There are lots of different marketing techniques you can use to promote your online business, but one that keeps coming up strong time and time again is content marketing.
Content marketing is an amazing technique because beginners can do it with virtually no budget, and bigger businesses can scale it up quickly and effectively.
That being said, there are a bunch of problems that new and experienced content marketers face, but luckily there are also solutions to these issues.
#1 A Lack of Ideas
Starting a new niche site or a content marketing plan for an existing business can be daunting, especially for more obscure niches.
One common complaint is not knowing what to write about.
Overcoming this isn’t hard, but it does take a some time and effort to do.
Whatever the niche involved, there will always be something to write about, whether you’re discussing the latest in video games or trying to affiliate market toasters.
Ways to find article ideas:
If you haven’t already been doing keyword research for your SEO strategy, then get started! By studying what other people are searching for in relation to your niche you can come across great terms, ideas and questions that you can craft into content.
If people are searching for a particular widget, you could write a review. If people are searching for dog training tips, there’s at least a dozen articles there (general dog training tips, tips by breed/age, specialist training, and so on).
Analyzing your keywords not only allows you to bolster your list of articles to write, but you can target popular terms at the same time, improving the chances of your article ranking in the search engines.
If someone has a question, they need an answer. This sort of question and answer format not only provides new content material but it directly provides value to your visitors.
You can find people asking questions in a variety of places such as industry related forums, niche related blog comments and question sites such as Yahoo! Answers, Stack Overflow and Quora.
Check Out Your Competitors
I’m not suggesting plagiarizing your competitors here, but what you can do is examine the content that they are producing and seeing what you can do to improve upon it, refute it or expand upon it.
#2 Poor Quality Content
Content that sucks doesn’t help anyone: not your visitors and certainly not you and your bottom line!
Yet as the internet grows and more and more content is added, less and less of it is any good.
What can you do about it? Quite a lot actually.
Firstly, spend the time on the content. Firing out an article in an hour is likely to result in mistakes, and “thin” content: that is content that has little value as it doesn’t delve into the subject or answer questions the visitor might have or need answers for.
How long you spend on content will change depending on the medium and the actual focus of the content, but several hours for an article isn’t a bad thing. That will include your research, drafts and editing.
The research part cannot be ignored: even if you know the subject well, research can provide additional insights, counter arguments and ideas.
On the subject of editing, there’s a few simple things you can do with any produced content to improve the quality: create the first version, walk away from it, then come back and edit it. A fresh perspective will reduce the number of errors.
Finally review your content before sending it out into the world: I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve published something only to realize it’s full of typos or in one particular case, missing an entire section!
#3 Your Content Doesn’t Solve a Problem
Most content marketers don’t produce memes or cat videos. Instead they produce what should be valuable information that can help people with whatever their issue is.
If your content does not solve a problem, then the content is not worth publishing!
Now, a problem can be something obvious like “how to change a lightbulb”: the problem is that the lightbulb died and the solution is you teaching people how to put a new one in.
Problems don’t need to be that obvious though, for example game reviews. By reviewing a game your helping people to overcome their “problem” of whether they should buy the game or not.
For the most part though, problems are obvious and the solutions you supply should resolve the problem as completely as possible.
#4 Unfocused Writing
This issue might not be immediately obvious as a problem, but if can affect how viewers of your content react to it.
What’s the point of the content?
As mentioned above, does the content solve a problem? Does it provide value or entertainment? In other words does it have a purpose or is it just the ramblings of a blogger?
If the content is purposeless, it might as well stay unmade.
Who is your audience?
I could talk all day long about PHP and jQuery but would the vast majority of I’ve Tried That readers care? Probably not.
As such you need to make sure that you take your audience into account when creating content. If the content wont appeal to them then you’re just wasting your time.
This is another reason why a lot of internet marketing experts recommend that a site has one topic (tractors, sci-fi, beer brewing, etc.) and not multiple various topics that might not appeal to your entire audience.
Focus on one person
“Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.”
This technique helps both you and your visitors. By focusing your writing, video etc. as if your just giving it to one person it does magical things. First it helps you to create content that resonates with the viewer, because by speaking to one person it feels like your speaking to them personally.
From your point of view it can also make creating content easier because you can pretend that your crafting the content for a friend, which changes your writing style to be slightly less formal and more natural.
#5 Lack of Time
We’re all busy people, whether it’s due to work, other projects, family or just living life, it’s a struggle to find time to fit everything in.
As a result a lot of people find it difficult to find the time to create the content needed to make content marketing work.
How then can you get around this issue?
Make the time!
It sounds simple and it is! Carve some time per day or week when you focus solely on creating your content. If it means watching less TV or having to work into the evening then so be it: no one said crafting an online business was easy!
Know your limits
It’s so easy to create this grand content plan where you will write an article or two everyday. Forget that! Assess your current obligations and judge how much time you actually have available. Then base your content plan around that.
Not only will it make achieving your plans easier but it will avoid the bitter disappointment of failing to meet those ambitious targets.
Quality over quantity
Simply put, it’s better to produce one exceptional piece of content a week than it is to fire out 7 crappy pieces a week. Your visitors deserve the best, so give that too them! This also allows you to spread your time out and create the article in pieces (e.g., research one day, draft another, edit the next etc.).
#6 Writing Only on Your Blog
Content marketing isn’t a magic bullet to increasing traffic and sales. It’s a long and slow process. It’s slowed even further when all your content is produced solely on your site.
By doing that you’re limiting your exposure. Instead, consider creating content, at least some, for other mediums. These mediums could be social networks like Facebook, content focused sites like Medium or so called Web 2.0 sites like Blogger.
Most of these sites allow you to add a blurb and link back to your own site: backlinks and exposure in a double whammy!
#7 You Hate Writing/Talking/Showing Your Face!
Everyone has their favorite media types, some love to write others couldn’t think of anything worse. Personally I hate doing videos, I hate the sound of my own voice and there’s no way you’re getting me on screen!
Change your media
If you hate writing, do video. If you hate video, podcast. There are plenty of successful content marketing campaigns out there that solely focus on one media type, so if you hate doing something, do something else.
Sometimes it’s impossible or impractical to use a specific media type, or you need/want to use multiple types.
In this instance the best course of action is to outsource. There are plenty of writers out there looking for work, and plenty of people will to read your script in front of a camera.
Finding outsourcers isn’t hard, just head to a site like Upwork. Finding decent and reliable ones though, that’s where it get’s tricky!
The best advice I can give you on that is to “Hire Fast and Fire Fast”. Not my quote sadly, but it’s great advice. Hire a bunch of people, test them out and then fire anyone that doesn’t make the cut. Then cultivate the survivors.
Outsourcing content can also help you to expand and scale your content marketing so even if you love to do content yourself, you should still consider it.
#8 It Isn’t Working!
I mentioned before that content marketing isn’t a magic bullet, and that’s worth reiterating.
I’ve seen a lot of newbies start in internet marketing and focus on content marketing, only to quit a month later because it hasn’t made them rich yet!
Content marketing is a slow burner of a method which requires months, if not years to come to fruition.
As such it’s always a good idea to pair content marketing with other tactics such as Pay Per Click and social media marketing things that will give you a quicker boost in traffic and maybe conversions.
If your content isn’t the best, if it isn’t providing answers and value then of course it won’t work!
There’s so much competition that your content needs to be the best out there and you need to let people know about it. Otherwise crap content can still beat your magnum opus, even if yours is the better piece of content!
This is especially an issue if you’re the sole content producer. It’s easy to start off all eager and producing content left, right and center. It’s not so easy to maintain content production for a long period of time.
To counter burnout, take a look at everything above and make sure that:
- Your niche is something you enjoy
- You’re not being over ambitious when producing content
- That you hire when needed to take off some of the weight
- Diversify your content types so your not always doing the same thing
- Create content from different perspectives
The last situation you need to be in is one where you hate creating content: it will show in what you do and will affect everything from bounce rate to conversions.
The Bottom Line
Content marketing isn’t easy, and it’s not perfect: after all you still need to rely on other entities like Google or Facebook to get your content shared.
It does however have a proven track record and can be an effective method of generating both traffic and sales.
Hopefully some of the above can help you in your content marketing journey!