You may not have heard of content marketing until recently, but did you know it's something your business may already be doing? If you have a blog or email newsletter, for example, or you use customer testimonials on your website, then it’s likely you’ve already started to use content in your own organisation to demonstrate your value to prospective customers.
And you’re not alone. The discipline, especially between businesses, is on the rise. A survey last year by industry body the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) found that nine out of ten businesses already use content marketing in some form, and that some 60% expected to increase their content marketing budget this year.
These businesses are all too aware of the benefits content marketing can bring, such as lead generation, increased brand recognition, and improved customer engagement. Additionally, companies that regularly publish new and useful content online also benefit when it comes to search engine results.
But if you’re planning to expand your own use of content this year, there are some challenges to consider:
- Time – companies often need to invest a significant amount of time to build a successful content marketing programme. You should be prepared to spend time developing ideas for useful content, researching the latest trends, creating your content, publishing it, promoting it, and then reacting to comments and feedback. So be realistic about what you can deliver from the start.
- Quality – it’s not enough for your content to appear regularly; it also needs to be valuable for your audience. To make sure it is, keep your current customers in mind at all times and develop content you know they would find useful and engaging. In the CMI survey, 41% of respondents identified the production of engaging content as their greatest content marketing challenge. If you’re stuck for content ideas, have a look at this recent blog post.
- Volume – as you develop and commit to a regular content publishing schedule for your business, you may wonder what you’ve started. But it’s important to keep your content fresh – your company won’t seem very current if your blog’s front page shows that you last updated it six months ago. To help, try to set a realistic publishing schedule at the start. You could publish an article every 3 months on the latest industry trends, or commit to a monthly newsletter or a fortnightly blog post. As you get used to generating regular content, you can then consider whether you’ll be able to keep up a more frequent schedule.
If you’re struggling to deliver new content, another option to consider is outsourcing. The CMI’s survey revealed that as companies struggle to find the time to create their own content, 55% of respondents are turning to outsourcing to help. It’s easy to start small with one or two pieces a month, and then build up as you develop your process for content creation.
Ultimately, the more you can deliver fresh and engaging content, the more useful your readers and viewers are likely to find it. If you can overcome the challenges involved in delivering that content, then one day you may find yourself in the enviable position where, in the words of marketer Seth Godin, “if you stop showing up, people complain, they ask where you went.”
What challenges has your company faced when creating content? Have you found a good way to deliver a regular content schedule?