Top 7 Content Marketing Challenges For Small Businesses

Matt Kenny

by Matt Kenny • 10 minute read

Top 7 Content Marketing Challenges For Small Businesses

The use of content marketing for business growth has increased rapidly over the past few years.

In March, Semrush published its State of Content Marketing 2022 Global Report, where 97% of survey respondents claimed that content formed an important part of their overall marketing strategy in 2021.

Whether you’re posting blogs to your website, creating whitepapers that users can download, or optimizing email workflows for blog subscribers, content marketing has a wide range of uses for growing your business.

But with all these different levers to pull come various hurdles, most of which you’ll eventually have to face. What are the most common content marketing challenges for small businesses? To find out, we asked company founders and managers for their input and gathered the responses below. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, you might find comfort in knowing you’re not alone—and we offer recommendations to help you overcome them.

Top Content Marketing Challenges Business Owners Face

1 Maintaining Reader Engagement

Content marketing challenges: Maintaining Reader Engagement

"Our family is in the jewelry business. While we write blog posts and create videos, the hardest part is getting people to read/watch and engage with them. While we are getting better at it, it is definitely the hardest and most time-consuming part of content marketing."

Jeff Moriarty of Moriarty's Gem Art—Jeff Moriarty of Moriarty's Gem Art


"Getting views is easy, for it is merely a collection of viral skills and techniques. The real challenge is building a community of loyal followers who believe in your mission."

—Austin Lugo of Theater 42


"The #1 challenge I have with my website's content marketing efforts is that it's hard to get people to read the content. This is especially true for my target audience, who are mostly busy professionals and entrepreneurs who don't have time to sit down and read long articles. I've tried using images and videos, but there's something about just reading words on a page that has a more lasting impact on people. That's why I'm sticking to the tried-and-true method of writing blog posts."

Patricia Jones of Neutypechic—Patricia Jones of Neutypechic


"Producing content is easy, but turning that into engaging content that drives traffic and leads is difficult. Time and skills are needed to create content that stands out and connects with your audience."

Deepanshu Bedi of HolistaPet—Deepanshu Bedi of HolistaPet


"One of the challenges that many companies face is producing content that people actually want to read—it’s not always easy to create. Agreeing on a content strategy is the first step in planning for long-term success."

—Thomas Dean of No Meat Athlete


"The biggest challenge we are currently facing in our website's content marketing efforts is ensuring that enough people actually read that content. We are trying to leverage all possible channels that would direct audiences to our content, including but not limited to social media. Right now, our social media managers' main tasks involve repurposing our website content to create highly-engaging social media posts that encourage people to come to our site and learn more."

—Daniel Cook of Mullen & Mullen


How can you overcome this challenge?

One of the most important questions to keep in mind with every piece of content that you produce is this:

WHO are you trying to reach?

If you’re not able to firmly answer this question while writing new content for your website, you could be running into the common issue of audience detachment, which eventually leads to a lack of reader engagement.

This is something that we typically see with newer clients who haven’t seen success with their previous content efforts.

That’s why our first priority when onboarding new clients is to get a firm understanding of their target audience through the creation of a buyer persona. Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience with a fleshed-out buyer persona, you’ll be able to plan out more helpful content for them that will eventually lead to increased reader engagement for your site.

Also keep in mind the “next step” you want readers to take with each piece of content, or at the very least offer something else that could be useful to them. This is where inbound marketing offers come into play. By including something of value (like an ebook, white paper, or template) within your content, you’re increasing the chances of readers engaging with your website because they must submit their contact info in order to download it.

That’s why pretty much all the content we produce for our clients (and ourselves) includes something that promotes one of these inbound marketing offers with a CTA.

The moral of the story here:

Make sure you know WHO you’re targeting with each piece of content you produce and WHAT action you want readers to take after reading it.

2 Hiring Competent Writers

Content marketing challenges: Hiring Competent Writers

"Hiring competent writers who can conduct independent research has been harder for us than hiring any other class of experts, including developers and graphic designers. We've had to produce all content in-house due to this challenge."

Calloway Cook of Illuminate Labs—Calloway Cook of Illuminate Labs


"We have a complex SaaS product that requires deep industry knowledge to produce high-quality, relevant content. Finding people with a background in our industry who also write has been challenging."

Paul Chesterman of EthOS—Paul Chesterman of EthOS


How can you overcome this challenge?

Finding high-quality writers to help grow your content marketing efforts can be a challenging task for most businesses today. Very often, our new clients tell us they’ve struggled to find writers who can write about technical topics in their industry capably.

The problem here is that, most of the time, these freelance writers are tasked with writing about a very specific topic they have little to no knowledge of. As a result, they are forced to regurgitate whatever the existing top-ranking articles say about it. (It’s essentially the same thing AI content platforms are doing, but with a human doing the paraphrasing instead of a robot!)

To produce helpful, unique content, writers need access to original information sources. That’s why one of the core ingredients of our own Growth Content formula is “industry expertise.” We find good writers and pair them with subject matter experts (SMEs) from within our clients’ companies. By conducting brief video interviews on topics relevant to each company’s target audience, writers gain the background they need to write authoritatively, which leads to better content.

The next time you’re looking for freelance writers to help you out with your content efforts, keep in mind that it’s not necessarily their job to know your industry and your business; providing that information is up to you.

3 Growing Organic Traffic

Content marketing challenges: Growing Organic Traffic

"The number-one challenge we face with our website's content marketing efforts is generating enough traffic to our site. We rely heavily on organic traffic from search engines, and while our SEO is good, it's not great."

Brandon Wilkes of The Big Phone Store—Brandon Wilkes of The Big Phone Store


"The SERPs become more and more competitive with every year that goes by. The longer you wait to start, the harder it's going to be for you to excel in content marketing."

Calvin Jacob of Vilop Digital—Calvin Jacob of Vilop Digital


"Within a very busy marketplace, we’ve been finding it challenging to attract our perfect prospects and customers via organic SEO amongst the noise from well-known brands. We’re a new, unique offering within a very popular industry, so standing out to attract potential new customers who don’t know of our USP can be tricky!"

Brad Crompton of Spirit of Bermondsey Ltd.—Brad Crompton of Spirit of Bermondsey Ltd.


"It's hard to stay on top of the ever-changing algorithms. As soon as you learn one new trend it changes. Constantly being creative on demand is very challenging."

Tatianna Vassilopoulos of JP's Delights—Tatianna Vassilopoulos of JP's Delights


"We have had to spend so much to improve our SEO performance, yet traffic has been low. Our aim is to have our target audience see us."

Cassie Alongi of We Buy Any House In California—Cassie Alongi of We Buy Any House In California


"The importance of building content around keywords has never been in doubt. But keywords and their difficulty scores change over time. Continually reviewing your keywords and how you are ranking feels like recreating the wheel at times."

Andrew Porwol of Garden Centre Shopping—Andrew Porwol of Garden Centre Shopping


"While I believe our content is great and many of our readers seem to enjoy it, we need to improve our SEO efforts as well as general advertising to bring more readers in. We’ve slowly been testing out different SEO strategies and are learning what does and does not work for our different audience segments. It’s been challenging getting it right, but we’re slowly getting there and I’m sure we’ll be getting our content out to more people who want to learn about our containers very soon."

Teri Shern of Conex Boxes—Teri Shern of Conex Boxes


How can you overcome this challenge?

Lack of organic traffic is the primary reason we have new prospects reaching out to us for help with their content marketing efforts. In fact, organic traffic and organic leads are two of the primary KPIs we measure across all clients.

When you’re trying to build up organic traffic for your website (as we’ve done for our clients), you should keep the following three things in mind:

  1. Target specific keywords with each piece of content you produce. (Make sure these keywords align with the needs & wants of your buyer persona.)
  2. Measure your blog efforts on a consistent basis to keep track of what’s working and what’s not.
  3. Understand that it will take time and effort to produce effective results.

As long as you are strategic in your content production, well-informed about your progress, and patient with your end results you should be able to grow your organic traffic over time.

4 Overcoming A Lack Of Resources

Content marketing challenges: Overcoming A Lack Of Resources

"My struggle is finding the time to create the content my clients want to see. Professional services like my therapy practice require our presence, whether it’s in the therapy room or in our content."

Mary Ellen Kundrat of Pivotal Moments Wellness—Mary Ellen Kundrat of Pivotal Moments Wellness


"There's a lot of relevant information I can write about that answers the frequently asked questions of my target audience. Having the time to write all that content and get it out on my website is a challenge."

Shawn Plummer of The Annuity Expert—Shawn Plummer of The Annuity Expert


"Producing content takes both time and money, and time is often in short supply because, as a small business, our marketing team is only one person. Creating great marketing content is only one part of our marketing lead’s job, so it also has to be balanced with their other responsibilities. The biggest challenge we face is finding the right balance that also works within our budget."

Colin Toh of Headphonesty—Colin Toh of Headphonesty


"I'm constantly working on new ideas for articles and blog posts, but they take time to develop into something that feels like it was worth the effort. I also often have to go back and re-edit old articles that haven't been updated in a while or rewrite them so they're up to date with current trends."

Patricia Jones of Neutypechic—Patricia Jones of Neutypechic


How can you overcome this challenge?

This is a challenge that I’m sure every business owner can relate to at some point or another (if not perpetually throughout every single second of their life!).

How do you find the time to generate your own content when you’ve got a million other tasks to attend to that come with managing and growing one’s own business?

This is where working with freelance writers (or a proven agency like Nectafy—*cough cough*) can help you!

By outsourcing your content marketing efforts, you’ll be able to consistently add new content to your site while still taking care of other more pressing items that demand your time.

Not one for outsourcing tasks? Consider picking up the practice of deep work in order to better organize your workday and become even more productive than you are right now.

5 Measuring ROI

Content marketing challenges: Measuring ROI

"There are multiple ways that content marketing helps grow your business, such as generating email sign-ups, having customers book discovery calls, or converting to sales, but this variety is what makes it challenging to measure the ROI. If you’re only focusing on one metric, the content could be performing well in another, so while you may not be seeing a huge number of sales, your email list could be growing rapidly, making the content still valuable, but perhaps the ROI isn’t as evident."

Mark Pierce of Cloud Peak Law Group—Mark Pierce of Cloud Peak Law Group


"The biggest challenge for our team is measuring the ROI our content marketing efforts bring us. Though there are tools to help, it is still quite a task to figure out what exactly seems to be working. We usually have tracking links in place to gauge results. After all, it is essential to know whether we are able to reach the desired goals or not. "

Dhiraj Wagh of SalesBlink—Dhiraj Wagh of SalesBlink


"The #1 challenge we have with content marketing is that it's hard to know what will be successful. We have a lot of ideas, but we can't tell which ones are going to resonate with our readers. That's why we always try to keep the editorial calendar full of different types of content—articles, videos, infographics, etc.—so that if one type isn't working well, there's another type we can try out instead."

Gauri Manglik of Instrumental—Gauri Manglik of Instrumental


"It can be a challenge for us since there are a number of factors to consider, such as the cost of producing the content, the reach of the content, and the engagement with the content. Additionally, it can be difficult to track how content leads to conversions."

Jonathan Saeidian of Brenton Way—Jonathan Saeidian of Brenton Way


How can you overcome this challenge?

Going back to one of my earlier points above, measuring your content performance can sometimes be a tricky task. With so many metrics and platforms available for use, measuring content marketing ROI can sometimes feel like a maze filled with mirrors showing you distorted reflections of your business. That’s why it’s important to pick a dedicated analytics platform you can use for all your content marketing efforts (like HubSpot or Google Analytics).

Next, you’ll want to make sure you have clear KPIs that can be measured by your analytics platform. Here are some of the main KPIs we use to measure our content efforts on a monthly basis:

  • Organic traffic
  • Organic leads
  • Total blog traffic
  • Blog leads

Using a platform like HubSpot can really help connect your content efforts with revenue, mostly because HubSpot also functions as a CRM in addition to an analytics platform. That means you can track an organic user that enters your website from one of your blog posts and track them all the way until they become a customer!

While it’s sometimes hard to pinpoint the exact piece of content that caused someone to request a demo of your product or a consultation call, using well-defined KPIs in tandem with a dedicated analytics platform can help you put the pieces together in order to understand how your content marketing efforts are helping (or possibly hurting) your business.

6 Consistently Producing High-Quality Content

Content marketing challenges: Consistently Producing High-Quality Content

"Producing both quality and quantity is my biggest challenge when it comes to content marketing. One is typically sacrificed for the other, especially if you’re working with a small team, but I aim for both quality and consistency to achieve the marketing impact I want."

Jim Campbell of Epic Caribbean—Jim Campbell of Epic Caribbean


"Producing consistent content is extremely important. Our biggest challenge is making sure we are consistently publishing blog posts and/or videos."

Catherine Wilson of Essential Derma—Catherine Wilson of Essential Derma


"It is important for marketers to stay ahead of the game and produce quality content that will help them stand out from the competition. While this may seem like an easy task, it can be quite difficult when you are not sure what your audience wants or how they want you to market to them. This challenge can be difficult because there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each audience needs to be approached differently in order for your content marketing efforts to succeed."

Jensen Lee of bidetsPLUS—Jensen Lee of bidetsPLUS


"Maintaining ambitious publishing schedules has definitely been the number one challenge. Publishing frequently can become exhausting if resources are lacking."

Adam Van Tassell of Birch Forest Lodge—Adam Van Tassell of Birch Forest Lodge


"Sharing relevant, high-quality content is challenging. Businesses struggle to find content ideas different from what competitors share, which can initiate conversations. Studying industry leaders’ content and seeing how it performs in the search engine results pages will help you understand the standard quality of content you should aim to match and exceed. Also, opt to develop and share in-depth resources and research information that answer your customers’ questions."

Lauri Kinkar of Messente—Lauri Kinkar of Messente


"As a real estate professional, my job is already full of so many tasks and to-do lists. With that said, maintaining a schedule for my team to create, post and then market content is the biggest challenge. This is because we like to focus on important and relevant content, not just a wall of text for people to click on."

Nicky Taveras of DNT Home Buyers—Nicky Taveras of DNT Home Buyers


"Creating content that cuts through the digital noise whilst mapping back to keywords we can rank for is a big challenge in such a competitive industry. The process includes many layers from ideation, creation, and editing to testing how it appeals to our audience."

Catherine Mack of House Buyer Network—Catherine Mack of House Buyer Network


"Content marketing is constantly evolving, and what worked well a year ago might not get you the same results today. It’s all about finding the right balance of continuing to put out tried-and-true high-converting content and experimenting with new methods and media types as trends change and evolve."

Logan Mallory of Motivosity—Logan Mallory of Motivosity


How can you overcome this challenge?

To generate consistent results for your business, you need to have a process in place for planning, writing, and publishing your content.

“Process” is also one of the core ingredients included in our Growth Content Formula. Using a well-rounded set of project management and collaboration tools (like Favro, Google Sheets, and Google Docs), we’ve created a well-oiled content production process that’s rooted in years of successful implementation.

If you’re thinking about how you can create your own content production process, consider the following points:

  • Make sure each piece of content has a specific strategy, or notes on how it should be created. We tend to use Google Sheets for this kind of documentation.
  • Plan your content out by each month, not per article. Another benefit of using Google Sheets is that it gives you the ability to create simplified content calendars. A calendar helps ensure you stay ahead with our content, and are less likely to be delayed or stalled in any way.
  • Meet weekly with your team to hold them accountable. At Nectafy, we have a weekly stand-up where we run through our various client accounts and check on possible content hurdles.
  • Reserve time for content production. If it’s slotted on your calendar it’s harder to forget about it or pass it off for another task.

How much could your company grow with growth content?

Calculate your expected growth in organic visits based on the average Nectafy client.

Key Statistics
1,000 Month 1 Organic Visits
10,049 Month 12 Organic Visits
10X One Year Growth

7 Finding New Ideas To Write About

Content marketing challenges: Finding New Ideas To Write About

"The challenge I have with my content marketing efforts is that we can’t come up with enough ideas or we struggle to figure out what our audience would like. It’s very important to remember that the goal of content marketing is not just about promoting yourself; it’s also about getting leads and conversions from people who are interested in what you have to offer."

Thomas Niemczewski of Dream Chasers—Thomas Niemczewski of Dream Chasers


"The challenge we are currently facing with our website's content marketing efforts is not just about producing quality content. It’s also about how to generate ideas that are relevant to our target audience. It can be challenging to create content that will resonate with our audience. Content marketing requires a lot of time and effort to produce high-quality content that will stand out from the crowd."

Aaron Rice of Stayyy—Aaron Rice of Stayyy


"Coming up with ideas for new content can be a challenge for us, especially since we feel like we've already covered all the basics. We are now working on repurposing old content in new ways, and reaching out to guest contributors to get fresh perspectives."

Caitlyn Parish of Cicinia—Caitlyn Parish of Cicinia


"Insurance-related articles are a dime a dozen online, so getting ours to the top of the list is a major undertaking that we're happy to be succeeding in. Finding unique ways to create content and beat out the major players forms a significant part of our content marketing strategy."

Rayne Morgan of—Rayne Morgan of


"Our main struggle is finding blog topics that don't have too much competition in regard to search engine optimization."

James Anderson of Veritas Buyers—James Anderson of Veritas Buyers


How can you overcome this challenge?

To be completely honest, coming up with new article ideas is a challenge that we’ve also faced with some of our longstanding clients.

What happens when you run out of topics to discuss? How do you discover new ideas to write about? Is it okay to write about the same topic over and over again?

These are all questions that I’m sure are swirling around your head as you struggle to identify new content topic opportunities for your site.

This is where it helps to use helpful keyword research tools like Semrush. We use it for all our clients, both for keyword research and for tracking our keyword rankings.

In addition to Semrush, we have also come up with a list of successful blog post types that we usually refer back to when planning out new content for clients. By looking at existing blogs that have worked well for our other clients, we’re able to identify new opportunities across different niches that may have not been explored yet.

Lastly, one of the most important things you can do to generate new topic ideas is to reach out to the same people you’re trying to create content for—YOUR AUDIENCE! By using Google Forms or other survey platforms, you can open a dialogue with prospects in your email list by asking them what they need help with or answers to. This sort of dialogue can open new doors to your content marketing efforts that may have not been obvious before.

You can also use different tools to reach out to SMEs outside your company to gain more insights for new content. Here are two of the main external SME platforms we’ve used to create high-quality content for ourselves and our clients:

Need help with your content marketing efforts?

This is where Nectafy comes into play!

We can help you consistently produce high-quality content for your site that will actually lead to business growth. Our data-driven approach to content marketing—which we call Growth Content—follows vetted rules and principles that have helped us drive consistent results for our clients throughout the years. And we can do the same for you!

If you think your business might be a good fit for Growth Content, book your “Why” Call today and let us know how you envision Growth Content driving your business forward.

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