Pulling off a successful B2B content marketing strategy takes investment. There’s no way around that. But when we talk about making an investment, that doesn’t necessarily mean money.
Yes, if you have the funds to invest financially in your content marketing plan, you can hire an experienced agency who can take on much of the hard graft for you. You can focus your energy on picking a team who knows their stuff, knows how to get results and can demonstrate great ROI on similar projects with similar goals.
But if you don’t?
It’s time to prepare yourself for some hardcore DIY content marketing. And that takes a very different type of investment: time. Yes, if you have the skills, the drive and the spare man hours to write, design, film, record and market your content in house, in terms of pure financially outlay it’s perfectly possibly to pull off a successful content marketing strategy on the cheap. Why? Because great content is about providing your audience with the information, advice and expertise they need or want, in order to solve a pressing problem or further their position in the market.
This makes content marketing a pretty democratic medium. You can’t fake great content. You can’t take information that’s of negligible intrinsic value and magically make it worthwhile by throwing money at it. It simply doesn’t matter how shiny your website is or how high your production values, if you’re not helping your audience to answer a problem they want answered, providing insights that can help them get ahead, or genuinely entertaining and engaging them with a story, they will not read, watch or listen to your content.
And, once you realise that, it puts you in a surprisingly strong position. Why? Because, if you don’t actually have the big bucks to throw at making something look high-budget, you can’t get distracted by the fluff. You have to focus on content, because you can’t afford the packaging.
So where to start?
First, establish what it is that you actually want to achieve. What are the vital KPIs? Conversion rates? New leads? Downloads? Social media shares? Remember that whatever you create, your final call-to-action should lead the viewer to this outcome. And, of course, the content they’ve been engaging with up to that point has to be consistent with that. It should feel like the logical next step. With that in mind, the next point to consider is what you actually have to work with in house. What assets and resources do you have at your disposal that you don’t need to pay extra for?
This question is twofold. Of course, if you have a particularly adept writer or designer on your team, or you have high-end camera equipment just gathering dust in the cupboard, this will shape the format of content you decide to make. But even more importantly, what expertise and insights can you leverage from inside the organisation?
Firstly, who can help you to best figure out what kind of content will work best for your audience? The techies who troubleshoot customer service problems all day? The sales reps who know inside out what features your clients want the most? Or can you interview your customers themselves on their major pain points and the areas they’d love to learn more about? Get these people on board as early on as possible in your planning – and listen to what they say.
Next: who in your company or network is best placed to answer the burning questions your target market wants answers to? They might not be the best communicators – you might have weeks of editing ahead of you to turn their ideas into accessible content – but you do need to start by hacking their brains.
Now comes the long slog of creating the content: the writing, the filming, the editing and editing again, the designing and final tweaks and proof reads. If you want great content on a budget, this is the bulk of your investment.
Finally, where are your potential B2B customers hanging out online? Are they on LinkedIn? Twitter? Facebook? This is where you’ll need to share your content with them.
Of course, since you don’t have the luxury of paying to promote your content, you’re going to have to work very, very hard to nurture these connections and relationships and get people to engage with your content. There’s no shortcut. But once you do, you’re way ahead of the competition. Content marketing on a budget might bring no short rewards, but if you’re willing to stay in it for the long game, it can still seriously pay off.
Want more free tips on making great content? Download The Content Creation Masterclass below.