Seven in 10 B2B companies are planning to spend more on content creation in 2021, but, with around a third admitting that they still cannot keep up with demand from consumers, maximising resources will be crucial during the next 12 months.
With this in mind, industry experts assembled at the recent virtual Content Marketing World 2020 event to offer budgetary advice to marketers to help them create cost-effective strategies and campaigns. Here are some of the most interesting insights.
Focus on ROI
A study released last week by Finite found that only 8% of marketers are able to effectively determine return on investment (ROI) for content plans, despite growing pressure from management to showcase this key performance measure.
Vengreso chief visibility officer Viveka von Rosen believes that it is important to track the results of each format, as just merely “throwing content out there” because a team has created it can lead to aimless campaigns that are not contributing to structured goals or expectations.
Wasting money and human resources in this way is a luxury that most brands cannot afford. Even if you are not always able to fully demonstrate ROI, make sure that you know what results you are getting from each campaign.
Create a culture of collaboration
Brands working with agencies have a better chance of keeping up with the demand for new content, but even if you are partnering with a specialist for the core aspects of your marketing, you can still benefit by getting more people involved with content.
Keeping It Human founder Kathy Klotz-Guest says that co-creation can act as a sort of “marketing multiplier” as when employees, partners and even customers chip in with new ideas, it is easier to scale campaigns and produce higher-quality content that aligns with user needs.
While demands for content are growing, Velocity co-founder Doug Kessler believes that brands should actually look at doing fewer things, but ‘doing them better’. Rather than being a jack-of-all-trades with numerous formats, maybe you would see better results with a simple blog campaign or daily news feed.
Kessler added that if you “can’t be the best” at something or have measured previous content output and found that it simply doesn’t work, it may be beneficial to focus your efforts on tried-and-trusted methods, especially if budgets are more constrained.
Update old content
Recycling older content has been a key trend in 2020 and this will continue next year, according to StoryFuel’s Melanie Deziel, who has advised brands to “make the most with what you’ve got”.
This means looking back through content that has resonated with consumers and aiming to remix or upcycle it into a new format. She recommends finding popular blog posts, for example, and using them as a base for a script for a new video or podcast. Turning visual content into blogs by transcribing videos is another option.
A high-quality piece of content will do more if it is published and shared across a wide range of channels, according to Aha Media Group president Ahava R. Leibtag, who urges marketers to “create once and distribute many times”.
If you want to scale up your content distribution heading into 2021, you may find great value in outsourcing your social media management to an agency, which will be able to schedule posts across a variety of different platforms.
Be more selective with influencers
Two-thirds of marketers expect to spend more on influencer marketing during the next 12 months, but a scattergun approach to partnerships could backfire, according to digital marketing expert Alenka Bester.
Rather than targeting trending celebrities or well-known industry figures, she recommends building “mutually beneficial long-term partnerships” with a select few influencers who understand your brand and, just as importantly, have an audience that would be interested in your products and services. Managing influencer relationships correctly will create the “most valuable content ambassadors”.
Explore more affordable options
While you may have the means to purchase the most expensive software and tools for your projects, exploring more affordable options could provide you with a sustainable and cost-effective route to content success.
Christoph Trappe, The Authentic Storytelling Project’s CMO, says that “cheaper options in many instances” can be more suitable for your requirements. This extends to your partnerships with agencies and other third parties. You might find a better deal for outsourcing content creation that includes a bespoke service, rather than an expensive packaged deal from a larger provider.
Host regular editorial meetings
Marketing expert Erika Heald believes that bringing people together for a meeting on a semi-regular basis is a “great way to save money”. This is because key personnel from each department will have a forum to share their ideas and common challenges, which can help you to plan your projects with greater precision.
Perhaps even more useful is the fact that this editorial board meeting could identify certain campaigns that will meet the needs of a few different departments. This will allow you to share budget resources and employees to get the job done.
Consider audio-based content
Audio-centric content is generally less frequently explored than written and visual content, but you can change that in 2021. A 1,000-word blog with a short section that is narrated within the piece is an affordable way to keep consumers engaged. You could also greenlight a new podcast that will enable you to explore some of the themes that you have touched on in a blog series.
Vengreso chief customer officer Bernie Borges adds: “You’ll stand out because voice-enabled narrative content is not yet mainstream.”
Craft a “workbench of assets”
Finally, consider creating a suite of branded icons and illustrations that will add a professional glean to your content output. Killer Visual Strategies CEO Amy Balliett says that this “workbench of assets” can also help marketers with quality control and consistency, while reducing the time and money required to bring a certain piece up to the required standard.
With more resources being funnelled into organic content, these tips and insights can empower your business to get even more from your marketing investment heading into what is expected to be another very busy year for digital content and experiences in 2021.