How Scrappy Marketers Approach Content Marketing

May 24, 2017

People working together

Marketing is hard work. It’s even harder when you try to do everything on your own. Ten years ago, this jack-of-all-trades approach was a reasonable strategy. Since most B2B brands weren’t even thinking about content marketing, a handful of forward-thinking marketers had great success creating their own content in-house and generating organic traffic without having to pay a dime for advertising.

It was fun while it lasted. But today’s content marketing landscape is much more competitive: Nine out of 10 B2B companies use content to reach their audience online. As content channels and competitors have proliferated, marketers have become increasingly overwhelmed by the new demands of keeping pace.

Instead of working harder, though, marketers should focus on working smarter. This means finding new ways to reach your audience, such as embracing paid promotion as a necessary tactic in today’s ultra-competitive environment. It also means finding creative solutions to address rising content demands. Here are a few ways to weave working smarter into your agenda.  

Everyone Can Be a Content Creator

Marketers oversee the creation of content, but they don’t necessarily have to be the creators. Look for a combination of strategic partnerships and increased in-house collaboration to stretch your content marketing bandwidth. Your organization likely has many different minds and perspectives that could serve your content strategy. Experts in IT, sales, and HR, along with your executive leaders, could all be tapped for thought leadership content and other interesting angles that serve your target audience. The key is making it easy for them to participate, which may require help with planning, writing, and editing – but it’s worth the effort when the end result is authentic content that resonates with your audience.

If nothing else, your employees can aid in social promotion of content, amplifying its reach and laying the foundation for increased social engagement.

Example from our team: We often get colleagues outside of the immediate content team invovled in contributing to and helping us shape our content. For example, this Mother's Day blog post about the best advice you ever received from mom. We gathered answers from Account Executives, Demand Generation marketers and even our own CMO.

The Internet is Your Oyster

Curating content is an easy way to increase content activity without overwhelming your staff with creation demands. Through content swaps, syndicated or republished content, and one-off strategies like guest blogging appearances, brands can generate new content. Start by brainstorm brands and online publishers where such curation could offer a win-win for both sides.

Meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to curate user-generated social content through the use of hashtags, contests, or keyword alerts. This content creation can amplify any campaign, and requires very little management.

Example from our team: I've contributed several posts to Social Media Examiner and we always syndicate them on the LinkedIn Marketing blog around 2 weeks later. We always include a link back to where the content was originally published. It's great content and we don't have to reinvent the wheel. 

Get Max Value from Your Content

So you’ve created an eBook and your prospective B2B clients seem to dig it. Great, but don’t settle for that one piece of content. From that single eBook, you can extract content to create multiple blog posts, infographics, and social media posts, among other possibilities.

Repurposing content is a high-ROI activity because it takes very little time compared to creating original content. When planning your editorial calendar, consider all the ways to repurpose content or apply it to other channels. Repurposing content is also a terrific way to resurface your lead-generating content to new audiences.

Example from our team: We published Your Hands-On Content Marketing Workbook and then created two fast-follow pieces of content - a SlideShare and an Infographic focusing on a specific part of the larger workbook with a new creative concept.

Organic is Good. Paid is Better

Organic reach is great, but there’s only one page one for each desirable keyword, and only a few brands can be on it. That’s not to say organic search traffic isn’t a good goal. It is, but achieving results typically takes time. Similarly, you can build a social following by performing the right activities, and you should absolutely strive to build an audience, but this also takes time.

Paid promotion can increase the visibility and reach of your content. Of even greater value is the ability to target your audience through paid promotion: By filtering by demographics and other key data points, you can make sure your best social content is placed in front of your most relevant prospects.

Organic traffic will always be valued, but unless you can count on organic traffic to deliver marketing ROI, it may be time to promote your best content.

Example from our team: We continue to put paid behind our best performing organic content. Our paid efforts have a mix of objectives - lead generation, brand awareness and thought leadership. We also use Direct Sponsored Content to A/B test everything from caption length, background color, stats versus quotes, etc.

Go, Go, Go Can Be Counter-Productive

Maybe you’re the kind of person who aspires to be a workhorse, busting your hump and working long hours to send your productivity through the roof. It’s a nice sentiment, but this approach can also cause you to fall short of your goals.

Why? Because you need to take time to plan and strategize. Whatever your marketing budget and resources, you have to take time to strategize, plan, measure, and optimize. This is the only way to make sure all that effort is productive. You may be working harder than anyone else, but if you aren’t working smarter, then your work may not be rewarded as justly as it should.

Sitting down to strategize may feel lazy, but think of it as a much more comfortable way to work smarter and with greater efficiency. You need this downtime to support all the hard work you’re doing.

Eager for more tips on how to get more resourceful and strategic with your marketing strategy? Download LinkedIn’s Content Marketing Tactical Plan to get started.