Let’s be honest. Not everybody “gets” content marketing or appreciates good content strategy — and sometimes, these people are the company bigwigs or even members of our very own marketing team. And how many times have you struggled to prove that content is worth the investment? With real data and metrics and whatnot?
Yes, content strategy leaders who’ve been in the game for any length of time will recognize the following challenges. Fortunately, we offer some tips that will help you overcome them and become a content strategy heavyweight.
Challenge #1: Managing scattered content & team members
Let’s start with the obvious. One of the hardest parts of content marketing is the actual content. Planning it, writing it, editing it, publishing it, promoting it and every single thing in between. It’s up to you to manage the whole process.
You have to coordinate with writers, designers, SEO specialists, social media managers and everyone else who touches the company content. It’s up to you to make sure it’s all there, consistent and on-brand. Keeping it all in line, on schedule and running smoothly takes tough project management chops.
Challenge #2: Lack of alignment
When several people or departments are contributing to your company’s content strategy, different processes, workflows and priorities sometimes clash.
For example, the designers who put together the graphics for your content have other projects on their plate. And while a new blog post or ebook might be the content team’s top priority this week, they might need to focus on a website overhaul. Figuring out the best way for different departments to work together to plan, create and publish content is up to you, too.
Challenge #3: So-so support
Then there are the people at your company who don’t work directly with content. Working with them can be even more difficult, despite not managing them directly. Content marketing as a standard business practice is still kind of new, and not everyone’s on board. Surely you’ve experienced a naysayer or two in your career.
It’s your job to show them the magic that content can conjure. In addition to managing and creating content, you must advocate for it throughout your whole organization. That’s not easy.
Challenge #4: Measuring what works
Once you’ve finally dealt with getting pieces of content through your team’s pipeline and it’s out in the wild, it’s time to start thinking results. It’s an especially big part of getting buy-in, too — being able to show that this works.
You’ll need to track how your organization’s content is used and interacted with. Is it helping your sales team close deals? Is it attracting new prospects into your sales funnel? Truly understanding all of this requires both qualitative and quantitative data from multiple sources, and it’s not always easy to track.
Solution #1: Conduct a content audit
Occasionally, your regular metrics collection and analysis needs a little bit more depth. For this, you need to do a full-on content audit. The task is big, but so, so important. You should always know what’s published where and who’s using what piece of content.
Take stock of every piece of content your company has — blog posts, whitepapers, emails, sales decks and more. Scrutinize and measure each piece against its KPIs, take a look at its messaging, and overall make sure it’s doing its job. Moz offers this great tutorial that explains how to do a content audit.
Solution #2: Streamline the process
Stop trying to manage the content creation and distribution processes with multiple docs, spreadsheets, calendars and email conversations. Not only does this quickly become unwieldy, it also makes it impossible to grow your content efforts at scale.
Make use of content creation software that brings every aspect of your brand’s content marketing into one channel. We may be biased, but we recommend ClearVoice — it comes with an integrated freelancer marketplace, so you can find and hire quality freelance writers and subject matter experts. It also has insight tools that enable you to identify influencers, see what’s trending in your industry and come up with content ideas. And, its workflow tools enable you to collaborate with members of your team and manage the entire content creation process. Finally, push content directly to WordPress and most other major CMSs through our accessible API.
Solution #3: Make content accessible to everyone
A big part of marketing, content included, is enabling the sales team and helping the sales process along. You don’t need to get involved in the process, exactly, but you should create content that can be leveraged by the sales team.
Store content in your CRM and email systems to ensure sales, support and any other external-facing teams can easily access it when they need to. It better aligns marketing to these other departments, makes their jobs easier, and ensures they’re using approved content that puts your team’s best word forward. Rather than having to write out their own instructions or tutorials that may not be on-brand or consistent, they can use consistent messaging from the pros on your team. To learn how to create content for each stage of the sales cycle, check out this post from HubSpot.
Solution #4: Measure content usage
The measurement challenges mentioned earlier can be tough, since they’ll vary from one organization to another. But having numbers to back up content marketing’s worth isn’t an option, it’s a necessity.
In addition to measuring how well content works on its own for the marketing team, you’ll also want to measure how it’s used by other teams at your company and how effective it is for those purposes.
Are the pieces used by support actually solving customer problems? Does the sales content actually move prospects through your funnel? Knowing this is key to both managing current content initiatives and improving future ones. This guide from Content Marketing Institute is a great place to learn about metrics.
These steps to overcoming common challenges are keys to content success. They’ll make that success easier to sustain and replicate, campaign after campaign.