How We Overcame 2015’s Top Content Marketing Challenges

It’s hard to believe 2015 is coming to a close. It has been a successful year within our organization and I’ve witnessed our content marketing team grow in both size and ability over the last twelve months. However, like any team, our success didn’t come without hard work and overcoming a number of challenges along the way.

Silhouette of young person jumping over the mountains at sunset

While we’ve all seen statistics that highlight marketers’ top content challenges, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the past year and share some of the biggest challenges we have faced here at KoMarketing with regards to content marketing (and of course, how we overcame these hurdles).

Coming up with Fresh Content Ideas

More about this challenge: According to the Content Marketing Institute, 54 percent of B2B marketers in 2015 were challenged by “producing engaging content.” This was overwhelmingly the number one challenge we faced when working with our clients in 2015 as well. It’s important to always think about quality of content, even as you’re faced with strict deadlines. Posting content just for the sake of posting will have little to no impact. However, this is certainly easier said than done.

How we solved it: Some of the things we did in 2015 to overcome this challenge included leveraging keyword research (Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush) and social media (Buzzsumo, Hashtagify), examining (and understanding) content appearing in search results, repurposing content, and asking customer questions (SERPStat, LinkedIn Groups, Quora, Reddit). While these aren’t the only tactics that can or should be used, they were certainly helpful throughout the year as our content team strived to produce engaging, quality content.

Check out these posts for detailed info on the above tactics:

Integrating Video into Our Work

More about this challenge: It’s been reported that more than 70 percent of B2B buyers watch video product demonstrations before making a purchase. Additionally, four times as many online users would rather learn about products via video instead of text. With these stats and our own supporting experiences in mind, we made it a point in 2015 to integrate more video assets into our content efforts.

How we solved it: For one of our clients, we publish a weekly “video gallery” blog post, which typically includes 5-10 short videos accompanied by text that we feel will be helpful to our reader base. These posts often times follow a “how to” format, with hopes our readers learn more about the products and how they can be beneficial.

Additionally, we have with worked many of our clients in the past year to implement “answering common questions” videos. These videos are designed to have subject matter experts answer customer questions while giving us an opportunity to drive organic traffic to the website by ranking in Google’s video results.

Check out these posts for detailed info on the above tactics:

Getting Leadership Onboard

More about this challenge: Asking for budget is never easy, and often times even after budget is approved, the hardest part is not done, as you then have to prove its worth to the leadership team. Often times, the leadership team looks for content’s direct impact on sales and will be tempted to micromanage if they aren’t seeing these returns in a hurry. However, in today’s age of new marketing and advertising tactics, success can be measured at a broader business level.

How we solved it: Whenever we start a new content marketing program with a client, we make sure to understand what it is they’re looking to get out of the initiative. Set goals and benchmarks (visits, form submissions, etc.) for the program and explain to leadership how you plan to demonstrate performance.

It’s also a good idea to put a list of metrics together and explain their impact on search and overall business. Another way to get leadership onboard is to get them involved! Don’t hesitate to ask leadership for their input on any task you might be working on, as they’re a great resource for idea generation and better understanding the audience.

Check out these posts for detailed info on the above tactics:

Developing a Voice in a Community

More about this challenge: In 2015, it was reported that search engines had overtaken traditional media as the most trusted source of news globally. As we shared this information with our clients, they were naturally inclined to become even more involved with content marketing. However, when launching a news or blog section, it typically takes a combination of time, effort and patience before positive effects may be seen. Developing an authoritative “voice” in the community can be a challenge, but there are certainly ways to expedite the process and become a trusted source of your own.

How we solved it: When we faced this challenge, there were several steps we took to ensure we became thought leaders in the given industry as quickly as possible. However, we believe the best way to expedite this process is to identify and compile a list industry-leading publications and reach out to them, asking if your organization can contribute content. If done successfully, this will result in a quality link back to your site (building trust with search engines) and will also draw many more readers to your content than if the article or post was published on a new section of your website.

It’s also critical to develop a distinctive tone when launching a program. As content marketers, we are not always the first to break the news. However, this doesn’t mean we can’t be effective. Think about “making the news, not breaking the news” when writing. This means always placing the emphasis on the “why/how” of a story, rather than the “who/what” aspect.

Check out these posts for detailed info on the above tactics:

Keeping up with Algorithm Changes

More about this challenge: As search marketers, we keep a close eye out for search engine algorithm changes (both announced and unannounced). It’s our job to understand the factors that go into determining what pages rank highly and what types of content are appearing for relevant keywords. However, keeping up with (and understanding) these changes can be a daunting task.

How we solved it: Here at KoMarketing, while we all individually keep an eye out for changes in search (I enjoy using RSS readers like Feedly to help with this), a lot of our success in staying up to date comes from sharing knowledge with one another. We do this by collaborating in bi-weekly “team training” sessions, where we all come armed with information to share.

Additionally, throughout the week, we are very actively sharing any relevant industry news information with one another via email. Understanding search engine algorithm changes is not a one-person job and we’ve found these collaborative exercises to be extremely beneficial to our work as individuals and as an organization.

Check out these posts for detailed info on the above tactics:

Final Thoughts

This is by no means a complete list of every challenge we faced this year. But, these did appear to be the most common. Only time will tell what challenges 2016 will bring, but we are excited to take them on!

What are some of the biggest challenges your content marketing team faced in 2015 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!

“The team at KoMarketing was great at listening to our organization’s needs to ensure they were on the same page with goals and objectives. They provided a clear path for getting to desired results, were fast and flexible when adjustments were needed and above all else, provided the highest level of client service. KoMarketing is a pleasure to partner with!”

Melissa Sopwith — Melissa Sopwith, Marketing Manager, Guidon Performance Solutions, a Teletech Company

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