5 Reasons Why Businesses Struggle with Content

Businesses continue to struggle with creating viable online content.  The kind of content that shoots to the top of social networks, the content that gets “liked” and the content that people enjoy sharing.

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Whether a business is a B2B or a B2C, content matters in our interconnected world.  The businesses that figure out how to provide relevant and informative content are going to be the corporate leaders of tomorrow.

Perhaps the biggest misconception businesses have about content is that they already have a lot of it.  That existing content needs to be re-packaged in new formats.  This is generally not the case. Corporate press releases make bad blog posts.  Marketing brochures don’t translate into good Facebook pages.

Businesses should focus on new content specifically created for the audiences and social media channels they are looking to influence and connect on.

Here are five reasons why businesses continue to struggle with creating compelling online content:

1. A misunderstanding of what online “content” is

In the past, business content was press releases, white papers, product fact sheets and marketing collateral.  This kind of content doesn’t translate well on Twitter or Facebook.  Fact sheets make lousy YouTube videos.  Content that thrives online is less formal, visual, concise, daring, funny and provides insights and perspectives with a strong voice in multimedia formats.  This content runs counter to most business environments, which place premiums on being cautious, conservative and consensus driven.

2. You can’t wing social media content

Twitter seems easy.  It should be.  Right?  How difficult can it be to fire off a 140-character tweet?  How hard can it be to jot down a blog post of a few paragraphs?  Well, pretty difficult as it turns out.  As Nathaniel Hawthorne once said: “Easy reading is damn hard writing.”  Too many companies open up social media channels without a content strategy.  As a result, they start, stutter, and then stop.  You can’t wing content.  You need to plan for it.  You need to assign it.  You need to have internal processes in place to keep it flowing.

3. A poor organizational structure for creating content

Creating content can’t be part of someone’s job.  It needs to be the job.  When companies try to add content creation they have a tendency to back up the truck and dump it on marketing or corporate communications.  Guess what?  Those people already have full-time jobs.  Adding content creation – which is not necessarily a skill they possess – to their long list of responsibilities means that the content will suffer.  It’s a recipe for failure.

4. A lack of content creation training & equipment

Video is a perfect example of the content creation disconnect.  Many executives have told me they don’t want to pay for quality video production.  “We’ll just buy a Flip and film our CEO at this desk.”  Guess what?  No one watches those videos.  Listening to an unedited, unscripted monologue with poor lighting and jerky camera movements for five minutes is an agony most people avoid.  Teach your people how to use video.  Invest in quality cameras and editing software.  Teach your people how to use them and how to add graphics, photographs and music.  This applies to every aspect of content creation: get good equipment and invest in training.

5. A disconnect from the top

If the C-suite is led to believe that marketing and corporate communications can handle social media strategy, content creation, web design, microsite development, blogging, photography, video creation, social networking, social media monitoring, content syndication and application development without adding resources, equipment, training and outside help then they expect it will happen.  Set expectations about the time and investment necessary to implement a content creation strategy.  Then get the experts in to help you execute.


Photo by D Sharon Pruitt

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2 Responses to “5 Reasons Why Businesses Struggle with Content”

  1. Interesting post.
    As a person who writes several blogs I can attest that coming up with new, original and engaging content is not as easy as most people think it is.
    I’m lucky in that I write about things that interest me from social media to PR to music and comics, but it’s still sometimes a pain trying to think of what to write about next.
    One piece of advice I can give to companies that are trying to come up with content is to not always make it about yourself. You can speak about things that are relevant and going on in your field without mentioning yourself or your competition. I think too many businesses are focused on “how can we plug ourselves in this post?” but by just proving yourself to be a thought leader in your overall field (not just about your company) can and usually will bring in people to read what you have to say.


    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

  2. Hi Sheldon:
    Excellent point. Many companies use their social media channels as giant bullhorns to broadcast everything they do. Most of the time it is better to use social media platforms to discuss issues, news, innovations and how to solve problems.

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