Perhaps you’ve been thinking about wheeling out a new content strategy? Something sleek, informative, friendly, and almost exactly like what your competitor is doing. You’re not alone. You may even have tried to keep up, perhaps losing sight of why you needed a content strategy in the first place and ending up in a state of blog-churn that doesn’t seem likely to end. And why? It’s expensive, it’s a time suck, and let’s be honest, you’re not all that excited about everything you’ve ended up saying in the effort to remain relevant.
Maybe, it seems like all you need to do is bump up your socials, join a new network, increase the number of blogs, add in a whitepaper and maybe pull together a few videos. Heck, while you’re at it, why not throw a few infographics in the mix. Once you start to break it down, it can begin to add up. Not only is it stressful, but it may not be necessary.
How many times have you opened a spam email and wondered why? Ditto for pointless socials, endless advertising, and the 3,000-word blog your Mum just wrote about her recent trip to Hawaii that you skim read to keep her happy. Content costs (time and money) and the only way to truly lower the price of your strategy is to think about the finite number of resources at your disposal and how best to use them.
We want to cut through this idea of more being better and focus on quality. By doing that, you can dramatically improve the performance of your content, and reduce the cost. The key to making content that shines is working smarter, not harder, and our six tips focus on cutting costs by increasing quality.
1. Make less content, but make it stickier
Ever wonder if the promotional email you just sent wasn’t the most inspiring thing that ever landed in inboxes across Vancouver? One of the biggest mistakes that brands make is producing content to fill the void. It is easier to pump out quick social posts than to put time and resources into creating useful content. Sadly, quick content rarely works, even if your audience trusts, loves and cherishes your brand. The main reason for this is that brands are throwing everything at the wall and just hoping that something sticks, but people have become pretty discerning about what they will commit to reading.
Often, brands are so busy churning out quick, fun blogs that they haven’t stopped to ask themselves the all-important question: is this sticky? And if it’s sticky – what will it stick to? It’s better by far to make a few pieces of content that are highly targeted and extremely sticky so that your customers:
- Understand why the heck they should read it in the first place
- See you as adding real value to their life
2. Grow a base. Localize your content before trying to take over the world
Doing the whole universal thing can be tempting, but it can also make your posts too general and vague. Content certainly won’t stick if it feels wishy-washy. The alchemy of successful blogging insists on relevancy to your audience. It may not be wise to push too much of your resources toward making content relevant to everyone in Canada (or, in some misguided cases – THE WORLD) before you’ve built an audience in your home city.
Grow a base first, and try to make content that speaks to the problems that your products solve locally. Chances are you will be better able to highlight local experts, strengthen ties to the local business community and create relevant posts which people can share and use. Often by getting too big (far too soon) with content, brands alienate an audience that would buy into their messaging if done in a way that puts the local customer first.
3. Make less noise and add more value
Just as most of us have realized that posting what we eat for dinner every night on Facebook is not socially acceptable, so must we understand that nobody wants constant updates about our company’s existence. We’re not saying – ditch the social feed. We’re asking – does your audience care about the doughnuts your team ate on Friday? If you are a doughnut shop – probably! The doughnut you ate is likely to be aspirational. If not – check yourself! Think about whether you’re adding value or distracting potential customers with unnecessary chatter. This saves you money on your content strategy by using a less is more approach when it comes to interrupting the lives of those that matter most to your business.
4. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Good content is worth the fancy legwork
Good evergreen content (i.e. informative, useful stuff) is what keeps people coming back for more. It’s good for SEO, brand relevance, and is the ideal place to start with your content strategy.
Ask yourself what has worked well before? And then figure out how to improve upon that. If the random blog you wrote about tax returns was popular, then perhaps you should update the content at that URL every year. But don’t stop there, add to it, link to smaller spin-off pieces and create a go-to resource for that audience.
Good content is often long, researched and informative. It’s rarely the groundbreaking influencer article that wins the content war, but the (less exciting, but far more useful) step-by-step blog that solves a real challenge for potential customers.
You can break this longer content into multiple pieces, which can be intricately linked (swoon!) and reused and updated. Focus on a higher quality content bank, which will be an evergreen resource. It’s one of the easiest ways to save money on content marketing in the long term.
5. Hire the right help to save those dollars on company content.
Sure, that first strategy piece will feel expensive as it will require research, thought and careful consideration. You may need to hire a local marketing agency that specializes in content and not just a spirited graduate willing to write social posts for days. Excellent content takes expertise. It will often require not only a writer but design and UX professionals too. Usually, an agency will end up being a good bet, simply because you get all those people without having to hire several new employees.
6. Don’t ignore the data. It’s not as annoying as it seems.
Use what’s working and make the absolute most of it. Paying attention to your data will save you money with your content because it will do two really important things:
- Show you what’s working
- Show you when nobody cares (oh, those heartbreaking bounce rates!)
And once you know what’s working, do more of it. Create a series around the subject, and do a bunch of interviews around the topic. Figure out what it is about those pieces of content that interest your audience. Don’t ignore the data. It’s going to help you navigate the choppy waters of content much more accurately than the sales team’s gut feeling about what would be awesome.
Here at Loomo, we manage content marketing for companies across Canada. Big or small, east or west, it doesn’t matter. We want to help you create content you believe in. If you’re wondering about how to make your content stickier, resuscitate that social feed, or just want to speak to a team that is willing to get nerdy about your strategy, then we’re right here.
Cover art: Sarina Lamothe