Staff & skills: Two shortages that content marketing needs to address in 2017

Both of these challenges have emerged in a study into the state of the industry, conducted by Zazzle Media.

The study saw 5,000 marketers quizzed for their views on content marketing and revealed that 61% of decision makers reckon that ‘not enough staff’ is their biggest challenge.

Almost two thirds of people told Zazzle that they struggle to make ‘engaging’ content and 60% struggle to produce content on a consistent basis. These two stats appear to point to the fact that the staff shortage lies in those that are charged with creating the content, either in-house or at agencies, and the need to reach out to designers and writers on a large scale.

Perhaps more worrying, however, is the knowledge gap shown by the same study. While 79% of decision makers feel that content marketing is either very or quite effective, only 6% said they were ‘definitely clear’ on how to run content marketing, and three in five said that they were not sure how to measure the ROI from it either.

That points to a sector that knows that what it does is working – but not necessarily why or how to explain it to others.

Zazzle MD Simon Penson said: “It is staggering that – even when speaking to expert marketers – only 6% feel they are ‘definitely clear’ on best content marketing practice. It highlights a clear need for education, together with more robust measurement strategies that will give marketers the confidence to invest in the content space.

“As content marketing experts, it’s important we continue to share performance measurement tools, educational guides and best practice with marketers so that they have the tools to bridge the gap in knowledge and confidence we have seen in our survey.”

The study does, however, show that more money will be spent on content marketing this year, with 70% of respondents expecting that their budget for this will increase in 2017. Not one decision maker asked by Zazzle said that they would cut their content marketing budget.

The two challenges outlined above, however, show that there’s a clear need to plough this cash into recruiting more staff and providing the training and resources needed to bridge the knowledge gap in this industry.

Content marketing has established itself as an important way for brands to promote themselves – it now has to overcome these big challenges to move onto the next stage.