The term ‘content marketing’ has garnered a lot of interest in the past few years. Today, every online business is involved with content marketing in some form or shape. In fact, online content has become the centerpiece for all online marketing campaigns: email campaigns, PPC ads, lead generation, influencer marketing, search engine optimisation, etc.
However, with the growing need for investing more in content marketing, there came another problem: overspending and not getting enough ROI.
While online content can be a valuable asset for any business, it is important to often limit your spending and produce content that generates a good ROI. Otherwise, it is easy to get lost in content marketing and spend way too much.
Content Marketing, MQLs, and ROI
According to a 2019 survey by SEMRush, more than 50 percent of businesses are struggling with this challenge. As per the results of the survey, their number one goal is to produce content that generates quality leads.
What does it mean?
It means that businesses are spending a lot of money on content marketing, but they are primarily investing in increasing brand awareness, creating informational content, and educating its readers — even if all that may not directly translate into revenue.
And now, their goal is to justify the spend in content marketing by generating more MQLs and a higher ROI.
Higher competition and lower attention span
This problem has become more prevalent in recent times. A few years ago, almost any blog post a business published could get a decent amount of attention on the web. Now, times have changed.
There is a lot more content available on the web — way more than an average reader could ever consume. Most of the posts businesses publish get lost in the competition. Furthermore, the attention span of the average online user has dwindled.
In short, it requires more effort than before to grab the reader’s attention and make the most of the content you produce. By 2015, the average number of social shares had dropped to just 8 shares per published article. That trend has not improved since then.
How to minimise content marketing spend
Many businesses try to solve this problem by investing more in content marketing and publishing more articles. This increases their spending, making it even harder to justify the budget.
Throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks isn’t a viable strategy anymore. You’d have to be more tactical.
Here are a few tips on how to minimise spend on content marketing and still produce excellent results:
1. Shortlisting topics on the basis of the sales funnel
One of the biggest reasons why some companies fail to produce MQLs (marketing-qualified leads) from their content is because they create a lot of TOF content.
A sales funnel can generally be divided into three stages:
- TOF — top of the funnel
- MOF — middle of the funnel
- BOF — bottom of the funnel
The purely educational and informative content you see on the web belongs to TOF. The TOF keywords generally have the highest search volume, but they convert at the lowest rate.
On the other hand, BOF content has a lower search volume but generates the most leads.
When you’re shortlisting topics for a revised content strategy, make sure to:
- Label all the shortlisted topics on the basis of TOF, MOF, and BOF, and
- Create a nice balance by picking topics for all three phases of the sales funnel.
2. Content frequency — quality vs. quantity
If you produce more content, you’ll spend more money. But, as we know, more content does not guarantee more traffic or leads.
Therefore, one way to reduce content marketing spend is to publish fewer but higher-quality blog posts. You can use the ‘skyscraper technique’ to achieve that goal.
3. Content promotion
When you limit the number of posts you publish, the mindset should shift to making the most out of each post you do publish.
That’s where content promotion comes in. Each time you publish your post:
- Share it on social media
- Send an email about it to your email list
- Reach out to relevant influencers with personalised messages
- Post on relevant forums and Q&A websites
- Spend some time on building backlinks to your post
As a general rule, if it took you one hour to write a post, spend 3 hours promoting it.
4. Content updates
Producing new content takes time and resources. However, updating older posts and republishing them do not require as many resources.
Identify posts that are still relevant. Update the content, so all the information is new and up-to-date. Add some new content if it’s important. Replace the images, check if all the links are okay, change the date, and republish the blog post.
Content marketing can hog a lot of time, money, and resources. However, with the right strategy, you can get a lot out of it. Just be strategic about it and keep an eye on the spend and the overall ROI.
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