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Maximize Your Content Marketing Cost Efficiency With These 5 Rules

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In the content marketing game, each business has its own circumstances, budget, and goals in regards to creating content and bringing in a return. After enough experience and scaling, though, any business reaches a point where there is no need to expand the scope of its content output or polish up the quality in any significant way. You’ve got a nice machine, so to speak, taking in time and effort and turning it into engagement, traffic, and profits.

Once your business has reached this point, the natural next step is to find ways to cut costs, improving efficiency per content piece. Check out the rules below to see where to trim the fat on your content marketing campaign.

Have Customers Support Your Content

Build a “street team” of especially passionate customers and fans who are active on social media and are eager to share your content whenever it arrives. When you have a direct line to these people, you can alert them to every new article and video you release so that they can engage with it and share it across different sites. Create a place where these people can interact exclusively, such as a private Facebook group or a forum on your website, and find ways to gracefully integrate customer service with marketing.

Resist the urge to be timid or a stranger, and every piece of content you make will get a bigger initial splash for less money or time spent on advertising and networking. That’s not all, though. Depending on your niche, customers could even create content that supports your campaign. Providing a fitting context for fan-made content, such as a contest, is a great way of getting submissions for a comparatively low price. Make sure to show off everything you can — not just the winners — and you’ll send bigger and bigger waves of practically-free content your way.

Add Time-Saving Tools

Image via Flickr by p_a_h

You’d be surprised by how many pieces of software exist to make content creation and production far quicker and simpler, cutting down on human time and labor wherever possible. Many of them happen to be free, but some of the paid tools are more than justified considering the boost to your campaign’s efficiency.

Many content marketing tools may or may not be useful depending on your business and situation, so take the time to research what’s available, consider whether it sounds helpful, and then give it a try if it does. For instance, social media posting can be simplified and sped-up with things like Sprout Social or Crowdfire. Then there are the more dramatic, whole-package tools that serve as a complete platform specially designed for creating content, such as Acrolinx.

Perfect a Creation Chain

If you have to hold a meeting with everyone in your content creation branch all together at once, you’ll soon find content to be a headache on any scale. Efficiency comes from forming a chain of processes that can each act independently but in coordination with the other links in the chain.

For example, a typical content creation chain starts with people who come up with ideas for content, followed by people who approve, alter, and assign ideas. The third link would be the content creators at a base level, such as writers. The fourth could be editors, the fifth could be designers, if the media is visual, and the sixth and seventh would be quality assurance and marketing.

With a chain like this, you won’t have anyone sitting around and waiting for their turn to create a content piece. Each group communicates only with those adjacent to their own, reducing the time spent relaying information to everybody. You’ll have to consider the process your business has for content creation, divide it into clear steps, and assign teams, but the time you spend doing that will pay off once the system is perfected and everyone has gotten comfortable.

Use Content Templates

Templates are easily shared and cleanly outlined rules for content, presented in a single document or file. When you have a specific outline of how your infographics are meant to look, for instance, you won’t need as much time to come up with the design. The same goes for videos, text and graphics combinations, and every other type of content. Have actual templates within the necessary computer programs to guide your team members, such as an Indesign or Photoshop template for graphic designers.

Templates might not be practical for pure text like blog posts or white papers, but at the very least, you can employ style guides to help your team members stay on track. Setting do’s and don’ts and clarifying the tone and message you want to convey will help your creatives come up with better ideas and reduce the time spent on editing and quality assurance.

Outsource When Necessary

Most businesses, even ones that produce content as part of their chief revenue source, aren’t truly made for content marketing. Content can easily turn into a complicated second limb that the business has to deal with, especially if it’s too foreign from ordinary operations and goals. For instance, one could hardly blame a landscaping and gardening tool business for having low experience in content marketing.

After gaining experience handling content on your own, you will likely see some areas where you just don’t have the infrastructure or talent among your team to do as good of a job as you’d like. Whether the problem lies in coming up with ideas, writing content to fit your brand, designing digital media, or something else, consider outsourcing your content challenges to a business made specifically to create and polish content. Speaking with CopyPress managers, for example, may yield a plan that improves your efficiency enough to pay for the contracting expense and then some.

Businesses running a content marketing campaign can leak money and other resources if they aren’t careful. This includes making mistakes like playing the stranger online, not forming an efficient content creation chain, not committing to templates and guides, doing too many things by hand, and failing to outsource the more difficult content aspects. Make sure you’ve addressed all of these potential leaks, and you’ll reduce your content marketing costs, helping you rack up more customers, leads, and sales without the slightest drop in quality.

About the author

Shane Hall