content marketing challenges

The Challenges Of B2B Content Marketing

There is no question that content marketing is tough. Just this subject alone seems like it’s been beaten to death a hundred times, why even take the time and resources to add to what seems to be just so much noise? Of course, times change, and content that was relevant and top notch last year may no longer be relevant this year. The main hurdle now seems to be getting traction in the marketplace, and that can feel like a long slog to the top.
Fear not. The way has been shown before, and with consistency, determination and no shortage of elbow grease, you can make it to the top of the content marketing mountain.

1. Insufficient Resources to Create Quality Content

The first hurdle that you must overcome is getting enough time or money to produce the quality content that is necessary. As more businesses enter the market, the barrier of entry seems to rise slightly, requiring even more resources to get started.

The good news is that if your problem is one or the other, you can easily rely on the other to fill the gap. If you are short on time, you can fill the gap by paying someone to create your content. On the other side, if you are short on money, you can use your own time to create the necessary content.

However, if both time and money are in short supply, you’ll end up making a concession on the quality of your content.

Overcoming the Challenge

You’re going to pay for your content one way or the other, whether it is outsourced or created in-house. You can accept the investment in time and energy required to consistently create quality content, or you can pay someone to do it for you. Depending on what you pay yourself, that may be a much larger cost for your time than paying a professional writer.

Even though outsourcing may seem like the most affordable option, you will still have to dedicate time to making sure your content is published on time, and up to your standards. Vetting a writer, establishing a method of communication, describing your content requirements, and following through with publishing is still a large hurdle.

Outsourcing also has the additional potential negative of missing out on the internal expertise and industry knowledge that you have in house.

Content marketing is not a “free” marketing strategy, and you need to be aware of the costs before you begin to create your content.

“The barriers to entry in publishing content and getting found have been broken forever, and ultimately that is good news for businesses.”

2. Increasing Competition

It’s intimidating to enter an existing space and begin adding your own thoughts and voice. Now add the fact that no matter how niche you are, there are probably several, if not hundreds, of others writing the very same things, and it is downright scary. The good news is that people are consuming content at ever-increasing rates, and they want to hear your opinion.

If you’re writing your own content, it’s important to remember that writing is a muscle. It may be hard at first, but the more you exercise it, the stronger it will become. Starting a content marketing strategy from the beginning allows you to grow into your success. As your writing becomes better researched and more engaging, it will begin to draw in a larger audience.

As competition increases, the reward for having the best content also goes up. The changes that Google has made in recent years show that people expect to be able to find high-quality, thoroughly-researched content when they search the web.

Increased competition also means that those who do not provide quality content will not see fruit from their efforts. This will naturally result in many people becoming disheartened with content marketing, with the mistaken belief that it doesn’t work.

Overcoming the Challenge

The one guarantee in content marketing is that if you don’t publish anything, you’re doomed to failure. Creating a successful content marketing endeavor means years of repeated quality content being published, liked and followed. Of course, there are going to be times when your content is less than excellent, but with the bar so high, you must always be focused on being the best. Some blogs will say that you must always be the best, but the truth really is somewhere in between.

We’ve all read terribly written blogs and articles from major publishers, and somehow they get away with it. However, they have their brand and reputation to fall back on when all else fails. They have everything to lose, and you have everything to gain. The barriers to entry in publishing content and getting found have been broken forever, and ultimately that is good news for businesses.

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3. Paid Promotion of Content

Organic traffic has always been the golden goose of content marketing, whether it’s from search engines or social platforms. However, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have been shifting the focus away from organic and towards “sponsored” content. In fact, it is very difficult to get any views on Facebook without putting in at least some sponsorship.

Since Google looks at social network “noise” as an indicator of authority, it’s vital to your content’s success on search engines to have people talking about it on social media. This means that in order to ensure your content is getting the exposure you need, it must be sponsored, which adds another layer of cost and complication.

Overcoming the Challenge

The good news is that social media networks are getting better at targeting. The options for zeroing in on your target audience are better than ever, and promoting your content can give you a quick burst of noise.

Decide how much you want to spend on promoting your content, and try to find a consistent budgeted amount. Analyzing your results and tracking what is most effective is vital to improving your campaigns overall.

4. Committing to the Long Haul

Sometimes the biggest hurdle in a race is simply committing to running the race. Before athletes ever compete on the track, they have gone through months of extensive training for that race. The seconds, minutes, or hours of the race is the shortest portion of time that they’ve committed to the endeavor.

Just getting started requires a lot of planning and strategy sessions. The work that goes into planning will pay off when you begin the race, however.

Overcoming the Challenge

Before you can take the plunge into content marketing, you need to have buy-in at all levels. Everyone needs to be on board, and have the same expectations. Expecting immediate results will be as detrimental as not expecting any results, as both will lead to poor execution.

One of the best ways to make sure everyone is on board and understands the goals, and challenges, is to have a workshop. Either create a workshop in-house if you have the expertise, or find someone outside who can facilitate the session. Bring in all the contributors and decision makers, and show them the real of B2B content marketing, and how it will affect the marketing team, the sales team, the product team, and the executives. Once everyone is on board with content marketing, everyone can become a contributor to its success.


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Posted by Marshall Mullet

I keep our team on their toes. Connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter @MarshallMullet .

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