For many companies, the topic of a content marketing budget leaves a huge question mark. For one, content is an investment that often takes time to generate a return. Business storytelling is a creative discipline, too. It’s easy to get lost in endless ideation cycle, especially when your organization enters brainstorming mode, which can throw wrenches in your path to launch.
That’s why it’s crucial to anchor your strategy (and budget) around function. Instead of choosing an arbitrary number, focus on developing exactly what you need to improve the efficiency and fluidity of your sales process. Your goal? Create a functional content strategy.
Map your budget to what your organization needs to decrease friction and enhance the quality of communication with your target audience. Here are some planning exercises and ideas to try within your own company.
1. Uncover FAQs that jam up your sales process
Why do potential customers drop off? Are they struggling to understand the purpose of your technology? Is your value proposition misaligned with what your target customers want and need? Answering these questions can help you develop content for operational efficiency.
Let’s say you’re a marketer at a software company, and you notice your sales team answering the same questions over and over. At this point, your organization needs to create an educational one-sheet or landing page. By unifying your brand’s communication within your organization’s marketing team—as opposed to asking individual sales team members to prepare responses off-the-cuff—you’ll create a more persuasive strategy. Not to mention you’ll be able to track the ROI of your content, too.
2. Chart out your customers’ buy-cycles
A customer buy-cycle is more like a treasure map than a linear marketing funnel. Buyers take many twists and turns before arriving at a purchasing decision. It’s important to understand what these patterns look like so your organization can create content that helps keep audiences interested.
The content you create should be aspirational, functional, and in-alignment with long-term marketing goals. This perspective will help you narrow down your options to create the content that’s most essential for your business. Think of this exercise like a jigsaw puzzle. Figure out what content you need, and where it should go.
3. Optimize processes to conserve resources
Create more content in less time. Here are some simple ways to repurpose content:
- Write blog posts in a way that can be combined and repurposed into eBooks
- Write eBooks that can be parsed out into sections for product marketing collateral
- When interviewing customers for case studies, interview them for blog posts too
Behind every strong piece of content is an in-depth planning process. Know what you want to create ahead of time, and tailor your processes to the overall system you are looking to build.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on content to do it well. The key is to identify a few essential resources that can be invested in different marketing campaign contexts. After all, remember that your readers’ attention spans are finite. Quality over quantity matters most.