There’s no denying the tremendous value that an effective content marketing program can bring to a brand, in terms of engaging prospects and padding sales pipelines. However, many marketers struggle with finding the time and budget to keep up with these efforts.
In fact, according to a recent Ascend2 survey, the top three challenges faced by content marketers are: creating original content, finding enough internal contributors and defining a clear content strategy. But, it doesn’t need to be this difficult. Below, I’ll go into detail about the common struggles content marketers face, and give you tips on strategic ways you can improve the effectiveness of your content marketing without draining your budget or internal resources.
Challenge #1: Generating Enough Original Content
Let’s face it, premium content, such as case studies and videos, performs the best when your goal is capturing qualified leads. But, it’s also the most time-consuming and expensive to produce. Additionally, many companies need to rely on outside vendors for creating thought leadership content—escalating costs ever further.
So, what’s the solution? At PropelGrowth, our “buffalo” content marketing program is designed to help businesses stretch their premium content further. For example, one thought leadership white paper can be leveraged to generate volumes of related content if you work it correctly. How? One way to go about this is by pulling out different themes from your premium content and expanding on them in derivative pieces, such as blog posts, articles, press releases and others.
This approach will also help keep your audience engaged, as you’ll have the opportunity to add to your story over time, as opposed to hitting prospects all at once with your message.
Challenge #2: Lack of Subject Matter Experts
An ongoing dilemma many marketers face is that they do not have the level of expertise necessary to develop sophisticated thought leadership content, and unfortunately subject matter experts are typically too busy to write marketing copy.
This situation can be overcome with a little bit of creativity. Marketers need to make sure that they waste no information gathered in the content research process. This means that an insightful customer interview can be turned into a podcast and an idea cut from an original document can be broken out into its own blog post. Sure, you’ll still need to rely on your company’s thought leaders for guidance on your core white paper or report, but from there you should be able to generate tons of derivative pieces without having to always turn to internal experts for assistance.
Challenge #3: Defining a Content Marketing Strategy
Many times marketers fail to define clear direction when it comes to their content marketing efforts. Instead, they’ll merely invest in a costly piece of content and throw it up on their website in hopes that it gets discovered.
They may also do some casual social sharing or send out a related promotional email, but the point is that they don’t have a set strategy in place for getting the maximum return out of their content investment. Instead, they have the unrealistic expectation that a white paper should do all the heavy lifting in terms of lead generation.
For these reasons, marketers need to take the time to develop a well-constructed content marketing strategy. A good place to start is developing and documenting clear objectives and expectations for your program. Ask yourself questions like:
- What do I want my content program accomplish?
- Who is my target audience?
- How will I reach my audience?
- What story do I want to tell?
- What resource will I need?
Pondering these questions will help to give you perspective on how best to develop, share and optimize your content. For more information on developing a cohesive content marketing strategy, check out my recent blog post, “5 Tips For Creating A Killer Content Plan.”
Getting the Most From Content Marketing
Content marketing programs don’t need to be backed by an army of expert writers or extravagant budgets in order to be effective. However, prior to jumping headfirst into content creation, you do need a plan that outlines your goals and objectives for the program. You should also constantly be thinking of ways that aspects of your premium content can be repackaged and repurposed for derivative pieces. This simple step will help you get the most value out of your premium content investment.
For further insight on developing an effective, budget-friendly content plan, listen to our recorded webinar, “Feeding the Content Beast without Blowing Your Budget.”
Chart courtesy of Ascend2. Used by permission.