Optimizing Marketing Content on a Limited Budget

Marketers are responsible for developing a company’s relationship generation pipeline. This supports the sales channel and associated revenue growth. Ask marketers what challenges them most, and you are likely to hear a good deal about content strategy and content development.

After all, content is the lifeblood of marketing. It is the fuel of every campaign. We publish it to the Website and promote it via email and social channels. How our audience responds to it tells us more about who they are and what they need. Of course, the better the content, the better them information we derive.

Short-form or long-form, online or offline, quality always matters.

A fundamental challenge of marketing is to communicate the right information to the right audience, the right way, at the right time. That means not only giving them information they need, but in the format they prefer. This often translates to outputs such as case studies, white papers, articles, editorials, infographics, blog posts, and, of course, video.

Short-form or long-form, online or offline, quality always matters. So does establishing a frequency that meets the needs of those we desire to influence, guide, or persuade. Very few firms have the luxury of a budget and resource capacity large enough to support authoring and publishing only original work. These companies tend to be institutional players that use original content to assert their brand and reaffirm their industry leadership. The rest of us, however, navigate this challenge with more modest budgets and creative resources. Therein lies a huge challenge to rationalizing a robust approach to content development.

This leads to choices:

  1. Produce only original material, but on a limited frequency. This promotes originality, but may produce a volume well short of the content needed to fuel active, multifaceted campaigns.
  2. Outsource some of the authoring effort to freelance writers or ghost writers. This produces more volume, but can be costly and make it harder to present a unified voice.
  3. Establish a blend between original and curated content. This approach, if executed well, has the potential to provide the needed campaign volume, assert variety and quality, and, importantly, work within the constraints of a limited budget.

So, what does curating content actually mean? Well, on a simple level, every time you read an article or watch a video that speaks to you and you share it, retweet it, or email it, you are curating content. It may be as simple as forwarding a link to a published piece, or it may include your perspective and recommendation as well. When you, as an expert, share information, even if it is authored by others, it carries weight. Of course, there are important considerations when choosing what information to share with clients and industry relationships. Naturally, we tend not to be excited about sharing posts by direct competitors. And we are mindful of the need to assert quality even if pieces support our positions. Ideally, we are most comfortable sharing posts by leading journals, magazines, and top-tier outlets whose credibility and journalistic credentials are high.

Sharing third-party information may actually increase your stature as an author.

Curating high-quality content obviously generates more fuel for each email campaign and social campaign you host, but it can produce even more benefits. First, many articles and videos may be freely embedded on your Website. When you email or post social links that deliver visitors to your site, they will experience your brand and learn more about your solutions.

And there’s one more important benefit worth mentioning. It may seem less than intuitive, but sharing third-party information may actually increase your stature as an author. It reflects the halo of trusted sources who align philosophically and factually with your positions and perspective. Your audience may not know you as well, but when they experience a blend of your voice with that of noted public ones, your stature grows, too. You may just gain more followers based on the topics and coverage you choose to curate. And that feeds your pipeline, too.

This discussion centers on why rather than how to curate, but, in truth, it only works well in a corporate setting with automation doing the heavy lifting. After all, no one has time to source great ideas manually, even with Google Alerts tracking public posts. Content curation platforms source and aggregate content based on customizable search criteria and sophisticated algorithms. The results are immediately available to email programs and to automated social posting services. They even automate presenting the latest examples on your Website to connect the dots. If your marketing program needs more fuel than you can budget internally, consider a strategy that blends original, branded thought leadership with carefully curated content. The result is rational, and can actually be optimal.

This article was first published by Wolters Kluwer in the Journal of Pension Benefits, Spring 2019, Volume 26, Number 3