By Arnie Kuenn published May 6, 2014

How to Go “All-In” with Content Marketing: 8 Experts Weigh In

hands pushing poker chipsIn recent years, content marketing has continued to be one of the most popular online marketing strategies utilized by both B2B and B2C businesses. However, despite its widespread usage, businesses large and small continue to face challenges that keep them from feeling successful with content marketing. Whether the blame gets placed on a lack of time, budget, knowledge, training, or other difficulties involved in consistently producing the type of content that promotes engagement, it seems there are certainly some obstacles that need to be cleared before companies can become more comfortable going “all-in” with content marketing. 

To help get to the bottom of the issues so that our industry can start clearing them out of the way, I’ve asked eight top content marketing experts to share what they believe is the biggest challenge for businesses that want to go all-in with content marketing, and their suggestions for solving the problem.

Get the executive support you need to go all-in with content marketing. CMI’s guide to Mastering the Buy-in Conversation on Content Marketing provides stats, tips, and essential talking points to help you make a compelling case.

Scott AbelThe Content Wrangler, is an internationally recognized content management strategist who helps global organizations improve the way they author, maintain, and deliver information. 

mug shot-scott abelThe #1 challenge: “The number one challenge preventing businesses from going all-in with content marketing is that we have yet to go all-in with content. Most every organization today relies on outdated content production methods, like handcrafting content from scratch each and every time we need to communicate something to someone. Until we fix this, we’ll not be able to make content work to maximum benefit.”

How to solve it: “What’s needed is to think about content strategically, as a business asset worthy of being produced efficiently and effectively. If content were viewed as a line item on a balance sheet (as I believe it should be), we could see the cost of creating, managing, and delivering it, as well as the financial benefits of harnessing it for maximum impact.”

Jay Baer is the President of Convince & Convert, a social media and content marketing consultancy, and author of “Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype.”

mug shot-jay baerThe #1 challenge: “The biggest challenge for companies that fully embrace content marketing is often neglecting to understand how important content amplification really is. If you make it, they will not necessarily come.”

How to solve it: “You need to create useful content that people actually want to consume — absolutely. But you also need a great system for making sure people know that content exists. It takes production and promotion to succeed with content.”

Bernie Borges is CEO of Find and Convert, as well as a social business evangelist, blogger and host of the new digital TV show, “Social Business Engine.” 

mug shot-bernie borgesThe #1 challenge: “For most businesses, going all-in with content marketing is a journey. The number one challenge is reaching the ‘maturity’ stage in their journey to understand that they need to go all-in. So many businesses dabble in content marketing with false expectations. Going all-in with content marketing is like committing to running the Boston Marathon. It’s a huge commitment that requires a plan. It cannot be done lightheartedly. But, it starts with the understanding that to get the desired outcome, you have to go all-in.”  

How to solve it: “Start with the goal. For most businesses, the goal is some combination of brand building or lead generation or both. The plan has to identify the desired audience to reach, the topics they care about, and a content calendar. Study the competition to know how much better you need to be. Then, identify the resources needed to create content. In many cases the resources needed will be a mix of internal and external resources. If you’re serious about content marketing (all-in), build the plan and just go do it!”

Heidi Cohen is an actionable marketing expert in digital, social media, and content marketing.

mug shot-heidi cohenThe #1 challenge: “The biggest mistake that businesses make when they go all-in on content marketing is that more than great content is needed. Specifically, marketers are so focused on the need for amazing content that they overlook critical factors. 

How to solve it:

  1. “The need for appropriate resources (aka budget and employees): Strong content requires more than just text; it needs editorial direction, design/formatting, images, copy editing, and technology.
  2. The need for content marketing distribution: Great content by itself isn’t sufficient to attract an audience. It must be distributed across owned media, social media, and third-party platforms. In some cases, it requires advertising support.
  3. The need for effective website marketing: Remarkable content can inspire prospects to click through to purchase. But if your landing page(s) and purchase process aren’t efficient and effective at conversion, you’ll lose the sale.”

Barry Feldman owns and operates Feldman Creative, specialists in creating effective online marketing programs. 

mug shot-barry feldmanThe #1 challenge: “Patience. Do you have the staying power? The world seems to have awoken to the idea that content marketing can improve your marketing ROI and win business, but many sleep through the part about time.” 

How to solve it: “Going all-in begins with a plan that documents goals, establishes processes, assigns roles, and measures different degrees of response. You need to factor in good-sized chunks of time, prepare to invest substantial resources, and refine perpetually.”

Casie Gillette is the Director of Online Marketing at KoMarketing Associates, a B2B internet marketing agency.

mug shot-casie gilletteThe #1 challenge: “The biggest challenge I hear of is a lack of resources. Companies know they need to have a content marketing strategy but they don’t have the time/knowledge to execute it.”

How to solve it: “As someone who has been in this situation, external help is often your best bet. There are some great companies out there that can help you get a strategy created and executed. Even if you have a small budget, services like Contently can be extremely helpful. I used them for six months or so and it was an easy way to get content created. You have to dictate the topics a bit, but the content they put out was good quality and helped me get things moving much faster than had I tried to do everything in-house.”

Robert Rose currently serves as the Chief Strategist for the Content Marketing Institute and is also a Senior Contributing Analyst for the Digital Clarity Group. 

mug shot-robert roseThe #1 challenge: “Get beyond ‘random acts of content,” where every silo in the organization creates content at its own cadence and tone, and with no strategic purpose. It’s often the case that a business will try content marketing in a limited way, see initial success, and then fail miserably when they try to scale it.” 

How to solve it: “The way through this challenge is by actually providing centralized content marketing the investment, resources, business processes, and power it needs to thrive. This can only be done when senior management, quite literally, buys in. It’s one thing to say we’re going all-in — and it’s quite another to actually do it.”

Jon Wuebben is the CEO of Content Launch, a web content development and marketing firm, and author of “Content is Currency.” 

mug shot-jon wuebbenThe #1 challenge: “Finding the time to do it.”

How to solve it: “There are many ways to address not having the time to get content done. The most popular method, of course, is to outsource the content writing to an agency. Probably half of the companies producing great content today are using this method. But you also want to consider using content technology/intelligence tools like PaperShare, Inbound Writer, Kapost, OutBrain and TrapIt. All of these tools help you get content done easier and quicker. Finally, you want to be sure and use a marketing automation tool like HubSpot. Using a tool like this will also bring efficiency to your content operation and, more importantly, help you measure it to ensure you get a solid ROI from your efforts. Outsourcing, leveraging, and automation are your friends when it comes to content!”

What is your biggest challenge to go all-in with content marketing? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Want more insight from instructors like Arnie Kuenn on how to manage today’s biggest content marketing challenges? Sign up for our Content Marketing Institute Online Training and Certification program. Access over 35 courses, created by experts from Google, Mashable, SAP, and more.  

Cover image via Bigstock

Author: Arnie Kuenn

Arnie Kuenn is the CEO of Vertical Measures, a content marketing agency with an SEO foundation, focused on helping their clients get more traffic, more leads, and more business. Arnie has held executive positions in the world of new technologies and marketing for more than 25 years. He is a frequent speaker and author of Content Marketing Works. In 2014, Arnie was honored as the Interactive Person of the Year in Arizona. You can find Arnie on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn.

Other posts by Arnie Kuenn

  • rkyoung98

    Great insight. Biggest challenge: getting the INTERNAL team to use the content and help amplify to the market. Solution: make it avaiable on intranets, websites, internal newsletters, Yammer, sometimes even print out flyers to post around the offices announcing a piece of content, video etc!

    • Arnie Kuenn

      I agree, those are great ideas to help promote the content, which can lead to internal excitement, which can help others make a step towards going “all in”.

  • jaybaer

    i love robert’s answer!

    • Barry Feldman

      I do too. I always do. Robert, I think I love you.

  • Ramesh Ranjan

    Likewise – Robert hit the nail on the head. Organizations need to “buy in” to content from top-down.

  • Dan Hutson

    I made the decision to go all-in on content marketing for my organization more than a year ago and have never looked back. If you take a really hard look at what you’re accomplishing with traditional outbound marketing vs. an inbound approach fueled by great content, I think you’ll find it’s well worth the potential risk. The key is understanding what you hope to accomplish, developing a solid strategy to achieve your objectives, executing well and constantly measuring how you’re doing. I can’t think of a single small- to mid-sized organization (especially among nonprofits) where this doesn’t make sense. You just have to have will, discipline and the support of leadership.

    • Arnie Kuenn

      Bravo! – oh and measure it.

    • Georgie Gallagher

      Hi Dan –

      I work with a number of mid sized businesses in Australia and I want to launch them into the world of content marketing. What I’d love to know is what platforms you have used for yourself to measure and distribute your content.

      Do you use a Hubspot type of set up or would you suggest something different? I’d love your thoughts as I’m thoroughly confused and have been approached by a number of companies saying they all do the same thing.



      • Dan Hutson

        Hi Georgie. We do use Hubspot and are happy with it. We also use an API to integrate with our CRM so lead info populates both systems.

  • heidicohen

    Arnie–Thank you for including me in this great roundup! Interestingly, across the board, the biggest challenge around going all in on content wasn’t the actual content but rather the internal and related processes. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

    • Arnie Kuenn

      Hi Heidi – yes, if I would have added my own views to the article, that’s what I would have said. Due to our own experiences with clients, we have developed an “onboarding process” so that clients are ready to receive the content we are creating for them….or even creating themselves. Many clients are really not read to run as fast as even their budgets might allow.

  • Clare

    One of the best CM articles I’ve read this week. Content marketing is not something you can both half-heart and be successful at!

    • Arnie Kuenn

      Thanks – appreciate that. And you are right, no pilot projects allowed! 😉

  • We Live Content

    Personally I think that if your organisation is new to content marketing, the biggest challenge is gathering enough evidence quickly enough to guide you on what content works and what doesn’t, so you can prioritise, scale effectively, and stop wasting time on ‘random acts of content’ as Robert put it.

    The only real solution to this is testing consistently, focusing on distribution as much as creation and repeating until there a decent body of evidence to work from.

  • Barbara Mckinney

    For me the biggest challenge for businesses is the consistent content creation.Publishing new created content daily is enough to burn out your marketing team, as well as a hole in your pocket, with a limited staff and budget. Marketers have a hard time balancing consistent production of fresh content with the resources they have at hand. Without consistent content production, your content can get buried under the thousands of articles written every day, where your readers may never see it.

    • Arnie Kuenn

      I agree, that is a huge issue. But it sounds like you solved the “how to convince your management to go all in” issue. Care to share how you did it?

  • LeslieZ

    Time for getting the content completed including the research to make quality content. And then getting it promoted properly to drive traffic. I am a company of one so I am doing it all. However, it is only a matter of time before I get systems in place to do this properly and figure out what should be outsourced.

    One area that I need to spend more time in is investigating automation and how that will work in my business to help create good content.

    That’s the key…good content and eyeballs on that content!

    Thanks for this great collection of experts on content creation Arnie

    • Arnie Kuenn

      Yes, as a company of one it is a huge challenge. I commend you for making the progress that you have. And remember, most companies start solo, it’s the ones that give up that never become a “success”.