Content Creation Pain Points and Success Stories : Insights from 22 Business Owners and Marketers

Impactful content marketing relies on quality and consistent content creation. However, creating content that offers value and resonates with the audience is not easy. No wonder businesses and marketers find this a tough nut to crack.

In this post, we interviewed 22 business owners and marketers and found some interesting insights into two of their biggest pain points and a success story related to content creation.

Based on our interviews, we found the following to be –

The top content creation pain points:

  1. Creating unique and high quality content consistently
  2. Promoting and distributing the content to reach the target audience
  3. Finding great writers with relevant industry expertise
  4. Coming up the right topic for a post that the audience would like to read

And here are some nuggets of wisdom on what worked –

The top content marketing tactics :

  1. “Go after search engine green spaces.” – Carl Pieri, Hubspot
  2. “Survey, poll your customers for great studies and insightful content.” – Paul Ronto, RunRepeat
  3. “Find topics that have low competition on Google.” – Jeremy Harrison, Hustle Life
  4. “I’ve had really great luck with timely, seasonal content.” – Megan Marrs, K9 of Mine
  5. “Podcasting is a great way to easily establish an interesting corner of the market.” – Kane Carpenter, Daggerfinn

 

Here’s what everyone had to say:

1. CARL PIERI, DEMAND GENERATION AT HUBSPOT

Your top 2 content creation pain points?

  1. The biggest pain point I see when it comes to creating content is a lack of understanding of the topic which you are writing about. Most content creators know that the longest part of creating content is the research that goes into this. Writing about something you know well? Usually takes no time at all. Writing about something you know little about? Total drudgery.
  2. Another big pain point when it comes to creating content is failing to define who exactly the piece of content is for before you start creating it. Often, content creators try to cast the net wide when creating a new piece of content to catch as many different personas as possible. Unfortunately, this typically leads to a piece of content that is not particularly useful for any of the groups of people who are consuming it and is unlikely to be lauded or shared by anyone.

 

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

One of the greatest successes that we’ve had with content creation is to go after search engine green spaces. Using a tool like Ahrefs we identified areas in our industry where there was heavy search volume but the content competition wasn’t hard to compete with. This way, with minimal effort we could still reach a large audience.

 

2 . PAUL RONTO, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER AT RUNREPEAT

Your top 2 content creation pain points?

  1. Developing Unique Content:  I think one of the hardest things in content marketing is standing out. Developing unique ideas is hard, lots of people are doing this type of content work, and coming up with something new can be next to impossible in a saturated market. A lot of blogs on the topic talk about ideas like Skyscraper, and I just don’t think doing a piece better than everyone else is enough in 2020. Obviously your content needs to be better than all the other content out there, but it needs to be unique as well. The point of view needs to be different, the findings need to shine new light on a topic, and you really need to focus on coming up with something fresh, which I think is the biggest challenge currently for most.
  2. Distribution:  The other main pain point is the promotion and distribution of your content. Too many marketers think that writing great content is all they need to focus on. With all the competition out there, just publishing is not enough, you need to distribute your content to get eyeballs. Long gone are the days of ranking without stellar traffic metrics, you need visitors, you need social signals, you need links, and all this takes a ton of time and effort. I’d suggest spending more time on distribution than on actually writing the content, it’s a hard switch in mindset but without the right signals to Google, content won’t rank, and without it ranking you won’t see traffic or conversions from your efforts.

 

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

Do your own research: Your clients, customers, and followers have a ton of power you can harness to come up with truly unique content. Poll them, survey them, reach out and talk to your audience and find out what’s important to them, what they struggle with and write about those issues. Do your own research and analyze that data to come up with interesting findings that are meaningful in your niche. We do this a lot with sport-related data at RunRepeat, but we’re data nerds and love digging through millions of data points to see what trends pop up.

We just published this study this week, which is the largest study ever compiled on ultra running, the findings are amazing, and our readers find this content unique and valuable. This success story is largely connected to the #1 pain point, but when you can come up with unique content, your content will be appreciated more, and digging through your own data ensures it’ll be unique!

 

3. JENNI PRATT, MARKETING MANAGER AT PORTENT

Your top 2 content creation pain points?

In my 10+ year career, I have provided all levels of content marketing service for a variety of industries. And in my experience, here are the two pain points that I encounter most often when it comes to developing and executing a content marketing strategy:

  1. Without a content calendar, it’s like the Wild West: If you’re managing content, especially content that is coming from multiple sources, you need a way to schedule it, keep track of internal due dates, and stay on top of publication deadlines. Plus, a content calendar (or editorial calendar, as it is also commonly called) gives you a roadmap and historical data that you can reference when measuring your content’s engagement.
  2. If your experts aren’t invested, it shows: Your subject-matter experts provide authority and expertise in a specific area or topic. However, that doesn’t mean that they get excited to write about any content idea you throw at them. Trying to get someone to write a meaningful article or blog post about something they aren’t excited about can quickly lead to sub-par content. Learn what really gets your experts excited about their craft and, and use that as a jumping-off point during the ideation process. It makes a big difference.

 

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

At Portent, we approach our content planning with both of these potential obstacles in mind. Our editorial calendar, which is the foundation for the blog articles we publish each year, establishes the topics we’ll write about, which team members will contribute, and sets internal deadlines for deliverables and copyediting. Rather than attempting to plan a content calendar for the entire year, our content ideation team meets quarterly. This gives us the opportunity to reflect on our content’s engagement, what subjects are getting more traffic, and what industry trends are on the horizon that we should be talking about. We then turn to our subject-matter experts to align content they are interested in writing about with the topic areas we identified for the quarter

 

4. CASSANDRA WILSON, CONTENT SPECIALIST AT CANIRANK

Your top 2 content creation pain points?

  1. One pain point with content creation is creating content that people actually want to read, watch, or listen to. It’s the worst when you sink hours into creating what you think is an awesome piece of content and it falls on deaf ears!
  2. Related to that, promoting your content can be a bit of a struggle. Unfortunately, you can’t just set some content live and hope for the best. You have to systematically promote it so that people all over the web can find it.

 

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

With our content strategies, we’ve had a lot of success by only creating content that real people are searching for (you can see what people are searching for with tools like CanIRank ). After that, we promote on social media and other news sites to make sure our content doesn’t stay stagnant on our website.

Our multi-tiered approach of content planning and subsequent promotion has helped many content marketing campaigns succeed and result in lots of Page 1 rankings on Google!

 

5. MEGAN MARRS, OWNER AND FOUNDER AT K9 OF MINE

Your top 2 content creation pain points?

My biggest difficulties have been:

  1. Adapting to WordPress changes
  2. Adding high-quality visual content into written articles

For #1, WordPress switching to the new Gutenberg editor was quite a headache. I had to change my whole content uploading and formatting strategy, which took months. While I’m happy with the end result, transitions like that are really tough. To make it even more problematic, I was in the middle of a website redesign when WordPress switched to Gutenberg, and many of the features the design agency created for me only worked with WordPress’ classic editor, which was a pretty big setback for me.

For #2, I think we all know how important visual content is becoming for content marketing. To me, that means creating high-quality visual graphics. There are plenty of folks on UpWork who I think would be a great fit for us, but it’s another roadblock getting them up to speed and part of our content creation process. Videos are another area I struggle with but recognize the importance of. Video content is its own beast and requires its own expertise, so tackling it is a huge job, but no doubt it will be essential to have good video content moving forward.

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

For a successful marketing strategy, I’ve had really great luck with timely content. For example, during the winter I might write an article about how to make your own DIY dog sweater. Pitching these seasonally-appropriate articles as guest posts to outside publications has been very successful for me!

 

6. JEREMY HARRISON, OWNER AND FOUNDER AT HUSTLE LIFE

Your top 2 content creation pain points?

  1. The first pain point for me is finding good writers at a fair price. A way I was able to find excellent writers for less money than I would normally spend on “okay” writers is to interview and test many different writers. It takes a lot of time to set up, but it pays off in the long run by having great writers at an affordable price.
  2. The second pain point for me was finding the right topics to have content made for.

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

The best way I overcame this was to think of what type of audience I was looking to attract, and finding topics that had low competition on Google. By doing this, I was able to attract more traffic to my website and increase revenue.

By implementing these two strategies I was able to double the traffic to my website in 2019 and currently get over 12,000 visitors per month.

 

7. SHAAN PATEL, CEO AND FOUNDER AT PRE EXPERT

Your top 2 content creation pain points?

What we constantly have to deal with pain point-wise are:

  1. Legacy competitors able to outspend us on online ads,
  2. A specialized market with little room for innovation.

 

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

What we’ve found to be our most successful content strategy is developing and launching tailored webinars to draw in prospective students and parents. Our primary webinar shares specific test-taking tips, advice on applying to colleges, and help in securing scholarship money.

By offering various subject threads in the presentation, we are then able to deploy an array of focused Facebook and Google Ads to highly targeted market segments. Because our market is quite specialized, competition between the top companies is fierce, but we’ve seen consistent returns on this strategy in the nearly three years we’ve been using it.

This funnel provides consistent, real world value to visitors and provides a strong cornerstone to help focus our blog, email marketing, and social media channels.

8. BROOKS MANLEY, SEO AND CONTENT MARKETING LEAD AT ENGENIUS

Your top 2 content creation pain points?

  1. First, the wasted time that comes with logging hours and hours on a piece of content only to have it generate little to no benefit. Every now and then we’ll create a piece of content only to see it generate minimum traffic or zero downloads.
  2. The other is the constant question of what to create? There are just so many factors to consider: what has the potential to rank on search engines, what does our sales team want us to write on, what would benefit clients, what would benefit prospects, etc.

 

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

A success we’ve had recently has been implementing a topic cluster approach to content. We have a services page on SEO, and from that topic page we have clusters off of it including blog posts on local SEO, link building, and the cost of SEO. We recently had a lead land on one of the blogs, navigate to the other internally linked blog posts, and eventually land on our services page where she filled out a form to book a meeting. The topic cluster (or hub and spoke) model led to higher rankings as well as helpful information that guided our site visitor to convert.

 

9. ADAM KIRK, OWNER AND FOUNDER AT LOVE THE NIGHT SKY

Your top 2 content creation pain points?

  1. Prioritizing which content needs producing – I spent too many years deciding at the start of the week what I needed to produce. This process led to a lot of wasted time and poor productivity because I would spend more time working on my favorite idea and not enough working on the
    biggest or most important ones.
  2. Allocating quality time to deeply invest in specific pieces of content – With so many distractions in life I found that I would work on a content production for an hour or 90 minutes and then an email would come in or the phone would ring. After I’d allowed that distraction in it might be hours or days before I returned to the original piece. This was disastrous! My flow had gone, it took time to remember where I was up to and the piece suffered because of that.

 

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

Last year I began to create a quarterly schedule of content. I split this into the specific areas relevant to my business and, once created, I only review it monthly. Using that outline I then allocate specific days or half days to work on particular pieces of content. Monday might be an article on a forthcoming meteor shower, Tuesday a video reviewing some equipment, etc.

Not only do I keep distractions to a minimum, but I work on each piece until it is complete – no swapping to something else midway through. This batching of workload has made me more productive than I’ve ever been. By being strict and not allowing myself to work on anything other than that which is programmed for the day I turn out more content of a high quality in less time than I ever before.

 

10. RYAN ELLIS, CEO AND FOUNDER AT RED EGG MARKETING

Your top 2 content creation pain points?

  1. Creating Valuable Content – Creating unique and read-worthy content is a huge challenge, especially when writing mainly for SEO purposes.
  2. Determining Focus Keywords – You may have a good idea of what keywords you want to rank for (or are already ranking for) but if you’ve already created content on different pages of your website focusing on those keywords, you may cannibalize them. This means that you would essentially be competing with yourself for ranking for a particular keyword.

 

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

It’s important to focus on making your content interesting and informative so that people actually want to read and link to it as a resource. Demonstrating industry expertise and offering something of value to your reader, whether it be tips and tricks or a how-to guide to a common problem, is an easy way to make sure your content is seen as valuable.

It’s best to spend your time focusing on different keywords for separate pages of content to maximize your efforts and increase rankings for as many search terms and keywords as possible.

11. LUKA AREZINA, SEO EXPERT AT DATA PROT

Your top 2 content creation pain points?

Here are my top 2 pain points when it comes to content creation.

  1. Redundancy of content: It isn’t very easy to stand out nowadays. There is so much content produced, and you need to have access to resources that can produce high-quality, relevant, linkable content. Content creation requires constant research, from keywords to relevant topics, and it’s especially hard if you belong to a saturated niche.
  2. Updating old content: For your content to not become obsolete and useless, you need to rewrite parts of it to update the keywords regularly. The rewriting isn’t challenging to do. However, most writers are not delighted with the task, and they’d rather work on something new than polish some old works. But this tedious work needs to be done regularly.

 

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

We, as a company, understood that investing in linkable content will get us a long way. We’ve put a lot of effort into creating compelling, well-researched infographics and stats pages – which are the best kind of content for successful link building.

 

12. RONII BARTLES, DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AT BOOKFULL

Your top 2 content creation pain points?

Our top 2 content creation pain points are topic ideas that our audience wants to hear about and distribution.

  1. Our target clients are a very quiet audience and as much as we survey, we don’t get a lot of feedback. And if they do, it’s general responses like they want to see us cover a wide variety of topics. Yet in our analytics and open rates, they only click through on 1 or 2 specific topics. Hence, we are always in Facebook Groups hoping to get some insights on what questions people are asking that we can write on. It feels like we are always brainstorming and can never get ahead on content. It feels like we are always creating content at the last minute.
  2. Our second pain point is distribution. Our ad budget is spend on direct product sign ups and not content so all of our content marketing is organic marketing. And while there are lots of different social platforms to market our content, organically we find it hard to get our audience engaged. They are quiet and so busy with their own day they are rarely on social media or reading blogs and emails.

 

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

While those are big pain points, we have had a lot of success with content marketing and our email list has grown by over 1,000 subscribers in the past year because of our content. It seems completely backwards because of our pain points. But we have a lot success with having a checklist or download with every piece of content and capturing emails. Our audience is reading and downloading our content and converting into clients. Even though we struggle with what to write each week, the content we produce is high quality and converting. A large portion of our product sign ups come from people that have downloaded a checklist we have created. We do put a lot of effort into organic SEO on our original content pieces. While SEO is a long-term strategy is has paid off big for our content strategy.

 

13. ELLIOT BACKLER, FOUNDER AND OWNER AT EVOPURE

Your top 2 content creation pain points?

  1. Building links to your content on a small budget. A large chunk of our time is spent outreaching to other websites in our niche to link to our content or infographic. However, more and more are asking for money as the strategy is becoming more saturated.
  2. Organic reach on social. It has become harder on Twitter and Facebook to reach a large audience through organic reach, and we’re having to rely more and more on sponsoring our content to get engagement before it starts to get any traction.

 

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

We’ve had success recently promoting creative infographics directly to bloggers / journalists on Twitter. After researching the relevant influencers who regularly write about our industry, we email and DM them giving them a heads up that we’ve made an infographic relevant to a piece of content they’ve recently written about. This has helped us get traction through retweets and sometimes they’ll even link to it in an upcoming piece.

 

14. ANTHONY CHATFIELD, PRESIDENT AT LEAD CONNECT MARKETING

Your top 2 content creation pain points?

  1. Our most persistent content creation pain point is capturing subject matter expertise from within an organization so that not all content is written or informed by the same small pool of people.
  2. A close second is getting a piece through the full review cycle in a timely manner. In both cases, the solution involves building 90-120 day calendars with long lead times that allow for inevitable delays on both fronts. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, the entire process runs much smoother.

 

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

One of our content marketing plans has been highly successful due to consistent, reliable communication and input from the client. In 8 months, we’ve been able to launch 6 eBook campaigns and three webinars, increasing monthly lead generation by 10X through the end of 2019.

 

15. VALARIE BOWDEN, FOUNDER AT MYSEOPEOPLE

Your top 2 content creation pain points?

  1. Lack of results is one of the biggest content creation pain points. Writing and uploading content takes time- especially if it’s done right. When you don’t see any results, it’s hard to keep going either because you’re discouraged or because your bosses aren’t seeing the results they expect to justify your time expenditure. I have also noticed that just coming up with topics to write about is a source of tension. The sales team wants something too sales-pitchy. The marketing team wants something about their brand story- which for small companies has zero search engine results to justify it. And the content creator wants something that fits their exact formula of search volume per month with achievable keyword difficulty.
  2. The second pain point around content creation is not having the ability, confidence, or time to write enough content. When the Skyscraper technique was born, it encouraged businesses to write extremely long articles. It is great for SEO. But finding the time to write one isn’t an easy task.

 

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

The biggest success came when we started using a paid SEO tool to help us with keyword analysis (we use Ahrefs). That showed us keywords with the volume and keyword difficulty we could aim for, but also how to word long-tail keywords, auto-suggest answers, and other related content. We ended up creating an article that hit our niche perfectly, and we ended up #1 in Google for it.

Our strategy, which is perfect for small businesses, is to make content creation easy. We love doing posts that have a number in the title like, The 7 Best Tips for Doing xyz. We have noticed that readers are more drawn to these types of articles. But for us, it’s also easier because you don’t have to write long paragraphs with connecting ideas. You can just add a photo and 1-3 sentences under each point. Also, something we heard about, but haven’t tried, is infographics. We heard about it in a recent SEO training we completed. The training (by Clickminded) suggested making infographics instead of blogs. It gets you backlinks and exposure and is easier to create for those who feel more comfortable with graphics.

 

16. KOLLIN LEPHART, CEO AND FOUNDER AT DESTINATION M+PR

Your top 2 content creation pain points?

  1. Content is still king, and as Gary Vee would say, you need to be producing 100 pieces of content a day. One hundred pieces of content a day seems like a lot, but what I think he’s trying to get across to people is my pain point #1 – consistency. If you are consistently producing relevant, informative or creative content, it becomes a numbers game, and you will hit your goal – whatever that may be.
  2. My pain point #2 has to do with producing quality content. There’s multiple ways to break down quality, right? How I like to sum up quality is based off three factors: you/your business, your audience and Google. Produce content that obviously aligns with your business and marketing goals, have your audience and target demographic in mind when it comes to your brand voice, style and also the content and everything else should make Google a happy camper i.e. relevance, content length, keywords, links, meta tags, etc.

 

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

Content has turned an audience into customers many times, but one specific time comes to mind when we were doing a round-up blog post. We partnered with ‘experts’ in an industry to comment on a specific topic. We built relationships with those ‘experts’ and eventually they became our biggest fans thus referring us to everyone that was looking for digital marketing solutions. Content is worth the effort, promise.

 

17. RICHARD MICHIE, DIRECTOR AT THE MARKETING OPTIMIST

Your top 2 content creation pain points?

  1. Coming up with ideas for content generally isn’t a challenge; even for campaigns where you may think we’d struggle. The problems sometimes can be getting some of the more effective ideas approved by the client and ensuring we don’t need millions of pounds to pull it off. Once you do get the green light, the next issue is pulling everyone together and getting them to play their part, reluctant interviewees, bad weather, dodgy kit are all going to frustrate content creation.
  2. Another issue can be measuring the effectiveness beyond the analytics results. Gauging how it was perceived is always tricky and isn’t an exact science.

 

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

Successes come when a client really throws themselves in and trusts you. They get involved and give feedback, but don’t insist on taking over the creation. A client who believes in the content will put their support behind it. This helps the transition from just a nice bit of marketing content into something the whole business, and their customers, embrace.

 

18. KANE CARPENTER, DIRECTOR AT DAGGERFINN

Could you please share your input on the top 2 content creation pain points?

  1. Creating high-quality content that is both informative (which there is a lot already out there on the Internet, regardless of niche) yet unique enough to capture an audience that probably already has access to in-depth content.
  2. Once you have created high-quality content and spent time making sure that it has its own place within the niche, garnering adequate distribution and coverage so that your content has the reach needed to make an impact.

 

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

We’ve worked to develop a few different podcast series recently, which has opened my eyes to the power of that form of content marketing. If you’re able to tap into personalities and their stories, podcasting is a great way to easily establish an interesting corner of the market, and start to pull audience in.

 

19. JAMES JOHNSON, FOUNDER AND OWNER AT FORWARD LINKING

Your top 2 content creation pain points?

  1. When it comes to writing blog post content we find that many smaller businesses are not planning their content with an SEO strategy in mind. For example, they might write about their office dog or how they won an award last month, but this is never going to generate any meaningful organic traffic. Instead, businesses should focus on answering popular industry-related questions to bring in relevant search traffic.
  2. People often forget that content creation is also a fantastic way to earn high-quality, relevant backlinks to your website to increase your organic traffic. The key here is to focus on creating compelling, useful and engaging content which can be shared naturally. It is important to make sure that the content is not self-promotional as it must provide genuine value for people who read it.

 

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

For one of our clients, we were able to identify a popular customer query which was related to the product (radiators). This query was related to how much heat a room requires and how many radiators the room will require. We then created a calculator so that the reader can enter the dimensions of their room, combined with a few other details such as insulation type and the number of windows. This would then calculate exactly how much heat and how many radiators this person will require in order to heat their room sufficiently. Since this calculator provides genuine value it was extremely easy to generate natural backlinks from high-quality, relevant sites. Therefore, this resulted in thousands of relevant organic visitors to the site each month. Many of which, end up purchasing radiators directly from the website.

In addition, since the backlinks we earned were from high-quality, relevant and trusted sites we were able to improve the rankings for the site across the board.

 

20. ADAM HEMPENSTALL, FOUNDER AND CEO AT BETTERPROPOSALS

Your top 2 content creation pain points?

  1. The biggest pain point that I have with content creation for my business is that it’s hard to find writers that have industry expertise. There are some really great writers but finding one that has deep expertise in SaaS applications and sales are like finding a needle in a haystack.
  2. The second problem stems from the first one. When I decide to hire a great writer, I need to give them briefs for the content they’re writing. When I spend 30 minutes coming up with a brief, I may as well spend another hour writing and finishing the piece on my own.

 

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

For my most important content that goes on the company blog, I no longer outsource the work. Instead, I write all of the content on my own blog. That way, I spend less time on writing briefs and in general, the content that I write has more value and provides better results in terms of key values like conversion rate and page session length.

 

21. AVINASH CHANDRA, CEO AND FOUNDER AT BRANDLOOM

Your top 2 content creation pain points?

Definitely the two main pain points for content creation are:

  1. Finding new topics to write on a regular basis.
  2. Creating content that helps the client.

Even when you can churn out articles or blogs on a variety on many topics, the difficult part is to find out what topics or content will benefit your clients and get them the required results.

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

One way to overcome this is to have a good content strategy that prioritizes SEO. For this, you have to identify the right keywords that will get your client traction. This of course, means that you have to understand your client’s audience.

For one client who dealt in education, we created a content strategy to create blogs on topics that the client’s target audience would likely be interested in. We then identified the keywords which the audience were most likely to search for that related to our client. We created blogs that featured these keywords, optimized the content and published the blogs on a regular schedule. Soon, hits started coming and traffic increased. With persistent efforts, soon, their website started to rank on the first page of Google search results for a number of keywords, and beat their competition on location-based keywords. Even now, they have retained their position and their business is growing.

 

21. CHASE DIMOND, FOUNDER AT BOUNDLESSLABS

Your top 2 content creation pain points?

  1. I have a ton of great content ideas in my head but it’s always been challenging for me to find the best way to breakdown exactly what I want so someone else can understand and execute on it.
  2. I never know how long a piece of content should be to maximize value as well as try to rank on the search engines

Share 1 success you have had with creating great content.

I’ve had a lot of success with my content creation for social media. I recently used my social media channels to grow my personal newsletter to 1,500 email subscribers in 7 weeks.

Cover image credits – Business photo created by tirachardz