Content marketing is being held back by a lack of strategy


by Graham Charlton

Content marketing is being widely adopted, but a lack of clear strategy and interference from senior management is holding content teams back.

Content is all the rage right now, and companies are beginning to see the light, but a lack of clear strategy and interference from senior management is a major issue. 

A study of content culture in the U.K. and Europe by Sticky Content has three main findings:

  • Content is becoming more mainstream, with companies employing in-house teams.
  • Senior management are prone to interfere in content creation and distribution, not always positively.
  • There’s a distinct lack of planning and measurement of content.

Content is ‘Business Critical’

The good news is that more and more companies are valuing content, with 30 percent regarding it as business critical. 

For other companies, it seems that the will is there, but the strategy and planning isn’t.


Barriers to Effective Content Creation

Many of the issues here are less about the creation of content, and more about a lack of direction and coordination between departments.


Content strategy is all important here, as for content to be effective in a large organization it needs to produce around clear goals.

Instead, thanks to a lack of coordination, content is being produced that is never used. In 15 percent of the companies surveyed, almost half of the content produced is never put to use. 

One big problem here is the amount of interference from stakeholders in content creation and distribution.

If you want a content team to work well, you need to give them the tools to do the job and have some trust in their abilities.

However, there seems to be a HiPPO (highest paid person’s opinion) problem in many companies, something which can potentially strangle creativity and reduce the effectiveness of content.

Q: What happens when you have disagreements in your organization about a piece of content that has already been prepared?


This is reflected by the answers to the next question. Senior management is the biggest single problem.

Q: Which of your stakeholders has the most negative impact on content quality?


According to Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, the issues here are opportunities for companies with a clear strategy:

“Although more and more businesses are using content marketing, most are still experimenting with it, and don’t position it as a strategic asset to grow the organization. The research speaks directly to that. What is the good news? Lots of opportunity for those more mature in the discipline to grow a loyal audience that positively affects the business.”

I think it’s encouraging to see that more and more companies see the value of content and are hiring dedicated teams.

However, it seems that many simply aren’t doing it properly, with under-resourced teams and a lack of direction making their jobs more difficult. Content can work well, but without the proper resources and a clear content strategy, companies shouldn’t be surprised when the results are disappointing.