Content marketing may be “king,” but it’s also a stern taskmaster.
First, once you commit, it drives your schedule and not the other way around.
With all the work it takes, you’d expect quick benefits, but as you’ve probably discovered, creating great content doesn’t automatically draw traffic to your site. And it doesn’t immediately inspire people to leave a comment or share your stuff.
It takes work and strategic thinking to ensure you get the results you need from your blog and other content. But what exactly? What are the experts doing to get their results?
To find out, I reached out to 11 of my content marketing friends to learn their secrets. Keep reading to get the 5 challenges they struggle with and their best tips for doing content marketing right.
Playing the Long Game
“Most people don’t invest in content marketing long enough to see the ROI. It takes a minimum of 6 months to see anything from content marketing and normally at the 12-18 month mark, you see the maximum potential.
Most people aren’t prepared for that long of an investment.
The second biggest challenge I see is too many articles on bad topics/ideas or things that are going to fail from the start.
What I mean is that if you’re investing in content marketing, make sure your articles are better (and significantly better) than anything else out there. And brainstorm your marketing plan for content ahead of time.
If you can’t come up with enough ideas to promote your content, there’s a good chance it’s a bad idea and you should go to the next idea.”
neilpatel.com | @neilpatel
Neil feels that the biggest challenge for content marketers everywhere is to create content that always goes viral.
Virality = attention and traffic, after all.
So his tip is to be more consistent. “If you don’t do it for a long time, you won’t get results.”
Having Enough Time to Do It Right
Brian is the founder of Conversion Sciences and author of Your Customer Creation Equation. If you want to improve your conversion rate optimization, this is the guy to turn to.
He shares a challenge that we all share—doing content right can take way too much time and energy.
“My challenge is balancing the many jobs content has to do online. It has to educate, do SEO, entertain, drive my social, and drive my email. It’s not fun anymore.
My tip for everyone else struggling to do content marketing right: Set high standards. Require complete answers with supporting research, examples, and images. Don’t compromise.”
“The biggest challenge that I face when it comes to content marketing is being able to give every piece of content the time it deserves to be promoted and shared.
There is always something that marketers can be doing to increase the likelihood of their content reaching a few more people. The challenge is that there are only so many hours in a day.
My best piece of advice for brands trying to do content marketing right is to start with your customer in mind.
And when I say that, I don’t mean sit in a boardroom and brainstorm who you think your target audience is, I mean truly spend the time to know who they are.
Use research to gain insight into what channels they’re using to learn about your industry. Use technology to better understand what type of content they’re sharing. From there, be laser focused at creating content that these people are craving and distributing it on the channels they’re visiting day after day.”
Improving Effectiveness and Efficiency
“When it comes to doing content right, there are two big challenges.
The first challenge is crickets. The content marketer works hard crafting a lovely little post. It’s published and then… nothing happens.
The problem isn’t the content.
It’s the marketing.
Most marketers, especially less senior marketers at young brands, struggle with content promotion. Traffic is flat and engagement is low. The key is to stay consistent and stay focused on search, social and email.
Once you start getting traction, it gradually gets a little easier. That’s because content marketing is a feedback loop with durable benefits.
source: 50 Ways to Promote Your Content
The second challenge is efficiency. After you start getting results, you’ll find that quality and quantity are a zero sum game. You can’t scale high-quality content… at least on your own.
So your second challenge is to automate and delegate.
Build a machine.
It would be nice to have a small newsroom filled with brilliant marketers. But most of us can’t afford it. So we find ways to delegate one task at a time. Eventually, you’ll have a small army of helpers:
- Blog contributors. They’ll send you quality posts, 95% complete.
- Ghost writers and ghost drafters. They’ll take your ideas and run with them, creating posts 80% complete.
- Virtual assistants. They’ll manage your calendar and your inbox.
- Community managers. They’ll keep the conversations going and manage basic social tasks.
- Robots and automated tools. They’ll handle social sharing and scheduling. Start with Edgar and Amy.
The key is to document any repeatable tasks and delegate, moving them down the line.
You can’t manage time, but you can manage your priorities. The best content marketers are expert delegators.”
“Our biggest struggle with content is time!
We currently post one piece of content on the blog per week (sometimes 2) but we ideally want to be posting at least once per day
My tip for doing content marketing right?
Organization and continuous learning and execution.
You need to have a content calendar that plans when you are developing ideas, creating, editing, publishing and promoting content is essential.
We have a monthly meeting where we plan all of these elements and enter actions on specific dates in our shared agency calendar.
No matter how good you are at Content Marketing, you can always learn from others and improve. Regularly consume a ton of content and learn from the different styles and strategies experts use.
‘Execution’ may sound obvious, but unless you effectively execute your content plan, you lose .
Stick to the plan and you will win.”
Josh is the Founder of LinkedSelling and Webinarli. They help B2B companies systematically build relationships to turn cold prospects into warm leads.
“I struggle with getting excellent content produced that doesn’t require my review. Being the “copy chief” is a bit of a bottleneck for me.
My best advice for people wanting to do content marketing right is simple: Spend money on ads. That’s where our focus is, and it’s what’s worked for us.”
Tim is Head of Marketing @ahrefs and runs Bloggerjet.com. He’s also developed two awesome plugins for content marketers: Content Upgrades and TweetDis.
“Where I struggle the most is in creating unique content based on the writer’s actual experience rather than rehashed research that looks like everything else on the web.
You can hire writers, but all they can do is research the topic and write what’s already out there on the web, just using their own words.
So my biggest struggle is finding people who actually do stuff in our niche, who can share their personal experiences and something unique they’ve learned: takeaways, data, and actual case studies.
By sharing their own data and outcomes, they give their content a ton of credibility. You can write a super-researched article on any topic, but unless you can back it up from your own experiences or showcase your customers’ successes, or share some interesting takeaways or advice that’s never been said before, your content isn’t really interesting.
To do content marketing right…
Share the best advice. Push the people who actually work in your industry to write about it. Push copywriters and content writers to do the stuff they write about. Tell them to do more than research, to go one step further and actually be journalists.
My advice: Take it further and do better work.”
“Our biggest challenge is SEO. We’re in an industry (marketing software) where we and our competitors are all very aware of the best strategies to drive and convert traffic.
We’re all creating and investing in content at a furious pace. We have the resources, budget, and team (four full-time writers, three designers, etc.). So being in such a competitive market is exciting, but can be a challenge.
Some of our competitors so thoroughly “own” a target keyword, it’s next to impossible to shake them off their SERP position. Our platform was initially focused on social media lead generation (promotions, coupons, contests) and we managed to rank well for related search terms but as we’ve moved towards more general lead generation and running full marketing campaigns, we’ve entered a world where the front page is intimidatingly immutable.
I think it’s an issue many businesses find frustrating—ranking for keywords (even the lesser-searched ones) requires a huge amount of energy and can seem impossible. There’s a sense, for many businesses, of “once you’ve done all of the things in every thought-leader’s ‘guides to SEO’ and written a few yourself, what’s next?”
Growing and Scaling
Johnathan is a Google Premier Partner. His agency, KlientBoost, helps companies make more money with PPC advertising and beautifully designed landing pages, that also convert.
“Our biggest challenge use to be the promotion aspect and turning our blog into its own snowball. Now that’s doing pretty well and I’m super excited about our month-over-month growth.
Our biggest challenge now is executing around other types of content—video, SlideShare, etc.—that we want to take advantage of and do amazingly well with too.
My tip: Always, always try to improve.
It’s so simple.
Test longer length articles, test new promotions efforts, and tie it back to performance—does something new help you make more money?
That’s what you should always be striving to try to accomplish.”
Always, always try to improve by testing, measuring, and tying results to performance.Click to tweet
Nadav is Founder & CEO of InboundJunction, an Israeli-based content marketing company. They boost online visibility through PR, SEO, and Social Media.
“The biggest problem for me is scaling. Content marketing (for the most part) is based on people’s talents and manual work.
True, some solutions and tools exist to amplify and streamline content marketing, but it’s nothing like marketing automation or machine learning. You always need more hands on deck—writers, strategists, outreach managers, etc.
My advice is to first decide if most of your content marketing efforts would be headed internally (building a strong team of writers, content strategists, and outreach managers) or working with a strong agency.
I think if a business/startup is financially limited and wants to invest in content marketing, it definitely needs to start with a content strategist/marketer (very different from a good writer) who can set the tone and messaging.
There’s an abundance of good writers and people who can be good at outreach which could be managed by a strong content marketer/strategist. When a business has more money and it looking to own and scale, an agency can open hundreds of doors through connections (reaching more publications) and scale (better and faster content).”
You aren’t alone.
As you can see, even top content marketers struggle to get results. When blogging and content marketing was new, you could post a few short articles and get amazing results.
But those days are gone.
To get results, you need to understand the amount of content your audience is filtering on a daily basis. Attention is scarce. They don’t have time to engage or respond.
So you have to think like a growth expert. Test new ideas. Figure out what your audience is looking for. Don’t waste time producing content just to meet your publication schedule. Find the topics and information they’re searching for.
Then produce the best content you can.
Start with your strategy. Don’t produce random articles with no focus and no end game.
Rely on content experts and journalists to do your writing. They have the experience to go deep and share original ideas.
Invest in marketing and promotion. But be efficient, so you can get the most from your efforts. More content isn’t the answer. Better, more targeting content is.
What about you?
Have you lost the joy of content marketing? What challenges are dragging you down? What tips would you share for doing content marketing right?