|June 4, 2018|
By now, you should know what content marketing is and how central it is to a well-executed modern marketing campaign.
It isn’t a magic answer to your branding woes though, and engaging in effective content marketing means contending with the host of challenges that come with the territory. While content marketing isn’t easy, you can only prepare for the uphill battle that awaits you, if you know the details of the challenges ahead.
And so, without further ado, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of unpacking 5 of the steepest struggles you’ll face as a content marketer.
As has been evidenced by the plethora of fake news scandals in recent years, good content is not a guarantee. In fact, the chances are that if you spend any appreciable amount reading articles or blog posts; watching videos; or listening to podcasts, you’ve encountered more than your fair share of horrendous content.
There’s a reason for this – scandals sell and clickbait gets, well, clicks.
With the competition being what it is, grabbing your share of online attention is a cutthroat, zero-sum game.
The stakes are high, and when brands are faced with a shrinking consumer awareness and the threat of irrelevance, even mightiest giants of the online publishing world might find themselves pumping out unvetted drivel, just to keep up the pace of their content production.
The thing is, this only works for a while before people start to notice. When they do, the consumer faith you’ll lose as a result will be hard, if not impossible, to rectify.
That’s why, however difficult it might be, you absolutely have to maintain stringent quality control with regards the content you produce.
Cross your T’s and dot you I’s. Fact-check and double-check. Ensure that the quality of writing engenders the trustworthy sense of professionalism. Let nothing leave your studio, newsroom or basement lair without having been put through the figurative wringer.
Of course, that’s easier said than done, especially when one considers the next obstacle on our list.
Content production is a resource-intensive activity, and the fancier you want your content to be, the more demanding it will be on your finite pool of resources.
As we discussed above, there’s a reason there’s so much bad content out there: good content is difficult to produce and the more permeated your market becomes, the faster you have to produce the content that will help you stand out from a crowded field of competitors.
But, good articles take time to research and write; good videos take the same, as well as whatever animation or performance requirements have to be met. Good designs don’t pop out of the ether, fully formed. And an integrated strategy that leverages all forms of content across all platforms and channels, must be constantly monitored and tweaked to achieve ever-improving results.
You might not have the skills in-house to perform these roles, but if you’re not trying to meet these baselines, then at best, you’re just producing forgettable content.
At worst, your content plan is little more than an investment in your audience’s future ill-will.
At the end of the day, if you want your brand to have an effective online footprint, you’re going to have to invest either time or money – develop the skills in-house, or outsource the content marketing operations that your brand needs.
Either way, you need to make a plan and make one soon, because…
Despite its long tenure, the internet is still growing by leaps and bounds, and the production of content has outpaced our and our consumers’ capacity to absorb it.
Quite simply, this means that someone else already has the audience attention that you want to grab.
In South Africa, we’re lucky in that this trend of exponential content growth hasn’t quite reached the level of that in America, Europe and other more developed economies. But that time is fast approaching, and we’d be wise to learn from the lessons that our global counterparts have taught us.
As the competition grows fiercer, only the strongest will survive and quality alone will not be enough to ensure that you get the lion’s share of attention.
That lesson is that you have to stand your brand apart from its competitors in terms of your content.
Your content has to have its own USP, and the custodian of your brand absolutely has to be vigilant in ensuring that anything your brand distributes is always true to that USP.
This fierce competition and all-consuming focus on quality takes its toll.
Content producers – be they designers, writers, animators, videographers, photographers, etc. – are only human, and the productive demands placed on them by the modern marketing environment can fry their creative neurons, leading to a dip in the quality or originality of the content they produce.
Content producers can be pushed to their limits by trying to match the pace of production of more resource-rich (or better organised) competitors. It can be that a small team is attempting to break into a larger market than they’re equipped for, and the individual members are picking up the strain of the attempt.
Heck, it could simply be that endlessly battling in the trenches for an ever-shrinking share of attention is not the sort of lifestyle that your GP is likely to recommend.
Whatever the case though, burnout is a real threat, and it’s one that you can ill afford in as competitive a field as content marketing.
Always be aware of the status of your team – their capacity, the consistency of their quality and the originality of their ideas. If these start to slip, it might be that you’re dealing with a burnt-out creative.
That’s an additional problem that you don’t need. Especially not considering…
We’ve touched on the difficulty of quantifiably measuring brand awareness before, and it still remains true.
Content marketing, more than anything, is about driving consumer loyalty and action through brand awareness and thought leadership. It’s a strategy that takes a long-term view of brand building and soaks every relevant corner of the internet in awareness-building marketing communications.
Unfortunately, brand awareness is hard to measure and there isn’t an easily identifiable direct line that one can trace between, for instance, this blog post and any future business that Wetpaint might get as a residual result of its existence.
The same holds true for any other piece of content that we produce.
This isn’t to say that it is impossible to measure the ROI on your content marketing – but it does require a great deal of strategic oversight, a hefty measure of analytical analysis and more than a little gut instinct, experience and artistry thrown in.
Your content has to have a purpose, and you absolutely must utilise the tools, set up the conversion paths, and understand your consumers’ journeys before you can even hope to meaningfully measure your content marketing ROI.
At Wetpaint Advertising, our strategic and results-oriented approach – combined with our obsessive attention to detail and the sheer creative genius that makes its home in our studio – perfectly lends itself to the production of high-quality content and the effective distribution of it across all platforms and channels.
If you want mastery of content marketing in your corner, get in touch with Wetpaint Advertising and get The Little Big Agency on your side.