This article was originally published on Advertising Week.
When it’s handled effectively, content marketing shouldn’t just take money. It can make money for your organization, too. Yet businesses often worry that their small marketing budget simply can’t absorb the typical content marketing cost, causing many to leave content marketing out of their recipe. What they don’t realize is that the cost of content strategy can pale in comparison to the ROI that high-quality content is capable of bringing in.
Just how lucrative can content marketing be? Consider the findings from Content Marketing Institute’s recent research. A full 42% of respondents noted that they leveraged content to generate sales. And 54% said that content marketing helped them nurture subscribers.
At our company, we’ve certainly seen how content marketing can boost revenue. Ramping up our content marketing efforts over the course of one year increased our form-fill call rates by 44% and our lead conversion rates by nearly 41%. Together, all the content strategy changes we made bumped up our marketing-generated revenue by 47%. In other words, content marketing paid for itself — and then some.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should just start shifting all your advertising, branding, and sales dollars toward content marketing. You need a well-rounded plan that will help you keep your content marketing cost in check while still producing the marketing results you deserve. Some of the best practices that will help you include the following tips:
One of the biggest mistakes companies with a small marketing budget can make is assuming that more content will mean more revenue. But volume is not necessarily going to get you closer to your goalposts. Bombarding your audience with an avalanche of content isn’t strategic. What is strategic is focusing on quality.
Think of this as a content-centric and user-centric approach. You want to push out content that’s designed specifically to attract your most qualified leads. By focusing on deploying fewer, better content pieces, you’ll stretch your budget. Narrowing in can help you more efficiently accomplish your objectives and avoid creating copy for the sake of creating copy.
Knowing that you only want to focus on the essentials, be certain to spread out your content across multiple types. For example, for lead generation, you’ll need to create at least one landing page, one piece of gated content (whitepapers are excellent), one email drip campaign, six blog posts, and one guest-contributed article per quarter. If you’re more interested in driving SEO, you’ll want to conduct a keyword audit and then write one pillar post for each rankable keyword theme, as well as 12 blog posts and 3 guest-contribute articles per quarter.
You can be very calculated as you flesh out your content calendar. For instance, you might be able to get double duty or triple duty out of some of your blog posts if there’s subject matter overlap. One blog post could be effective for SEO, sales enablement, and lead generation without requiring more than one call to action.
Content takes a while to mature but can keep delivering value for years. However, you don’t want to wait years before you begin calculating the effectiveness of your content pieces. You should be collecting data and looking at reports regarding all your content at least once a month.
The KPIs you track should be relevant to the content type and your goals. For example, you might want to track email newsletter signups from a blog post. Or you could track how many sales calls you generate from an exclusive gated report. Numbers give you an objective way to inform your content marketing strategy moving forward after you complete your initial content marketing assessment. That way, you can make sure you’re taking a budget-friendly approach that doesn’t overwhelm your limited funds.
Above all else, you shouldn’t let content marketing cost get in the way of being able to lean on your content to drive revenue. By doubling down on the way you plan your content, you can gain traction even if you’re faced with a small marketing budget. With the right combination of content deployment cadence, content type, and content intent, you’ll make sure your content is a profit-producing asset.