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Content Marketing: Top Challenges, Tactics and Trends

Content marketing has long been part of the marketing mix for many brands (John Deere for example began publishing its own magazine in 1895!), though the term seems to have only recently gained popularity. Today nearly every brand has adopted some form of content creation strategy as a way to engage consumers in its story and hopefully deepen brand loyalty. While this approach has been practiced for decades, what has changed are the tactics brands are using and the challenges associated with creating content.

Top tactics content marketers use
According to Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends research report, content marketers are using more tactics than ever before. The top 12 primary tactics in content marketing include (in order of most used):
▪ Social media (not including blogs)
▪ Articles published on the brand’s website
▪ E-newsletters
▪ Blogs
▪ Case studies
▪ Videos
▪ Articles published on other websites
▪ In-person events
▪ White papers
▪ Webinars and webcasts
▪ Research reports
▪ Microsites

A few others worth mentioning include eBooks, mobile marketing, infographics, podcasts, mobile apps and digital magazines. Mobile content will likely see the biggest increase in the coming years.

The role of social media
While social media doesn’t fall under content marketing, it is used as tool to disseminate the content. It’s no surprise more brands and marketers are utilizing social media to engage consumers in their content, but what is surprising is the sites they are using to do it.

Twitter has traditionally been the top channel for distributing content, with Facebook not far behind. LinkedIn, however, became the channel of choice last year, with 83 percent of marketers adopting it – a 12 percent jump over the previous year. Pretty surprising shift!

Other channels included all of the regular suspects (in order of use after LinkedIn and Twitter):
▪ Facebook
▪ YouTube
▪ Google+
▪ Pinterest
▪ SlideShare
▪ Vimeo
▪ Flickr

The challenges
Content marketing has proven absolutely essential in today’s world, but it doesn’t come without its challenges as most business owners can attest to. According to the research report, the greatest challenge brands are met with is producing enough content. Another challenge, though not as pressing, is creating content that actually engages.

Luckily there are a number of solutions to overcome these two challenges such as repurposing content to be used across multiple channels, sourcing content from your crowd/fans, or assigning specific types of content to different individuals within your organization.

If you have limited resources, pick a couple of the aforementioned tactics and stick to them. Don’t feel like you have to be everywhere. If you know you can produce great videos that provide value and are engaging, stick to it. If eBooks are your thing, focus on creating those. Do what you do and do it well, don’t spread yourself too thin or create content just for content’s sake. Keep in mind, the key to effective content marketing is providing some sort of value to your audience.

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