12 Biggest Content Marketing Challenges in 2019

Michael Brenner on Mar 30, 2016 in Content Marketing

Great content takes a lot of hard work and time to create. At the various inbound marketing and SEO summits every month, marketers get together to share some of the biggest content marketing challenges their companies or agencies are currently facing.

The major themes that emerge include tying content marketing efforts to business value, limited resources and internal tensions that hinder the content production process. Let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest challenges that are keeping marketers up at night.

1. Determining Content Marketing ROI

Many marketers are struggling to show the ROI of their content marketing efforts. Marketers from the agency side, for example, shared that some of their clients are wanting to know how many conversions can be attributed to a specific piece of content or channel. Often times these are brands whose digital conversion paths cannot be tracked or analyzed.

To combat this, marketers use a purchase intent model that assigns different weights to customer interactions with a piece of content, but they admit that this model isn’t perfect.

For other marketers, their biggest challenge is tying content to conversions and defining relevant, appropriate metrics to measure and evaluate the impact their content marketing programs make on the business’ bottom line.

2. Video Virality

Marketers can create great video content, but how do they guarantee that it is seen by their target audience? How do they guarantee that the message of the video was viewed? The cost of guaranteeing that messages are seen is becoming increasingly more expensive, and the industry needs to be prepared for the increased cost.

Other marketers are facing time and resource constraints to produce quality videos. Some marketers also struggle with building out a sustainable video content strategy that can product videos which can live and scale across multiple markets.

3. Consistent Content Operations

Different teams and organizations within a company all produce content to support various programs and channels they own, and this creates content quality and consistency issues. Marketers are looking to manage and govern their content creation process more efficiently to ensure all content produced is compelling, consistent and effective for their target audience.

4. Proving Credibility And Authority

For many marketers, they struggle with finding and establishing a credible and authoritative voice for their brands, and cutting through the noise to capture their target audience’s attention. The financial space, for example, is filled with “experts” offering advice and insights to consumers, which makes it extremely difficult for brands to stand out with their content.

Marketers are thus looking to develop an effective content strategy that will allow them to maintain the brand’s identity and boost marketing ROI, while improving their brand’s authority and thought leadership in the space.

5. Budget

Budget remains one of the top challenges marketers face when it comes to justifying the cost and investment in their content marketing programs. Many senior leaders compare content marketing to more mature marketing programs and channels that have a more linear or positive ROI, which makes it very challenging to fight for budget toward content marketing.

6. Approval Processes

Marketers on the agency side shared the same sentiment when it comes to their client approval process being too long. Some stakeholders are wanting to provide input at every step of the content creation process, which creates bottlenecks and delays in production timeline.

For both agency and non-agency marketers, staying timely and relevant with the long, clunky approval processes they need to go through with content creation is one of the biggest challenges that’s keeping them up at night.

7. Branding

Marketers face various branding challenges when it comes to content marketing. Some struggle with maintaining their brand voice as brands expand their in-house teams and outsource content creation to external agencies and partners. Others struggle with maintaining their individual brand identities while working under a bigger umbrella brand.

8. Maintaining Volume, Quality And Speed

One of the biggest challenges many marketers share is figuring out how to deliver engaging, compelling content with speed, without compromising on quality and volume. Trying to stay nimble and agile within a large corporate structure also proves to be a big pain point for many marketers.

9. Strategic Alignment

For many brands, there is a lack of alignment in strategy and messaging across different platforms, which can hurt the customer experience and content marketing success. Cross-team collaboration becomes a big challenge for marketers when individuals and teams are working in silos and towards different visions and goals.

10. Continuous Learning

The ever-changing marketing landscape means marketers need to dedicate themselves to lifelong learning and innovation to reinvent themselves, or risk extinction. Training their teams on the latest marketing practices is another top challenge for many marketers as they are also trying to navigate the learning curve themselves.

11. Influencer Marketing

Identifying influencers to help amplify content is another challenge many marketers face with their content marketing efforts. Creating great content is not enough anymore, you need an effective promotion strategy to help customers find and see your content.

12. The Biggest Challenge in Content Marketing: Developing a Customer-Centric Mindset

This may sound surprising to some, but convincing brands to put customers first is still a challenge many marketers face when creating content. They need to help brands change their mindset about the value of content and understand that content marketing isn’t the same as advertising. Content marketing is about being helpful and providing real value to customers, by giving them what they want and need at each stage of the customer journey.

If you go to most company websites or read their marketing content, you’ll notice that they do an excellent job of telling you all about the company and telling you all about their products. But they don’t answer the biggest questions their customers might have. In other words, they make the biggest marketing mistake and make it all about themselves and not about the customer.

Almost a decade ago, C.C. Chapman (@cc_chapman) predicted that companies will become better at this when he begged to see “more brands interacting in real time with their customers.”

Barbra Gago (@BarbraGago) also suggests marketers stop trying to “re-invent the wheel with every piece of content” and should instead focus on helping prospective buyers find “the right information–the content that is going to help them move through their purchase process.”

In an article on CMI, Alison Bolen (@alisonbolen) explained that the greatest challenge in content marketing is “understanding your customers well enough to develop content that is useful and relevant for them.”

And Marcus Sheridan (@TheSalesLion) gets to this same point when he asks content marketers to “write and communicate in a way that is completely and utterly on the level of their audience, not the level of the industry professional.”

So how do we help address this challenge?

Ardath Albee (@ardath421) suggests we need to “Take a Customer Field Trip” and try to look at our marketing and our content as a customer might see it.

I also answered one of the biggest marketing challenges for small businesses, How To Create Killer Content: Speak To A Customer where I tell very simply how you can use your customer stories to tell your story. But most importantly, to tell it using their words and by showing how you are solving real customer problems.

Over to You

Is your organization or agency currently facing any of these content marketing challenges? If so, how are you solving them? I’d love to hear your ideas, please share them below!

Are you interested in engaging and converting new customers via content? Contact me and let’s talk about how we can help.

Check out the photo of the full challenge board below.

content marketing challenges

Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.