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Content Marketing World Dénouement: Five Challenges to Chew On

Creating great content means you'll face big challengesWhen more than 600 professionals in marketing, advertising and PR get together in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame City, you know the event is going to be a smash hit! Joe Pulizzi’s Content Marketing World 2011 was all that and more. The program agenda read like a who’s who in online marketing and included industry rock stars like Sally Hogshead, David Meerman Scott, Mike Stelzner, Brian Clark, Jay Baer, Lee Odden, Ann Handley and many, many more. Even at the end of two full days of seminars, panel discussions and content how-to’s, I was still trying to catch a waterfall in a water cooler cup.

For me, the focal point of the conference (beyond curiosity about Lady Gaga’s bizarre meat dress, currently on display at the Rock Hall) can be summed up in this phrase: fascinate, compel and convert your audience using the power of story. If you want to succeed in online marketing today, content must be a foundational pillar, not some website architect’s last-minute add-on.

Now, just four short days after leaving Cleveland, I’m living in the dénouement, wondering whether I can fit all this juicy beef on the skinny little stretched-out bun I call my normal life. As I continue to chew on ideas that have the greatest potential to empower Pole Position Marketing and our clients, I see five key challenges that many organizations must face in the process of implementing an effective content, search and social campaign.

  1. Time.
    Despite the Rolling Stones’ claim that Time is on My Side, that’s not true for a majority of business owners, marketing managers and communication coordinators. Writing blogs, snapping pix, staying on top of social media and capturing videos – even in “real time,” as David Meerman Scott calls it – all takes time. And not just once in a while. To see any fruit from your labors, you must devote time each day on a consistent basis and be prepared to handle the unexpected opportunity or crisis. All quick tips aside, how committed are you to garnering online attention and sales? You’ll need to prove it with your time.
  2. Resources.
    You’ve Got a Friend, right? Hopefully, more than one because running a successful content+search+social campaign means having access to the “write” resources. With fewer FTEs on staff these days (or perhaps no other FTE but you), less must be more. However, a marketing specialist isn’t necessarily a writer. And a writer isn’t necessarily a programmer. And a programmer isn’t necessarily a writer or a marketing specialist. (You can usually be guaranteed of the last one.) So, if you need help in these areas, whom do you turn to? Agencies are good, but what if you can’t afford one on an ongoing basis? (That’s another resource issue!) If you are one of the few resources – or the only resource – at your company, you will need to determine just how much you can do or afford on a consistent basis.
  3. Creativity.
    While Natasha Bedingfield is staring at the blank page (I can relate), Sally Hogshead makes it clear how important it is to “fascinate” in the world of online content. After all, we’re appealing to readers who, according to Hogshead, have the attention span of a gold fish. But, it’s tough to be creative when you’re working on 10 different projects at once or only had a few hours of sleep. And, if you don’t feel that you’re naturally fascinating (Hogshead says we all have to unlearn how to be boring), what will it take for you to get “in the zone”?
  4. Know-how.
    Shania’s not impressed much by rocket scientists, so people who are into online marketing are in luck: it’s not rocket science! But, it IS a rapidly changing field that requires some technical knowledge or (back to #2) knowledgeable resources. Good news here… If you’ve got the time (#1), you can find all the information you need to create, monitor and measure a content campaign, often for free. You just have to wade through tons of online content to learn!
  5. Speed.
    High Speed “you on” in the of world of digital marketing. Things may happen and be over before you even realize anything of importance occurred in your industry. So, to compete online, you must constantly monitor what’s going on and be, at the very least, responsive. Proactive would be better. Do you have all the tools in place that will allow you to create, implement, broadcast and share content quickly (see #4)? Or, may perfectionism, fear or lack of time and/or resources hold you back?

I’m pragmatic by nature (or perhaps by nurture), and I much prefer to acknowledge the foes I face in all areas of life. It gives me the advantage going in, as well as a darn good chance that I’ll prevail in the long run. These challenges – time, resources, creativity, know-how and speed – are my Content Marketing World dénouement, and I will have to overcome them to achieve success in my career as a content marketer.

In the end, I wonder, “Have I bitten off more than I can chew?” It doesn’t matter. I want to taste victory.

Did you attend Content Marketing World last week? If yes, tell me about your experience. Share your comments below or follow me at @martijen or at @PolePositionMkg.

Jen Carroll

Jen Carroll, Pole Position Marketing’s social media and content marketing strategist, brings more than 15 years of business writing and communication experience to Pole Position Marketing. She can also talk your ear off about English lit, history, J.R.R. Tolkien and scads of other captivating topics. Mention them at your own risk. Read Jen’s full bio.

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2 Responses to Content Marketing World Dénouement: Five Challenges to Chew On

  1. Glad to hear the event went well. In regards to #4, I always am reminding myself “what you thought you knew yesterday might not be true today”. In this industry you have to keep up!

    • Jen Carroll says:

      So true, Sarah! Online marketing can get away from you so quickly. Content Marketing World was a great place to get a sense of the industry’s direction in the coming year.