We know content marketing is important. It improves Search Engine Optimization (SEO), boosts paid media – including Pay-Per-Click and Display advertising – and enhances lead generation and Conversation Rate Optimization. It also is one of the best ways to position yourself as an expert or thought leader. Although we know content marketing is critical, many business and non-profit leaders fall short in actively promoting their thought leadership.
Here are four obstacles that slow or stop the proactive marketing of your work and service offerings, and how you can overcome them:
1. Being in Reactive Mode
If you work in a high stress industry, you may feel tossed around like the waves in the sea. This feeling emerges when your organizational culture or behavioral pattern is to jump from one crisis to another. When this happens, it can become difficult to slow down and make long-term plans. While legitimate problems certainly arise, sometimes in rapid succession, not every problem is yours to solve. You also do not have to be mired down in the myriad issues plaguing your industry, especially if you lack the expertise to do so. Elect instead to focus on the areas in which you specialize. In that way, you are able to have the greatest impact and the time (and the forward-thinking necessary) to promote your work.
Solution: To get out of reactive mode, use the beginning of the year to create an editorial calendar. This will enable you to predetermine what content you will produce and when you will produce it. While the schedule may shift occasionally (to address an unforeseen crisis, for example) having an idea of what you want to highlight and when, will keep you focused and on track.
2. Narrowly Focusing on Service Delivery
It is important to focus on the reason you are in business. After all, by sticking to your core business, you increase the likelihood that you will fulfill your mission, keep your board and investors happy, and keep the doors to your organization open. But if you spend 100 percent of your time on service delivery, without designating a team to focus on how you position your business or nonprofit in the market, you are making a major mistake. By investing in both service delivery and content marketing, you will remain visible, increase demand for your products and attract new opportunities and clients.
Solution: Change your perception of what it means to be effective. Transition from a mindset focused narrowly on fulfilling your mission to one that sees the benefits of fulfilling your mission and actively sharing your work with others who could benefit from it. This is less about promoting for the sake of promotion. It’s about ensuring long-term sustainability by ensuring enough people know about what you do to support continual demand for your services.
3. Resting on Your Laurels
Both success and failure are memorable. But success brings bragging rights. In the context of content marketing, one season of intentional, impactful outreach is great. But it will only carry you so far. As long as the doors of your organization remain open, you will need to be intentional about consistently promoting your work. You will never get to the point where you have “arrived.” Even for people such as Oprah, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jack Dorsey, who have attained incredible success, they must constantly reinvent and improve their products if they would like to remain viable and visible. For instance, after having the number one daytime show in ratings, Oprah went on to launch a magazine and a cable network. She, and scores of other leaders, did not stop at the first, second or third whiff of success. If they continued striving for progress, and you must as well.
Solution: To ensure you do not fall into the trap of resting on your laurels, solicit regular input from clients, customers and critics. The feedback received will help you identify areas for improvement.
Like anything else, some of us thrive under pressure. This means we will put off doing the things we need to do to create an artificial sense of pressure. Sometimes we know we should think strategically about sharing our content, but push it off because it’s not as alluring as other items on our “To Do” list. But procrastinating can make meeting your content marketing goals less likely.
Solution: If you are prone to procrastination, then schedule time each at the beginning of each month to review your content marketing goals. Make it a calendar entry if you must. Once you have scheduled time to review how you are sharing your content, you may be less likely to blow it off.