Study: 37 bloggers admit their biggest content challenges
Content marketing has become an increasingly important strategy for businesses and solopreneurs. One reason could be because owned content platforms, such as blogs and social media, are effective methods for reaching audiences.
This is an incredible opportunity for business owners because they now have access to tools and resources that allow them to compete more evenly with larger companies. Telling your story has never been easier.
But here’s the problem…
Because content has become so important, many businesses are struggling to keep up with the demands of their audience.
We wanted to discover the most significant content challenges
We wanted to dive a bit deeper into this issue to discover what the most significant challenges are, so we conducted a small study of our own.
We spoke with 37 content creators in a variety of industries, and asked them the following question:
Here’s what we discovered:
CHALLENGE #1: Finding time to write content
51% of content creators say that time is their biggest content challenge.Study: majority of content creators say their biggest challenge is finding time to write content. Click To Tweet
My biggest challenge in terms of actually creating the content for my site is finding the time to do it.
My blog is a high priority on my weekly to-do list, but I also write for other (much larger) websites, so I tend to put those responsibilities first. I have tons of ideas for new blog posts and features for Productivity Theory, there just aren’t enough hours in the day for me to do the paid freelance writing that I love and also write on every single topic that comes to mind for my site.
– Kayla Matthews, Productivity Theory
Is content volume important?
Essentially, every post you publish is an opportunity to drive new traffic to your site, which increases your brand’s visibility and ability to generate sales leads.
As a result, it’s understandable why bloggers feel pressured to meet high content volume demands.
So what can content creators do to pump out content more efficiently?
Tip: Consider publishing guest posts
If you’re having trouble finding time to write enough content for your site, create opportunities for other experts in your field to publish content of their own.
Often times content creators are willing to share their ideas on other sites to increase their own brand visibility.
Tip: Let your articles write themselves
Instead of spending your time generating your own unique content, leverage other people’s ideas and content to your own benefit.
I’m not suggesting you plagiarize other people’s content. Instead, you could curate some great content within your niche and publish a “Best blog posts about __” article, or you could conduct a research study and publish the results (like this!).
Think creatively about how you can create tons of value without spending tons of time.
Tip: Outsource writing tasks
Think about which specific writing tasks take the most time. Research? Planning? Writing? Editing? Promoting?
CHALLENGE #2: Content that drives action
It’s clear that people recognize the importance of creating great content. However, some of these content creators admit they don’t know how to create content that helps them achieve their business outcomes.
Based on our study, 14% of content creators struggle to create content that drives action.14% of content creators struggle to create content that drives action. Click To Tweet
What does action mean?
Quite simply, anything that brings your business closer to achieving its business objectives.
If someone simply reads your article and leaves your site, it’s a missed opportunity for you business to potentially gain a new customer.
However, if after reading your article they sign up for your newsletter or submit a sales query through your contact form, that person has begun moving through your sales funnel and has provided your business with an opportunity to close a sale in the future.
So how do you encourage your audience to take action through your content?
Tip: You must solve your audience’s challenges
Don’t expect your audience to take action just because they like you, or because they like your content. Expect your audience to take action because it benefits them.
Let me explain…
Some content creators think that simply creating great content will inspire their audience to purchase a product from them. Sort of as a ‘thank you’ for giving them something interesting to read.
People generally behave in their self interest. They will purchase your product if it genuinely adds value to their life. So it’s critical that you know what these challenges are, and that you offer a product or services that addresses these needs – and perhaps more importantly, you need to be great at communicating this message to them.
Tip: Focus on building an email list
Your audience may or may not be in the market for your products/services in the moment they visit your site. However, over the duration of a few weeks, months, years, they may become more interested in your brand if you can clearly demonstrate why it benefits them.
But here’s where a lot of businesses miss the mark:
They don’t make any efforts to engage with these potential customers over the long term. Instead, they let them leave their site without any attempts to further develop that relationship that was just initiated.
So here’s what you need to do: build an email list.
Email marketing is one of the most effective strategies for building relationships and generating sales.
Think about it, by giving you permission to contact them via email, you can communicate with your audience whenever you want. You don’t need to spend money on advertising or your time on promoting.
CHALLENGE #3: Promoting content
14% of content creators say that promotion is their biggest content challenge.
But why is content promotion important anyways?
Well, from an SEO standpoint, social signals and earned backlinks are important ranking factors for organic search. Also, active promotion helps get your content in front of new audiences, increasing your brand’s visibility and your reputation as a thought leader.New study discovers that content promotion remains a significant challenge for content creators. Click To Tweet
We just published a great resource about blog promotion:
CHALLENGE #4: Maintaining content quality
11% of bloggers have difficulties maintaining the quality of their content.
Measuring content quality is challenging because there’s so much ambiguity. Why is this post considered a higher quality than that post? There’s no definitive benchmark for measuring quality.
Gold quality is measured using the 24-point karat scale. Air quality is measured using the air quality index.
So here’s our advice regarding content quality:
Tip: Create a quality scale that works for your business
The great thing about digital content is that it’s incredibly measurable. You can evaluate how many people visited your site, signed up for your newsletter, shared your content on social media.
My recommendation is to identify the most important metric(s) that you think exemplifies “quality” for your content. For example, if you’re trying to develop audience relationships, perhaps the amount of social media shares each post gets indicates a positive movement towards the development of that relationship.
Or, perhaps your business is more focused on generating sales leads, so the amount of product inquiries a page generates is an indication of its quality.
Whatever it is you identify, make sure you and your team are clear on what you’re trying to achieve and then create an ongoing evaluation plan to help you measure the quantifiable success of each post you publish.
CHALLENGE #5: Branding content
5% of content creators struggle with giving their content a brand.
Ignorant marketers may think “branding” simply means picking organizational colors and “coloring” all their content in the same way, so that it’s all consistent with each other.
Tip: Create a brand experience your audience enjoys
It’s not just about creating a consistent brand, it’s about creating a brand experience that your audience enjoys.
What does this mean with regards to creating content?
It means your content needs to be visually appealing and designed in a way that helps your readers easily digest your information. That’s right, content formatting does matter.
Here are some things to consider:
- Large chunks of text are hard to read on digital devices. Instead, make sure there’s enough white space on your page and break your text into small chunks.
- Add lots of visual elements – they make the user experience more enjoyable. If you don’t have images to break up your written text, add colorful and visual headings or icons (like we’ve done here!).
- Implement storytelling components. You’re not writing the next Harry Potter book; however, you should write your blogs in a way that takes readers on some sort of journey. I try to do this by introducing a challenge, discussing the ramifications of that challenge, and outlining our strategy for discovering a solution to that challenge.
CHALLENGE #6: Polishing content
A small 3% of our respondents said that polishing content was a major challenge for them.
“My main challenge isn’t creating content – I get a ton of stuff to about 80% complete, but it’s the finishing from draft to published that hangs me up at times.”
– Dai Manuel, DaiManuel.com
CHALLENGE #7: Finding their voice
Another 3% said they had a challenge finding their voice.
If you have trouble finding your voice, it’s possible you don’t have a clear direction for your content. Or, put another way, your content doesn’t have a defined purpose for your business.
As a result, it might be helpful to think about why you decided to create content in the first place, then either re-valuate that strategy.