B2B marketers are putting more resources and money into content marketing this year, eMarketer reports. More than three-fourths of B2B marketers expect to create more content this year than last year, and more than half will increase their content marketing budgets compared to last year.
But money isn’t the secret to a successful content marketing strategy. In fact, most companies spend less than a quarter of their marketing budget on content marketing. So what is the secret? Consistent effort. eMarketer says smart marketers are “looking at the long game and realizing that ... waiting 18 to 24 months for results is ... the new reality.”
For small business owners with tiny staffs and small budgets, how can you maximize your marketing resources to keep up a consistent content marketing effort? Here are five simple steps:
- Have a plan. Generating content without a plan in mind wastes time and money. Devote some preliminary time to finding out exactly what kind of content your ideal customers want so you can deliver laser-focused content. Conduct customer surveys. See what your customers and prospects are talking about on social media. Find out what questions your salespeople frequently get from prospects. What questions, concerns and problems are prospects facing? Your goal is to create content that will help solve those problems (while subtly suggesting that your product or service is the best way to do so).
- Choose your channels wisely. Promote your content on the social channels and other online venues where your customers spend the most time. Get involved with industry websites and publications, either as a contributor or a frequent commenter. Just as with print advertising, placement matters for content.
- Make an investment. You’ve got enough to do running your business without writing blog posts, designing white papers or filming online videos. Make room in your marketing budget to outsource those tasks to writers, graphic designers and videographers. To make the most of your budget, start with the most important pieces of content for your goals, and build on those. Focus first on “evergreen” content — information you can use over and over again without it becoming dated. When working with contractors, always use contracts that give you full ownership of the finished product.
- Repurpose like crazy. Once you’ve got your “base” of evergreen content, repurpose it into as many different formats as you can think of. (That’s why you got that contract giving you ownership.) Turn an ebook into a series of blog posts by breaking it into smaller parts. Report the findings from a white paper in a blog post. Take the key points from a blog post and turn them into tweets. Take the information from your online video and make it into a PowerPoint presentation you can post on SlideShare. Grab a screenshot from the video or a slide from the PowerPoint and post it on Facebook. You get the idea.
- Monitor your results. Don’t expect to see results from your content marketing in a week, a month or even a quarter. However, do monitor which pieces of content get the most results for your business. Adjust your efforts to focus more on what’s working best. There’s also nothing wrong with “reruns” from time to time. If you find that certain pieces of content are super-popular, update them with a bit of new information and share them again.