacts everyone who has to sit down and write on a regular basis, but it takes a pro to understand how to break through and get the job done. But this is where most content strategies fail, because the person charged with content creation doesn’t have experience breaking through writer’s block, and thinks that they just need to stare at their computer keyboard and wait for that inspirational bolt of lightning. It just isn’t something you can bet your content strategy on, but that’s what most organizations do.
- Orientation – For so many organizations, it is completely unnatural to move away from promoting themselves and towards informing their audience. But a smart content strategy is not promotional. It isn’t about you, it’s about them; the goal is to inform and engage the audience, not pummel them with sales messages. So a successful content marketer has an outward orientation. Very easy to say, but hard to convince the C-suite and sales, who have spent their entire careers talking about products and services.
- Execution – Success of a content strategy is all about the rinse and repeat. This means devoting resources to execution. Whether we’re talking about people or funds, content creation has to be done every day. That Econsultancy survey we mentioned above showed that the biggest obstacles in-house marketers found for content creation are a lack of human resources and a lack of budget. The organization has to commit before you can execute.
- Organization – Execution gets better when you have more detailed plan. In content marketing, that means an editorial calendar. This is a three-, six-, or 12-month plan that maps out the topics you’re going to address, the person responsible for developing an article, potential information sources and the keywords that should be included.
- Socialization – If a blog post falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? No. So the word needs to spread. There is no magic viral dust you can sprinkle on your content, you just need to connect it to your network. If it’s compelling it will spread.
Still stuck? There are answers out there.