Content Planning Tips To Reduce Marketing Costs
When companies face a tightening of their belts, they begin to look at how to cut the marketing budget. The reason is often because there is a sense that the ROI of marketing is difficult to gauge. This is certainly true with traditional advertising. How, for example, can the return on a television ad be quantitatively determined? And these are costly endeavors.
Fortunately, content marketing has taken the driver’s seat, albeit a bit slowly. People watch less and less standard television; they read fewer and fewer printed newspapers and magazines. Even traditional radio is being disrupted, as commuters stream their favorite music without interruptions of advertisers. Marketers are aware that digital marketing through great content is cost-effective, can reach audiences and can be audited for ROI. In fact, 51% of marketers recently surveyed indicate that they will be increasing their content marketing budget this year.
One thing consumers do, however, is access websites as they look for products and services; they engage with their communities on social media and ask for recommendations; they seek out reviews on brands they are considering. And marketers must go where their target customers are. The reason this is fortunate is that content marketing done right can increase sales and can be analyzed for effectiveness.
If marketing budgets must be cut, it is the traditional venues that should go first and it is content marketing budgets that should remain intact or increase.
Doing Content Marketing Right
Content marketing does have its costs, however. It requires research (lots of it); it requires constant vigilance maintaining current customers and moving others who are at various stages in sales funnels; it means acquiring tools to segment audiences, to craft content for each of those segments; it means using other tools to personalize content and customer service; it means designing different types of content for social platforms and for reader/viewer preferences.
All of these tasks require planning, and that is where any content marketing effort must begin. Here are some planning strategies that will keep digital marketing efforts coordinated, less costly, and more successful in terms of ROI.
Begin With Objectives
The large goals of any enterprise are obviously to product a product or service that consumers will love and purchase. This means revenue and profits. Within that large framework, all departments have responsibilities and objectives to meet them. Marketing responsibilities are the outgrowth of clear objectives too. These objectives might include the following:
- Win customers from competitors
- Target a new audience
- Add a new social platform or beef up existing ones
- Craft a more engaging blog, post regularly, and promote that blog more effectively
- Become expert in a specific content area
Once you set your objectives, they should drive the type of content you produce, where you publish that content, how you promote that content, and how you might segment it out for different audiences. And, once you set those objectives, don’t change them. You can end up with a dis-organized hodge-podge of content if you do.
All content that is created and published somewhere should have one of these objectives in mind. For example, if you are attempting to pull customers from a competitor, you will research that competitor’s website, read the blog posts and study the social media platforms. What topics are covered? What conversations are going on? What solutions are those customers looking for? How is your product or service better at providing a solution? And are there demographics that you are not targeting?
Perhaps you want to establish yourself (and your brand) as the top expert in a specific niche that relates to your products or services. This means digging deep into research for solutions that your target audience wants. As Sebastian Naturski, founder of Your Diamond Teacher site explains:
“I began an entire odyssey in becoming a diamond expert and I took my time with it. For some reason diamonds exerted a strong fascination on me and I could not stop reading about them…I have found many good sources online on diamonds but I felt that sometimes they were not specific enough. I wanted to dive deeper and out of my passion for diamonds I decided to create a website on diamonds that would answer all the questions that I had as a newbie when starting out – and many more of course.” Today, his website is a favorite among those seeking to find the perfect diamond and engagement ring.
Create Multi-Purpose and Evergreen Content
When content is created, there should always be the thought, “How can I re-purpose this?” this will save time and resources. Here are a few things you can do:
- Craft an e-book with several chapters. You can use it as a conversion tool to get email addresses from visitors. You can also take each chapter and fashion a single blog post, again promoting the entire book and gating it with an email address CTA.
- Turn content into a podcast or a SlideShare
- Create an explainer or a “how to” video, add some humor, and the blog post you wrote comes alive for many consumers who really prefer visuals to words. This is especially effective for social media postings and for mobile visitors/customers.
- Turn evergreen content of older posts into lists or guides. Update what needs to be.
Segment and Automate Your Email Marketing Campaigns
If you conduct an audit of your content and divide it into categories, you will soon see how much effort you are putting into attracting new visitors, keeping in touch with those who have shown initial interest, nurturing those who are considering a purchase, and maintaining communication with customers you need to retain for future purchases. Divide content creation into these categories, craft email messages for each of these target groups and use one of several excellent tools for automated email campaigns.
Use Tactics That Are Proven
Planning for your content marketing is critical. But so are some of the simple tactics that you can use on a daily basis:
- Get involved in community and charitable events. Use these as ways to establish your brand as socially responsible.
- Network both on and offline. Find related niches and cross-promote.
- Capitalize on user-generated content – happy customers make for great content, especially with photos
- Ask satisfied customers for referrals
- Offer coupons and free trials/samples
Don’t Forget The Analytics
When company budgets must be cut, you don’t want to be one of the casualties. If you have planned your content marketing well, have focused on the objectives you set and can demonstrate the traffic you are generating, the decision-makers will have to see your budget as worthy.