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7 Content Marketing Roadblocks (& How to Get Around Them)

7 Content Marketing Roadblocks (& How to Get Around Them) Blog Feature

November 5th, 2014 min read

Content_Marketing_RoadblocksI didn't learn how to ride a bike until I was in 4th grade. 

(Go ahead. Point and laugh all you want.)

You see, I grew up with 2 rowdy older brothers who, try as I might, I could never keep up with. 

Rather then leaving me out, my dad Macgyvered an attachment for the back of his bike just for me. It was sort of like a tandem (only my dad did all the work.)

I got to go on all the bike rides. I never missed a beat. But I was always trailing behind. Never leading the pack.

These were big realizations for a 9 year old, so I put my little foot down and learned how to ride solo. 

If you're having trouble putting content marketing into action for your business, I'm sure you can relate to the whole "trailing behind" feeling. 

It's like you hit a roadblock. 

Your competitor's strategies are getting better by the day, and you're left feeling stagnant, unable to overcome limitations. 

I've got news for you. It's time to put your foot down too. 

Below you'll find 7 common content marketing roadblocks and the actionable advice you need to overcome them.

1. Breeding new ideas

Contrary to popular belief, inspiration for new ideas doesn't shine down in an alien-esque beam of light. At least not for me. 

This is something that I've known, but became really aware of last week while showing our new marketing intern the ropes.

We were going over creating blog content and she stopped me to pose a fairly common question: 

"How do you come up with a new topic to blog about everyday?"

To be honest, I don't. I don't come up with something new to blog about everyday.

You see, it's not the topics that separate my posts from the others I've written, but rather, the positioning. 

For example, the following blog articles are all centered around the topic (business blogging), yet they're all different:

Point being, if you nail the positioning, you could write about the same topic for an entire week and end up with 7 posts that are entirely unique to one another. 

2. Balancing quality and quantity

You're probably feeling pressure to publish constantly in an effort to remain relevant in your industry, right?

Here's the skinny - you don't need to publish content constantly. However, it's important that you establish a schedule that adheres to a maintainable frequency. 

While frequency has the ability to influence your search engine ranking, a ton of crappy posts are going to get you nowhere. 

To combat inconsistencies, we use a project management app called Trello to host our blog editorial calendar.

Having a visual dashboard of our ideas and blog pipeline makes it easier to weed out things that won't work and collaborate on things that will. 

Not to mention, we've organized our calendar by buyer persona. Whenever we go to add an idea, we're forced to select a persona that the article will align with. This has helped to improve quality control better than anything. 

For more on how to set up your own editorial calendar, try this.

3. Engaging your audience

How many times have you read a blog posts and thought, "Meh."

Not a reaction you'd want to see from one of your readers, right?

Here’s our best advice on overcoming passable content:

Hook 'em

Engaging blog posts employ sentences that are designed to convince the reader to read the next one. If you start with an ordinary opener, you're whole post is at risk of remaining unseen. 

To avoid this, start with something magnetic. A question. A quote. A story. 

Make it interactive

Sometimes, in order to get readers to engage with your content, you have to give them a little push. 

Incorporating tweetable text throughout your blog post is a great way to persuade people to take action. 

Think it sounds cool? Try this.

Give them homework

You can carry on about why you should implement strategy XYZ until the cows come home, but what people really want to know isn't why you should do it but how. 

If you want to keep people interested, provide them with actionable takeways. Things that they can implement themselves the minute they finish reading your blog. Whether it's a small Twitter hack, or a change they can make to their latest call-to-action, if they see results from it, they'll come back for more.

4. Suffering from sameness

People have an insatiable sense of curiosity. 

They are driven to consume information that teaches them something. Content that aims to explore uncharted waters. 

Needless to say, if you continuously pump out content that adheres to the same format, it's only a matter of time before it loses its intrigue. 

With that, your readers begin to lose their enthusiasm. They start feeling like if they've seen one post, they've seen them all. 

In an effort to combat this type of predictable content, mix up your content by exploring different formats: 

How-to 

A post that follows this format is invaluable to readers because it aims to not only educate them, but also demonstrate specifically how to implement or carry out a particular process. Quite simply, they're actionable. People love actionable. 

Need inspiration? Here's an example: HubSpot How-To: Mastering the Campaigns Tool

Listicle

Readers are attracted to list posts because they set an expectation up front. What the number does is put forth the promise of something they can count on. 

Need inspiration? Here's an example: 4 Secrets Great Marketers Know About Influencing People

Example

Example posts provide the reader with not only advice, but also an illustrated account that can help them gain more insight on how to approach a situation. 

Need inspiration? Here's an example: 5 Ways for Writing Email Copy That’s Warm, Cozy, and Conversational

5. Integrating your content

You know that you can squeeze more results out of your blogging efforts, but you're don't know when and where they fit into your strategy.

Unsure how to get started, many businesses are left with a pile of content that serves to collect dust.

Sounds tragic? That's because it is. 

Chances are these blog posts are perfectly reusable.

Here are a few examples of how we continuously leverage existing blog content:

Create a newsletter

With all of this content on our hands, we created a monthly newsletter that serves as a collection of the most popular content that month. 

The latest edition of The Best of IMPACT newsletter generated 508 clicks back to our website. I repeat, 508 clicks. 

Use it for social 

To get your content in front of more eyeballs, focus on finding interesting ways to position it on social media. 

We like to created 3-5 different tweets for each blog posts we publish so that we can promote it on Twitter several times without it feeling monotonous. This approach helped us drive 5,499 clicks back to our website last month from Twitter alone. 

Promote an offer

Just released a new offer? Revisit some of your existing blog posts that align with the new offer and update the call-to-action.

We added a call-to-action promoting our Proving the ROI of Inbound Marketing offer to 11 blog posts resulting in 154 submissions. 

6. Uncovering usable images

When it comes to royalty-free images, the pickings are slim. 

Before we invested in a Shutterstock subscription, our featured images stooped as low as this:

blog-featured-image-before-shutterstock

Once we hit rock bottom, we realized that the poor quality of these images was reflecting negatively on the actual content. 

Budget doesn't support a stock photography subscription? You're not entirely out of luck.

The following resources will hook you up with high quality, royalty-free images for free:

Unsplash 

Unsplash_Photography

HubSpot 

HubSpot_Photography

Jay Mantri 

Jay-Mantri-Photo

Life of Pix 

Life_of_Pix_Photo

picjumbo 

picjumbo_photography

7. Managing writers 

Whether you're working with a team of in-house content creators, or you're outsourcing your efforts, communication is critical for success.

To make the process more productive for everyone, try these tips:

Implement a style guide

To avoid wasting time with back and forth revisions, questions, and clarifications, it's critical that you define a clear style guide.

Do you prefer ebook over E-book? Detailing small considerations like this ahead of time helps to promote consistency and reduce the time spent nit picking later.

Provide examples

Supplying writers with resources to reference will help to ensure that you're met with a final product that meets your expectations. This is particularly important for outsourced content, as the writers may not be as well-versed as you are in your industry. 

Let them write

Too many stipulations and limitations will suck the life out of even the best writer's work. While there is a time and place for direction, don't be afraid to let them run with it. 

Avoid stifling their creativity by giving them the time and space they need to produce something they're proud of. Remember, rushed content looks and sounds like rushed content. 

This article is part of the "Content Marketing & Blogging" Hub in The IMPACT Anthology. Other articles include:

  • What is Content Marketing?
  • Blogging for Business? Here’s Everything You Need to Know
  • Joe Pulizzi's 6 Principles for Truly EPIC Content
  • Long-Form Content vs. Short-Form Content
  • Content Marketing Mission Statements: How to Find Your Editorial Focus
  • The Best Content Marketing Strategies Your Company is Still Ignoring
  • 27 Blog Topic Ideas That Take 30 Minutes to Finish
  • Writing to Save Your Business: Blogging Tips from Marcus Sheridan

READ THEM ALL FREE NOW

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