Achieving content marketing success is a constant challenge, and there are many issues that brands need to overcome to thrive. Fortunately, companies are in control of their own destinies. The vast majority of threats to success are internal problems that can be addressed.
Presence of silos
Content marketing is less effective when there are different departments trying to push their own agendas and objectives. Silos are still present across many larger enterprises, and unfortunately this can lead to confusion as everyone will not be on the same page or working together for the greater good of a campaign or strategy.
While a culture change may be necessary to make a real difference, things can be improved by getting all relevant parties on board from the beginning. A round table at the start of the process will ensure that everyone is aware of what is happening and when and what their responsibilities are.
Lack of internal communication
Silos can also lead to a lack of communication between departments after a campaign has been greenlit. You should always try to demonstrate the value of content marketing to internal staff and key decision makers. This does not need to be a significant time sink though. Just a weekly email with updates and information can be enough to remind everyone that it is something worth doing.
Content marketing can transform business results, but it will not do so overnight. Organic marketing requires judicious planning and patience for the best results. For any higher-ups who demand immediate results, try to meet them halfway by outlining a few key business metrics that can be linked to your content strategy. While significant returns may take some time, you will be able to show them how content is contributing to revenue even in the short term.
It comes as no surprise that a high-quality content marketing campaign requires high-quality articles, blogs and videos. You can fall into a trap of pushing out generic content if you are working internally and are playing too safe in terms of topics and keywords. Audiences want content that speaks to them personally, not something that was created aimlessly without any passion.
You can improve content output by working with an agency that can give new life to topics that you may have covered in the past. You should also take another look at your brand values and see how they intersect with audience interests and new trends. There is always something new to explore that will get people excited about your brand.
The spectre of budget cuts is something that every marketing team has had to contend with at one point or another. With the disruption caused by COVID-19, marketing priorities are likely to have been reshuffled, but research shows that content is just as important, arguably even more so, than it ever has been.
Amy Balliett, CEO of Killer Visual Strategies, believes that brands are now “doubling down” on content creation in a world where digital experiences are so important. Focusing attention on high-quality design and output will lead to an uptick in engagement and tangible business returns, which should be enough to stave off the threat of budget cuts.
Being consistent is one of the most valuable attributes in business, and the same is true for content marketing. However, inconsistency is still a common trend, and marketers are struggling to eradicate it entirely. You can forge a more even, sustainable path to success by building a strong foundation and using a documented strategy with clear, definable goals. This will prevent you from jumping from one project to another without having an idea how it aligns with your core objectives.
Inaction at the top
Marketers are often at the mercy of senior managers who need to sign off on campaigns. The inaction of higher-ups can filter down to content teams and leaders who will not be able to push forward with potentially game-changing ideas without prior input and approval.
To solve this issue, marketers can take back control by crafting a documented plan that covers content personas, content strategy, a style guide, and an editorial calendar for the coming weeks and months. These documents will highlight how content aligns with wider goals and make it easier for higher-ups to review and approve campaigns. This also builds trust and shows that marketing is capable of succeeding.
Low audience engagement
Just as internal planning can be dictated by the whims of senior leaders, the actions and habits of customers and clients are also unpredictable and are always evolving. Audience attention is not something that you can rely on. It is not always a regular stream of clicks, likes and follows.
If you are failing to turn heads, you may want to rethink how you approach campaigns. This may require you to pivot away from bite-sized videos to long-form blogs that are capable of attracting a loyal and engaged audience. Sacrificing short-lived campaigns for evergreen content could be the right move for your business in late 2020.
Content marketing is all about providing value. You want to stimulate interest in your products or services but do it in a way that does not explicitly promote your brand. Hard sells will not resonate with an audience that wants honest and engaging material.
Senior editor and writer Inga Batur believes that brands should approach content in the same way that they do with their core products and services. High standards should be set and there should be a responsibility to deliver something truly great. This approach will make it easier to build trust and increase customer retention.
Complacency and loss of focus
Even the best marketing teams can lose sight of what they are supposed to be doing. This happens when teams become complacent or have blind spots in terms of audience demands or brand identity. You can guard against these issues by always driving forward with a steely focus on exactly who you are, why you are doing it, and who your target audience is.