The 3 Biggest Struggles for Today’s Content Marketing Teams, and How to Overcome Them

For content marketers, the struggle is real.

At DivvyHQ, we experience our own challenges with high-volume content production, and we hear about plenty of others from customers and peers.

Content marketing is a fun and fulfilling endeavor, which is why we spend pretty much all of our time immersed in it, but there’s no shortage of obstacles, barriers and roadblocks standing in the way of sustained success.

We wanted to get a better idea of what those impediments look like for the typical content team today, so we’ve rounded up some recent studies in search of insights direct from the field.

Read on for a breakdown of the most prevalent struggles plaguing modern content marketing teams and departments. If they sound familiar, you might find value in the tips and resources we’ll provide to help conquer them.

Top Content Marketing Team Challenges of 2018

We conduct our own research around content planning (keep an eye out for this year’s report, coming soon!) but on a broader level, we wanted to explore common pains that hold back content marketing teams large and small. Here’s what the data tells us:

#1: Vexed by Elusive Visibility and Engagement

The most ubiquitous struggle for content marketing teams is the same as it was last year, and the year before: making sure all the great stuff we create gets seen and makes an impact.

The end game of content marketing is of course driving business and revenue growth, but before that can happen, the content actually needs to be consumed by the right people. If we aren’t making that happen, we’re going nowhere.

In the Key to Content Success report from Content Marketing Institute and SEMrush, 33% of respondents called out “developing content pieces that resonate with our target audience” as a top hurdle. Meanwhile, in the State of Content Marketing 2018 report from Zazzle Media, more than half of marketers (52%) cited “producing engaging content” as their biggest challenge.

What to do?

It’s true: the amount of content being published on the web continues to rise, which can make it harder to stand out and break through. But this dilemma reminds me of the Yogi Berra quote: “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”

Almost everyone’s making content — 86% of B2C companies and 91% of B2B, according to 2018 benchmarking reports from CMI and MarketingProfs — and there’s a reason for that. It works, and the appetite for quality content is eternal.

Here are a few tips for upping engagement and boosting awareness for your content:

  • Look beyond social media for promotion. BuzzSumo’s Content Trends 2018 report found that social referrals are way down, which isn’t surprising at a time when Facebook is openly suppressing organic reach for publishers. We’re certainly not saying you should take social out of the picture for content promotion, but widen your scope with added steps like linking a new blog post in your email signature, and sharing strategically within your network. You can find tons of similar suggestions in our blog promotion checklist infographic.
  • Tap into influence. The Zazzle Media survey revealed a shockingly low focus on influencers, with 0% of the marketers they polled calling it out as a priority. But when done right — through mutually beneficial relationship-building and authentic partnerships — influencers can help you regain some of that diminishing social reach while also strengthening trust toward your brand.
  • Press play on video. It’s easy to see why so many marketers are turning to video: it continues to garner strong visibility and engagement. With high-res smartphone cameras and easy-to-use editing software widely available, the barriers to entry are lower for this marketing tactic than ever before. Even complementary video content, like a companion video for your blog post or a teaser clip to promote your infographic on social feeds, can go a long way.

#2: Where’s the ROI?

“Developing an ROI plan” ranked as the second-biggest challenge for content strategists in the Key to Content Success findings, with one in four pointing to it as a roadblock. Maybe that helps explain the lukewarm view of content as a business asset, according to the 2018 Content Management and Strategy Survey:

Only 42% strongly agree with this characterization. That’s not great, because content absolutely is a business asset, and clearly establishing it as one is vital to making the case for more content marketing budget and resources.

What to do?

Analytics should be front-and-center for any content operation. Establish clear objectives and measure against them relentlessly. We suggest putting vanity metrics like impressions and click-through rate in the backseat while prioritizing those that tie most directly to revenue outcomes. Work with sales to identify and develop them. Your execs will be pleased by the bottom-line connection.

Earlier this year we offered some guidance for building a content marketing software stack around data and analytics.

#3: Wonky Content Workflows

As teams expand and production demands increase, workflow tends to go awry. In the Key to Content Success poll, 27% of content editors said “coordinating the workflow” was their foremost struggle. In the Content Management & Strategy Survey, content production workflow was the second-highest challenge of managing content at 47%. Various other research findings point to schedule management and scalability as central hindrances.

Disjointed workflow has many negative ramifications: missed deadlines, duplication of efforts, and inter-team conflict, to name a few. It’s no surprise that, per B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends, 56% of the most successful content marketing teams rate their project management flow as excellent or very good, compared to just 11% of the least successful.

What to do?

In our experience, the primary driver of an inefficient workflow is lack of process structure and transparency. It’s critical to get everyone on the same page, using the same system and the same tools.

DivvyHQ’s solution was built specifically to streamline and optimize content workflow management, so we definitely recommend trying it out if this is an area for improvement in your organization. One way or another, it’s imperative to move away from spreadsheets and emails as main methods of collaboration.

Your Biggest Content Marketing Opportunities

Yes, the struggle is real, but so are the solutions. And when you’re able to overcome these common challenges, your content team will be ahead of the game.

To summarize our tips for alleviating the top content marketing struggles of 2018, we urge you to:

  • Become more diverse in your content promotion tactics, looking beyond social media for targeted exposure
  • Build relationships with influential folks in your niche
  • Incorporate more video into your content marketing mix
  • Focus on ROI measures that align directly with revenue and growth
  • Reduce dependence on spreadsheets and email for workflow management
  • Give the 14-day free trial with DivvyHQ a spin and see for yourself if our tools make your team more productive and efficient

Let’s raise the bar. When we collectively step our games up, everyone wins.