It’s a given now that companies and businesses should have an online presence for a number of reasons.
It is also annoyingly obvious that cultivating your brand image through the use of a great content marketing strategy is a digital given.
What may not be so obvious is the time and effort involved in the strategy planning, idea creation, execution and monitoring of results that is required to generate a consistent increase in ROI.
Unless you come up with a spell binding, fantastic online idea, you are not going to generate large volume leads overnight and you are certainly not going to maintain and grow them without a consistent long term view.
The thought of this is simply overwhelming if you have decided to take on the task yourself. Many business owners already wear a number of departmental hats including sales, service, customer care, accounts, HR, development and marketing….. No wonder there aren’t enough hours in the day and days in the week!
Let’s look at just the tasks involved in content marketing and social media promotion alone. An unstructured brainstorm randomly thinks of:
- Strategy Planning
- Content Calendar
- Topic Creation
- Blog Creation
- Video Creation
- Image Creation
- Editing Work
- Formatting Work
- SEO Techniques
- Call to Actions
- Social Distribution
- Online Engagement
- KPI Measurement
- Reporting Mechanisms
And that’s just off the top of the head!
There are many more components of maintaining a strong digital presence yet the thing about the factors detailed above is that they are NOT stand alone. These are content marketing requirements that require daily, weekly, monthly planning, creation and execution.
Forget about being overwhelmed … let’s go with exhaustion!
At the end of the day, the key factor for a business when it comes to content marketing is Resource Scalability. The execution and management of your online strategy in a time frame that is feasible and does not dilute the actions required in other aspects of business.
Here are a few helpful tips that will allow a business to manage their content marketing with the optimum efficiency of resource.
Note: No matter the scalability of resource in relation to the required tasks I am a firm believer that every business needs a detailed content marketing strategy as well as a content | social media calendar. Major effort should be put into these to ensure that there is a long term structure in place that aligns with your business goals.
Attention to this will actually alleviate the time and effort required for the creation and execution of content as you go forward.
Internal Content Marketing Resource
Employing a content marketing expert or team of experts is a fantastic way of incorporating your business functionality with internal insight, however it can be costly if not utilised well.
Whether you are a sole trader or have a host of cross – functional departments, the resource given to your content marketing strategy should have a good understanding of every function of the business or clear communication lines to the experts in each area.
Each marketer should have a clear knowledge of the goals you want to achieve online and should outline the tasks required to reach these goals. No matter the resource restraint; planning is always vital to the end goal. As a basis you should:
Plan one to two significant pieces of content per week. Schedule a day that they will be published on and stick to it. The more resource you have available should be in scale with the amount of content generated and the frequency of publication so, if you have the resources, create more! Over time you will build a volume of quality, evergreen content that can be distributed and re-purposed over a long term period.
Make sure that the content topics are planned well ahead; they should be detailed in your content marketing calendar. This means that you don’t waste time thinking of ideas when you should be immersed in the actual creation of the content.
Encourage employee advocates as their user generated content will emit:
- A human insight into your business and brand
- A personality and enthusiasm for their role that will shine through into the online world.
- Peer to peer recommendation as the employee contribution to your content marketing will be due to their belief in the products and services they work with.
Integrate employee expertise into your strategy by:
A Monthly Employee Focus Interview using video and transcription methods. Great for re-purposing content!
- Establishing self-help and how to guides … these are the people that will know every nuance of their role.
- Engaging with advocates on forums, reaching out to help answer questions and resolve issues.
- Asking them to impart their knowledge. What are the most frequently asked questions from customers? What are the obstacles within their business? What aspects of their role are most popular with customers? This knowledge is a vital idea base for future content marketing topics.
Schedule a time for the creation and ensure you have the correct tools at hand. Whether this is just a keyboard, smartphone or advanced video equipment, it should be ready for use at the time you have scheduled.
Have a social distribution functionality in place. Know exactly when you are going to post to which platforms and who you need to engage with regarding the post. Again, planning is key to this part of the process as you could waste time and effort ineffective posting that does not generate an ROI.
Source automation, distribution and scheduling tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, BundlePost and Post Planner to name a few. There are actually a wealth of online tools to aid the efficiency of the content marketing and distribution process. Ian Cleary of Razor Social has a comprehensive directory of these.
These will alleviate time constraints and strategy planning through automation and idea generation.
A well-equipped marketing team that can generate ideas, manage and execute on the creative process and ensure that the result is firmly slotted into a highly optimised content distribution schedule is content marketing heaven.
Remember though you also need that team to monitor the engagement, reply to and cultivate advocates and influencers and analyse metrics to establish best practice opportunities for the future.
Outsource your Content Marketing
As with every business entity the main focus is to increase ROI.
If your daily business needs require your time then it might be worth outsourcing your content marketing as:
- It will allow you to spend time on other areas of your business
- Your content marketing will be in the hands of professionals who will know how to be effective in a shorter time span.
- These professionals will have the latest knowledge on trends, tools, platforms and concepts.
- There could be huge cost efficiencies involved. If you had to employ a full time digital marketing expert you have a full time salary to pay of minimum €25 k with all the administrative and facilitation costs involved such as desk space, computers etc.
Employing a freelance or a marketing agency that will deliver on a contract basis could suit your business in the short and long term. If you find that this idea seems the most economical and beneficial to you then the next step is to find the right outsource solution for your business.
The outsource solution should:
Develop a relationship with you and your business. They will ensure they understand your brand, the business and be clear on the goals you wish to achieve with content marketing.
Define a strategy based on budget scope and with clear guidelines of the business tasks associated with the strategy. Make sure you understand this strategy as you don’t want to find that you are paying for content creation and distribution on Facebook when your potential leads are waiting for you on LinkedIn! Be clear on agreement of content Scope as it will manage expectation on both sides.
Incorporate KPI’s that can be measured over regular periods. These are fantastic discussion documents that detail performance and highlight what is working well and what is not. Make sure that there is agreement for strategy change if something is not working so the focus can shift to the more productive areas.
Deliver a quality standard at the agreed budget. Remember good quality content will be reflected in price. There are many free lancing sites that offer high volumes of cheap content yet the results match the price. Source a solution that befits your brand and has proven results. Check out their websites and see the type of content they produce for their own business. If it showcases quality then this should reflect in their paid work.
The marriage of your business with the content outsource solution can reap benefits if, as always, the actions are executed in accordance with a clear strategy. The provision of this framework will allow for creativity of ideas that will have a great impact on your business ROI.
The utilisation of resource, whether through internal means or an outsource solution, is one that when worked smartly will work well for your business.
Whichever way suits, ensure that the work enhances your brand ethos in a time and cost efficiency that is within your budget scope.
What ways do you manage your content marketing resource? Let us know!