For SMBs attempting content marketing on a budget, know that large enterprises are constrained, too. At the MarketingProfs 2016 B2B Marketing Forum in Boston, which concluded today, October 21, experts who implemented content marketing programs at large enterprises on a shoestring budget offered tips – and hope – to SMBs struggling with their own limited resources.
But first, there’s the bad news. As Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group said in his session, “Content Marketing for Any Size Budget,” there is a correlation between frequency and success. “You have to build a machine, an engine that continuously creates content,” he said. That involves being the best answer on the internet, delivering not just articles but also images, slideshares and infographics to answer customers’ questions.
Looking for content in unexpected places
The good news is, it doesn’t take a gigantic marketing budget to do that – content marketing on a budget works. Brenner advised covering content from top sources in your industry. Using Buzzsumo is one way to uncover these trends, and marketers can also visit their competitors’ sites to learn what they’re covering. SMB marketers can also cover infographics, research and videos from other people in their industries.
Next, Brenner advocated building an army of volunteers: employers, customers and partners. It helps them build their audiences as well, and the FeedWordPress plug-in can pick up their RSS feeds from their blogs to plug the content into yours (once you have permission). Reaching out to second-tier influencers who want to become paid influencers can hep them build their brand and yours simultaneously.
Executive presentations are also a great source of content. When Brenner was at SAP, his team carved up executive presentations, taking the impactful statistics embedded in them and adding a click to tweet option. These can be used as SlideShares or even YouTube videos: someone reads the speaker notes aloud and clicks through the presentation.
The sales team’s email outbox can yield its own treasure trove as well, with a little polishing. Sales is constantly answering questions from customers. These questions are the building blocks for posts and other content that can even help sales be more efficient. In his session, “How to Be Insanely Effective When You Don’t Have Enough Resources, Budget, or Time,” Chris Moody, content marketing leader at GE Digital, suggested taking this one step further. “Ask sales to jot down notes when they’re on the phone,” he said.
Investing in one big piece of content, like a whitepaper, can also result in more content than just the whitepaper. Brenner advised turning whitepapers into articles and linking to the whitepaper’s landing page. He also suggested repurposing sections of a whitepaper into blog posts and linking to the landing page.
What to do – and not do when doing content marketing on a budget
One thing that marketers should not be doing is chasing the next big thing, Moody said. Snapchat, Pinterest, whatever – often, it’s not what is going to bring in results. “The next big thing is to do our jobs better,” he said.
But one thing that even content marketing on a budget requires is a written plan. Moody cited a statistic that marketers are 300% more effective if they have documented content marketing strategies. Define your mission, your main (singular) goal, and your plan to achieve that goal, he said.
There is no magic formula for content marketing on a budget, but there are rabbits in your company’s hats. Start looking for the content hidden in your sales team’s email outboxes, competitors’ sites, and industry resources. Don’t be afraid to carve up a piece of flagship content to repurpose it. And most importantly, have a plan.