Content Marketing: Are You Resource Constrained?
While 90% of marketers consider content marketing to be a medium or high priority, the reality is that almost half allocate less than 10% of their total marketing budget to content according to IMN’s 2013 Content Marketing Survey Report.
When it comes to implementing an effective content marketing strategy, over a third of survey respondents cited internal resource constraints as their primary challenge. To increase the effectiveness of your content budget, leverage the power of existing content marketing resources.
14 Options to extend content marketing resources
To extend your budget, here are 14 content marketing resources you can use. You’ll still need to modify this content to meet the specific needs of your target readers and the channel in which it is distributed.
Internal content resources include a combination of personnel and budget across your organization. Think in terms of eliminating redundancies and creating content simultaneously to reduce costs. Here are 7 areas to consider within your firm.
- Website. By their nature, websites require a mix of resources including text, photographs/images, creative, search optimization and technology. Depending on your business, your website may be a separate department with its own resources. Actionable Marketing Tip: Take advantage of content creation opportunities. Also, get input regarding search and social media optimization.
- PR / MarCom. This department is source of information and content creators. Actionable Marketing Tip: Work with your PR and MarCom team to help them increase the power of their content. Additionally, examine older communications for unpolished gems. Don’t underestimate the power of old photographs, especially for a retro look.
- Advertising. Depending on your organization, this work may be done by an external resource. While advertising is often too promotional for content use, take advantage of talent and photo shoots to create additional related content at lower prices. Actionable Marketing Tip: Get your legal department to include the appropriate language and/or clauses so you can create this additional content at a reasonable price as well as retain the rights to use it across channels (owned, social media and third party).
- Product. This area is a great resource for gathering in-depth information about your offering. Actionable Marketing Tip: Take advantage of planned product shoots to get different product presentation. Think in terms of styling and how-to images.
- Customer service. As your firm’s front line, these employees know your customers’ pain points and issues first hand. Actionable Marketing Tip: Gather a list of these problems and answer each one. It’s a great way to fill your company blog.
- Sales. These employees not only know your prospects’ and customers’ needs, but also they want content to help qualify and close deals. Actionable Marketing Tip: Talk with your sales team to determine what information their potential buyers seek. Where possible, work with the team creating their sales collateral to make it more effective. Often, sales support does market research. If this is true in your organization, then, at a minimum, examine it to help you develop your marketing persona and social media buyer persona.
- Investor relations. This department tends to exist in publicly traded companies. While law requires most of the information they create and disseminate, they often have a sizable budget for the annual report. Actionable Marketing Tip: Check older annual reports for usable images and content. Also, try to leverage their content creation process.
External content resources are sources that are outside of your organization that have some association with your business and/or executives. Here are 7 areas to consider outside your firm.
- Customers. Ask your customers and the public to participate in content creation in the form of photographs using your product or user comments. Actionable Marketing Tip: Don’t appear to be taking advantage of your customers and the public for free content or it will come back to bite you.
- Government. Many federal, state and local governments provide useful information for business use such as the Library of Congress and the Small Business Administration. Actionable Marketing Tip: Reformat the content to be eye-catching.
- Suppliers. Examine your firm’s suppliers who provide product related content in any format. Remember they’re motivated to help sell their products! Actionable Marketing Tip: Work with suppliers to co-create more engaging content just as you would with internal teams.
- Distributors. Like your sales team, distributors can be a great source for information about customer pain points. Actionable Marketing Tip: Establish a working relationship so that you can develop content together to extend your resources.
- Business organizations. Think associations as well as the Rotary Club. They exist to support their members and may have useful research about your target market. Actionable Marketing Tip: Leverage the power of their website, social media and email lists to distribute content.
- Social media. Use a variety of social media platforms to monitor trending topics and issues in your business category. Actionable Marketing Tip: Utilize social media to help distribute your firm’s content but understand that social media is a multi-directional conversation. You can’t just promote your own content. Don’t forget to add social sharing to content posted on internal platforms like your website, blog and emailings.
- Events. Attend third party conferences and events to gather ideas for content creation. Actionable Marketing Tip: Use the opportunity to create content in the form of photographs and videos as well as to interview attendees and thought leaders.
CAVEAT: Understand that these recommendations don’t imply that you should take or plagiarize other people’s work. These options assume that you have legal permission to use the content. Where possible, get signed releases.
3 Ways to leverage other people’s content
To increase the value of other people’s content, you must re-imagine it to fit your specific needs since one-size-fits-all content is bland and not very effective at achieving your business objectives. As with external content resources, secure permission to use other people’s works. Here are 3 tips to help you.
- Adapt existing content to your current needs. Extract the information that’s most important to your market. In today’s information rich media landscape, your content must stand out or potential readers will skip by it. Therefore, tailor content to meet your target audience’s specific needs.
- Eliminate the corporate-speak. To breathe new life into existing content, give it a human voice. Get rid of the passive voice; instead, use active verbs. Remove the mumbo-jumbo and replace it with the words your audience uses.
- Enhance existing content with graphics, photos, videos and audio. Although you may have budget issues in supplementing your content offering, at a minimum, you must augment the information and adapt it to fit the context in which you’ll distribute it. Get rid of the boring presentation that looks and feels like corporate sales materials, regardless of who originally developed them.
To stretch your content marketing budget, use content from a mix of these 14 resources and edit and augment them to meet your specific needs.
What other resources would you recommend that marketers use to supplement their content offering?
BTW: If your content marketing needs to be amped up, then please consider joining me at Content Marketing World September 9th-12th in Cleveland, Ohio. I’d really appreciate it if you sign up for Content Marketing World using my affiliate code Heidi100 to register for the conference.
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Find new ways to improve your content and measure your results with sessions on video, live video, visual marketing, analytics and marketing tools.
Great content isn't just about producing a well written piece. It's about addressing your audience's relevant pain points and showing that you understand their needs. Don't be shy to freely give away advice and information—great content always comes from the heart.
If you can address the issues your customers care about most with a solution or perspective in which your company has real expertise, they tend to respond positively, becoming loyal supporters, and even evangelists. Show content effectiveness, establish a direct connection to your reader, and grab their attention for good by engaging, entertaining, and informing them.
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