Updated: Mar 13
No one is immune, but you CAN be prepared!
Content marketing is just posting memes on Facebook and remembering to fling something on Instagram once a month, right? While my mum may think my job is just scrolling through the internet all day, I’m sure you know there’s way more to content marketing than that. It’s a difficult job but it can also be so rewarding and genuinely enjoyable if you’re the type who lives and breathes social.
But there’s plenty of challenges you’ll face along the way, and being aware of them can help make sure they don’t derail your entire strategy.
Here are the top 10 biggest issues you’ll come across:
Producing high-quality content
I often see businesses fall into the trap of churning out bland, generic posts simply for the sake of posting something. While it’s important to keep your profiles active, it’s ultimately pointless if you’re not providing anything of value.
Make sure your graphics are eye-catching, your copy is on point and that you’re putting out something your audience will actually want to see. Quality still trumps quantity and you should be proud of everything that goes live.
As a content marketer, you must know your target audience inside out. You must be absolutely clear on who you are trying to reach and what you want them to do. This affects your strategy in so many ways, one of which is deciding which social platforms to use. If you’re trying to reach the 45+ market, then pouring all your energy into Tiktok is a losing game.
Analyse your target market’s behaviour and plan your content accordingly. You can’t just wait for them to come to you - go to where they are and show them what they want to see.
Posting on your social channels once every few months is just not going to cut it I’m afraid. You need a posting schedule and you have to stick to it. Create a content calendar and map out how often you want to post on each platform, plus some ideas for a month’s worth of posts. The almighty algorithms LOVE it when you post regularly and will punish you if you don’t, so keep your impressions and engagement up with a consistent schedule.
In an ideal world, we’d all have pro photographers, videographers, graphic designers, dynamite copywriters, social media managers… but most marketing departments are much smaller. It can be frustrating when you have a vision for your content but don’t have the resources to make it happen exactly the way you imagine.
If you can spare some budget, bringing freelancers in for major campaigns is worth it. If not, learn how to make the most of what you have, and look into free tools you can utilise to bring your ideas to life.
Fighting the competition
You’re really vying for your customer's attention on social media and it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. Businesses with astronomical budgets and a huge creative team will be everywhere you look but there’s no need to get disheartened.
See what your competitors are doing and figure out how you can do it better. Make sure your targeting is on point so you’re not wasting valuable ad spend on people who will never be interested in what you’re doing. Try to step out of the box wherever you can, and make sure your content is always providing some kind of value - whether it’s informative, entertaining or inspirational.
Playing the long game
You might get a burst of inspiration and schedule weeks worth of content ahead of time, leaving you feeling very smug about yourself (and so you should!), but what happens after that? You may have run out of ideas, your posts are getting repetitive and you have no clue where to go next. Staying on top of trends and producing fresh content week in, week out is a tough job and it’s easy to get burned out.
Scout around your team for new ideas, look at what your competitors are doing, follow experts on LinkedIn or Instagram and keep up with digital marketing trends. Alternatively, outsource the work to a freelancer who has notebooks full of ideas and feel the weight lift off your shoulders!
Organising your workload
Content marketers have a lot of plates spinning at once and it can quickly become overwhelming. Between maintaining your posting schedule, interacting with followers, researching trends, creating batches of new content and staying on top of your Clubhouse invite waiting list, your head is all over the place.
That’s why having organisational systems in place is crucial to streamline your workflow and minimise the risk of mistakes. A simple Google suite might be just what you need, or maybe a beautifully organised Trello board. A multi-use platform like Click Up should have everything you need if you’d rather keep it all in one place.
It can be difficult to prove the effectiveness of content marketing. We can track link clicks, where web traffic comes from and how many views each piece of content gets, but it can be hard to accurately translate these into results.
Be clear on your goals from the start - you have to know exactly what you’re trying to achieve. By nature, content marketing is always going to be subjective in terms of concrete results, but establishing an agreed way to calculate ROI upfront is super important. Whether you decide to assign weight to different interactions, track each KPI on its own or even develop your own algorithm, getting clear on your methods will make reporting so much easier.
How many times have you been ready to hit ‘Publish’ but end up having to wait days or even weeks for the final go-ahead? This can cause real headaches if the content is time-sensitive or if every post gets nitpicked to within an inch of its life.
Develop your brand guidelines and content strategy and stick to it. If the bulk of the work has already been signed off then the majority of your content should be good to go. A previously-agreed tone of voice, colour scheme and overall brand identity provides a framework for your posts and should make the approval process a breeze. Bonus points if you can get the content calendar done as far in advance as possible, so you’re not waiting until the day something needs to go out for approval.
You’d be surprised how many times I’ve been told to start an Instagram account from scratch and gain 100k followers by the end of next week. Social strategy is often mapped out on a long-term basis and you have to be realistic with what can be delivered in a short space of time. Building up your brand presence and audience engagement takes time and it can be difficult to justify your monthly results to someone who doesn’t even know how to add a URL to an email.
Provide clear timelines upfront and set realistic targets. Make sure the higher-ups know how capable and dependable you are, so they’ll hopefully sit back and let you do your thing.