I’ve been helping B2B companies create content for more than 15 years. From blogs to email newsletters, case studies, social media posts and more, I’ve seen it all, and over that time, I’ve observed what’s worked and what hasn’t.
Some businesses are really effective at creating content; others, not so much. And while it may seem obvious, there are some “under-the-radar” reasons why this is the case, at least in my observations. So though this list isn’t exhaustive, it does encapsulate the top 5 challenges businesses have with creating content and why, when encountering these challenges, their content falls flat.
They don’t know why they want to create content.
I’ve had businesses come to me and tell me they need to create content, yet they’re not exactly sure why. They may say for SEO purposes, or because the competition is doing it, and those are good reasons to create content. But, in order for the content to stick and drive results, the businesses also need to understand the why behind the content. What do they want it to do for them? How is it tied to their business and its growth? What are some realistic expectations they've set for their content? If they don’t know this, then they’re creating content for the sake of it.
They don’t know what to create.
They think maybe they need to focus on a blog and an email but aren’t exactly sure. That’s OK; there are ways of determining what types of content will serve the business best by answering a few questions. For example, does the business have a list of email subscribers? If they do, a great way to reach the audience is through email, and if they don’t, they should prioritize collecting email addresses through a lead magnet, quiz or other content asset. At the same time, it’s important to understand how their audience consumes content and which social channels they’re on. The answers to all of these will help answer the question, what to create?
They underestimate the commitment that’s involved.
Content creation is not for the faint of heart. It takes time, energy and resources and oftentimes, I find that businesses don’t quite understand that until they start down the content creation path. One way to overcome this is to lay out a measurable yet manageable content plan that defines who’s going to create what, when it will be done, and how it will be distributed. This can keep everyone on task.
They don’t know what they want their content to do for them.
This relates to Challenge 1 above. I’ve had clients with completely unrealistic goals for their content, and clients with no expectations from their content whatsoever. I try to help my clients find something in the middle. For instance, content is probably not going to drive sales quickly, so thinking sales will increase by X% after posting a blog or case study will only bring disappointment. Don’t get me wrong; a case study can help drive sales, but it’s a slow drip. At the same time, posting a blog post to appease the SEO gods undervalues that blog post. Content can also be charged with directing traffic to a website, helping fans subscribe to an email newsletter or sending visitors to social media channels. My point? Content needs a purpose more than “fulfilling the need to post to a blog.”
They don’t give it enough time.
Content is a long game. It takes time and patience to see sustained results and that can be tough to swallow for many businesses. But, if they want their content to work for them, they need to not only keep at it, but also give it enough time to start to work.
So what's the best path forward when encountering these challenges? Stop and take stock. Get past the need of creating content and instead focus on the why. This will help frame the path forward.
And if you'd like some help on that path, please reach out and let me know. I'm on a mission to help B2B businesses create content that clicks with their readers and drives the business forward.