The 7 biggest challenges in content marketing
Content can be created quickly - but what hurdles must we overcome in order to offer successful content in the long term?
Hello 👋 My name is Florian Schleicher and this is the FutureStrategies newsletter from FutureS. I'm glad you're reading along 💚 If you want to learn strategic marketing, my Simple & Sustainable Marketing Academy is just right for you.
Let’s open up an Instagram account, write a newsletter, put some content on the landing page and the business almost runs itself?
Unfortunately, it's not that simple.
In content marketing, large companies as well as startups are always faced with different challenges that can arise.
Today I share with you seven, from my point of view, the biggest challenges:
7 big challenges in content marketing
Before we dive right in, here's the best-of... or worst-of the difficulties for good content marketing at a glance:
Content quality and distribution with strategy
Content overload and attention deficit
Credibility and authenticity
Inside view vs. outside view
Measuring success and ROI
Timeliness and adaptability
Target group fragmentation
For each of the points, I'll also give you a few of my recommendations on how to best deal with them in order to successfully create content that excites and engages your target audiences in the long run.
🚦Content quality and distribution with strategy
One of the main tasks in content marketing is to keep creating high-quality and relevant content. A one-hit wonder is of little help in the long run.
The challenge is to produce content that is both informative and engaging, addressing the needs and interests of the target audience and ultimately reaching them.
Every audience is unique, and the challenge is to create content that is specific to the audience's needs, preferences, and interests. Personalization is an important aspect of content marketing because it drives audience retention and engagement.
To do this, we first need to understand what our target audience is interested in - in short, we need insights.
Insights are an emotional expression of an unfulfilled need or desire that is not obvious, but touches and triggers an "AHA! They are at the beginning of any good strategy when we address the diagnosis or initial situation.
Only when we know what drives people and what content interests and really touches them can we consider on which platforms we can best reach our target.
First content - then format.
You want to create a content strategy that really works?
That's exactly my specialty at FutureS.
The immediate next challenge is then to identify the right channels and platforms to effectively distribute our content. More on that later.
🙈 Content overload and attention deficit
In the digital age, people are exposed to an abundance of content, leading to oversaturation and attention deficit.
In 2020, it was calculated that there are 64 zetabytes of data on the Internet. A zetabyte has 1 quintillion gigabytes. And according to estimates, in 2023, there will be 103 zetabytes.
As described in my Content Marketing with Strategy post at the beginning, the big challenge is to stand out from the crowd and create content that grabs the attention of the target audience.
This requires first a deep understanding of our target audience, as described earlier, and then ongoing creativity, originality and targeting.
Two companies that do this great from my perspective:
🧱 Lego - who have understood that their target group is people who want to play and build, no matter what age group they belong to.
🦜 Duolingo - which as a young brand has built up a huge following with cheeky, pop-cultural and above all entertaining content.
😳 Glaubwürdigkeit und Authentizität
In the age of fake news and manipulative content, it is a challenge to build trust and credibility with the target group.
Because in an increasingly digitalized world, people crave human interaction and authenticity. The challenge is to humanize the content to create an emotional connection with the target audience.
To do this, we also need to understand the needs and desires of our target group and create content that is personal, relevant and empathetic.
A core marketing task, therefore, is to deliver high-quality, reliable content that demonstrates one's expertise and commitment.
If RyanAir - which stands for unpunctuality, little service and even less space - were to appear with a glossy image, the shitstorm would be pre-programmed. But they do the opposite and even make fun of themselves self-critically.Authenticity requires transparency and admitting one's weaknesses to build a long-term relationship with the target audience.
Oatly also does a great job of this by creating their own site called https://fckoatly.com/ where they transparently list the biggest points of criticism - and charmingly add their own perspective.
A courageous step that builds trust.
🪞 Inside view vs. outside view
Whether it's a large international company or a start-up, one of the biggest challenges I see time and time again is finding the right balance between the inside view and the outside view.
The inside view refers to the perspective of the company or brand itself, while the outside view represents the perspective of the audience or target group.
Often marketing departments think that their target audience wants the same thing they want. But honestly, no one wants to see advertising. Nobody wants to buy anything.
The bottom line is that we want to have a good life and very rarely think about companies or even brands.
People have problems and challenges that they have to overcome in their everyday lives (work, leisure, family) - these often have nothing to do with my company.
However, there are issues that are close to their hearts - that we as a company can build on.
We need to combine the internal view as a company with this external view of our target groups - the people in real life - if we want to reach them successfully.
So it takes a realistic look in the mirror.
🎯 Measuring success and ROI
Ah - one of my favorite topics! Measuring success and return on investment (ROI) in content marketing is a big challenge for many marketing managers.
What effect is my newsletter having? What does my podcast bring me? Does it even make sense to post on Linkedin?
What is the ROI of content marketing?
To answer this question, we first need to think about what our guidelines or even strategic goals are as part of our strategy.
“Without a goal, you cannot score”
It is important to set clear goals and KPIs to measure the success of content marketing activities. However, this can be difficult because the impact of content on sales or lead generation is often not directly measurable.
Once we've thought about the purpose of our channels, we need various analytics tools and metrics to measure the success of our content and identify opportunities for improvement. This can be qualitative and quantitative.
My recommendation is to focus on 2-3 goals per half year in the entire marketing mix, because it brings focus and thus progress becomes more realistic.
⏰ Up-to-dateness and adaptability
The digital space is dynamic and constantly changing. No sooner do we see a new trend or hype than the next topic comes around the corner.
The big challenge in content marketing is keeping up with the latest trends, technologies, and changes in target audience preferences and deciding which ones are relevant and effective for our own marketing.
And that's why I always start my consultations by asking the following question: Is it important for our brand to be part of every new trend? Following on from the last point, what goal are we pursuing when we jump on trends?
If it is really relevant for our brand to be at the forefront, then we will have to invest resources accordingly to cover this.
🔎 Target group fragmentation
Last but not least, with the increasing diversity of target groups and the use of different platforms, niches and channels, it is becoming more difficult to capture the attention and interest of the target group.
While 20 years ago it was really easy to reach the whole family via a TV spot, now all family members are on other channels.
Target groups are on the move, use different devices, often consume media in parallel and rarely still pay undivided attention.
So the challenge is to create content that addresses the different needs, preferences, and behaviors of the different target groups and to play on the right channels to do so.
And this brings us full circle: in the first part of our strategy, the diagnosis, we need to understand who our target group is and which channels will best enable us to reach them.
“Fish where the fish are”
And that's not always just in the digital space - perhaps it's much easier for me to meet my target group in the offline world. Then I can think about how I can best reach them there with my content.
Instagram and Linkedin are not always the right channel - in other cases it can be a small community on Reddit, an e-gaming platform or a reading circle. This is where creativity and experience in finding the right media is needed.
🔚 Key Takeaways
There are many more challenges, such as resource bottlenecks, lack of knowledge or lack of understanding in management for content marketing.
I observe that far too often it is thought that people are interested in content from the company and therefore content comes across as promotional or self-serving and fails to capture the interest of the target audience.
Does that mean our marketing should simply be entertainment?
No, and that's precisely why it's critical to develop a stringent content marketing strategy. A strategy that communicates the brand message AND highlights the benefits of our product or service.
To do that, we must first understand the needs, wants, and challenges of the target audience.
Especially for this aspect, it's helpful to be able to call on outside expertise who can contribute with an experienced outside perspective and a fresh eye to help your own content marketing strategy shine and take it to the next level.
Thanks for reading along!
PS: You can also read this posting in German.
🎉 Something good 🕺
We need more sustainable solutions for all areas of life.also for parties!
So I thought it was great to see that biodegradable glitter is now available.
Will that change the world? No, but with all the challenges we have, we should also be able to party 'clean'.