We’re still at the start of a new year, which means in the marketing world we’re not only kick-starting this year’s campaigns but we’re also thinking about the challenges we’re going to face throughout the rest of the year.
Marketing is a very fast-paced industry, with trends emerging and changing on a daily basis. As professional marketers, our clients expect us to keep ahead of these and be able to adapt our strategies and tactics in near real-time. By working our marketing magic, we should be able to keep pace with the changes and continue to reach customers with content that they find informative, entertaining and compelling. Because that’s what ultimately results in us generating leads and cinching the sale.
But, as with most things, that’s so much easier said than done. With that in mind, here are top 5 challenges facing not only myself, but every content marketer out there in 2020.
1. Declining reach of organic posts
This trend has been happening for a while. Facebook in particular has led the charge away from organic posts that companies use to try and sell their products to their current customer base for free. Instead, their complex algorithms are now pushing organic posts down the pecking order of feed posts thereby forcing businesses into increasing their spend on digital advertising. As Facebook now owns Instagram, this is also a trend replicated on that platform.
This challenge in turn creates a whole host of other challenges for content marketers. It’s not as simple as deciding not to do any organic social posts and throw the whole budget at digital advertising. Because people are also sick of constantly being bombarded with adverts! Instead, throughout 2020 we’re going to need to reassess the balance of paid and organic content. We’re also going to need to keep pushing for more dynamic forms of content; for example, prioritising video over static images. Creating high-quality video content
2. Creating high-quality video content
That brings me onto my next content challenge: how can businesses create high-quality video content? This is often a content marketing stumbling block as it does require a higher time and financial investment. However, there is a scale of creating videos – from filming yourself chatting on Instagram stories to Hollywood movies. And you should be somewhere in-between, not aiming to create a blockbuster film!
A key for marketers who want to increase the amount of video content they’re producing will be to:
- Encourage clients to make a small investment into the right equipment. I’d recommend starting off with a Rode wireless lapel microphone that plugs into a smartphone. Most modern smartphone cameras will have a good enough camera to film short videos for social media.
- Upskill with video editing software, like Adobe Premier Pro. Shooting video isn’t the hard bit – it’s editing it well that will make the difference and will get good results on social media.
- Plan videos a month ahead with a content calendar. Try not to rush video as I think it’s better to put out a high-quality post with static content than a shabby video.
3. Creating a compelling brand story
Story-telling has been a marketing staple for many years now. We all know that the best way to engage your current and prospective customers is to have a strong story that brings your brand to life. And the way you tell this story? Through your content, of course.
The challenge is making the story stand out while also keeping it authentic. Today’s consumers can see right through insincere stories and false claims that businesses make. And they’re not afraid to shout about it on social media and via word of mouth to their peers.
It’s also not just about the story itself, but the way you tell a brand’s story. Different messages may need to be communicated in different ways across the various channels you use, but they should all link together to form the essence of a brand.
4. Keeping content consistent across all channels
Challenge number 4: keep your content consistent across all channels. You certainly need to make sure you’re tailoring content for each individual channel to maximise engagement, but it should also all look like it belongs to the same brand. And that’s not just down to visuals, but also the tone of voice and the messages you choose to share.
The challenge in 2020 is that there are now so many channels that our customers are using. And you often have no way of knowing exactly which ones they’re on. So content needs to work whether customers are going to see it once because they only follow you on one channel, or whether they’ll see the same thing 5 times because they follow you on all your channels. Keep it consistent, but not boring.
5. Measuring ROI
And finally, the perennial marketing challenge: measuring your return on investment. This is particularly challenging with organic content. Yes, there are stats you can measure, like reach, engagement, click-through rate etc., but how do you measure when a customer sees your post, really likes it, shows it to all their friends on their phone but doesn’t actually engage with it by liking, commenting or sharing on the platform?
Ultimately, there will always be a bit of a dark spot when we’re considering the customer journey. Journeys are now so complex that we will probably never be able to explicitly say how effective individual tactics have been. So it’s more about big picture ROI analysis. Since you’ve implemented content changes, have you seen an overall increase in leads or purchases? After all, this is the main point of your marketing activity!
What other challenges do you think we’ll face in content marketing in 2020?