Top 10 Problems Marketers Face in Building a Content Operation

11 minute read

Upland Admin

“Brands must become publishers!” is the rallying cry of the content marketing revolution. More and more marketing departments are joining in the movement and are creating content focused on their customers’ interests instead of their own products. They are finding, of course, that this is a much better way to attract prospects and move them toward becoming new customers.

But as brands make this transformation, they get stuck in the many operational challenges of being a publisher. That’s where Kapost comes in: Our software platform manages the content marketing operation from end to end.

I spend most of my time talking to marketers and learning about their challenges in being publishers. Below, I’ve compiled the Top 10 Problems Marketers Face in Building Their Content Operations, as well as the solutions that Kapost offers to these problems.

CubaGallery via Flickr for The Content Marketeer

Photo Credit: CubaGallery via Flickr

1. Your Strategy Is Not Connected to Your Content Operation

The best practice for crafting a content marketing strategy is well known: Identify your personas; identify your buying stages; understand what the persona’s concerns and interests are at each stage; and develop content that addresses those concerns. In this way, your content pulls in prospects and carries them all the way to customer.

But after these strategic content plans are created, they most often then sit in a PowerPoint on a shelf, gathering dust. Kapost’s platform enables you to make your strategic plan part of your day-to-day operation, with all content collaborators staying on plan, making sure your content engages your buyers according to your strategy.

2. You Don’t Have Enough Content Ideas

Many marketers who jump into content marketing get stuck on a fundamental question: “What content am I going to create day after day? What will we say?”

The best practice for generating ideas is to listen to the voice of the customer. After all, in content marketing, the content you produce will be about their interests and concerns, not your product. The specific best practice is to establish a process whereby your entire organization—particularly your sales, services, and support teams, the folks who are interacting with customers every day—can submit ideas into your content operation.

Kapost’s software manages just that process, enabling colleagues to submit ideas via web-based forms or email, and enabling marketers to easily process those submissions in a queue. With the platform managing the process, the content ideas start rolling in, thus unlocking your organization.

3. You Can’t Stop Bouncing Between Platforms

To succeed as a modern content marketer, you need to produce many types of content, including:

  • Ebooks and white papers
  • Blog posts
  • Emails
  • Landing pages
  • Videos
  • Images and infographics
  • Presentations
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • Social media posts

And these different content types need to be distributed to:

  • One or more company content management systems (e.g. WordPress)
  • YouTube, Brightcove
  • SlideShare
  • Eloqua, Marketo
  • ReadyTalk, WebEx, Adobe, GoToWebinar
  • Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc., etc.

A successful content marketer is then forced to be dancing daily between a dozen or more systems to upload content, cut and paste, review metrics, etc. Add to the complexity different logins across an organization with different access rights, and soon the content team quickly loses sanity.

Kapost, however, integrates all of these content destinations into a single content hub. All of your differing content types can be managed from Kapost, publishing to all those distinct destinations, and all the metrics can be collected in a central location. Marketing teams meet the challenge of many content types and destinations head-on with Kapost, allowing them to win.

4. Your Team Is Drowning in Spreadsheets

At Kapost, we’ve seen numerous content marketing spreadsheets. Our customers give us their spreadsheets when they make the switch to Kapost so that we can import their existing data into our system.

And have we seen some epic efforts! Spreadsheets with dozens and dozens of columns. Multiple worksheets. Color-coordinated. You name it. We’ve seen it.

But the keepers of these spreadsheets often come to us mumbling and drooling. They had everything set up perfectly. But they needed the whole team to collaborate on the spreadsheet. And then a few users came in, changed things around, and now it’s ruined. And that’s the sixth time it has happened. “Help me,” they beg. “Help me! I can’t take it anymore!”

Fear not, intrepid spreadsheet daredevils. You’ve tried your best, but as your content marketing operation scales, spreadsheet technology can only go so far. Kapost’s system was built for some of the world’s most powerful publishing organizations (Time Inc., Mashable, CBS, Gannett), so there’s no content operation it can’t handle. With Kapost’s content table, calendar, campaigns, and custom field functionality, your content operation will run like a well-oiled machine.

5. You Can’t Expand or Scale Your Content Operation Because Collaboration Is Too Hard

Content marketing has to be coordinated. Different components of marketing—demand gen, social, design, retention, PR—need to be involved. For some companies, collaboration needs to cross product lines, geographies, even divisions. External freelancers and agencies are often included. Content succeeds when all groups can work together.

But as more and more stakeholders are included, collaboration breaks down. It becomes harder and harder to keep everyone on the same page in terms of plans and deadlines. Information can’t be filtered effectively to meet the needs of particular groups of stakeholders. So groups pull back into silos, and the content effort fails to gain the scale and collaboration it needs to truly succeed.

Kapost, on the other hand, can coordinate the content marketing activities of large sets of stakeholders. The biggest Kapost installations involve hundreds of collaborators. Information can be partitioned and filtered by any attribute (product line, geography, etc.) so that users see the view that matters to them. Kapost breaks down the silos, enables collaboration across groups, and gives your content marketing the scale and coordination it needs to succeed.

6. Your Content Is Regularly Stuck in the Approval Process

For content to go from idea to published and out the door, it often requires lots of approvals. Copy editors have to make sure the text is sufficient. SEO experts need to give it the “search” green light. Attorneys must weigh in to be sure it presents no legal complications. Or, most often, senior marketing managers need to give it the thumbs-up before it is published.

And all of these steps in the process can clog up a content marketing operation and prevent it from achieving the velocity it needs to succeed.

Kapost’s content marketing workflow engine can streamline your approval processes. We set up custom workflows for each of your content types, based on your needs and operation. As tasks are completed, automatic notifications go out to the appropriate parties to let them know whose task is next. The Kapost dashboard always displays the current task (and the current assignee) for each piece of content, so there’s no confusion.

With Kapost, all of your collaborators are well notified, your approval bottlenecks are broken down, and your content marketing operates at the speed you need to win.

7. You Don’t Know Where All the Content Is

Successful content operations publish high volumes of content to many different locations: blog posts to your website; e-books on SlideShare; syndicated posts on influential sites; videos on YouTube; etc.

But this success produces another challenge: Where is all of that content stored?! In particular, as content is produced, it needs to be re-used in other formats (the video needs to be embedded in a landing page; the white paper broken down into a few blog posts) or by other groups (PR wants to use a presentation in a release; sales needs a white paper to close a deal).

Kapost serves as the single content repository that your team can use to find the content it needs. With no file storage limit, Kapost holds all of your different types of content: blog posts, e-books, white papers, case studies, videos, etc. And users can search through the repository using a text search (a la Google) or through filtering different facets (like Content Type or Product Line, a la Amazon).

8. You Struggle to Schedule a Steady Flow of Content

Successful content marketing operations publish a steady stream of content. To attract prospects at the top of the funnel, you need a regular flow of content published to your website and on your social channels. To nurture leads through your funnel, you need to provide new content consistently for your demand generation operation.

Managing this schedule—coordinating the production and timing of dozens of pieces of content on a non-stop basis—is a challenge for most marketers. Oftentimes content spews forth in bursts, leaving gaps for your audiences. Web traffic suffers. Demand generation teams are stuck will stale content, and lead gen declines.

Kapost manages and schedules your content operation at three levels, ensuring a steady flow of content. At the highest level, Kapost schedules your campaigns: the broad themes of content that you produce across longer periods of time in coordination with your other marketing activities. At the next level, Kapost schedules your individual pieces of content, tracking both the due date (of draft submission) and publish date. At the lowest level, Kapost schedules the individual tasks required to produce and publish your content pieces.

All of these level are viewable on Kapost’s editorial calendar, along with the ability to filter by level or by any content attribute (category, content type, persona, etc.). Color-coded, the Kapost editorial calendar puts marketers in control of their content schedule, ensuring a steady flow of content to power your marketing operation.

9. You Are Publishing Content, but Your Traffic Is Low

For many marketers, becoming a publisher of customer-facing content is a major focus. But they soon realize publishing is only half the battle. Content only succeeds if it generates traffic. And generating traffic for your content is the other half of the battle.

The best practice for generating traffic is to earn links from influencers. Influencers are people or organizations in your niche of an industry with a large audience (site visitors, Twitter followers, etc.). Links from these influencers can send traffic your direction and can improve your search rank, which sends more traffic.

If you’re not sure where to start, Copyblogger has a great article on creating an influencer plan for content marketing.

10. You Can’t Tell What Is Working and What Is Not

Content marketing involves lots of steps: creating a strategy; generating ideas; scheduling, producing, and distributing content; engaging influencers; and generating an audience. If you’ve come that far, congratulations.

But few content marketing operations are overnight successes. Rather, they require continuous improvement, which over time yields success. And that improvement requires insight into what’s working and what’s not.

Using typical analytics tools, marketers can track their overall web traffic as they always have. But content marketing requires deeper insight in order to see the trends that point to success. Insight that can answer such questions as:

  • Whose ideas are creating the successful content?
  • Are you producing a good distribution of content across your different personas?
  • Which channels are providing the best results?
  • Are you producing enough content for each of your product lines?
  • Which influencers are providing the most traffic?
  • Which content creators are winning the most links?
  • What types of content are attracting new visitors?
  • What content is keeping them around and moving them down the funnel?

Only Kapost’s analytics can answer these questions, because only Kapost knows all of the deep meta-data around our content: who submitted the idea for that content; who created it; which persona was targeted; which campaign it belongs to; which product line it relates to.

And it is only through these deeper insights that marketers can see the patterns around which content is succeeding and which content is not, allowing them to refine their content strategy, improve their performance, and win on the new playing field of marketing: content.

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