5 Ways to Cut Content Marketing Costs Without Sacrificing Results
Content marketing works better than almost any other marketing tactic. It’s so effective that 70% of marketers actively invest in it. It generates 3x more leads than outbound marketing tactics, and costs 62% less.
The decision to use content marketing in your business sounds like a no-brainer. More effective and less expensive than other tactics? Cue the falling of endless money!
But here’s the thing.
Content marketing only works if you work it. Meaning, you’ll only see positive results–and even more positive results over time–if you create, post and promote content consistently.
Here’s the other thing.
Creating consistent content requires a lot of resources, including time, salaries and software. Not to mention full buy-in from your leadership and other teams. The most successful content marketing strategies are those with company-wide support.
In short, content marketing costs, including the work involved, can be significant. It’s easy for busy marketing teams to start out strong, then burn out from the workload and the disappointment of not seeing results right away.
When that happens, teams may start to direct fewer resources to their content marketing strategy. This can lead to confusing target audiences with less frequent content and losing the foundation of traffic and brand awareness they began to build.
All of that time and money originally directed to content marketing goes to waste, and teams have nothing to show for it.
Cue the depressed Charlie Brown walk (reenacted in one of my all-time favorite shows).
While this situation is common (I’ve gotten into it myself), it’s completely avoidable.
There are many ways your team can keep content marketing costs manageable while maintaining and improving results.
Today’s blog outlines several ready-to-go options. Pick and choose the ones you think will work best for your team, goals and target audience.
Table of Contents
Ways to Reduce Content Marketing Costs
Content marketing can be an expensive endeavor, but there are ways to reduce costs without sacrificing quality or effectiveness.
#1 Hire Strong Freelancers
Outsourcing content creation is a cost-effective option for busy marketing teams who need help with their content strategy.
By hiring freelance writers or agencies, you can get high-quality content quickly without having to manage a team of in-house writers. Plus, you don’t have to pay outside creators healthcare benefits or PTO, or help them acclimate to your company culture, processes, etc.
All you have to do is provide a clear scope of work and let them create stellar deliverables. If you like their work, level of communication and customer service, you can rely on them as a regular, supplementary member of your team.
This allows you and your team focus on other aspects of your job while still getting the output and results you need.
To find a strong freelancer, use websites such as Fiverr, Upwork, Indeed and LinkedIn. Post a job description detailing the type of writer your marketing team needs, include a short writing assignment and get ready to receive a flood of applications.
For an even more affordable option, consider creating an internship for your content creation needs. If you can afford to go without professional-level content right away and have the time to train and mentor someone, an intern is a great option.
Did you know Hey Sarah can create stellar content that your busy team can depend on?
#2 Repurpose Content
Repurposing existing content is also an effective way to reduce content marketing costs costs while maximizing reach and engagement with your target audience.
In fact, repurposing is considered the gold standard of running a content marketing strategy without burning out or depleting resources.
Here’s what repurposing can look like:
If you already have a blog post that’s performing well, consider turning it into an infographic or video that can be shared across different platforms such as YouTube or Instagram for increased visibility and engagement with potential customers.
Additional ways to repurpose content to reduce content marketing costs
- Gather all of your company’s testimonials. Include any compliments your company or team received via chat, customer service calls and meetings with customers or stakeholders. Put all of the testimonials/compliments into a listicle blog titled something like, “10 Reasons Why People Want to Work With Us” or “5 Problems Our Company Was Able to Solve For Customers.”
- Break up your blogs into multiple social media posts. Read all of your company’s past blogs. Pull out interesting sentences, data points and direct quotes from SMEs/stakeholders. Create a social media post around each one. It can either lead back to the blog or serve as a standalone, evergreen post that shares knowledge. You could also have a quote or data point put into a design to create a more visual post.
- Turn live event coverage into content. In-person and virtual events are goldmines for content. Attend the event with your sales and product team. Live-tweet pictures and videos from your company’s booth, insights from sessions and anything touristy you’re doing in the host city. Post a roundup of session insights and event updates on LinkedIn at the end of each day. Turn those LinkedIn posts into a post-event blog with a title like, “5 Industry Trends You Need to Know For 2023.”
#3 Use an AI Writing Tool
Guess what. Almost 40% of this blog was written by AI. That percentage will increase as I get better at optimizing the tool I’ve chosen.
It’s safe to say that a new era of AI for creators is here. We now have several reliable AI tools to help us generate content. These tools are becoming better and better every day.
The global AI market is so big that it’s projected to grow 20% every year through 2029. That’s massive.
If you haven’t yet done so, it’s time to start embracing AI as part of your team’s content creation process. This will not only speed up your team’s ability to produce content at scale, but it will also make your team and company more competitive in the market. Many target audiences want to know that your company has a growth-mindset that adapts to the latest technology.
Begin exploring AI writing tools such as Content at Scale (that’s the one I used to write this blog!), Jasper and Writer. Help your team shift their mindset about who they are and what AI does.
Your team is no longer just content creators. They are now content creators who continually hone their writing skills and know how to optimize AI tools to create fantastic content efficiently.
The great Ann Handley said it best:
#4 Clarify Your Goals
This oft-overlooked tip is essential to reducing content marketing costs.
Revisit why your team created a content marketing strategy in the first place.
Explore these questions together:
- What outcomes were you hoping to achieve with content marketing?
- Has anything changed in your company’s offerings, target audience, staffing and/or operations that make your desired outcomes unrealistic or irrelevant?
- What are the absolute most important actions you want your target audience to take when they encounter your content?
- What are the absolute most important metrics required to measure the success of your content?
Get very clear with your team on 1-3 goals that you must achieve with your content marketing strategy. Boil down the exact metrics you’re going to use to measure your success. Eliminate or de-prioritize “nice-to-have” goals or “nice-to-know” metrics.
By setting specific targets, you ensure that your team is focusing on the right areas and not wasting time or money on activities that won’t bring in results.
For example, I was hellbent on getting ticket’s to Madonna’s 40th anniversary tour. I focused my resources–money, time, mental and emotional effort–on accomplishing that goal. I didn’t waste time on anything unrelated to the ticket buying process (especially after the Taylor Swift Ticketmaster debacle). And you know what? Tickets secured!
In a more relevant example, let’s say one of your essential goals is to have your target audience spend more time on your website. This might mean you want to increase website traffic by 10% and reduce your bounce rate. Having a specific goal like this will help you focus on creating content specifically designed to attract more visitors.
Accomplishing this goal might look like updating existing content for search engine optimization (SEO), developing new pieces of content with keywords related to your target audience and revising social media posts to direct users to highly relevant pages of your website.
Tracking performance metrics regularly will help you monitor progress and make adjustments as needed. Consider tracking key indicators such as website visits, page views, leads generated, conversions rates, etc., so that you can see which strategies are working best and where improvements need to be made.
This data can also help inform future decisions about what type of content works best and how much budget should be allocated towards it.
Keep your performance metrics simple. In other words, track only the metrics that will give you the information you need to determine your progress and make adjustments for success.
Too many metrics, while they provide information, can shift your focus away from the essential goals you want to accomplish, resulting in creating additional, less targeted content and then increased content marketing costs.
#5 Reexamine Your Target Audience
If you feel that you’re spending too many resources on your content marketing strategy, it’s time to go back to the basics.
Answer this question with your team:
Is the content you’re spending so much time, effort and money to produce highly relevant and relentlessly helpful to your target audience?
The term “relentlessly helpful” comes from the fantastic Susan Baier via Michele Linn, experts in helping marketers and agencies conduct reliable, customer-based research.
While her use of “relentlessly helpful” refers to conducting research, it absolutely applies to ANY content that you create for your target audience.
If you’re unsure if your content is highly relevant and relentlessly helpful, check in with your target audience.
Have your team conduct updated market research on your audience’s pain points, needs, goals, likes/dislikes and more.
Cost-effective ways to conduct updated market research
- Ask current customers. Ask a handful of your current customers if they’d be willing to spend 15 minutes on the phone with you to discuss how they use your product/service, what they’d like more or less of and why they chose to buy from your company.
- Explore online forums. Websites such as Reddit, Quora and the comment sections of blogs and articles are goldmines for honest, real-life feedback from your target audience. Enter a question about your industry and audience, and explore people’s responses. Ex. Let’s say your company sells graphic design services to healthcare practices. You might enter, “What are doctors’ biggest challenges with marketing?” “How do healthcare practices choose a graphic designer/marketer?” “What do doctors/healthcare practices look for in a graphic design resource?”
- Ask for 5-10 interviews with non-customers. Post on your company’s social media channels and send an email to your list. Say that you’re doing some updated market research and would love to interview 5-10 people in your target audience about their challenges and goals. Incentivize them with a gift card, free advice, a free trial of your service, etc.
Why is conducting updated market research so important?
Because it will help you determine where to direct your content efforts and content marketing costs.
Maybe some of the content you’re spending time producing isn’t as relevant or helpful as it once was. Maybe there are other types of content that you can spend time on instead that will bring you better ROI.