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You might have come across this frowning statistic: a third of all buyers want a “salesperson-free selling experience”.” In other words, they want less traditional advertising and more content marketing.
If you have an established brand, a wealth of content to generate new, high-quality leads for your business, and a team capable of producing that content, this stat shouldn’t alarm you. But for everyone, take note. Without a good content marketing program in place, you risk losing one in three buyers right off the bat.
The good news: you don’t need to make a big investment in content marketing to start seeing results. Here are five proven tips for launching a content marketing program faster with fewer resources.
Related: Why Content Marketing is Crucial for Your Business
1. Build an editorial calendar
Behind every major magazine, popular blog, or viral YouTube channel is an editorial calendar that defines the what, when, where, and how of your content pipeline. This foundational asset provides the structure needed to effectively plan, produce and vary your content.
For centuries, traditional publishers have relied on editorial calendars to coordinate the complex and cohesive production of content demanded by their audiences. Today, these timeless tools are widely used by B2C and B2B companies to take a more disciplined approach to content creation, especially given the number of assets they are expected to produce. A study by HubSpot shows that 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content every day.
To grow your content calendar, choose the appropriate project management app or tool. Ideally, this solution is cloud-based to enable real-time collaboration within a team. Then, start planning your content for at least the next month according to the following categories:
- Name (title or unique name of the content item)
- Topic (i.e. the purpose of the asset, such as company, customer, ad, product, thought leadership)
- Release date (date and day of the week)
- Status (e.g. writing, editing, design)
- Format (e.g. ebook, blog, article, infographic, social post)
2. Reuse existing content
Creating original content is both resource-intensive and difficult. Luckily, you can ease that burden by repurposing existing content to save time while keeping your audience engaged.
When doing this exercise, look for existing content that doesn’t need a major overhaul to be reused. Start with long-form “how-to” content or lists that you can easily condense into a short-form asset. Consider turning e-books into one-pagers or infographics into multiple graphics for a series of social media posts. Whatever your strategy, start with the “lowest fruit” in your content tree, change its format, and consider whether to keep or change its channel. But whatever you do, make sure the repurposed asset provides value to your audience. Quality always trumps quantity, so don’t reuse just to fill your calendar with content.
Use the following reuse recipes to get started:
- From text to visual (e.g. blog post to infographic)
- Visual to visual (e.g. infographic to social chart)
- Text to text (e.g. blog post to ebook)
- Audio to text (e.g. podcast to Q&A blog post)
Related: Here’s How to Improve Your Business’ Content Marketing
3. Look for content partnerships
Content partnerships are strategic relationships with complementary vendors or even customers who want to participate with you in creating original content. Content partnerships provide the value of scale by allowing you to leverage your partner’s established audience, content marketing capabilities, and unique insights.
The benefits of content partnerships depend on the partner. Look for an organization that doesn’t directly compete with you, enhances your business focus and mission, has an established audience, and has strong content marketing capabilities. You want a partner who makes your job easier, not harder.
For instance, HootSuite’s partnership with We Are Social focused on co-creating an annual social media and digital trends report in 2022. HootSuite provides a social media dashboard for brands to plan, manage, and track social media content. We Are Social is a full-service creative agency that helps brands develop and execute social media campaigns. Both companies are experts in the field of social media and serve complementary niches. In theory, they should make strong content partners.
Related: 7 Content Marketing Tips for New Entrepreneurs
4. Analyze your competitors
Knowing what content to produce and how often challenges even the most seasoned content marketers. That’s why many continue to evaluate competitors when looking for content ideas and ideas on what might work for their audience. They ask themselves: what types of content do they produce? On what subjects? In what format? How often? And how does this content work?
Performing competitor content analysis is one of the most basic strategies for any content marketer. It is also one of the most important. As an experienced content marketer, I continue to conduct competitive analysis to not only better understand what my competitors are saying – not to mention how, when and where – but what they aren’t saying I should.
To get started, make a list of your competitors, define a consistent approach to evaluating them, and document your findings. When evaluating content performance, use the built-in analytics of social media platforms and consider using an SEO tool (such as Semrush or Ahrefs) to measure the effectiveness of online content. Most of these solutions allow you to easily and efficiently gather information about your competitors and benchmark your content marketing efforts.
5. Use metrics to prioritize quality over quantity
The performance of your content should be the foundation of your content marketing strategy. By tracking performance, you learn what resonates most with your audience across a number of data points, including topic, format, and timing. You also become more likely to produce content that converts. The Content Marketing Institute found that nearly 60% of content marketers who engage in this activity also report being successful in their jobs.
Performance measurement should start by identifying the most important content metrics to track and establishing a consistent cadence for analyzing them. Keep in mind that your most valuable metrics will depend on your business, solution, and target customers, as well as the channel and funnel stage for each piece of content. For high-end website content, for example, you’ll probably want to focus on brand awareness and pay attention to traffic stats like visitor sessions, bounce rate, unique page views, and more. -funnel website content, you’ll probably care more about how many visitors fill out a form with their email addresses.
Related: 6 Ways to Determine if Your Content Marketing Team is Delivering Results
Launching your content marketing program
You don’t need a massive content marketing team, budget, or lead to convince today’s B2C or B2B customers of your value. You just need the right strategy and a willingness to commit to it.
So don’t delay. Just start.
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