At first glance, content marketing sound easy, doesn’t it? After all, how hard is it to write a quick blog post and paste a link to it on Facebook or Twitter? Anyone who has dabbled in content marketing knows the truth: content marketing is challenging.
Some of the more common content marketing challenges can be broken down into just a handful of categories:
- Generating relevant content
- Timing content delivery to reach leads at the appropriate time in the buying process
- Segmenting leads
- Lack of resources
Generating and Creating Relevant Content
Content marketing requires a clear strategy and an understanding of what your leads are interested in. One of the first steps in any content marketing strategy is to identify several “personas.” This helps you to visualize the people you are targeting and get a deeper understanding of their own challenges, problems, desires, and interests.
Once you know who your personas are and their interests, the key is to focus on publishing optimized inbound resources that both capture their attention and provide useful, relevant information. While you may be full of great ideas for blog posts and targeted web content development, the next challenge involves getting it done. This is where it may make sense to bring in external writers or marketing consultants to create targeted content. Otherwise, other priorities may distract you from creating a continuous stream of relevant content or even finding worthwhile information to share via social networks.
Content Timing / Delivery
What if you have plenty of content available or a few in-house writers who can quickly generate content as needed? The next challenge involves delivering the right content to the right person at the right point in the buying cycle. For example, someone who is just beginning to research widgets may find articles about the benefits of widgets relevant and compelling. Meanwhile, someone further in the buying process already knows about the benefits and may be more interested in learning about the differences between solar-powered widgets, hybrid widgets, and battery-operated widgets. It’s helpful to map out the buying cycle of your products and services and create content that aligns with each major stage.
Creating Content for Segmented Markets
Prospects, leads, and existing customers will be in various stages of the sales funnel, making it important to segment communications based on where they are in the buying process. Not only that, they will be interested in different products and services or match different personas. In order to send the most relevant content possible, it’s vital to segment your prospects, leads, and existing customers as much as possible. For example, your “soccer moms” will have different interests, needs, and communications preferences than CEOs.
Once segmented, you’re back to the content creation and timing challenges mentioned earlier. However, once segmented, it becomes easier to create high quality, relevant content that guides prospects toward a buying decision.
Finally, one of the biggest challenges of content marketing is this: getting it done with limited resources. For smaller companies, the sales and marketing team may already be stretched thin with little time or money to spare. While you may see the value of launching a content marketing campaign, having limited resources is a legitimate concern that could derail even the best of plans. It’s not uncommon for marketing personnel to find themselves supporting customers more often than expected, especially when marketing is responsible for interacting with customers on social media sites. To overcome this challenge, it’s smart to segment social media responsibilities as well. Train several customer service representatives in the art of providing customer service via social networks and allow your marketing team to focus on strategy and content development.
Lead generation and content marketing are important endeavors. It may be advantageous to work with marketing consultants to ensure that your inbound marketing efforts pay off.