Creating great content is hard, time-consuming, and a drain on resources. It’s also absolutely imperative for a successful content marketing program. If your content isn’t great, you’re flushing money and opportunity down the drain.
It’s no surprise that marketers at a lot of small businesses (and businesses that haven’t effectively sold content marketing to the C-suite) feel like they’re in pickle. How are you supposed to consistently create great content if you need elbow grease, time, and money — things that you often lack? Why are you creating content at all if it isn’t great?
You’re not the first to feel the pressure of a limited budget for content. What you need is a handful of creative fixes — ideas for working around the limitations of your program to drive real value and justify more investment in the future.
You can create great content with limited resources. Here are five ideas for getting it done.
Turn your Staff into a Content Machine
In general, it pays to have an enlightened editorial staff, a group of writers who are familiar with the industry and ready to create great content at a moment’s notice.
Wake up. Looks like you dozed off there for a second. While you were off daydreaming, you missed a blog deadline.
You don’t have editorial teams at your disposal, but many successful content marketers don’t. What you do have is a staff of experts on the information your audience cares about. They aren’t all writers, but they sure do know their stuff.
Motivating your staff, many of whom may have limited writing experience, can be tricky. But a good internal editorial program with perks, deadlines, and schedules can become incredibly effective content marketing if the manager stays involved.
Find the best writers and keep them in your inner content marketing circle. Encourage other writers by offering to edit their work. And remember, great content is as much about what you say as it is about how you say it. Guide your experts and they’ll offer you some great content.
Exploit your Strengths and Downplay your Weaknesses
A secret of any business program lacking resources is playing on strengths. What are you good at? What resources do you have at your disposal?
Is your organization heavy on designers and light on writers? Focus on driving your content’s message through beautiful pictures and compelling design. Maybe you’re a professionally trained writer and an expert on the industry. You’ll probably get a whole lot more mileage out of contributing blog posts to a thought leader in your industry.
In another sense, this tip is about focusing on the content and channels that return the highest value. This is something that just about every organization should be doing, regardless of its resources. Why are you slaving away over blog posts that don’t get read when you are simultaneously generating a steady stream of leads through Quora?
Find your strengths and weaknesses and approach them accordingly. It’ll help you find your center of balance for great content.
Recycle Content Through all of your Channels
A single great piece of content can go a long way. If you’re only promoting a piece of content in one format or via one channel, you’re missing a great opportunity to stretch its impact.
Consider the volume of content contained within an e-book. You could be using that content to fuel five blog posts, dozens of social media posts, a webinar, and a video.
Are you just creating content, pushing it out, and leaving it to idle, even after investing precious resources in it? Think about that question before you answer it. There’s always more that you can do with an existing piece of content—and the best part is that it doesn’t eat up many resources.
Go DIY for Projects you Usually Shy Away From
It can be tough for any of us to jump into new territory without a professional along to hold our hands. Great content takes risks, though. You can’t let limited resources hold you back.
If you have something compelling to say, it’s worth going DIY. Maybe you have something important to say that would come off best over video, for example. Instead of spending money you don’t have on a video professional, try creating your own do-it-yourself video strategy.
DIY content can definitely go wrong. But if you focus on the message rather than making your content stylistically flashy, you’ll have a much better chance at succeeding.
Hold a Content Session for Marketing Stakeholders
Too often, we wait until right before we start creating content to focus on ideation. Marketing directors often rely on themselves to come up with those ideas, too. It just takes too much time and effort to reach out and knock heads with colleagues.
Stop planning your content marketing willy-nilly and start putting real ideas together and planning ahead. Get a team of marketing stakeholders (salespeople, managers, account teams, etc.) and hold a war room session.
With a team of people who care, take one or two days out of each quarter to hold a conference session. Brainstorm ideas for your content marketing program, including ideas for new pieces of content.
At the end of these sessions, you should have ideas of how to better leverage distribution channels, a clear direction for the next few months, and the outlines of several new pieces of great content.
About the Author
Mark Sherbin is a freelance writer specializing in technology and content marketing. He shares occasionally insightful information at Copywriting Is Dead, where he promotes authentic communication between organizations and their audiences. Say hello on Twitter: @MarkSherbin.