Why Content Marketing is So Hard
By Sarah Malcolm, COO of The Content Funnel
It’s social media, not rocket science! On the surface, attracting customers through social media, email, and blogging may not seem as complicated as designing a building. But sometimes, it feels like you need an engineering degree. You clicked on this article. You’ve realized content marketing not as simple as posting on Facebook or writing a blog.
So why is the content marketing so hard? And how can we find ways to succeed?
Problem #1- The time involved
This isn’t personal social media use. You’re not filming piano-playing cats and sending to friends. Content marketing requires more time than a newbie may think. You are utilizing a tool to reach new people and convert them into a client. This requires strategy.
Content marketing requires spending time beyond creating images, videos, and posts. You’ll research audience behaviors, monitor social media performance, and track web page visits. You’ll track trends, respond to comments, edit blogs, draft surveys, and schedule campaigns. Segment email lists, create a personalized program, and craft strategy.
And that’s on top of work meetings, phone calls, and emails. Do you see your time vanishing?
Solution: You have options to lighten the time-consuming content creation load. One is prioritizing your efforts, which we’ll detail in a solution below.
Your next big help will be using the latest in automation. Content curation tools simplify tracking trends and finding worthy ideas for your social accounts. Set up drip campaigns and let them go. Let your email subscribers segment themselves when they sign up. Use templates when possible: for social posts, emails, and other materials. Do your social accounts or blogs integrate? That’s an easy way to push content across platforms.
Perhaps you’re trying to do too much. Consider budgeting time from your day specific for social media. Schedule your content marketing plan around the time you have, not the time you don’t.
Finally, outsource some of the work to a copywriter, graphic artist, or a content marketing professional. Or, if your budget allows, hire a qualified content marketer.
Problem #2- Too many social platforms
Which social media network do you use? One, two, three or all of them? Twitter or Instagram? Pinterest or Tumblr? How about Snapchat? What about a platform for hosting your blog? With so many to pick from, and use trends shifting, it can be hard to juggle the load.
Solution: Prioritize your social media platforms based on your audience and the content you’re producing. If your audience isn’t on Snapchat, it doesn’t make sense to add the platform to your basket. Think carefully before signing up for the “next big social network.”
Personal preference plays a role, too. Individual real estate agents may prefer image-forward Instagram over writing a blog. Don’t force yourself to use a social media network that’s not appealing to you.
Working with multiple social accounts? Have a “priority” network. This network receives most of your effort. Any other account becomes secondary with fewer updates and less invested time.
Problem #3- Changing algorithms
A recent client complained that Facebook had changed their targeted audience marketing options yet again. Another found their videos weren’t performing as well as they did last year. This is the reality of social marketing. The networks are always tweaking their algorithms and how to present content to our users.
Solution: I wish there was an easy solve for this one, but there’s not. Just as you adapt your business model to changing times, you must change your social media strategy to counter network updates.
How do you know they’re changing? Sign up for the network’s newsletters or its update alerts to monitor updates. Twitter will blog about updates, Instagram has its info center. During a social media audit, make it a point to re-familiarize yourself with the platform’s explanation on how it ranks content.
Problem #4- Too many hats
Successful content marketing requires knowledge in many fields. You need to know about SEO, mobile optimization, webpage design and coding, graphic design, photography, videography, copywriting, marketing, and analytics. That’s in addition to trends in content marketing plus commercial real estate industry-specific knowledge.
Solution: The latest technology tools help simplify some of these roles. For instance, Canva helps to create attractive graphics for social media and web page posts with little to no design background. Service providers like SocialSprout or Hootsuite offer dynamic dashboards to monitor social media performance.
You always have the option to outsource some of your work–like writing or webpage design– to a professional. Or, again, you can hire a full-time content marketer to handle the task.
Problem #5- No Strategy
You’re posting left and right, up and down, once a week, twice a week, but nothing seems to be attracting traffic. You’re spinning the wheels for nothing. Your click-through rates on email campaigns are worse than abysmal.
Solution: You can’t just willy-nilly post and expect results. Publishing content isn’t a strategy. Create a content marketing plan with measurable goals. Every post needs a reason for existing. A strategy is our “why.” And if it’s not working, at least the written strategy provides insights into what to change.
Additionally, as you start to craft your plan, read about best practices in blogging, social media posting, and email campaigns. Are your content marketing materials aligned with these measures? Perhaps your content isn’t resonating with audiences for that reason.
Problem #6- Reaching new people
The point of content marketing is to reach new people and convert them into paying customers. This is easier said than done. Organic traffic isn’t what it used to be. Ranking well in a search engine is a competitive business. Your number changes every day.
Solution: Your budget must include paid advertising. Neil Patel, a leader in content marketing, says the most effective companies in content marketing allocate 39 percent of their marketing budget. The key is to monitor your efforts and to direct spending to your most successful strategies.
Problem #7- Unrealistic expectations
I think we’ve all seen those social ads from experts claiming to double or triple for revenue. I know someone whose dogs gained 14k followers on Instagram in under two years. Success stories abound, but you’re not seeing it. We expect content marketing to perform well and perform instantly.
Solution: Let’s get real. Unicorns exist, but not everyone will double or triple their traffic, followers, or revenue from social media marketing. What you can do is build a loyal following and produce real results. Take a long-term view. This is especially true for your valuable written content like blogs, white papers, and case studies. Maybe they don’t have 500 downloads in a single day, but a year down the road your analytics shows one blog post has been read 5,000 times. That’s valuable, isn’t it?
Content Marketing is Tough
Let’s be real when we talk content marketing. It’s hard for any professional to do everything that’s required. That’s why big brands have content marketing directors with teams of people helping the effort. Scale your content marketing program to what you can really achieve driven by real goals and realistic expectations.