6 content marketing challenges and how to overcome them

January 26, 2023 | Anke Van Den Heede, Digital Marketing Consultant 


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be overflowing with ideas? To have your content calendar perfectly aligned? Make a content planning for your whole team and actually stick to it?

Do not worry, a lot of organizations do not have a consistent content strategy. So if you work on your content, you might have a competitive advantage. Based on our experience with clients, these are the 6 content marketing challenges that businesses face the most.

What is content strategy?

Content strategy focuses on the planning, creation, delivery, and governance of content. When we say content, we mean so much more than text on a web page. It also includes your social media captions, the images and forms on your website, your videos, audio and so on. 

Challenge #1: How you use content to address your target audience

Abstract illustration depicting marketing of two people sitting op top of a hashtag icon

Content marketing works. Unfortunately, many companies solely produce content without any preceding research on their target audience. We suggest that you do the following exercise before you start to create or even plan your content:

  • Understand your customers' needs
  • Define questions they have
  • Identify the buyer journey
  • Understand different buyer personas
  • Analyze your content pieces in case you have existing content

Most likely, decision makers in your niche will be looking for answers to specific questions. Yet, you cannot simply guess and make assumptions about their behavior. Defining your audiences' needs and segmenting them into different groups allows you to prioritise your content and align it with the buyer journey. Moreover, you can produce content in suitable formats, with a relevant and engaging message for your audience. 

Challenge #2: Choosing the right message and platform

Employees at work putting post-its on a window

One of the biggest challenges businesses face is not only mapping different stages in the customer journey, but also tailor different forms of content to individual target audiences - called content personalization. In brief, the content you produce must serve the needs of your target customers at every stage of the buyer journey

It is important to define the right message on the right platform at the right time. What exactly does that mean? We would like to explain using a few examples:

  • Charlotte is in the midst of moving from her parent's house to her very own apartment. Eventually, she will need a new TV. She does not know your brand, which sells TVs. Make sure that you have content ready to raise brand awareness on YouTube or TikTok, for instance. If you align the message to the right audience, videos will also work well in the consideration phase. 
  • Mathilda has already decided she wants to buy a new TV. She is actively looking for the brand that suits her best. The best place to leverage your content is on a search engine such as Google or Pinterest, because she is in-market for this product.
  • An existing customer John has subscribed to the newsletter. Even though he does not want to convert for a second time right away, you might want to encourage him to write a positive review, or better yet, become a brand ambassador.

In B2C as well as in B2B e-commerce video undoubtedly is the direction that content marketing is headed in. Of course, you will also find differences in B2C and B2B. For instance, B2B buyers usually read 5 or more content pieces before even contacting a supplier. If they can find all the information they need on your website, you might have a head start on the competition.

One of the biggest challenges businesses face is content personalization. The content you produce must serve the needs of your target customers at every stage of the buyer journey.

Anke Van Den Heede, Digital Marketing Consultant

Challenge #3: On-going management of your content

Working at coffee shop

First thing on your to do list: develop a content calendar. Start small with achievable goals instead of trying to move heaven and earth to publish 3 pieces of content each week. 

Different from a content plan, you also need a content management strategy for your business. This is a structured plan that is used when you are creating, publishing, and governing your organization's content and data. A huge bottleneck for numerous organizations is the management or governance of the content.

Creating content requires not only creative skills for the execution itself. It is also important to include specific tactics to plan, manage and monitor your content. Not to mention the research you will need to conduct when creating relevant topics or content pillars as a solid base for your strategy. 

Businesses often find it difficult to be consistent in their content strategy. Producing content on a regular basis is not a simple task. That is why we recommend documenting a clear content strategy. Content strategy is the glue that keeps your content team together. Look at it as a goal they are working towards, as a team.

Reasons why a digital agency will improve your content strategy

If you are going to produce content in-house you will need to establish a team either by reallocating staff who have the skills or recruiting new talent.

When you rely on an agency with digital expertise, there are a few things they can take off your plate:

  1. Digital niche expertise
  2. Creative services & channel execution
  3. Digital strategy consultancy

What that means for you:

  • High-quality content
  • Fresh ideas
  • Faster implementation 
  • Cost reduction
  • Best practices for your niche
  • Advise on every question you ever had
  • Insights in the latest marketing trends
  • Short-term and long-term plans

Challenge #4: Measuring content ROI

Abstract illustration depicting testing & optimization of a marketing funnel

Ideally you tie a range of goals and business objectives to your content (marketing) strategy. Without clear success metrics, it's hard to know if you're acheiving your goals. 

Establish how much impressions, shares, likes, clicks, leads, etc. you wish to achieve within a giving period, and then measure your defined KPIs. A great way to generate leads, for instance, is with lead magnets, such as a webinar or a white paper. Website visitors can participate to the webinar or download the white paper, which tells you a lot about where they are in the information gaining process. 

Measuring content ROI accurately requires having the right analytical tools in place. Different technologies and tactics can be activated to create an appropriate measurement plan, reporting framework, and dashboard. Working with customer data, comparing it over time and visualizing it in a dashboard is a challenging, but critical strategy to make data-driven decisions for your business.

Challenge #5: Driving traffic to your content pages

Four people looking at a laptop screen laughing while one person points at the screen

Now that you have ensured that your data is being tracked accurately, it is time to analyze your content. Find out what pages attract the most traffic, what channels are being used in every step of the funnel and which type of content performs well when it comes to driving traffic.

Then, you can start exploring different types of content on different channels. Do videos work for your brand? Do they read blog articles? Are they scrolling through product reviews or interacting with giveaways and contests? Determine what encourages your audience to interact with your brand or visit your website. Once you have found that sweet spot, use it to the fullest.

Challenge #6: Patience

Person working at laptop

Typically, businesses do not want to wait for the content to drive customers to their door. Make no mistake, it is totally fine to drive traffic to your website using different strategies than content marketing. In the long-term, however, content is a great instrument to build relationships and create awareness.

Unfortunately, a content strategy takes time. It requires an investment of time and resources. You need to keep analyzing different forms of content and optimizing your content strategy. Have you learned from analyses that B2B decision makers, for instance, prefer long blog articles over shorter ones? Add a video to the article to evaluate if this influences your conversion or engagement rate. Once you have found the suitable types of content for your target audience, run with it and do not look back.

Your game plan to achieving business goals through content

If content is not the backbone of your strategy yet, you need to make it a priority now. Content marketing strategy is your brand's game plan to achieving your business goals though content. 

Our clients come to us with various questions. One of the most recent assignments we received is to create a decision tree to determine the ideal communication mix (digital channels but also tv, radio, podcasts,…) for their personas. There is no better way to drive traffic than with well-supported content. The goal? Obtain the best ROI for their main campaigns.

Remember: every business is unique. To decide which content pillars are worth exploring for your business, you need to do extensive research. Not only for SEO purposes, but also to understand what messages will appeal to your target group. Haven't even started defining your target audience or how you want to measure your digital KPIs? We would be glad to help.

Sounds like something you need?

Want to know more about content marketing and our approach? Be sure to keep reading! 

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