October 10th, 2017
Can we increase the frequency of our social media posts?
How about adding another weekly article to our content strategy?
What would it take to expand our email campaign to include 20 more touches?
If you’re like me, you have heard these requests for “more, more, more” content. You and your marketing team are constantly being asked to do more content development, right? I hear you.
While 70 percent of content marketers expected to produce more content in 2017, compared to the previous year, only 39 percent expected to receive an increase in budget.
But more content without more money equals more work without more help.
Faced with increasing demands for content, but without more team members or budget, how can you meet content requests without burning the candle at both ends?
The answer: It isn’t always about creating more—it’s about creating the right content for your team’s needs and effectively managing resources for your content development and promotion. Here are three ways to make the most of your content-creating resources.
1. Streamline the Request Intake Process
Create a process to receive work requests. This could be a designated email account, a web form, or a work management tool. Your process will reflect the maturity of your organization. Even if you are taking baby steps with technology, embrace a simple process to receive requests—any process is better than none.
Identify an owner of the request intake process—this person is responsible from beginning to end so nothing falls through the cracks. Understand your company and department goals so you can align all of your projects with them. Sometimes you’ll need to be brutal. (So no, you won’t sponsor a senior center 70s-themed dance party—no matter how worthy a cause—if your goal is focused on children’s health.)
Use a marketing brief for all submitted requests. When it comes to requests, don’t just fill it out like a questionnaire at the doctor’s office with rushed, scribbled notes. Don’t scrimp here—spend the time needed to properly define what you’re trying to accomplish, how it aligns with other efforts, and how a successful project should look. Include the expected ROI and trackable metrics in your marketing brief. These allow you to evaluate at the end of the project and measure if it did what it was supposed to do.
Include your promotional plan with the marketing brief. It ensures you build all assets needed (ebook, infographics, ads, etc.) to meet your goals. Account for each item in the budget—this prevents surprise expenses later that could compromise the success of your campaign.
2. Prioritize Your Work Based on Real Value
Not all content projects need to be done. Leave the less-important, less-effective ideas behind to focus on the projects with real, quantifiable value. Establish your prioritization methodology and stick to it—what comes first? What is most important? You can use these nine questions to help prioritize content. The Content Marketing Institute encourages defining your mission statement as an organization and making sure all content requesters know it inside and out. This cuts out requests that do not support your mission.
Beyond the mission, let predetermined priorities guide the content prioritization. The 2016 Content Marketing Trends report shows almost 75 percent of content creators put creating more engaging content as their top priority. The second and third top priorities support evaluating the effectiveness of content (65 percent) and finding better ways to repurpose content—saving time and money (57 percent).
Use numbers to guide your prioritization. Calculate the real value of ROI of content marketing, using this guide. Consult this Forbes or Entrepreneur article for more tips on measuring content marketing and using numbers to guide choices.
In addition to creating an ROI number, a content score can evaluate the effectiveness of a piece of content in the sales process. Content scoring lets the numbers guide you. For example, you may realize a webinar that took more than 100 hours to publicize, design, organize, and broadcast generated less than five percent sales impact, compared to your quick 30-minute-production video clip that resulted in a 50 percent sales impact. This allows you to make smart changes. Even if the webinar was an annual tradition for 10 years, cut it. Dropping low-value projects grants you more time to focus energy on content that creates real value.
Determine where you can put your efforts—perhaps your demand generation gets 50 percent of your time; awareness gets 20 percent; HR gets 10 percent, etc. This helps you understand the capacity your team has for work. Track how long it takes for you to finish repeatable work. Based on this information, set utilization metrics for your team—these usually come at about 80 percent of total work hours, leaving space for meetings, reporting, the office party, etc. Based on your team’s availability, this number could vary.
Identify a way to assign and track work with your team. Armed with information, like how long a specific task takes and availability of each team member, you can strategically assign work to your team. You empower yourself by knowing who is available for tasks and when to assign them. By removing the guesswork on team availability, you’re no longer overloading or under-utilizing team members and everyone wins.
3. Create Templates for Repeatable Work
Through the course of your next content project, note all of the steps you take to get the project done. Document, in detail, each step of the process—drafts, approvals, re-writes, publication, hand-off, etc. Take that information and create a template you can follow when you execute a similar project in the future.
Check out these content marketing templates to help you get started. Once you find one that works for your project, simply repeat. The calendar year always repeats itself, so if you have an email campaign for a Black Friday sale this year, you know you’ll have one next year—use the template and update as much as possible with automatic replacements.
By embracing templates, you maximize efficiency. Follow the example of Meera Kothand, email marketing specialist, and blogger. She developed an adaptable outline for creating an online content piece. Use her outline to create your own blog template that cuts writing time by 50 percent.
Integrate these three tips to maximize your content capacity. Then the next time you get those all-too-familiar “more, more, more” requests, you can confidently respond “yes, yes, yes,” without any eye-rolling or groaning from an overworked team.
Editor’s note: This post is part of a paid partnership between Convince & Convert and Workfront.