If you constantly face content marketing problems, you’re not alone. Limited resources, weak strategy, ineffective content—there are so many obstacles. No matter the industry or company size, marketers at all levels face the same challenges, according to the Ascend2 2016 State of Content Marketing survey of both B2B and B2C marketers. What are the biggest challenges? What types of content do marketers see as most effective? We dig into the survey results and offer our tips to help ease your content marketing pain.

The Biggest Content Marketing Problems

While every brand has different goals, survey respondents say increasing lead generation, improving customer engagement, and increasing brand awareness are top priorities.  

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There are many factors that turn your audience from passive viewers into active customers. There is no single prescription for achieving your content marketing goals. Content marketing is a delicate puzzle, supported by everything from site traffic to content quality. But if you’re struggling with similar content marketing problems, here are a few things to consider.

Build brand awareness: Building a brand is relentless work. Every touchpoint of your organization is an opportunity to communicate who you are. When it comes to visual content, this is especially important, from your sales pamphlets to your infographics. Establishing a strong visual language is an important component here.

Engage your audience: There are more platforms and mediums available than ever before, and each provides a unique opportunity to engage your audience. Review the types of content you are currently investing in. There may be more opportunities to experiment than you realize.

Get more traffic: Creating good content is only one part of the equation. Getting eyes on your content is a whole other game. Is your content optimized to get you the most traffic?

The Biggest Content Marketing Problems

According to the Ascend2 survey respondents, lack of effective strategy and lack of content creation resources remain the most significant content marketing problems. Unsurprisingly, both are related to the third biggest problem: budget constraints.

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Just like most things in life, it all comes down to time, money, energy, and direction. In content marketing, it’s all interconnected. You need solid direction to come up with solid ideas. You also need the right resources to make those things happen. It’s the circle of content marketing life. However, we believe in working smarter, not harder. Over the years we’ve found a few hacks that help us power through these content marketing roadblocks.

Crush your content strategy: Whether you’re a one-person content marketing machine or the head of a huge marketing department, having a strong plan is the only way to help you create good content and streamline workflow.

Come up with smarter ideas: If you’re stuck in a content rut, mix it up with fresh ideas that are on-strategy.

Do more with what you have: There’s nothing more frustrating than pouring your heart and soul into a project that, well, doesn’t have legs. If you’re putting in the work, it better work for you.

Mix up your content: Get out of your comfort zone. Your audience wants to get content where they are, whether that’s on your site or Twitter feed.

How Content Marketers Stand Up to the Competition

Half of the surveyed marketers consider their content to be somewhat successful, but only 16% consider themselves to be best in class, compared to competitors. This shows just how much all marketers struggle to get the results they want from their content. 

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So, how do you get your audience’s attention? How do you keep their attention? And how do you keep them away from your competition? By building a strong relationship. Every time you interact with your audience, you should communicate who you are, what you do, and what you’re about. Consumers are loyal to the brands they believe in; make them believe in you.

Differentiate through branding: Building a strong brand identity that your audience can relate to is one of the best ways to stand out in a sea of content. 

The Most Effective Content Marketing

The survey also reveals that fact-based content, such as research reports, is most effective. Regularly posting on a blog also provides continuous engagement with customers and prospective clients.

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It isn’t necessarily surprising that most content marketing problems start with content. With more mediums available than ever before, it’s an exciting time to be a content marketer. But remember that just because you create something doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. It still has to be good. If you’re creating the same content with less-than-awesome results, maybe it’s time to explore a different medium or format. No matter what types of content you create, always follow best practices to tell your story in the most impactful way. 

Data storytelling:

Infographics:

Interactive Infographics:

Motion Graphics:

Video:

The Effectiveness of Content Marketing

89% of the survey respondents report that, while they are still facing content marketing problems, the effectiveness of their content marketing strategy is increasing. More than one-third of those companies said it was “increasing significantly.”

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One of the most significant content marketing problems facing many companies today is creating an effective strategy for content marketing success. Companies must find a balance between what is most effective and what is practical for the company.

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Design effective content: Content takes a lot of work to produce. Frankly, you’re wasting your own time if you aren’t working the right way. Luckily, there are plenty of resources to help you make the best content out there.

The Challenges of Creating Content

Marketers say videos/podcasts and research reports are the most difficult types of content to create, 64% and 62% respectively.

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Lack of in-house resources and capabilities to create content are persistent content marketing problems. Because content eats up time and resources, 72% of respondents either outsource all or part of their content creation. By doing so they are able to access specialized resources that aren’t readily available in-house.

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Get tools and people to help you: In this beautiful age of technology, you never have to do things entirely alone.

When it comes down to it, the best thing you can do for your content marketing efforts is to stay educated—and ask for help when you need it. We believe in doing good work with good people, so let us know if you have a content marketing problem. We’d love to help you solve it.