Surprising Ways that Content Budgets Go to Waste — and What to Do About It

5 minute read

Upland Admin

Narratives are timeless and have been the backbone of marketing since before the internet existed. That’s why content is one of the most powerful investments that an organization can make. Storytelling drives traffic, fuels sales conversations, and forms the backbone for empathetic relationships in business.

But content is also expensive to produce, and far too often, companies end up wasting resources without even realizing it. Let’s say that you’re spending $250-$1,000 on a blog post for instance. You publish it online for the world to see. You may generate some visibility and some customers. You generate a positive return on investment. But are you fully capitalizing on the potential of what you’ve built?

Probably not.

Content marketers have a tough job. The process of producing and distributing content is a tightrope walk where our analytical and creative minds converge. We need to be focused to deliver our best work and to map what we create to a business’s bottom line.

But often, we’re spread so thin that we’re unsure where we’re unintentionally wasting resources. Focused on publishing volume, engagement, and architecting a path from “view” to “transaction,” it’s tough to take a step back. The simple question, “How can this blog post create more value for us?” doesn’t come to mind. Instead, we focus on our successes and think “What comes next?” We consider scaling up content programs into publications—and giving already well-oiled publications an extra push.

The question we should be asking, however, is how we can be more budget conscious in accomplishing more objectives with less. Let’s say that you’re a content marketer at a B2B company that specializes in recruiting software. You decide to develop a series of blog posts. You build a newsletter campaign. You spark momentary engagement and perhaps see some SEO benefits over time. You call the campaign a success.

So why not make it more successful?

Addressing Opportunity Costs

The key to answering this question is an understanding of your organization’s opportunity costs, defined by Investopedia as “a benefit that a person could have received but gave up, to take another course of action.”

Opportunity costs are why content marketers waste time and resources without even realizing it. For instance, you could spend your time developing new blog posts that may not have a guaranteed return on investment. Or, you could spend more time determining how to create more value from the content that you’ve already developed. Here are some ideas to guide you:

Problem: Older Content Goes to Waste

Solution: Repurpose, Re-publish, and Revise

Far too often, evergreen content ends up buried under piles of blog post archives. New content pushes older content by the wayside. Why not revive this valuable material and republish it on your blog? Pillar campaigns incorporating derivative content offer the perfect solution.

Look through your analytics to see what posts have driven—and continue to drive—interest from the right kind of audience. Update them or even re-publish them as-is if they are on brand.

Problem: Content Has Limited Marketing Functionality

Solution: Plan Your Content Strategy to Be Additive in Fulfilling Multiple Long-Term Goals

Write a blog post about a topic that’s important to your company and audience. Publish it. Re-publish it on LinkedIn or Medium. Syndicate it with a larger trade publication or partner organization that reaches your audience. Put the blog post on a PDF and turn it into an eBook or sales enablement asset that your team takes to industry events.

Combine separate blog posts into a longer eBook like this one. Turn that eBook into an online course or webinar. Turn that content into a short video snippet for your social media channels.

Run organic and paid social media campaigns to the assets you’re developing. Turn a blog series into email nurture campaigns.

Envision your content as an asset that can go through a metamorphosis. The only limit is your own creativity.

Problem: Evergreen Content Becomes Invisible

Solution: Tweet Your Content for Years

Evergreen content can stay relevant for many years. Just take a look at the world of academia that cites studies conducted over decades and centuries. Some content becomes obsolete over time, yes. But not all.

Continue to promote your best content on social media to attract audiences and remind your existing community of your brand’s storytelling pillars—and foundational company values—as timeless. Social media, whether through paid or organic channels, can bring new life to strong content for years to come.

Problem: Team Members Aren’t Aware of Existing Content

Solution: Build Closer, Cross-Functional Relationships Between Teams

The most low-hanging area of your business to begin building these connections is your front-line, customer-facing teams.

Content, at its core, is a conversation starter. Give your sales and customer success teams assets they can integrate into everyday conversations. It’s often hard to have in-depth conversations during a pitch process when all parties are preoccupied. Content provides a mechanism to express our thoughts and ideas fully—subsequently shortening the distance from the first conversation to sale.

Final Thoughts

Every business is different. No content strategy is universally applicable.

To ensure that you’re making the most out of your content investment, you must maintain a fundamental understanding of the mechanics of how content works online.

You can learn more from fellow marketing leaders from Kapost’s B2B Content Operations and Strategy Benchmark.

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