Fundamental content marketing challenges that startups face and how to tackle them

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A business will stumble a few times before it finds its feet. That is how we grow. Certain mistakes can prove to be costlier than others, while some can be avoided entirely.

Content marketing is about helping others grow. Let’s look at some of the challenges that new businesses face with content marketing. If I’m able to teach you a thing or two with this post, I’ll have made my case in the best possible way.

Unrealistic expectations

Content marketing is not a silver bullet. Far too many businesses have unrealistic expectations from it, impressed by reading expert literature on how certain blogs earn their owners hundreds of thousands of dollars each month, and how the readers can replicate it too in a few easy steps.

Unfortunately, there are no short cuts or SEO gimmicks that will take a business straight to no. 1 rank on Google.

A lot of thought and sustained effort goes into every successful blog. It’s not as simple as writing one killer article and expecting to milk it for all its worth. Also, a handful of high-quality posts might get people’s attention but on their own they are unlikely to translate into anything tangible for a business.

What to do about it: To save heartache, set goals (short-term as well as long-term) that seem achievable. Talk numbers. Aim to gain a certain number of email subscribers and/or social media followers each week/month.   

Don’t get discouraged if it takes longer than expected to build a base. Content takes time to make an impact. It’s a gradual process of sharing knowledge and winning people’s trust. It simply cannot be rushed. It’s very important to be patient to achieve the desired results.

Lack of consistency

Content creation is not a one-off undertaking. It has to be approached systematically and with a purpose in mind, month after month and year after year.

It’s easy to get enthusiastic early on and lose steam as all the seemingly good topic ideas get exhausted. Quality content tends to build expectations among its readers. It needs to be followed by equally appealing, if not better, content. Doing this week after week calls for unwavering commitment.

No one is going to penalize you if you don’t follow up, but it’s a good practice to set expectations for the audience as you build it, and then live up to them.

What to do about it: Put in place a dedicated resource for content creation. Start each month with a clear plan of the kind and amount of content to be produced that month. You should know exactly the number of pieces to be published each week as well as which topics will be covered.

Lack of focus

Businesses may start a certain strategy with great enthusiasm and become disappointed when it doesn’t go to plan. It could be tempting to change your approach or try something new to get better and quicker results, but that may not always be the best idea.

What to do about it: Create a content strategy that is in alignment with your company values, aspirations, and business goals. If you accomplish this, you will drastically cut down on the amount of resources wasted.

Also, stick with a plan for a reasonable amount time in order to be able to accurately gauge its effectiveness. Even with clear goals you may have to experiment in order to find your niche, but businesses should aim at developing a specific brand of expertise in order to find the right audience.

Low quality content creation

Far too many businesses generate run-of-the-mill content, pushing quantity over quality. It’s not a machine that you keep running for the sake of it. If a study says that businesses that produce more than 16 pieces of content each month attract more traffic and earn more business, it doesn’t mean that 16 is the magic number, and that this tactic will work for everyone. Content will only work if it is tailored to the needs and aspirations of its target audience and delivers on its promise.

The aim of content is not promotion. It is to educate and nurture relationships which may ultimately lead to conversion.

What to do about it: The focus of your content creation should be to tap into your skills and experience in order to give the readers pragmatic and actionable advice.

Ideally, as your efforts become more streamlined, you shouldn’t have to choose between quality and quantity. However, at least in the initial stages when a startup is looking to establish itself, the focus should firmly be on quality content.

Ineffective content distribution

Businesses often neglect this crucial part of content marketing. Content creation and distribution have to go in tandem. That means your content should find the right audience at the right time, otherwise what’s the point? There are many mistakes that new businesses make in terms of content distribution, but the most common is not promoting it on social media aggressively enough.

We’re not suggesting that you spam your followers, but posting your article once on your social channels isn’t enough.

What to do about it:

Here are just a few ideas to get you started!

  • Share your blog content to all the social networks you are actively targeting.
  • Invest in tools that make social sharing and management of content across platforms easier.
  • Retweet other people’s posts multiple times a day. This will gain you more followers.
  • Share third-party content twice a day. (Your posts shouldn’t look too promotional).
  • Share your own articles, old and new, a few times a day.
  • Make use of alluring headlines and images to draw people’s attention.
  • Find out when your audience is most likely to be online to maximize the chances of your content being seen.
  • Respond to all the comments/feedback you receive, unless they are too high in number, in which case thank your readers collectively.
  • Participate in industry discussions.
  • Engage with influencers in your field.
  • Promote your best content via paid marketing. Budgets for paid content promotion are going up.
  • Submit your content to authoritative blogs to attract greater audience.

Content creation is fundamental

There is a lot a business can do to improve its ROI on content marketing, but it takes time and well-directed effort. As a new business, make content creation and distribution a fundamental part of your overall marketing strategy. That way, as you grow so will your audience.

What hurdles have you faced in your content marketing efforts? How did you overcome them? Any suggestions that would help our readers? Please leave a comment and let me know. I’m always on the lookout for newer perspectives on how to tackle these tricky challenges!

Author Bio: Michael Georgiou is the CMO and Co-founder of Imaginovation (link: http://www.imaginovation.net/), a full service, turn-key digital solutions company serving Raleigh, NC and Charlotte, NC. He’s a dynamic business professional with proven success in creative strategy, online branding, project management and communication projects. Follow him on Twitter at @MGeorgiou22 (link: https://twitter.com/MGeorgiou22)

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