Ten Toughest Content Marketing Challenges for Ad Agency New Business

 toughest content marketing challenges ad agencies

Original content is by far the most difficult  and important tactic to fuel ad agency new business through social media. 

Speakers for Content Marketing World 2011, recently shared some of their biggest content marketing challenges in a pre conference Q&A orchestrated by  Content Development Director of the Content Marketing Institute. I’ve pulled some of the best challenges and insights from among these speakers.

Here are the top 10  to help with your content marketing challenges:

1. Quality Content

‘The very act of staying focused on quality is one of the most important things you can do if you’re serious about your craft.” Susan Blue, @susangrayblue.

Lots of agencies soon become lazy in content creation. If you can’t see the value and won’t commit the time you won’t have success with content marketing for new business.

2. Understanding Your Audience

Understanding your customers well enough to develop content that is useful and relevant for them. Allison Bolen, @alisonbolen.

One of the first things you MUST do is to identify who your audience is. Most agencies are generalists. They want to appeal to EVERYBODY. If you try appealing to everyone you won’t appeal to anyone. No appeal, no online traffic = no new business leads.

3. Keeping Your Objective Top of Mind

It is critical to always keep your business objectives top of mind and use them to guide your content strategy. Cam Brown, @CamBrown1.

If you want to greatly boost agency network and referral business, social media is key and the cornerstone for your social media initiatives should be in content development. If not, social media can be a great waste of time.

4. Empowering the Time and Resources

Being allowed by their superiors to take the time, energy, and resources to do it right. CC Chapman, @cc_chapman.

Agency principals must first be convinced of the value of content creation for agency new business, then be willing to commit the right person(s), time and resources toward it.

5. Resources and Focus

Unless a marketing organization has the resources and focus to get content created, it will always be difficult to accomplish content marketing goals. Pawan Deshpande, @TweetsFromPawan.

The tighter your niche, the easier content creation will become. Less time, a better focus and a greater return on the time invested.

6. Creating an Internal Process

With content, and the evolving forms of content for customer engagement, it’s critical that there’s a process internally that enables successful creation and delivery.  Barbara Gago, @BarbraGago.

Content creation will require a system for your agency to have success.  Create and implement a plan of action: One person who is responsible, realistic goals and objectives set, resources gathered and organized, plan your work and work your plan.

7. Having an Initial Base of Content

It’s incredibly difficult to develop interesting and relevant campaigns if you’ve not built a library of content that you can pull from throughout the fiscal year. Nate Riggs, @nateriggs.

When I consult with agencies, creating a new business program fueled through social media, the first thing I have them do is create 60 blog posts in 60 days. It then gives us our library of content that we can repurpose through many other channels and have a base that fresh content is consistently being added. Also, when you create this initial library of content within a short time frame, helps to work out the bugs of your internal processes.

8. Writing Content that Will Relate 

Learning to write and communicate in a way that is completely and utterly on the level of their audience, not the level of the industry professional.Marcus Sheridan, @TheSalesLion.

Agency’s are bad about using agency speak, when talking and presenting to prospects. Agency speak doesn’t resonate with prospects and isn’t very appealing. They tend to carry over this habit when creating online content. They will need to learn to write in a manner that is reflective of the audience you are trying to reach.

9.  Just Doing It

Most people seem to know what they should be doing; the trouble is actually getting it done. Consistency counts for everything.Todd Wheatland,  @ToddWheatland.

If you can’t be consistent, your efforts are going to be in vain. As you create a program for content creation you should think in terms of “what is sustainable when our agency is at its busiest”. So begin this process with an action plan, using the K.I.S.S. principle. A plan is just a plan until its executed, so set dates and get started.

Consistency is much more important than perfection. It will be much easier to make changes if you get the process moving.

10. Presenting the Right Content, to the Right Audience in the Right Ways

Consistently coming up with new, timely, interesting ways to present the right content to the right audiences. Arnie Kuenn, @ArnieK

Currently an agency blog is one of the best platforms for delivering content to your prospective client audience. This will evolve and change over time. Other ways that you can disseminate content landing pages, email newsletters, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, etc.

For additional information and helps, click on the following link to read Michele Linn’s article, Content Marketers Reveal Their Toughest Challenges, written for the Content Marketing Institute. I would also encourage you to explore the Content Marketing, a great resource for how-to of content marketing.

Additional articles to help with your agency’s content creation:

photo credit: emilio labrador via photo pin cc

About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.


  1. #9 is definitely the toughest sometimes, even when you know it’s a stopping point–and even when you’ve blogged about it yourself (http://blog.cdginteractive.com/my_weblog/2010/04/just-do-it-try-a-writers-sprint.html)!

    Building a list of blog ideas and writing in chunks of time on a regular basis can help keep the content flowing as well.

  2. This article itself is a great example of how to create new content.
    1. Take an existing article or output from a conference
    2. Interpret it in the light of your niche

    Michael, you are a perfect example of following your own advice!
    Brands Seeking Agencies is the latest project I launched based on the content driven out of our blog. And it works.

  3. Thank you Rebecca. Very kind of you.


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