By Becky Ruyle, VP of marketing at Influence & Co.
Marketer or magician? These days, it’s difficult to tell the difference. After all, about two-thirds of marketing teams say they’re being expected to do more work in 2022, yet they’re not getting so much as a tiny bump to their budgets. This means they’re forced to do some serious wizardry to keep the creative flowing.
Of course, we all know that you can only fill a glass — or rabbit’s hat — so far. The more that falls onto a marketing department’s shoulders, the more that marketers have to juggle all their to-dos. Unsurprisingly, this constant prioritizing-deprioritizing dance can lead to some major inefficiencies in content marketing creation, deployment and follow-up. When marketing teams aren’t focused with documented content marketing strategies and ironclad processes underpinning their content pipelines, they’re likelier to create content they don’t need; neglect to write, repurpose or optimize the content they most need; and spend too much time creating content that does not advance their goals.
If you’re in the marketing world, you understand the frustrations that can come when you feel like your content marketing efforts are taking more time and resources than they should or offering too little payoff. However, by taking a few measures that don’t require you to request more money from the C-suite, you can reap all the benefits of content marketing without expanding your crew. Ultimately, as Under30CEO editor-in-chief Kimberly Zhang writes on Content Marketing Institute, your company’s content marketing program (and its ROI) is only as strong as the processes put in place to keep the creative team accountable, supported and on strategy.
Solving Nagging Inefficiencies in Content Marketing
Have you been feeling the need to infuse a little more magic in your content marketing act to get the reactions and results you really want? Below are some of the top ways to optimize your content marketing ROI right away:
1. Treat content marketing as a non-siloed effort.
Forget about holding tight to content marketing within the marketing team alone. Instead, spread it around and bring other departments into regular content meeting discussions. For example, invite your salespeople to contribute to topic brainstorming. Why sales? All the objections they hear daily can become fodder for future blog posts, articles, whitepapers, videos and more. Use those discussions to determine the goals for using your content across the organization and document your content strategy for achieving those goals. Our team has found that we are more likely to hit our marketing-generated revenue projections at the end of the year if we set our content strategy upfront with the end goals in mind.
By turning content marketing into more of a team sport, you get the chance to share your content goals and solicit feedback, so you should be pulling in other departments frequently. There’s no harm in sitting down with corporate stakeholders quarterly to review KPIs and discuss which content pieces produced engagement and delight. The time devoted to bringing content awareness to your colleagues is well-spent because it allows you to explore the full value of the content you generate.
2. Create a subject matter expert knowledge repository.
One of the biggest inefficiencies in content marketing today is the practice of conducting one-off interviews with internal subject matter experts. Your brand’s experts have unique expertise to share, so it’s essential for content that you tap into their ideas. But they are busy people, so you have to make efficient use of their time.
Rather than expecting busy executives and leaders to sit down 10 times for 10 content pieces, ask them to answer multiple questions at once so you can save the answers and use them as needed. To further lighten your subject matter experts’ loads, you might want to send them a list of questions and have them record their oral responses for speed. AI-powered software could transcribe the answers to be used for all pertinent content marketing assets and your team could store the information in an easily accessible database. Over time, these expert interviews can become the foundation for a centralized library of knowledge that you can utilize whenever you need insights or quotes.
3. Serve up quality, not quantity.
Are you still pushing out content just because you think it’s what Google wants? Stop before you hurt your rankings. In content marketing, quality will always supersede quantity. You can publish one keyword-filled article a day but if you aren’t adding to the conversation, search engines will catch on. (Algorithms are getting smarter and can’t be fooled.) Once search engines determine you’re not making high-quality content that’s relevant to readers, your content rankings will start to slide.
It’s no secret that good-quality content takes longer to write but is well worth the effort. Aim for about one blog post each week. You can always ramp up depending upon your team’s bandwidth. To keep your audience’s attention, mix up your content length by creating some longer-form pieces of content that are optimized for search engines. No matter what length or format you choose for your on-site content, make sure all collateral is built around your content marketing goals.
4. Revisit your content’s SEO health regularly.
SEO is a moving target. Accordingly, an article overflowing with perfectly chosen and placed keywords may not move the SEO needle in as few as three months. In other words, you can’t publish and forget or you may find out the hard way that your competitors’ content is outranking yours. Remember that 9 in 10 people will click on the first results they see in their search results.
Set aside four days a year, once per quarter, to review your content performance with your team: What pieces are ranking highest? Which ones have dropped? Do we see any glaring keyword gaps that need to be addressed? The more you know about how your content is performing on search, the less likely you’ll be to miss out on lead generation business opportunities. Plus, sometimes it takes just a little bit of cleaning up to restore your content to the highest quality.
No amount of presto-chango can make this year’s marketing budget double in size. But with a bit of planning, you can create the illusion that your team’s twice as big by rolling out content like a well-oiled machine.
About the Author
Becky Ruyle is the VP of marketing at Influence & Co., a content marketing agency that helps its clients achieve measurable business results through content marketing.