Con­tent is fuel for dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing. It is hard to do any­thing – SEO, paid search, social media, email, etc. – with­out hav­ing qual­i­ty con­tent.

Whether it is in a range of for­mats like video, arti­cles, blog posts, images, con­tent is a neces­si­ty.

We have vary­ing lev­els of sophis­ti­ca­tion when it comes to research and devel­op­ment of our sched­ules and cal­en­dars.

Depend­ing on our focus and tar­get audi­ence, we may lock in on short-form arti­cles, long-form, whitepa­pers, gat­ed con­tent, video, webi­na­rs for B2B, or go with quick hits and short for­mats that are visu­al­ly heavy for B2C.

Regard­less of our cur­rent lev­el of plan­ning and strat­e­gy and our organization’s tar­get audi­ence, we know we can improve the return on invest­ment of our con­tent and be more effi­cient in the process of gen­er­at­ing it.

Here are eight tips to max­i­mize your con­tent bud­get and stop wast­ing mon­ey.

1. Align Content Needs with Goals

If a dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing chan­nel like SEO is dri­ving the push for more or dif­fer­ent con­tent, that can be a prob­lem. SEO and dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als need con­tent for their efforts.

If they’re ask­ing for it and it is a sur­prise or if they’re ask­ing for for­mats and top­ics that aren’t in the broad­er dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing, or mar­ket­ing plan, that isn’t a good sign.

Take a step back and ensure that all dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing chan­nels are aligned toward over­all mar­ket­ing goals for the orga­ni­za­tion.

Then, work back­ward to see how each need con­tent to con­tribute to the cus­tomer jour­ney. From there you’ll be able to find shared con­tent needs that will fun­nel into the over­all goals.

SEO and oth­er dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing chan­nel goals shouldn’t be so dif­fer­ent that their tar­get­ing and audi­ence focus­es require 100% unique and sep­a­rate con­tent to be gen­er­at­ed than the oth­er chan­nels.

2. Create a Strategy

A strat­e­gy isn’t stat­ing that we’re going to cre­ate two blog posts per week, do some SEO to them, and share them on social. (Apolo­gies if I step on any toes here!)

If you’re in that boat, there’s no shame. Now is the time to take your goals (see above), do research (more on that to come), and cre­ate a big­ger strat­e­gy.

Yes, you’ll need the tac­ti­cal part of it regard­ing when you’ll cre­ate and deploy con­tent. How­ev­er, you need to know:

  • What you’re pro­duc­ing.
  • Why you’re pro­duc­ing it.
  • Your expect­ed con­tent ROI at a top-lev­el as well as a chan­nel-spe­cif­ic one.

Most impor­tant­ly – bring all of your mar­ket­ing chan­nels to the same table.

Under­stand what they are tar­get­ing, make sure there’s align­ment across the board, and deter­mine what their con­tent needs are indi­vid­u­al­ly to cre­ate a cohe­sive strat­e­gy.

3. Learn from the Past

If you haven’t tak­en a deep-dive into ana­lyt­ics, chan­nel met­rics, and anec­do­tal results from the sales team – now’s the time.

While we can spec­u­late on what per­formed well or what we want to pro­mote, we def­i­nite­ly need to gain insight from what has worked and what hasn’t in the past.

Jane may think the piece on the quan­tum physics of how we engi­neer the wid­get is the best arti­cle ever writ­ten for the indus­try while John bets his lunch on the whitepa­per com­par­ing all of the infe­ri­or com­peti­tor wid­gets to our company’s wid­get.

Both may be right, both may have impres­sions based on what they feel is impor­tant in mes­sag­ing.

If you have data and can trust how the con­tent was opti­mized, shared, and pro­mot­ed in the past, use this to influ­ence the strat­e­gy going for­ward.

4. Learn from Competitors

While there may be an argu­ment that we’re dif­fer­ent and bet­ter than all of our com­peti­tors – or that no one real­ly does what we do – there’s always some­thing to learn.

Even a basic review and doc­u­men­ta­tion of the top­ics, for­mats, and what we can see exter­nal­ly and through research tools in terms of engage­ment on com­peti­tor web­sites can help us.

We don’t need to repeat the com­peti­tors’ mis­takes and we can lever­age what appears to be work­ing with our bet­ter and dif­fer­ent take on the top­ics.

5. Listen to Your Audience

Going beyond the review of the past in ana­lyt­ics and report­ing for engage­ment and what has worked well, talk with your team. Or, even bet­ter, talk to your cus­tomers.

  • What are their pain points?
  • What are the ques­tions they had when in the research and buy­ing process?
  • What con­tent helped them?
  • What do they wish you had told them?
  • How could they have found you faster?

There are a lot of great ques­tions that can be asked both inter­nal and exter­nal stake­hold­ers. This doesn’t have to be through a sta­tis­ti­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant sam­ple or sur­vey.

Use con­ver­sa­tions, sur­veys, and meet­ings to get this info and see how it aligns with goals, top­ics, and the plan.

Listen to Your Audience

6. Leverage Your Subject Matter Experts

Cre­at­ing con­tent can be a sig­nif­i­cant invest­ment in both hard and soft costs for an orga­ni­za­tion. If you’re pay­ing exter­nal writ­ers, pho­tog­ra­phers, video­g­ra­phers, strate­gists, sub­ject mat­ter experts, etc., you’re invest­ing a lot.

If you have inter­nal sub­ject mat­ter experts, you have a wealth of knowl­edge read­i­ly avail­able. The chal­lenge is unlock­ing that knowl­edge and turn­ing it into con­tent.

You’ve got a strat­e­gy, you have goals, you know what the com­pe­ti­tion is say­ing and doing, you know what your chan­nels need, now you need to pro­duce the con­tent.

Sure Jane and John aren’t mar­keters and writ­ing in align­ment with the con­tent mar­ket­ing plan isn’t their strong suit. That doesn’t mean that we can’t use them.

  • Get bul­let points from them.
  • Inter­view them.
  • Write an ini­tial draft and have them add to it.
  • Have them give you an ini­tial draft.

With some guid­ance and the right process to get valu­able con­tent out of them, you can mine your inter­nal resources and save both exter­nal and inter­nal resource cap­i­tal.

7. Use the Same Content in Multiple Ways

The goal of invest­ment in con­tent should be to get the most out of it.

Being able to lever­age it in mul­ti­ple dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing chan­nels, for uses beyond mar­ket­ing, and by pack­ag­ing it in dif­fer­ent ways, we can get the most out of it.

Addi­tion­al­ly, being able to reuse the same con­tent (if it isn’t break­ing news or tied to a trend­ing top­ic), you can find ways to resur­face it and put dif­fer­ent angles on it down the road.

For exam­ple, if you had a great arti­cle about the upcom­ing “mobi­leged­don” you can write fol­low up pieces repur­pos­ing it when the dead­line is near­ing and even after the fact: “Mobi­leged­don 1‑month out: what we learned”.

By think­ing about the mul­ti­ple for­mats, chan­nels, and ways to revis­it and repur­pose con­tent top­ics, we can get even more out of orig­i­nal pieces of con­tent with­out hav­ing to start from scratch.

Plus, more focus and con­cen­tra­tion on a top­ic helps build thought lead­er­ship rather than just sprin­kling out posts and men­tions on a wide range of top­ics.

8. Measure Content Performance & Be Agile

While we can have the best 12-month plan in place with goals, strat­e­gy, tac­ti­cal sched­ul­ing, and bud­get lined up, the real­i­ty is that things won’t play out exact­ly as we pre­dict.

We have to have some lev­el of agili­ty built into the strat­e­gy or process.

This means we have to be con­stant­ly mea­sur­ing the per­for­mance of our con­tent against goals at the top lev­el and with­in dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing chan­nels and be will­ing to adjust the strat­e­gy as we go.

If we’re get­ting a ton of trac­tion on a cer­tain top­ic, putting more time into that top­ic and delay­ing anoth­er might be the answer.

In oth­er cas­es, if we aren’t see­ing trac­tion, there may be a case for mov­ing onto oth­er areas of the strat­e­gy or adjust­ing the pro­mo­tion­al and opti­miza­tion plans.

Regard­less, this is a flu­id process that can’t be planned on an annu­al sta­t­ic cal­en­dar and rigid with no way to adjust.

Yes, you need the long-term strat­e­gy and cal­en­dar, but you have to build in the mech­a­nisms to be able to adjust as you go.

Conclusion

With con­tent being a focal point and nec­es­sary func­tion of vir­tu­al­ly all dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing chan­nels – includ­ing search mar­ket­ing – we know we have to invest in it.

By being proac­tive with our con­tent mar­ket­ing approach and find­ing ways to save mon­ey, become more effi­cient, and see bet­ter per­for­mance as a bonus.

SOURCE: Search Engine Jour­nal