Updated: Oct 12, 2021
If you're considering investing in content marketing - congratulations! You have made the right decision. But if you're still wondering what good does content marketing do, please kindly let the quote below explain:
"Sales without content marketing is like searching the streets for quarters, you’ll find some, but they’ll be few and far between. Sales with content marketing are like searching a fountain for quarters. They're all gathered in one place and you’re sure to find many."
In short, the day you start investing in content marketing is the day you start saving yourself money, time, and effort.
Firstly, in order to know how you should allocate your budget, you need to understand the fundamental elements in content marketing.
The analogy I always use is that a content strategy is a house and content marketing is the road. Together, they formulate a map that guides your guests to your house - which is the content marketing strategy.
So, while most people dive head straight into doing content marketing, they don't enjoy the supposedly low cost because they have neglected the other two strategies. The content strategy makes sure your content is the right content for your target audiences, and the content marketing strategy drives profitable customer action. Without the two, all you have are hollow executions.
Now that you understand it takes three components to do content marketing right, here are the 5 top-notch ways to spend your money:
i) Invest in the strategy, outsource the executions
It's not that difficult to create content when there is a framework. But it can be disastrous the other way round. Break your budget into a 1: 2: 3 ratio, and have:
1 for a content strategy (target audience persona research, content pillars, and the key messaging platform identification)
2 for content marketing (outsource to content creators, influencers, and a content strategist to do monthly content reviews)
And 3 for content marketing strategy (building your funnel, establishing your digital infrastructure, buying ads, and establishing effective call-to-action or marketing initiatives)
ii) Focus on awareness instead of conversion
This is where most brands go wrong. They usually start in the down funnel portion and dump in heaps of money for direct conversions. Not only is this expensive, but it is also not sustainable, and the pool of low-hanging fruits will run out. The result? The brand will have to slash its prices to remain competitive.
Instead, invest in your top funnel efforts, but make sure the people you are reaching are the right target audiences. This is a combined effort from the content strategy (identifying what your target audiences like), content marketing (the right execution, at the right time, on the right platform), and content marketing strategy (all potential traffic is captivated in the funnel and moved down with further content touch points).
By successfully executing your top funnel awareness content, these leads become nurtured by your content and will convert at a much lower price than if you poured your money on down funnel ads.
iii) Pay for the right objective
I've seen this way too much. Brands always want a single piece of content to achieve all of the metrics. This indicates a lack of content marketing strategy.
If the brand has an established funnel, they will know the function of each specific content. Instead of hoping that one piece of content can garner reach, engagement, link clicks, and conversion, brands need to understand that each piece of content should only be striving for one objective.
For example, a top-of-funnel brand awareness content should only be chasing for reach. If it gets engagements, that's a bonus. By setting up a chain of content, the cost for each content ends up being lower as your audience has been previously educated on your brand already, and you are retargeting only to those who already show interest.
iv) There's no need to be everywhere
Do things well and then scale up. Ace your awareness content on your selected platform before expanding onto another awareness platform. There is no point to be on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Instagram all at the same time if they are all only good at serving your awareness stage. Have a platform for each of your top, middle, and down funnel stages, and do them very well first.
v) Invest in A/B testing, audits, and building your email list
Content marketing is all about growth. You start with your strategies, and you refine with your key learnings as you go along. Once the gears are all synchronized and moving together, it can churn in sales on its own.
Always retain a portion of your budget for A/B testing, audits, and building your email list. A/B testing allows you to gather data in a short period, in comparison to busting out different posts and not knowing for sure what has caused one to succeed. Run different headlines, experiment with different hooks, get a true understanding of the visual that works, and use all of these as guiding factors for your content creators to create the most effective content.
Secondly, don't get sucked into the blindly updating mentality and always remember to stop and assess. Nothing does that better than a monthly, quarterly, and yearly audit. Check the health of your accounts overall.
Do they follow the latest best practices?
Have you been utilizing the tools on the platform? This is especially important for websites and e-commerce shops.
Does your sitemap work for both humans and AI?
Are your keywords placed in the right spot?
Are there broken links and java scripts?
Lastly, nothing online belongs to you except for an email list. That, no one can take away from you, not even Apple's iOS14 nor Facebook's new algorithms. Implement this as one of the key objectives in your content marketing strategy and nurture your traffic through effective email newsletters. Connect with them and build your community, all within your control.
In short, the bulk of your time and investment should be in strategy because these are the frameworks that you can follow in the long run. Never pour your investment into generating pure executions because a very nice-looking post is never driving your sales unless you have a comprehensive funnel behind it.
Want to know what the price points are for content strategy, content marketing, and content marketing strategy? Simply book a free diagnosis session with me and I'll let you know.