Ted Karczewski

Content marketing is an increasingly prominent strategy, used by brands in virtually every industry to get people on their sites and convert visitors. With adoption at a tipping point, the biggest challenges brands need to overcome are becoming clearer. As content creation becomes even more essential for lead generation, marketers must learn to navigate rough waters and come out on the other side successful.

Recent reports showed that marketers consider producing enough content, producing original content, lacking resources and ineffectively measuring ROI as top content creation challenges moving into 2013.

Producing enough content: Quantity has to meet quality

Blog_1_CMI B2BA recent Content Marketing Institute report asked B2B marketers about their content creation efforts, and their expectations for the new year. The study discovered that 91 percent of respondents will create custom content in 2013, using an average of 12 tactics to spread media across the web.

Even as they’re producing more content across a wider spectrum of formats, data discovered that an overwhelming majority of marketers – 64 percent – cite producing enough content as the top challenge. But should brands ramp up their efforts to churn out as much copy as possible? The answer is quite obviously no.

Data in the B2B report also showed that marketers measure their contents’ success by evaluating web traffic (60 percent) and identifying better-quality sales leads (51 percent). In order to achieve these goals, brands need quality content that’s engaging and compelling for readers, so quantity is certainly not as important as quality.

Producing original content: What’s the brand perspective?

blog_1_HubSpot QsAlong the lines of creating enough content, B2B marketers say they have trouble generating original and engaging content. In Curata’s “B2B Marketing Trends 2012 Report,” 21 percent of respondents cited creating new content as their number one challenge. This percentage is much lower than the 53 percent of marketers who told IDG Research they struggle to produce truly engaging media for the web.

While it’s understandable brands struggle to create enough content, they should have the prowess to develop engaging media, especially since copy should fit an editorial brief tailored to their target audiences’ interests. Bringing a brand’s unique perspective into a much-buzzed industry topic can help breath new life into an otherwise tired idea. More, HubSpot provides some interesting data on what words and phrases receive higher response rates from social media users.

According to the source, questions posted to social sites generate more comments. Brands that post updates starting with “Should” and “Would” see interaction levels skyrocket, while phrases that start with “Why” and “How” aren’t as effective.

HubSpot’s data pertains to social media content, but it can be applied to blog content, too. Brands struggling to publish engaging content must use creative language and establish rapport with their readers by starting conversations.

Lack of resources: Don’t make the tech guy do the dirty work

Perhaps one of the more common challenges reported across a variety of content marketing studies is the lack of resources, both human and monetary.

  • Econsultancy found 42 percent of respondents lack human resources to create unique content and 35 percent lack budgets. 
  • CMI 39 percent of B2B marketers don’t have the resources to succeed. 
  • Curata’s reported limited budgets (27 percent) and limited staff (25 percent) are top content marketing problems.
  • IDG Research discovered that 33 percent of B2B marketers don’t have the talent to maintain thorough content strategies.

These percentages highlight a growing concern for many marketers – they simply don’t have the money or the editorial talent to produce high-brow content in house. According to MarketingSherpa’s “2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report,” 52 percent of respondents said their marketing teams share all marketing responsibilities, which leaves little room for content specialization.

Metrics: Where’s the content that counts?

Blog_1_CurataB2bEven if brands get it together on the production front, most report issues in measuring ROI and creating strategic content. In fact, Curata found that 43 percent of survey respondents don’t even bother to measure or track content ROI. More, the CMI study discovered similar results, with 33 percent of B2B marketers citing their inability to measure content effectiveness as a challenge preventing wider use of content marketing practices. While inability to evaluate metrics is an acceptable struggle, content analytics should be a driving force behind ongoing campaigns. How can companies invest more if they don’t understand where to devote resources that will impact the bottom line?

Outsource content creation, avoid all four challenges.
Here’s another notable trend: brands are increasingly turning to experts to help them overcome top content marketing challenges. The CMI report noted that 44 percent of B2B companies outsource content marketing endeavors to third-party services. As 2013 approaches, and challenges like inability to produce enough or original content, lack of resources and measure campaign success rear their ugly heads, content marketing services might begin to look like more attractive business partners.

There will always be challenges in standing firm in forceful tides, but there are content experts who can help develop strategies to ride out waves and make brand visibility stronger than ever before