The power of content marketing to achieve marketing goals can become a sort of catch-22 for small to mid-sized businesses, startups, and any organization that doesn’t boast a six-figure content budget.
Because it’s so effective – pretty much every high performing business is using content, with 91 percent of B2B organizations and 86 percent of B2C brands using it – the reality is, there is a flood of content out there.
And, all of it is competing for consumer attention.
How in the world can your content compete with stuff like this?
or this for photo company, VSCO:
and this for Corning Inc.:
Don’t give up because you don’t have the resources to include virtual reality, trendy influencers, and futuristic promotional videos in your strategy right now. Instead, be inspired. With a few tools, commitment, and a creative mindset, your organization can craft remarkably effective content without deep pockets.
Simplify Your Analytics
Want to get more impact out of your content? Hone in on the essential metrics that will reveal how aligned your content marketing strategy is with your marketing goals.
Instead of spreading your mental and temporal bandwidth on numerous metrics of varying degrees of relevancy, identify your top four to five that directly demonstrate how effective your content is throughout the sales funnel.
By doing this, you’ll be in a better position to respond to your analytics data so you can continually improve your strategy and ensure you have effective top, middle, and bottom of the funnel content in place to drive results. For example, just focusing on social media click-through rates, web traffic and lead page conversions, and sales conversions will give you essential feedback on your content.
Use Free Marketing Tools
From Google’s suite of free tools to free versions of industry leading marketing automation platforms, like MailChimp, there are plenty of free or low-budget tools you can use to boost your content quality and reach.
Canva, Hootsuite, WordPress, Wistia – there is something for content management, social and email automation, content writing, better headlines, digital illustration, video creation, content planning, in-depth analytics and every other facet of your content marketing.
As your budget grows, you’ll want to expand your use of platforms, either upgrading to paid subscriptions or integrating new tools into your marketing technology stack. But, by starting with free tools, you’ll not only be more equipped to offer your customers better content, you’ll get a better idea of what features and tools are the most important to your marketing needs once your resources aren’t as thin.
Practice Active Reading
When you’re trying to compete with every other brand in your niche for your target audience’s precious time, your content has to be extremely worthwhile. One way you can give your content a competitive advantage is to take a more in-depth, thought-provoking approach to your own information consumption with active reading.
Patrick Hayslett of LinguaLinx recommends using active reading in order to learn more about your topic than what your competitors know.
What is active reading? It’s the act of asking questions and analyzing while you are reading, identifying the writer’s opinion and personal thoughts and paying attention to where you disagree.
Applied to content marketing, active reading can turn your or your content creators’ research into a journey:
- Take a critical thinking approach to everything you read
- Write down your questions as they come up and then use them for new content topics
- Use this to create more forward-thinking content, pushing boundaries, sparking informed conversations, and disrupting the status quo, rather than just churning out content for people to passively consume.
Repurpose Your Content
By repurposing content, you’re not just squeezing more value out of the content already created. You’re also expanding its reach.
Podcast interview to blog series. User-generated social content to a marketing video. Event marketing survey feedback or social analytics to white paper. By repurposing, you can use your well-performing content to reach more people through different channels.
This may help you connect with potential leads and customers who may not have been engaged on the initial channel used. It can also give you more quality content to target your audience with as they move from one buying stage to another.
Outsource Some of Your Content Production
When you can’t afford an in-house team, outsourcing offers a viable option for marketing teams. It costs less, and with a long-term relationship with your providers, there is a lot of potential for extremely high-quality work, with producers who get to know your brand.
When you outsource your video production, content writing, social posts, event organizing, or other form of content, you don’t just save resources. Outsourcing gives you access to a dedicated team of pros who live and breathe a particular medium.
And, the most important way to make your content more effective with fewer resources is to focus on the strategy part of your content marketing. It’s one thing to have a content plan – creating content on a schedule and publishing on different platforms. It’s another to use a strategy, ensuring that every piece of content counts and plays a key role within the big picture.
What are your short and long-term goals? What steps do you have to take to reach those goals? How will each channel help you get there and how are they supporting one another? And – what process do you have in place for evolving your strategy as you measure your content along the way?
When every blog post, live event, video, social post and eBook has a clear purpose, you make every dollar and hour invested, more worthwhile.
Imagine What You’ll Do with a Bigger Budget
Striving for better content is worth it. It can drive more engagement, generate more leads, boost revenue – and, lead to more resources to use down the road. Combine a bigger content marketing budget with your team’s honed skills for adept, resourceful content marketing, and eventually you will be creating the mind-blowing examples other brands are turning to for inspiration.