Content marketing is never as easy as it sounds. First you have to identify your key audiences, messages and platforms. Then you have to create the content.  A new report sheds light on the challenges marketers face when it comes to creating unique content experiences. 

Content Marketing Challenges

For a report called "Curation: What Does It Mean To Marketers? A look at the current state of curation in content marketing," Trapit surveyed US marketers to understand their perceptions of content marketing, curation and consumption. 

The results show marketers are overwhelmed by content development. They spend more than a quarter (28 percent) of their time on content marketing in an effort to share 15 pieces of content per day, which they deem necessary to properly engage with their customers. Yet nearly half admit they are not able to keep up with their content demands. 

While the survey doesn't necessary provide definite answers as to why content marketers feel unable to keep up — we can infer some of their struggles from their answers about what types of content they need and they type of platforms where it needs to publish to. For instance, 82 percent of marketers believe content is more likely to be consumed if it is visual, signifying the value in photos and video content. Additionally, approximately 49 percent of respondents believe mobile content consumption habits will displace traditional search engine discovery routes. Altogether, producing visual content that's both engaging and mobile-friendly is hard for many marketers — especially if it involves including more people, more money and more time to create. 

Is Content Curation the Key?

It's worth noting that Trapit is in the curation business and believes curation is the cure for the content marketing blues. And it might be right. The survey showed that a majority (74 percent) of marketers agree content curation isan important part of their content strategy. So why isn't content curation, that is  — the process of collecting, organizing and displaying information — relevant to a particular topic or area of interest, helping marketers with their content marketing?

Trapit Content Curation and Content Marketing

It could be that there's only so much content worth sharing. Sixty-percent of marketers indicated "it's hard to curate original content that my peers/competitors aren't also curating." If by curating others' content, you hope to position yourself as an authority on a specific topic or within a specific industry — competing to be first to share the appropriate content makes things considerably harder. So how can marketers leverage content curation to their benefit without having to worry about getting their first?

Look Beyond Industry Leaders

A recent scholarly article caught my attention. It sought to understand why people curate content. The paper, "Sharing the Loves: Understanding the How and Why of Online Content Curation (pdf) highlights the obvious reasons why people share content — to facilitate social connections and to solve problems. But it was the section on What Do Other People Find Useful that was particularly enlightening. The researchers found that people like it when curators identify new sources of content on a regular basis and when they share a variety of sources or interests. 

I know what you're thinking — this is exactly why marketers are overwhelmed. How can they possible do these things when there are only so many high-quality sources to share?

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Ahh,  but this is where it gets interesting. According to this research, "curation highlights websites not popular in other rankings." Do you know what this means? There's a whole other world of content to be shared that lies beyond The HuffingtonPost or Mashable (not that there's anything wrong with them). In fact, the research showed in the case of Pinterest, "websites with highly repinned or liked images tend not to have a high page rank or Alexa Global Traffic Rank." 

Perhaps content marketers need to delve deeper into the types of content available to them. Anyone can share a link to a Forbes article, but not everyone can share a link to an up and coming blog that identifies the trends just as well. As long as the content is well-written and relevant, marketers shouldn't worry about sharing more than the traditional sources. Which isn't to say that you should disregard them altogether — a healthy variety of sources is welcome.  

Title image by Shutterstock / Max Griboedov.