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Solutions to Common Content Marketing Challenges 

We know as well as anyone that creating high-quality content is challenging—maybe even more challenging than you anticipated. Your content marketing strategy requires a comprehensive roadmap for conception, creation, and execution.

An external content agency like Every Little Word can bring structure and expertise to the content development process. But the truth is that certain obstacles can rear their ugly head whether you’re handling content in-house or outsourcing it.

Overcome the most common content challenges, and you’ll be equipped to build and execute a content marketing strategy that brings your thought leadership to life. 

9 Steps to Unbeatable Content Development

Impactful content is rooted in a deep understanding of your audience’s needs and a well-structured operational plan. But where should you start?

These nine content marketing tips will get your team on the right path:

1. Enlist knowledgeable experts

  • Challenge: Your content is too generic.
  • Solution: Add the right subject matter experts to the conversation.

Once you’ve identified a content topic, your next task is to find the right subject matter expert (SME) to interview. 

All too often, companies rely solely on their executives as subject matter experts, but the CEO or Head of Marketing may not be the true SME on a given topic. When you craft content using incomplete information, you wind up with generic, uninspiring articles that don’t adequately represent your brand or offer value to your audience.

Whatever the subject matter, don’t settle for anyone other than the top expert in your organization. They don’t need to have a leadership title or be the most gregarious person in their department; they simply must know the topic inside and out and be willing to discuss it in depth.

2. Inspire enthusiastic buy-in

  • Challenge: Your SMEs give weak interviews.
  • Solution: Get buy-in with a personalized invitation.

Identifying your subject matter expert is only the first step. That individual also needs a clear understanding of what they’ll be doing and why their involvement matters.

You can interview the smartest person in the company and still wind up with mediocre content if they aren’t prepared. We’ve seen it before: an expert joins the call with no concept of why they’re there, what’s expected of them, or how their participation benefits the organization. The result can be a stilted chat with an irritated employee who only wants to get back to work.

Get buy-in from your SMEs by introducing them to the content development process and inviting them to prepare and participate. Here’s a script you can copy and customize:

Hi, [Subject Matter Expert’s Name],

We need your expertise!

[Company Name]’s marketing team is producing an interview-based article about [topic]. The article will appear [on the company blog/in the company newsletter/other] in [Q1/Q2/Q3/Q4] and will advance the company’s goals by [explanation of the article’s impact]. 

We would like to interview you as [Company Name]’s subject matter expert on this topic. You will participate in a half-hour conversation and share your insights and expertise on the topic. 

Please schedule your interview with [Interviewer’s Name] at [contact details] no later than [date]. Let [her/him/them] know if you’d like to review the interview questions in advance.

Thank you so much for all you do for [Company Name]. We can’t wait to learn from you and bring your knowledge to our audience of current and prospective [customers/clients]!

3. Facilitate useful feedback

  • Challenge: You have too many cooks in the content kitchen.
  • Solution: Establish a protocol for gathering helpful feedback.

Gathering feedback is a crucial step in the editing phase—IF the feedback is constructive, consolidated, and directed toward a common goal. Disorganized, unfocused commentary will only frustrate your writers and stall the entire content development process.

If the feedback you’re getting creates more problems than it solves, you need a feedback protocol. Depending on your organization’s size and structure, you may want to implement some of these procedures for procuring helpful feedback:

  • Set a feedback deadline
  • Task no more than two people to provide feedback
  • Identify a “last word” decision-maker to resolve conflicting comments

There are many ways to cultivate effective feedback, so find what works for you and stick to the process, no matter how many people want to contribute their two cents.

4. Identify your stakeholders early

  • Challenge: Last-minute stakeholders keep derailing your content calendar.
  • Solution: Don’t add new stakeholders during the review phase.

When you have a new content draft ready for review, you may be tempted to pass it around to different people throughout your organization. Instead, limit engagement to the stakeholders who have been with the project from the beginning (see tip #3).

New stakeholders may bring great ideas to the table, but the time for ideation has passed. You’ve completed the interview and drafting phases and are now editing and refining based on the existing strategy. 

Add a new stakeholder at this point, and you’ll find yourself backtracking to address ideas and questions that the rest of the team has already covered. Depending on the seniority of the new stakeholder, you could find yourself traversing an all-new content path, derailing your strategy, delaying the publication schedule, and overburdening the content team with new tasks.

Start each content workflow with all the stakeholders you’ll need, and only bring new people on board at the start of a project.

5. Keep the strategy simple

  • Challenge: You can’t seem to find the “perfect” time to publish.
  • Solution: Stop over-strategizing your content.

A strong content marketing strategy typically includes thoughtfully planned themes, seasonal messages, and topics that tie into broader company objectives. These elements contribute to a cohesive content development process and help content teams maintain their focus. But, strict adherence to the strategy should never take precedence over getting the work done.

When nothing is getting published because you’re trying to make everything “perfect,” you’re over-strategizing your content. There are no “perfect” strategies, “perfect” blog posts, or “perfect” publication times.

Getting your content DONE is almost always more important—and more effective—than trying to get it “perfect.” Interview the SME; write the article; publish the content; complete the project. Learn from the process, and iterate next time. That’s what matters most.

6. Use a “project” approach for each deliverable

  • Challenge: You can’t seem to meet your content deadlines.
  • Solution: Approach content creation like a project, not a task.

Whether you’re crafting a blog post, social media assets, an email newsletter, or something else entirely, recognize that each piece of content is its own mini-project.

Problems arise when people approach content creation like a single task, haphazardly passing it from one person to another until it’s complete. Without a clearly defined workflow, team members easily lose sight of their responsibilities, and deliverables get delayed. 

Use your project management system to develop a comprehensive project around every deliverable, with individual tasks outlining each step. Assign an owner and a due date to each task, link related tasks, and store relevant links and details in the task’s description.

Our team tracks every client’s content processes with a detailed project template that we customize for each deliverable. This approach empowers everyone on the team by providing clearly defined responsibilities and deadlines, allowing us to not only see individual tasks but also understand how these tasks fit into the bigger picture of the client’s content calendar. 

Build your content workflows into projects to ensure teamwide accountability and maintain visibility into how each piece of content is progressing. 

7. Stick to a consistent schedule 

  • Challenge: You don’t have a consistent publishing schedule.
  • Solution: Create an editorial calendar.

You’ll never consistently publish content unless you have an editorial calendar.

When an organization opts to manage its content entirely in-house, the content creation often becomes somebody’s “third job.” What are the results of a “fit it in where you can” approach? You guessed it: nothing ever gets published. 

An editorial calendar keeps your posting schedule on track and allows you to back into the due dates for each component of a content workflow, including interviews, writing and editing deadlines, and design requirements. 

When you work with an external partner to develop and manage your content, an editorial calendar comes standard—at least it does for Every Little Word clients! One of our earliest steps, in fact, is to collaborate with you on a content map that cements your strategy and provides a big-picture perspective of your messaging.

With an editorial calendar, content creation becomes a visible, vital part of a department’s workflow and a meaningful, measurable objective that advances the company’s goals.

8. Designate a “single source of truth” 

  • Challenge: Your content development processes are all over the place.
  • Solution: Appoint a Content Champion.

You can have the ideas, the people, and the calendar yet still struggle to keep your content engine firing on all cylinders. In-house content production is particularly prone to inefficiencies (not because in-house content teams are ineffective but because they are often pulled in too many directions). But even partner-managed content can get derailed if SMEs don’t show up for their scheduled interviews or stakeholders push approvals to the back burner. 

Like any other team in your organization, your content team needs and deserves a manager. We call this person your Content Champion.

The Content Champion may also hold another job title, or they could work in the role full-time. No matter how you designate this position, it should be a clearly defined, internal role with explicit responsibilities. 

The Content Champion coordinates stakeholders, consolidates feedback, and ensures that content moves efficiently from conception to publication. This individual doesn’t need to be a content creator, but they should be invested with the authority to keep the content development process on track and running smoothly.

9. Don’t treat formatting like an afterthought 

  • Challenge: Your published content isn’t properly formatted. 
  • Solution: Provide content management training and resources.

Deploying content is a skill in and of itself—one that requires skills far beyond simply clicking “Publish.” Publishing tasks like image sizing, text formatting, and metadata customization are critical to optimizing your content’s effectiveness, so you need a knowledgeable web publisher to manage these steps.

The person responsible for taking your content live must thoroughly understand blogging, social media, and email platforms. They need to understand optimal image sizes and how to crop an image to the correct dimensions and file size. This individual must have a solid grasp of how headers, tags, keywords, and meta descriptions interact to drive visibility and engagement. These details may seem insignificant, but they can significantly impact your content’s perception and performance.

If deployment skills aren’t already core competencies for someone on the content team, provide training and resources to get everyone up to speed. Content that’s published without current best practices applied won’t do a thing for your business. Prioritize publishing content that’s properly optimized, and you’ll be on track to meet your goals and fulfill your strategy.

Overwhelmed? An External Content Marketing Agency Can Help! 

You don’t need a huge marketing team or a dedicated content team to share great content with the world. 

As long as you have the ideas and the subject matter experts, you can successfully outsource your content marketing strategy and content development. Partner with Every Little Word, and we’ll use our signature approach to interview your SME, write high-quality content in your brand’s voice, gather and implement your feedback, format the final version, and even click “Publish” for you.

Build a Content Marketing Strategy That Works

Effective content marketing requires a unique blend of creativity and logistical planning. With the right team, clear communication, and a deep understanding of company goals, your content can become a powerful marketing tool that nurtures your existing clients and attracts new ones. Content can empower your internal team and draw new employees into the fold. And it can turn big ideas into powerful thought leadership.

Address challenges head-on, enlist help where needed, and soon, you’ll be generating impactful content that’s consistent and compelling.

Book a Discovery Call and learn how Every Little Word can help you kickstart your content strategy.

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