With 2017 coming to a close, it’s time to look back on the past 12 months and prepare for 2018. At KoMarketing, it’s been a successful year and I’ve once again seen the content marketing team grow in terms of size and ability. Working closely with our clients, we were able to overcome a number of common content marketing challenges on our way to improved website performance.
Below, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the past year and share some of the most common challenges we’ve faced here at KoMarketing, and of course, how we collaborated with our clients to overcome them.
Not Enough Time for Content Efforts
More about this challenge: This was the number one challenge reported by B2B marketers in the 2017 CMI report, and from my experience working with clients this year, it was the most common challenge for them as well. Today’s marketing teams are stretched thin with their hands in many projects, which can make it very challenging for them to find the time that’s needed to sit down and create content.
How we assisted our clients: We work with our clients in a number of different ways, ranging from content consultation (optimization of posts, topic development, etc.) to full-blown content strategies (editorial calendar creation, topic development, writing, editing, promotion). While the level of involvement may vary, we encouraged our contacts to connect us with subject matter experts (SMEs) so we could quickly gather their thoughts and tap into their expertise. This allowed us to consistently generate results with their input in mind. The benefits were two-fold. First, it gave time back to the SMEs to spend on other initiatives. Second, it allowed us to create content that directly aligned with the brand voice and messaging.
Lack of a Defined Strategy
More about this challenge: Many of our clients have very large teams of content producers – which can extend outside the marketing team. We encourage our clients to get as many team members as possible involved in content production (blogging, social media, etc.), which can even reach all the way up to the c-suite in some cases. However, as is the case with most things, the more people involved, the more clouded the strategy can become.
How we assisted our clients: We dealt with this challenge for a few of our clients this year and to overcome it, we made it a point to meet with the marketing team (as well as sales and the executive teams in some cases) to ensure content was being created with the audience in mind. This included developing a brand voice and buyer personas. With these processes completed, we were able to ensure the whole team was on the same page. We also worked with our clients to make sure those creating content understood the fundamentals of SEO, which gives the content a better chance of appearing again and again when relevant queries are searched.
Doing More with Less
More about this challenge: Sometimes, budgets can be tight and the amount of financial support and resources desired makes it a challenge to meet and exceed projected goals. However, just because the dollars and resources may not be abundant, goals can still be met.
How we assisted our clients: If you’re tight on budget and resources, it can be difficult to generate new and fresh ideas each time a new campaign is launched. However, often times, the best results can be driven by simply optimizing and repurposing existing content. Think about doing things like turning blog posts into SlideShare presentations or refreshing old content with fresh statistics and updated ideas. In many cases, we revisited a client’s top-performing content, refreshed it, and saw some significant traffic and conversion growth.
Lack of Prioritization
More about this challenge: Sometimes, even though your team might be creating quality content, it isn’t getting the attention it deserves. This lack of prioritization can come in the form of not getting the promotional support it needs from the social media team, not making it into email marketing strategies, or simply not being put on the website by the development team.
How we assisted our clients: The bottom line is, sometimes you have to prove the value of your efforts before it receives the attention it should be getting. At KoMarketing, we worked to show the impact of our content efforts and we did so in the form of regular reporting (monthly or weekly). With data to back our recommendations, we were able to get the buy-in we needed to drive results. Always think about using the data you’re collecting to put together a list, based on priority. This way, if time is limited, you will still be able to get the most pressing matters pushed through.
Difficulty Showing Value
More about this challenge: It’s very common for those that might not be as involved in content marketing efforts to try to tie content marketing assets directly to sales – for example, one blog post = one sale. If you’re familiar with content marketing, you know this is not realistic. This is where it becomes important to develop ways to prove the value of what you’re doing.
How we assisted our clients: Outside of driving and tracking leads and conversions, think about developing specific success metrics for your content. We recently worked with one of our clients to combine success metrics (social shares, time on page, average pageviews, etc.) to create an engagement score. This score allows us to assign a numeric value to content assets and see which are performing above or below expectations. As a result, we are better able to optimize our efforts and refine our strategy where necessary.
This is by no means a complete list of every challenge we faced in 2017. But, these did appear to be the most common. Only time will tell what challenges 2018 will bring, but we are excited to take them on!
What are some of the biggest challenges your content marketing team faced in 2017 and what do you expect as we head into the new year? Drop a comment below or connect with me on Twitter to share your thoughts!