Engagement, And Authenticity, And Relevancy, Oh My! Content Marketers Confess
Their Biggest Challenges

Audience during Q&A at last week’s Brand Publishing Summit.

Last Thursday, we gathered some of the brightest minds in the industry for some frank talks about content marketing at the Brand Publishing Summit. As everyone schmoozed, we asked some accommodating volunteers: What is the biggest challenge you face when creating content?

Melanie Deziel, Social Engagement Manager at Huffington Post Partner Studio

“Trying to find a balance between what advertisers want in their content and what readers actually want to see in the content that we’re giving them. Sometimes that level of branding is a delicate balance. We rely a lot on what we’ve seen work in the past. We can see various levels of integration where readers react negatively or positively, so we know the level of branding they’re willing to tolerate and we try not to push that boundary.”

Benjamin Steinberg, Manager of Consumer Verticals and Digital Partnerships at Random House

“Making sure that we’re getting the right content to the right demographic insofar as a nice balance between just engagement versus pointing directly to sales. For social media, we do a lot of fun things centered around publishing — quotes, cover reveals, news about the authors — and I think that engagement can then lead to a stronger fan base.”

Sam Brand, Community Development Manager at Stack Exchange

“On our network, users create content. One of the tough things is: If you have a question admitting some sort of inadequacy, then a lot of people are afraid to press publish. We’re always trying to streamline the ways we’re giving people a platform to be honest, to ask what they want to ask, because we do a really good job of giving people a place to answer.”

Doug Levy, Copywriter at Shutterstock

“There’s these two extremes. One extreme is where the branding overwhelms the content. People feel they’re being hit over the head, it’s inauthentic, and it’s obvious that it’s really just an advertisement. And then the other extreme is when you try to stray so far away from that and you focus so much on keeping it authentic that the branding gets lost. The biggest challenge is to find that middle ground where your brand message gets through and resonates, but at the same time, the content is actually valuable and stands on its own and is something people would talk about even if the branding wasn’t there.”

Stephen Beck, Founder & CEO at Engine Digital

“From our perspective, it’s less about the creating of the content and more about the experience the content lives in. And i think a lot of our clients are having a hard time wrapping their heads around what that experience might look like. So, we try to get them to think less about blogging and more about editorial-based experiences.”

Stacey Milspaw, Business Development at Poptip

“Coming up with a unique or fresh perspective on the most talked-about industry topics of that moment without repeating what everyone else is saying or taking the same perspective. “

Adam Yellin, Sales and Development at Poptip

“Figuring out what’s most relevant.”

What’s the deal with the Content Strategist? At Contently, storytelling is the only marketing we do, and it works wonders. It could for you, too. Learn more.

Image by Greg Epperson/

Get better at your job right now.

Read our weekly newsletter to master content marketing. It’s made for marketers, creators, and everyone in between.

Trending stories