Halloween batsOctober isn’t just the month when the trees drop their leaves and the clocks turn back. ‘Tis also the season of Halloween, that spooky time of year when little monsters run amok, banging on neighbourhood doors in search of candy, and the one night of the year when all your worst nightmares come out to play.

OK, so we might be getting a little old to believe in the monsters that live under your bed variety but that doesn’t mean we’re above getting spooked by the odd demon of our own. In the world of content marketing, there exist a variety of common fears that many SMEs might find themselves beset by at times… and unfortunately, they aren’t all relegated to one night of the year. The good news is that with the right preparation and planning, you can face these fears and come out on top. Here’s how to do so:

The fear: Lack of time leaves you helpless

Face it: According to research from the Content Marketing Institute, 66% of UK marketers cite lack of time as the biggest challenge in their content marketing endeavours. There’s no running away from it – maintaining a quality company blog and promoting your content effectively eats up time. Instead of trying to manage it all yourself, it might be worth considering outsourcing to professionals you can trust to deliver the goods whilst you focus on what you do best – running your business.

The fear: Lack of engagement – your audience is silent as the grave

Face it: A recent survey by Microsoft has found that the average online reader has an attention span of eight seconds – one second less than the average goldfish. This means you only have eight seconds to capture you audience with your sparkling prose. However, this is easier said than done due to the intense amount of competition for attention that exists out there in the Internet ether. Deal with this fear by prioritising quality over quantity. You want your blog to be the Breaking Bad of the content world – a diamond standing head and shoulders above all the miscellaneous fluff out there. Even if you just publish one post a week make it count. How? Know your audience inside out and give them what they want to read.

The fear: Getting lost in a faceless crowd

Face it: Clever promotion is an integral part of a successful content marketing strategy that wants to avoid your expertly composed content disappearing, unnoticed, never to see the light of day again. Choosing the right social channels for your business depends on factors such as the typical social media habits of your audience and your specific content marketing goals – ensure you are clear on both. With social platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter developing increasingly inventive methods of segmenting audiences and ensuring posts reach the right audience, you might even want to consider paid promotion – an article published by the Content Marketing Institute earlier this year stated that budgets for paid content promotion are going up with 87% of content marketers saying they would be increasing or maintaining their budget for this sort of promotion.

Fear: Lack of strategy – a plan is essential for survival

Face it: According to the Content Marketing Institute, only 38% of B2B companies think their marketing is effective and only 35% have a documented content marketing strategy. Connection? We think so! Unless you want to risk your ROI getting the life sucked out of it by a wildly flailing content marketing campaign with no clear goals, plan of action or proof that it is working, be sure to spend time on developing and documenting a strategy. Keep goals realistic – building an audience and credibility does take time to achieve – and decide how it is you are going to measure your success. Tools such as Google Analytics will help prove your strategy is working or at least help you pinpoint the areas where you need to make some changes. Don’t forget to look at a variety of variables such as scroll depth – don’t just rely on page views if you want a holistic picture of visitor activity on your site. Remember, those who measure their content marketing are 12 times as likely to see their ROI grow – who can argue with those stats?

What has been your biggest content marketing concern to date? You might help allay another’s fears – remember, there’s strength in numbers.

Ben Hollom

October 29, 2015