“Content isn’t king. It’s the kingdom.” – Lee Odden
There are no limits to what great content marketing can do. From increased brand awareness and expert positioning, to improved search engine rankings (and traffic) and better quality leads, there’s no doubt that effective content creation and distribution can help achieve organizational objectives while building inbound marketing assets that continue to provide value for many years. Yet so many organizations, large and small, are hesitant to jump into content marketing due to perceived challenges, like time, money, and resources. Granted all of these things are required in some way when it comes to creating amazing content, the most commonly cited content marketing challenges are not as problematic as they may seem. Challenge #1: No Content Creators It’s easy to think that because you don’t have a dedicated content creator on staff, or the dollars to spend on a contracted journalist, that your organization can’t create great content on an ongoing basis. But the reality is, writers are hardly the only team members that should be generating content. Each person and/or department in your organization deals with a unique aspect of your business, and is therefore perfectly poised to create a unique and resourceful piece of content that addresses the organizational questions or challenges they deal with every day. Members of your sales team, customer service reps, and yes, even (especially) your CEO should be regularly churning out content. And don’t let time become another challenge – simplify the process by asking these employees to record their content ideas verbally, and then send those recordings to a transcription service, which can cost as little as $1/minute. Creating this kind of content culture does take some upfront planning, though. At minimum, creating content needs to be written into these employees’ job descriptions so writing doesn’t just become something they get to when they have spare time. If you want to really have fun with it, make it a game or a challenge, where the person who creates the most content each month wins an awesome prize. Challenge #2: Legal Is In The Way In many industries with strict regulations (government, pharmaceutical, etc.), the company legal department can often stand in the way of regularly publishing unique and timely content. While all company marketing should adhere to the rules and regulations that legal institutes, there are ways around this challenge that can keep all departments happy. The key to addressing this challenge is a significant time investment upfront in proper planning. By getting legal’s approval at the outset on specific topics, messaging, and general guidelines, legal can rest easy and content creators can avoid lengthy review processes that impede distribution. Some of the planning documents you might want to consider creating and getting approved before beginning your content marketing initiatives are:
- A Content Calendar: This document tells legal (and others involved in the content creation process) what you will publish, and when.
- A Set of Guidelines: This would clearly define, in advance, what your content creators will and will not do, what topics are off limits, the language in which certain areas should be discussed, etc.
- A Piece of “Source” Content: This would be a fairly large document with specific messaging that will be used for specific pieces of content (based off of the content calendar), that can be pulled from when each piece is being written.
Challenge #3: Fresh Out of Ideas It may seem daunting to have to develop new and exciting blog post ideas on a regular basis. But the companies who are out there scratching their heads over what to write about simply don’t know where to look. Cue the internet. There are numerous places online that can be sourced for content ideas that specifically address the needs and/or interests of your target customers. LinkedIn groups are a great place to start. Join a few where your audience actively participates, and monitor them daily for questions posted by other members. Each question asked is an opportunity for your company to create a blog post or longer piece of content that directly addresses it. If one person is asking a question, chances are that others in your target audience also have that same question. Plus, you’ll get to use that specific thread as a perfectly-targeted distribution channel once your piece of content is completed. This method can also be applied to forums, message boards, and question sites like Quora. Similarly, you can look to questions asked by actual customers for additional content ideas. Look at your social media channels, mentions of your brand online, and customer service calls and emails for opportunities to create content that provide consumers with valuable answers. What content marketing challenges have you faced?