If you constantly face content marketing problems, you’re not alone. Limited resources, weak strategy, ineffective content—there are so many obstacles. No matter the industry or company size, marketers at all levels face the same challenges, according to the Ascend2’s 2016 State of Content Marketing survey of both B2B and B2C marketers. What are the biggest challenges? What types of content do marketers see as most effective? We dig into the survey results and offer our tips to help ease your content marketing pain.
THE BIGGEST CONTENT MARKETING PROBLEMS
While every brand has different goals, survey respondents say increasing lead generation, improving customer engagement, and increase brand awareness are top priorities.
There are many factors that turn your audience from passive viewers into active customers. There is no single prescription for achieving your content marketing goals. Content marketing is a delicate puzzle, supported by everything from site traffic to content quality. But if you’re struggling with similar content marketing problems, here are a few things to consider.
Build brand awareness: Building a brand is relentless work. Every touchpoint of your organization is an opportunity to communicate who you are. When it comes to visual content, this is especially important, from your sales pamphlets to your infographics. Establishing a strong visual language is an important component here.
- Read more about why all your content needs to be branded.
- Learn how to build a visual language through infographics.
- Take a look at the 4 things every brand style guide needs.
Engage your audience: There are more platforms and mediums available than ever before, and each provides a unique opportunity to engage your audience. Review the types of content you are currently investing in. There may be more opportunities to experiment than you realize.
- To start, explore the ways that different mediums, such as infographics and interactive infographics engage your audience.
Get more traffic: Creating good content is only one part of the equation. Getting eyes on your content is a whole other game. Is your content optimized to get you the most traffic?
- Check out these guides from our parent company Column Five media to optimize your infographics and blog for SEO.
- Download their free e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Content Distribution, to learn how to properly promote your content.
THE BIGGEST CONTENT MARKETING PROBLEMS
According to the Ascend2 survey respondents, lack of effective strategy and lack of content creation resources remain the most significant content marketing problems. Unsurprisingly, both are related to the third biggest problem: budget constraints.
Just like most things in life, it all comes down to time, money, energy, and direction. In content marketing, it’s all interconnected. You need solid direction to come up with solid ideas. You also need the right resources to make those things happen. It’s the circle of content marketing life. However, the bright minds at Column Five believe in working smarter, not harder. Over the years they’ve found a few hacks that help them power through these content marketing roadblocks.
Crush your content strategy: Whether you’re a one-person content marketing machine or the head of a huge marketing department, having a strong plan is the only way to help you create good content and streamline workflow.
- Understand the many benefits of a long-term content strategy.
- Download their free e-book, How to Build a Long-Term Content Strategy in a Real-Time World, for more tips.
Come up with smarter ideas: If you’re stuck in a content rut, mix it up with fresh ideas that are on-strategy.
- Learn how to run a killer brainstorm.
- Tap into your team’s ideas in unusual ways.
- Watch this motion graphic to get 5 tips to generate ideas.
- Ask these 5 questions to decide if your content idea will work.
Do more with what you have: There’s nothing more frustrating than pouring your heart and soul into a project that, well, doesn’t have legs. If you’re putting in the work, it better work for you.
- Use a divisible content strategy to get the most mileage out of your content.
- Learn how to maximize publishing through microcontent.
Mix up your content: Get out of your comfort zone. Your audience wants to get content where they are, whether that’s on your site or Twitter feed.
- Learn how to structure a healthy content marketing mix.
- Follow this guide to creating a well-balanced blog.
HOW CONTENT MARKETERS STAND UP TO THE COMPETITION
Half of the surveyed marketers consider their content to be somewhat successful, but only 16% consider themselves to be best in class, compared to competitors. This shows just how much all marketers struggle to get the results they want from their content.
So how do you get your audience’s attention? How do you keep their attention? And how do you keep them away from your competition? By building a strong relationship. Ever time you interact with your audience, you should communicate who you are, what you do, and what you’re about. Consumers are loyal to the brands they believe in; make them believe in you.
Differentiate through branding: Building a strong brand identity that your audience can relate to is one of the best ways to stand out in a sea of content.
- Find your brand voice.
- Use your company culture to help your content marketing.
- Embrace design-centric thinking to improve your company’s bottom line.
- Apply good design at every level of your organization.
THE MOST EFFECTIVE CONTENT MARKETING
The survey also reveals that fact-based content, such as research reports, is most effective. Regularly posting on a blog also provides continuous engagement with customers and prospective clients.
It isn’t necessarily surprising that most content marketing problems start with content. With more mediums available than ever before, it’s an exciting time to be a content marketer. But remember that just because you create something doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. It still has to be good. If you’re creating the same content with less-than-awesome results, maybe it’s time to explore a different medium or format. No matter what types of content you create, always follow best practices to tell your story in the most impactful way.
- Watch this motion graphic to understand the value of data visualization.
- Embrace data-driven storytelling to up your street cred.
- Visualize your data for maximum comprehension with Visage’s awesome Data Visualization 101 e-book.
- Stay on top of trends with these 3 predictions for the future of infographics.
- Look for ways to turn your company’s boring communication into infographics.
- Follow these 6 tips to make effective infographics.
- Get inspired with these awesome infographic design examples.
- Learn about the 7 ways interactive infographics can tell your story.
- Check out these 101 interactive examples for inspiration.
- Ask yourself these 5 questions before creating interactive infographics.
- Learn about the differences between motion graphics and video.
- Follow these 4 steps to creating engaging motions graphics.
- Read these important tips on distributing your motion graphic.
- See why video is on the rise and how your brand can take advantage.
- Learn the 11 reasons why you need an online video strategy.
- Check out the 10 qualities every good explainer video needs.
THE EFFECTIVENESS OF CONTENT MARKETING
89% of the survey respondents report that, while they are still facing content marketing problems, the effectiveness of their content marketing strategy is increasing. More than one-third of those companies said it was “increasing significantly.”
One of the most significant content marketing problems facing many companies today is creating an effective strategy for content marketing success. Companies must find a balance between what is more effective and what is practical for the company.
Design effective content: Content takes a lot of work to produce. Frankly, you’re wasting your own time if you aren’t working the right way. Luckily, there are plenty of resources to help you make the best content out there.
- Read Column Five’s 10 tips for designing effective visual communication.
- Download their e-book, Everything You Need to Know About Visual Content, to learn how visual content can work for you.
- Design your content in a way that makes the human brain happy.
THE CHALLENGES OF CREATING CONTENT
Marketers say videos/podcasts and research reports are the most difficult types of content to create, 64% and 62% respectively.
Lack of in-house resources and capabilities to create content are persistent content marketing problems. Because content eats up time and resources, 72% of respondents either outsource all or part of their content creations. By doing so they are able to access specialized resources that aren’t readily available in-house.
Get tools and people to help you: In this beautiful age of technology, you never have to do things entirely alone.
- Use tools like Visage, the easy design tool that non-designers can master.
- Check out these 50 resources for content marketing.
- Get 6 tips for finding the right presentation design agency.
- Look for these 12 things when choosing a content marketing agency.
When it comes down to it, the best thing you can do for your content marketing efforts is to stay educated—and ask for help when you need it. The guys at Column Five believe in doing good work with good people, so let them know if you have a content marketing problem. They’d love to help you solve it.