In an ideal world, content authors would all be little Tolstoys, churning out reams of original content into their headless CMS (content management system) all day long. However, they’re not. Well most of them aren’t.
The majority of those that aren’t literary dynamos will inevitably come across challenges that leave them struggling to manage another sentence. It’s like… no, sorry.
Of course, content types aren’t limited to the written word. Videomakers can suffer from content challenges in much the same way as writers. But what they do say about challenges is what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. So let’s see how you can make sure these challenges don’t kill you. Or your creative spark.
But we’ll start by taking a look at why we should even bother with content creation, if it’s really that hard.
Content creation and content marketing
Whether you’re using a headless CMS or a traditional content management system, if you’re going to embark on a content marketing process, you’re going to need to have some content creation in your life. Content creation is one of the building blocks of content marketing.
But what is content marketing? (Always best to make sure we’re all on the same page). Content marketing is pushing a product, service, or company through material that stands in its own right. In other words, people will happily consume it irrespective of their inclination to buy what’s being sold. It has innate value.
This can mean all sorts of things. From a humorous meme to a treatise on A/B testing methods, if it’s selling something but people are consuming it for its own sake then it can be termed content marketing.
An in-depth analysis of the outdoor activity industry’s carbon footprint produced by an anorak manufacturer can be content marketing.
Whether it’s a one-off, drool-inducing promotional video or a month-long celebrity campaign, there really is no denying the impact that content marketing has on audiences today. In fact, content creation has become such an integral part of marketers’ strategies that many businesses are turning to an influencer marketing agency to help their campaigns stand out from the masses.
The reasons businesses tend to use content marketing are two-fold.
Content marketing is cheap
Compared to some of the big spending that other routes can demand, content marketing is commonly held to be inordinately economical. This is because it can be done with minimal investment.
Your content operation can be put together with just a mobile phone and a script. Or maybe without the script. The best content marketing will achieve traction not through a publicity spend or big production values. It will get seen or heard because it has quality that demands to be consumed. In the age of instant sharing, this consumption can really take off. Digital sharing can be like jet propulsion for your message.
Incidentally, if you want to know how to measure content marketing ROI and reassure yourself of content marketing’s cost-effectiveness, there are several methods you can use.
Content marketing is effective
Because it’s usually got something interesting or otherwise striking to impart, content marketing can often hit the spot. But it’s not just about straightforward selling. There are a number of areas in which content marketing can really benefit your business, such as brand awareness and customer loyalty.
It makes sense that, if you go to the trouble of creating original content that might be of worth to your customers, they will, in turn, come to trust you more, and as a result improve the company’s employer branding. Certainly more than would be the case than if you just fired off blatant sales messages at them all the time.
So, content marketing’s worth your time and effort. But how can it sometimes go a bit off the rails?
5 content creation barriers (and how to beat them)
Finding something new to write or talk about
What seems easy at first can turn into quite a slog when your content team’s looking to come up with episode #92 of an ongoing series on clog design throughout the years. When originality and freshness are the currency, if they should dry up then you may have a snag of significant proportions.
If you’re out of ideas, you’re out of ideas. But you’ve got to come up with something.
There are no shortcuts to this. You need to research. Lots. And do it way in advance, so that you’re not sitting there panicking about an imminent deadline rather than calmly producing brilliant new perspectives left, right, and center.
The great thing about prior research is that you have time to explore new directions. In this crazy joined-up world, one thing inevitably leads to another. You might be inspired to vector off into a new subtopic. Or even to create a whole new series about something completely different.
Another tip: communicate. By welcoming input from your customers, you can institute a new approach to content management. See what’s of interest to them.
Some of it might be tedious dross with no hope of being shaped into something of interest to anyone.
But some of it might be absolute gold and you can find yourself wondering why on earth you didn’t think of it. You know why? Because, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to remember this from time to time, you’re only human. And humans need other humans to keep the good stuff coming.
A question of time
Time is an extremely important content component. There are two aspects to the challenges that time can pose.
There’s only one of you and you have to do everything around here
We’ve all been in those situations wherein you’re not sure what the team you pay is actually doing. Consider a tech solution, like a team task management app to help with this.
However, sometimes, the whole company is very much a one-person band. This can take oodles of organization topped off with a dollop of determination in order to stay on track.
If you know that your resources are limited to what your brain, fingers, and laptop can come up with that afternoon, then it can, occasionally, be a wonderfully rousing call to action. You know the task, you know who’s got to do it, so let’s get it done.
However, when you’re also the person who has to do the buying and the phone answering and the emails and goodness knows what else, this can lead to snarl-ups and difficulty moving forward.
This is where you need to be organized in advance, so that you square off dedicated spaces of time to complete specific tasks.
Talking of being organized, you might find that a good CMS system can be of assistance. It can help you stay on top of things so that you’re as productive as you can be, even when the odd interruption crops up.
Getting your content out in a timely fashion
Timing, as they say, is…. everything. A great piece of content about a particular artist will gain so much more perceived value if the artist dies on the same day that content is issued. Obviously, you shouldn’t do anything to precipitate this concurrence. But, hopefully, the point is made.
You can seek to give your forthcoming content a little boost by paying attention to what’s happening in the wider world. Work it into your piece and get it out there in time. No, it doesn’t have to be a 100% fit for your brand. Sometimes a little overhang can help you reach new audiences.
For instance, Hamilton fans may know that December 17th sees the anniversary of the French first recognizing the United States in 1777. Your company produces French fries. If that’s not a link made in heaven, I’m a king-sized weiner. Get some content out that links your product to that anniversary and you may tickle some people enough to get some sizable traction.
But you have to hit that date. And don’t forget to factor in any pertinent lead times here too.
On a different but related note, you need to think along the lines of when people are most receptive to content. They may not want to engage with it at work, for instance. So you might want to send lengthier pieces out at going-home time.
Again, using the content management features of a good CMS system, either headless CMS or otherwise, can help you organize your output around the dates you need it to go out, across all channels.
Trounced by the competition
This can be very disheartening. You’re doing your best to produce killer content but you’re getting whacked out of the park on SERPs, where you languish way beneath your frankly substandard competitors. How do they do it?
There are of course many factors that can affect your SERP rankings. A big one is time. In other words, you just haven’t earned it yet, baby. Keep producing consistent content and your SERP stock will rise.
There must be something you can do in the meantime, though, right? Yes, of course. Good old SEO. There’s no escaping it - it’s vital for your site’s performance. You could write like Oscar Wilde, but if people aren’t searching for Lady Windermere’s Fan, you’re not going to get read. So do consider working with an SEO expert to give your content a tune-up.
Keywords are the order of the day, so utilize a good keyword finder. Yes, they can be awkward to fit in when your keyboard doesn’t number a shoehorn among its additional features, but do your best. It can be quite a stimulating challenge in itself and can be a bit of a workout for your creative muscle.
This one’s not unrelated to the last one. You were expecting that the genius content on your site might generate some seriously heavy traffic, but it’s just not happening. You use Google Analytics to monitor your site’s performance and you don’t like what you see. It might be the case that you need to get among the SEO weeds again. It certainly can’t hurt.
Or it could be that you need to spread the word a little more yourself. Thought about a newsletter? Now could be the time to start sending one out to that email list of opt-ins. Or you might want to go large with social media for a while. Of course, what you’re doing here is using content marketing in order to direct people to, well, more of your content marketing. But whatever works.
One final tip. You might think your site is Zeus compared to lesser content sources. But always remember that your content shouldn’t just be for you. It’s great if you’re enjoying what you’re producing, but in order to have commercial value, it needs to find fans in other people.
For this reason, it’s worth asking others for their thoughts on your output. No, it’s not always easy to hear. But it’ll be easier on the pocket than the titanic disengagement unappealing content will entail.
And while you’re taking opinions on board, think about how the appetites revealed might lead to a bit of future content curation, as well as some input on future content delivery needs.
Show me the money
The final trip hazard we’ll cover here for content creators is not being able to link the content to any income generation.
This can be tricky because, although their business goals might require it, a creator might not want to sully their content with something as grubby as a cash grab. Or they might not want the customer to experience a big reveal moment when they discover why you wanted their attention in the first place.
But, ultimately, content creation has to be in the interests of selling. Yes, as we’ve seen, it excels at brand promotion and loyalty generation etc, but these are just stepping stones en route to turnover.
So, if you’re not sure how the captivating content you’re able to produce can result in income, look into routes such as affiliate marketing, sponsorship, coaching, consulting, influencer partnerships, and video monetizing… the list is quite extensive.
Or it might be the case that you have a monetization strategy in place but it’s just not delivering.
In this case, it’s worth having a look at your CTA and its part in the user experience. If it’s not compelling or just not visible enough you might want to soup it up a bit. People will only respond to a CTA if they like the sound of it. Or if they can hear it in the first place. On the subject of which…
Go forth and create
So now you should be reasonably content about content. Using the above tips, you’ll be ready to face and overcome the challenges that all too often beset content creation teams. You’ll be inputting content into your headless CMS in no time.
Just remember that, even with the most basic websites, the name of the game is communication. In other words, reach out of that silo or garret or wherever you’re sitting in front of your computer, and connect with people. That way lies both inspiration and traction. Go to it.