New Report Reveals Key Challenges to Effective Content Strategies in Large Organizations

The Content Marketing Institute recently published the results of its 2020 Content Management and Strategy survey, which incorporates the responses of some 250 content marketing managers from organizations of more than 50 staff. 

As CMI points out in its notes, the survey was fielded in January/February 2020 “in a pre-COVID world”. Yet, despite the significant impacts that COVID-19 has had on how we operate, the results do provide some valuable insights into where content marketing is placed within organizations, and underlines some of the most common challenges to strategic content management.

Here are some of the key findings:

First off, while the results show that 78% of organizations are taking a more strategic approach to managing content, there are still various reasons as to why organizations are not implementing effective content approaches.

The responses suggest that while organizations may well be performing strategic activities, there are still internal cultural barriers to implementing more effective content programs. That means that many content marketers are facing significant battles in implementing initiatives. 

So, that being the case, what are content marketers doing?

The majority, based on these stats, are conducting content audits and inventories. 

That’s a positive – but still, more than half (54%) should be researching their audiences, and their user experiences, in order to direct their content strategy.

Meanwhile, 65% of respondents reported that their organizations now have content governance guidelines in place. 

This is important for risk management – without sound guidelines, mistakes can happen, and they can cause significant damage to an organization’s brand.

A large majority of marketers also indicated that their organizations have style and brand guidelines in place (89%) as well as editorial calendars (83%). This is reassuring evidence that their brand identities are front and center.

But although 72% agreed that their organization now views content as a core business strategy, only 38% strongly agreed with this statement. That ties into the aforementioned reasons why organizations don’t take a strategic approach to managing content.

Disappointingly, only 23% of marketers said that their organizations are ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ successful with strategically managing content across the enterprise. In fact, only 1% said that they were seeing ‘extreme’ success.

At the same time, half of respondents said that the top factor contributing to the success of their content strategies is the ability to understand and connect with their audiences’ values, interests, and/or pain points.  

There’s a definite disconnect here. Knowing these audience characteristics is crucial to any overall marketing strategy.

Meanwhile, in terms of marketing tech, the top three reported content technologies in place were ‘social media publishing/analytics’, ’email marketing software’, and ‘content management systems’. 

I find it interesting that only 40% are using technology to analyze their performance- which makes me wonder how organizations are actually evaluating their efforts.

Lastly, the top five challenges to strategic content management mostly connect back to the top reasons why organizations aren’t taking a strategic approach to content management.

If the top reasons why organizations aren’t taking a strategic approach to managing content has to do with leadership attitudes and organization culture, process tweaking can only go so far. Tackling the issue at the top of the food chain and getting buy-in throughout the organization will make a huge difference in strategic content management success.

There’s a lot more in the full CMI ‘2020 Content Management and Strategy’ survey report, which you can download here.

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