How to get more mileage out of your content marketing budget

Effectiveness and efficiency: the two watchwords of any marketing team worth its salt. You’re achieving the goals of your content marketing efforts, all while keeping a governing handle on costs at the same time. It can be a tightrope at the best of times, but lately holding the line on both of these goals has been an unprecedented challenge.

Many organizations right now are trying to find ways to cut back in the face of existential threats to their revenue plans. As a marketer, you’re probably being asked to do more with less — and we can empathize with that dilemma. Going back to our two watchwords, if you could have been more effective, more efficiently, you’d be doing that already, right? Thankfully, there’s a few tactics that might come in handy to help you get just a bit more out of your content efforts, even in this challenging environment.

#1: FOCUS ON PILOTS OVER RISKY BETS

If you had large-scale launches on tap for this year, odds are you might have delayed them already. But don’t let that discourage you from trying something new! This is the perfect time to test low-risk pilots that can inform your long-term marketing efforts.

What could this look like for your team? Anything from a revised article format for your organization’s blog to a limited duration newsletter to gauge interest on a new topic. These trials can show you what works and what doesn’t for your 2021 strategy, and hopefully a rescheduled launch for your big investments.

#2: SEEK PARTNERSHIPS

Cash-free barters can help your team extend your reach a bit further without tapping into your budget. Get creative with barter agreements with other marketers or publishers to syndicate content or reach new audiences. 

Provided that the partner is a good fit for your audience and messaging, it can be an easy win. Just don’t forget to keep tabs on efficacy: even if a partnership is budget-friendly, doesn’t mean that it’s worth your team’s ongoing time if it isn’t producing results.

#3: UPDATE EXISTING CONTENT

Too often in digital publishing, once an article is published, it goes down the memory hole, never to be resurfaced again. But there’s a lot of value in keeping your archives up-to-date.

This may take the form of linking new articles as updates to archival content. It also may involve refreshing stale (or missing) metadata in your archives. We recommend clients do a periodic audit of their SEO presence to make sure they are still following best practices.

Any updates you make may help drive evergreen search traffic to both existing and newly published content alike. It’s important to do at any rate, but if commissioning new articles isn’t in the cards, then this is the next best thing.

#4: OPTIMIZE YOUR FORMATS

You might have been really excited to publish on a new medium this year, but opting for lower lift formats may be the winning strategy in 2020. There are three lenses through which to evaluate these decisions:

  • Resourcing: Do you have the personnel/time to use this medium well?
  • Budget: Are there added costs associated with the new medium?
  • Opportunity Cost: Can the impact be replicated on existing mediums?

Go with the medium that your team can produce at an optimal level of investment, saving larger lifts for later.

#5: ELEVATE (AND INTEGRATE) YOUR IN-HOUSE TALENT

If your organization is teeming with subject matter experts, then it’s also teeming with potential writers. Now is a great time to pitch them on contributing to your marketing efforts, selling them both on the case for content as well as the benefits for their work.

In our work with The Well, we’re regularly featuring medical professionals in the site’s Dear Doctor series — a Q&A format that puts Northwell’s expert voices front and center. Just don’t underestimate the time investment: especially in early collaborations, budget a bit more time for coaching and editing.

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