Content marketing is a complex venture. I’m never going to sit here and tell you it’s super-easy, it isn’t. There are a lot of moving parts and you need a clear and powerful strategy.
Blogging is easy.
Anyone can blog.
But leveraging not only your blog but all the content in your business to form a marketing machine that powers everything else? That takes finesse.
And like any complex and sophisticated venture you’re going to run into issues in your content marketing. The key thing to remember is that:
- It’s totally normal to hit road bumps
- You can turn them to your advantage
Here are the top five content marketing issues you’re likely to encounter and why they’re actually awesome…
#1: You’re A Jack, Not A Master
Ever heard of the phrase ‘Jack of all trades, master of none?’
I love this expression, partly because it perfectly exemplifies the Everygirl archetype I use in my Divine Blogging strategy (if you’re confused by this check out my article, Why All The Best Heroes Are Called Jack over on the Huff), and partly because it’s such a common entrepreneurial mistake.
It’s certainly one I made when I was first starting out. I did a bit of everything, not just the writing and editing I actually wanted to do but everything that came along with it, from graphic design to book formatting and beyond. My first business, The Bookshine Bandit, was ostensibly an editing business but it ended up offering anything and everything related to digital marketing.
As a result, my content marketing sucked.
My schedule was a mess, the topics I covered skipped about and changed from week to week, and the people on my list were interested in about 50 different types of services, most of which I didn’t want to do.
If you have a very broad business that offers a lot of different things it’s usually for one of two reasons:
- You haven’t identified your specific Zone of Genius and focused on that exclusively
- You have but you haven’t made it specific enough.
When You Don’t Know Your Zone of Genius…
If you’ve yet to find your Zone of Genius you may need to narrow your overall focus – just like I did when I shut down The Bookshine Bandit and opened The Write Copy Girl.
When I first launched TWCG I offered only one thing: blogging services. I had two options, my Bitchin’ Blog Bundles, for people who needed SEO content, or the Divine Blogging Design, for people who wanted a complete content marketing strategy.
That was it.
I took on other writing jobs when blog clients asked me for help with their websites, books, and various other things, but from a marketing perspective, and as far as the public face of the business was concerned, all I did was write blog posts.
I kept that up for 18 months, and quickly became known as ‘that blogging girl’. My audience understood who I was and what I did, and my content marketing during that time revolved exclusively around blogging and things directly related to blogging.
Last month I launched a rebranded and updated version of the website that includes more extensive writing services as well as editing and proofreading services. But the core focus of the site and business remains the same: content marketing.
Finding yourself in the ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ predicament is actually awesome because it means you’re trying a lot of different things. This will help you figure out what you’re best at and what you love to do most (your Zone of Genius) so you can shift the focus of your business model to that, specifically.
You become a master at your specific thing by spending time as a Jack.
My Divine Blogging method was developed while I was running The Bookshine Bandit and, once I realised how successful it was, I shifted focus to that. So if you’re stuck in this particular boat, take a look at what you do, see what works best, figure out what you love most, and shift your focus.
When You Already Know Your Zone Of Genius…
If you already know your Zone of Genius but you have a content schedule that’s all over the place looking at lots of different things, that’s also a good thing – you just need to be a little more organised about it.
Readers suffer from burnout really easily. If you have a very narrow niche and talk about it week in, week out, they get sick of hearing about it.
Even if they’re really interested in it!
Varying your subjects so that they give people a chance to read about other, related things, stuff they care about, will avoid burning out your audience. This is actually the core of Divine Blogging – figuring out what your audience needs and wants to hear about and balancing your schedule so you’re not a broken and very annoying record.
You’d be surprised how easy it is to link related topics to a narrow niche so you achieve consistency and focus while still talking about a wide range of subjects.
#2 You’re Trying To Be Everywhere At Once
The sheer number of options available these days in terms of content marketing platforms is overwhelming. New social media sites keep popping up, and trying to keep up with everything is exhausting.
One of the biggest mistakes I see clients make is trying to have and maintain a very active presence on everything all at once. I’ve done this myself and it doesn’t work. When you try to be everywhere you end up having little impact anywhere.
It’s far better to pick the social platform that your audience loves best (not the one you like best!) and focus all your efforts on that.
The good news about this problem is that you’ve tried out a lot of different forms of content marketing. Maybe you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and a few other sites for good measure.
Which ones work for you?
Where have you found the most ideal clients and where are they engaging with you the most?
Much as being a Jack of all trades shows you what you’re best at, this issue should show you which platform you need to focus on. It should also tell you which medium your audience prefers.
Do they engage better with written posts, videos, or audios? If you’re trying them all you can compare results and directly ask people which of the options they like best.
If they’re only interested in your YouTube channel, there’s little point maintaining a podcast!
#3 Lack Of Interest
We all put out crappy content occasionally. Stuff that misses the mark, misses the point, or simply fails to provide your audience with anything of value.
In fact, in the content marketing world and blogosphere crappy content is an epidemic.
That pressure to publish often leads us to publish stuff we’ve cobbled together without a real plan. There’s no purpose to it, no true value, no actionable takeaway for your audience.
You’ve published it because your marketing plan tells you that it’s time to release a new piece of content, but ticking that off your To Do list is pretty much the only thing it’s actually achieving for you.
So many business owners have a real disconnect between the type of content that is genuinely going to help their ideal clients and their own goals. It’s an understandable mistake to make – we’re so focused on driving our business objectives we think of content in terms of what it can do for us.
How can it market our products and services?
The truth is that if you want your content to effectively market your business you need to stop thinking about how to sell your shit and consider how best to help your ideal clients.
Help them, provide them with real, tangible value and actionable help, and they will naturally want to buy from you.
That’s what makes content marketing such a powerful form of soulful selling, but it only works if you make it about them and not you.
The benefit of this problem? If you know your current content isn’t helping people you have the perfect opportunity to ask them how to fix it. Run a poll or questionnaire on social media, explain that you feel your content could be more helpful, more valuable, and that you’re committed to making that happen but you need to know:
- What do they need?
- What do they want?
- How can you help them?
Not only is this really valuable market research that will tell you exactly what kind of content you need to be creating, it’s a huge statement about your business intentions and ethos that will help you connect with your audience.
They will trust you a lot more if you own the fact your current content is crap, tell them you want to fix the issue, listen to what they say, and then actually deliver what they’ve asked for!
#4 The Tumbleweed Conundrum
I’ve discussed the Tumbleweed Conundrum before as it’s a critical mindset issue that pretty much all bloggers face at some point, but it bears revisiting.
You have tons of great content, but you have no traffic.
You’re working your socks off putting your content out there, but nobody is seeing it.
This is one of the most frustrating aspects of content marketing. You know you have amazing stuff on offer, but it seems nobody is interested.
Here’s the thing – it’s not that they aren’t interested, they just don’t know you exist yet.
You can address the issue by:
- Getting serious about your SEO.
- Ramping up your promotion of your content on social media.
- Maybe even consider running some highly targeted ads.
But in the interim take full advantage of the fact you don’t have anyone watching.
That means, if you screw up, nobody will see it!
Experiment. Try vlogging. Try podcasting. Try different writing and visual styles. Take the time to build a core stock of really great, high-value posts, so that when people DO find you they’re not frustrated when they look for more awesome content from you and can’t find any!
Content Marketing takes 3 months, minimum, to really start to work. If you’ve only just got a decent content marketing strategy in place you’re not going to see traffic right away.
Be patient, it will happen – keep being consistent in your efforts and putting out high quality content.
6 months from now you’ll be rolling in traffic and there will be loads of epic content for them to devour.
#5 Big Plans, No Resources
Creating an effective content marketing strategy is tough. It takes time, thought, and a lot of planning. As if that weren’t tedious enough, once you’ve created your plan you have to find a way of making it happen, and that requires resources.
Your time. Or your money. Or both.
You’re either going to have to create, schedule, and promote all your content yourself, or pay someone else to do it (either by outsourcing or delegating to an employee).
Maybe you’ll use a combination of the two.
Hands down the biggest reason people cite for not getting their shit together and effectively using content marketing is that they don’t have the resources to do it:
They have plans to release a great eCourse, but no time to create it.
They’ve got a genius idea for a book, but no time to write it.
And they know they need strong weekly content going out consistently, but they don’t have the budget to pay for it, or the time/skills/inclination to do it themselves.
Add to this the fact there is no money available to promote the content they’re expending so many resources to create and the whole thing can feel pointless.
In answer to that last fear, if you’re structuring your content marketing plan well, your content should promote itself – no expensive advertising needed. If you do decide to boost your efforts with an ad, you can do it on a very low budget.
I tripled my income in 2017 using nothing but content marketing and zero advertising of that content – it’s totally doable! The only thing I ever spend on my own content creation is time, and that’s the real fear people have.
Sometimes the very size of our plans cripple us.
Content can quickly get BIG.
You start with a list of blog posts, you add in your content upgrades, you think of a few ideas for really strong lead magnets, you realise you genuinely know enough to write a really great book about all of this, and once you’ve got the book you can release an eCourse version of it. The book and course release will require the creation of more blog posts, content upgrades, and lead magnets, plus a lot of social media marketing, and round and round it goes…
The enormity of it all can paralyse you, believe me, I know!
Here’s the good news:
You don’t have to expend a massive amount of resources creating all of that. You can put your focus on creating consistent, regular, high-quality weekly content in the form of a blog or vlog.
Just that, nothing else.
When you’ve been doing that a while you’ll get the hang of it and it will become a lot easier and far less time consuming. You’ll be able to batch your content, and suddenly you’re spending much less time on it. You have chance to do a content upgrade or two, maybe create a lead magnet.
While all that is getting done your book and eCourse are literally writing themselves.
All you need to do is edit them and record the course content. And all the extra stuff you need to create to promote it? It’s not really ‘extra’ it’s just a continuation of the consistent blogging you’ve been doing from the start.
The same is true if you’re outsourcing your content marketing – my Divine Blogging clients, for example, pay me to write their weekly blog posts. Their content upgrades are done as an extension of those. After a few months of that a lead magnet is also easily developed without any extra costs. And after a year of that everything gets edited together and a book is born, again, without any extra costs.
You pay for the blog posts but you also get the content upgrades, lead magnets, and a book. The only time you pay extra is if you want the book developing into an eCourse because they require a very different structure and some extra bells and whistles.
Whether you’re hiring someone to do it for you, or doing it yourself the principle remains the same: invest your resources in your blog/vlog/podcast (whicever your audience prefers!) and the rest will take care of itself.
You can tackle things separately and spend a massive amount of time/money on each, or you can invest in an effective plan that is designed to build into everything you want to create, without the need to pay for it separately.
If you want to learn the exact strategy I use to do precisely this you can download the first chapter of my book, Divine Blogging, right now, just signup below…