Content is one of the most valuable investments that a company can make. The stories that you develop today have the potential to become foundational drivers for awareness building, lead generation, and customer acquisition for years to come.
But often, content marketing programs fall short in reaching their full potential. The reason behind this pitfall is that companies often take a short-term view of performance and return on investment. Marketing managers will often publish a piece on a blog or release an eBook, develop a campaign, and then invest in distribution. Seeing a short-term bump, they’ll call the initiative a success and move on to creating more content—repeating the cycle.
But do you really need more content?
That’s the first stumbling block that teams run into when they’re planning their content marketing budgets. And it doesn’t help that the answer to that question isn’t exactly clear-cut. Most likely, you’ll end up needing more content: Ongoing blogging programs, especially, are valuable for reaching audiences at the top of the funnel while nurturing already-interested prospects towards a transaction goal. As you build up your content library, you’ll also build up your SEO presence, which means you’ll increase your brand visibility.
As with any other marketing initiative, your content investment needs to result in higher profits for your business. The process of reaching this point of ROI is a balancing act, which begins with your budget. How do you make the most of your limited resources?
Your budget can be a tool to help you achieve higher targets and to build up efficiencies in your content program. Your budget is also something that you could easily waste if you’re not careful.
Here are three tips to help you make more out of your investment:
1. Be Practical: Align Content with Your Sales Cycle
Your content should answer questions that come up in your sales cycle. Remember: Content is a tool for establishing, growing, and nurturing relationships between people.
When your company publishes content, your customer-facing teams can use it to 1) answer questions that come up during existing sales processes and 2) educate audiences about your company’s unique value proposition.
With this alignment, content will serve the dual purpose of generating traffic and helping your company build up a dependable audience. A lack of alignment makes content irrelevant to audiences, meaning that it won’t do its job in achieving a transaction goal.
Here are some action items that can help you create stronger alignment between content development and sales:
- Interview your sales and customer-facing teams to understand what questions are coming up in the sales process
- Document patterns (i.e., What questions are sales reps answering over and over? How do your best customers find your business?)/li>
- Gain an understanding of whether or not your existing content is driving sales.
- Based on what you learn, develop ideas for blog topics that will accelerate your business’s sales process.
2. Get Creative: Re-bundle Themes, Assets, and Concepts
If you’re publishing blog posts, why not combine them into additional assets such as eBooks? Why not take the core concepts that you develop and create infographics?
Remember that, at its core, content is an educational tool. And people learn in different ways. Since the inseption of modern psychology, researchers have been studying learning styles to better understand how teachers can best convey information to audiences. While there is debate as to whether these learning styles are the be-all and end-all of how people process information, there’s a simple framework that content marketers will find valuable: people learn through a mix of visual, kinesthetic, auditory, and reading techniques.
As a content marketer, your job is to help people learn—and to make the process of consuming information as straightforward as possible. Re-bundling content into additional assets, including podcasts and video scripts, can help ensure that your message gets delivered—and makes an impact with your audience.
Here are some different ways that you can re-bundle your content assets:
- Combine blog posts into eBooks or white papers
- Write video scripts based on your highest performing blog posts or white papers
- Turn a dense piece of content into something simpler, like an infographic
- Turn an eBook into a series of blog posts
- Repackage any and all content into email nurture and demand generation campaigns
3. Be Open Minded: Get Feedback, and Strive to Improve
No matter your business model or what key performance indicators (KPIs) you track for your business, the central goal of content marketing is consistent: blog posts, eBooks, infographics, and videos are educational resources. Keeping this perspective in mind, content is less of a marketing tool than it is a product in itself.
You may be tracking metrics related to traffic generation, demand generation, and acquisition already. But these metrics don’t tell you what people think and feel about your content. To build successful content programs, you need to incorporate these very human emotions. In addition to tracking metrics, it’s important to arrive at the why.
- Why do audiences take action on certain assets?
- Why aren’t readers taking action?
- Why did audiences find this information helpful?
- Why isn’t your content hitting the mark?
Remember, when you’re creating content for business, attention spans are the new form of currency online. At any given moment, your readers have a wealth of information in front of them. As a content marketer, one of your most important responsibilities is to understand how your audiences learn so that you can effectively reinforce the material that’s the most valuable to your transaction cycle.
More content isn’t always better. In fact, Kapost has created an entire model to fight the “more is more” mentality: The Derivative Content Model. Check out the white paper here.
Instead, focus on making what you have more efficient: align your content with your sales cycles, cater to different learning styles, and seek feedback for continuous improvement. Give your KPIs a story—you’re in the driver’s seat.