The underdog’s guide to content marketing: How to beat better-funded competitorsWhen they zig, we zag: How to outsmart better-funded competitors in content marketing
I love a good underdog story.
In marketing, going against a huge budget can be demoralizing. But huge budgets have a lot of distractions and bureaucracy and hubris, too.
You can succeed by being more focused, more organized, and more ruthless than well-funded competition. Here’s how:
- Pick a smaller subset of the audience and serve them better. Big players always try to go broad, but it’s easier to be high quality with a smaller audience that you can serve well. So, instead of going after a huge, wide audience, figure out who the most important buyer is to your brand (and I mean the most important, choose 1 function) and be the most important information source to them. “There are riches in niches.”
- Be obsessively involved in what they are talking about, and use that knowledge to actually produce content. This is something influencers do, as a rule, much better than brands and media companies: They stay really close to their audiences. They know the trends they care about. They know what’s controversial, they know what’s scary, they know what’s entertaining. Your content operation needs to be tapped into what your audience cares about and be using that data to create unique content.
- Focus on one channel where you can win. On a smaller budget, executing something that serves a niche audience in a specific channel is the right approach, because you’ll waste a lot of time and effort spreading yourself too thin across every channel. WIth one channel, you can focus on nurturing and growing your audience.
- Produce something different that you can be known for. While you’re at it, try to create a signature, pithy format that flies in the face of your competition – maybe you’re producing a short-form analysis product that actually helps your buyers make faster decisions, for example.
- Recruit experts into a system for production. You may be small and mighty, but that just means you have to get more creative about resources. Tap into the experts around your company that are doing the work you’re trying to promote. Interview them to help inform the content your team (or just you!) are producing. Tap them often to stay close to what they are hearing from clients.
- Be ruthless about conversion metrics and sales outcomes. Big budgets can afford to waste time and money, but you can’t, and that’s actually a good thing. Align with sales outcomes and conversions and obsessively track them, understanding what content is really doing work that propels the business forward.
You don’t need a big budget to have a big impact with your content marketing. With focus, original ideas and a feedback loop you can earn relevance in a niche and expand your influence from there. R
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