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Content Marketing is Hard. So, What Can You Do About It?

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Author: Mark Nardone, Chief Marketing Officer at PAN Communications, headshot
Mark NardoneChief Marketing Officer
Content Marketing is hard - how to make it easier

Every year, marketers learn more about what consumers want. And every year, consumers want something a little different. The constant innovation is part of what makes the work interesting, but it also highlights a frustrating truth. In marketing content, precision is a fool’s errand.

Content teams don’t know exactly what works, and what works for one team might not work for another.

When marketing teams can’t be sure what is effective, a one-track content program isn’t enough. Their strategy must include the ability to try new things without abandoning a core plan, but marketing alone can only do so much. Few, if any, businesses have the ability to continue growing their department indefinitely—and even if they could, our data shows significant division on who to add to the team. So how do marketers explore new content avenues without burning out or breaking the bank?

Marketing teams don’t have to choose just one thing to go after or one way to do something if they can delegate some of their content. Smart marketers understand that pace is only half the battle—they need to publish at scale across multiple channels and content programs. And that requires activating employees across the company as both content producers and brand advocates.

Build a more engaging distribution strategy with an organized template.

Parallel Paths: Integrating Department Goals

Content is tricky. With the rare exception of a piece that goes viral, marketers need patience and persistence to help determine the viability of a strategy. Regardless of growth stage, even the best marketing team has its limits when it comes to both bandwidth and knowledge base.

While a core content strategy can and in most cases should run through marketing, the team can diversify content and lighten their own load by deputizing leaders across the company to manage mini content programs that run parallel to the core initiatives. By leveraging these different areas of the business, marketing can distribute new content types with differentiated insights and expertise—all without missing a stride in their core program.

One caveat here: As brands grow, that growth doesn’t necessarily signal growth of content. As your brand gets bigger, take the opportunity to become more targeted with a goal of building a more engaged audience.

Take your content marketing strategy to new heights with this battle-tested approach.

Employee Advocacy: Activating Your Biggest Supporters

While marketing content works to communicate the work of the business, and by extension attract new customers, it must also function as a means of sharing employee experience. Building the employer brand is top of mind for marketing teams today, and good teams are aware that they represent only a small subset of the company employees.

Sourcing content from current employees helps ensure an authentic and varied representation of the employee experience. This practice can improve employee satisfaction and help turn employees into critical brand advocates, while also painting a fuller picture for prospective employees on what it’s like to work for the company.

This starts with getting the HR and marketing teams in sync – in a way that they’ve never been before. Marketing teams can partner with HR to build a recruitment pipeline, similar to the buyer’s journey on the sales side.

Interested in brand storytelling? Read more in The Building Blocks for a Compelling Brand Story.

Social Reach: Building an Engaging Community

Despite its constant proliferation in so many parts of life, social media is still an underutilized tool for marketers, if in part because there simply are so many ways to use it. As much as brands may focus on a target audience for content, when it comes to social sharing, their audience may be significantly less homogeneous.

Fortunately, your employees are as diverse as your social following and can be an integral point of connection between the brand and the audience. Whether you focus on targeted retweets and shares, deputize employees to promote content from their own profiles, or authorize a select group to create original posts from the brand account, employees should be a part of social outreach.

Not sure if you should prioritize paid or organic social strategies? See what’s right for your brand in this blog.

Content is hard. Good content is even harder. And making sure your good content reaches the right audience at the right time is the hardest of all. Marketing teams will need to lead the way, but they don’t have to go it alone. As you read and process this year’s content insights, consider how employees can be a part of creative problem solving for your team.

An image of PAN's Brand Experience Report on the Potentials and pitfalls of AI for marketers

In our annual Brand Experience Report, we asked marketers and customers how they are using and experiencing AI to better understand how the technology is changing that relationship.