Updated August 10, 2022
How do you feel about the size of your team? Have you ever wished you had more people to plan, create, distribute, promote, and analyze content?
If so, you’re probably not alone. Most content teams have fewer than five full-time team members, according to CMI research.
But like many marketers, you probably aren’t getting a bigger budget to hire any time soon. So, with few hands on your content marketing deck, everything your team creates needs to count.
Put these three ideas into practice to get results – no matter how many people you have (or don’t have) on your content marketing team.
1. Document your content marketing strategy on a single page
Too often, teams jump right into creating, distributing, and (sometimes) promoting content without pausing to build (and write down) a strategy. And some small teams think writing down a strategy isn’t necessary because they already know what it is.
Those lines of thinking result in time-sucking, ineffective content marketing. Think of it like driving to an unfamiliar destination without a map or GPS. You might get there, but you’ll probably waste time on unnecessary turns, stops to ask for directions, and backtracking.
So, yes, you must write down your content marketing strategy. But you don’t have to spend a lot of time creating a lengthy, complex presentation that no one has time to read.
Create a one-page content marketing strategy document instead (and, yes, you can use the front and back of a page) by writing down the answers to these questions:
- What are your business’s purpose and goals?
- Who is your target audience? What are their interests and needs?
- What are your content marketing objectives? What do you want your audience to know, think, or do?
- What are your primary content topics? This is where your industry and business subjects overlap with your audience’s interests and needs.
- What type of content do you create? Identify the formats possible within your content marketing program, such as blogs, videos, infographics, social media, etc.
- Where will you publish this content?
- At what frequency will you create and publish this content? (Be realistic. It’s better to increase frequency than to decrease it down the road.)
- What are the measurable goals for your content marketing program? Translate your content marketing objectives into quantifiable measures of success. Don’t forget to include a time frame to complete each objective.
For the Safe at Home Brand (don’t bother Googling, I made it up), a one-page strategy might look like this:
Safe at Home content strategy
Business purpose and goals
- To help people feel safer in their homes
- To increase sales of external monitors to families by 10% year over year
Target audience interests and needs
- Parents/guardians with children 12 and younger who:
- Want to actively create a better home environment
- Are interested in protecting their family’s well-being
- Feel challenged by time and budget
- Children’s safety
- Healthy and safe homes
- Free or low-cost home improvement
Formats – distribution channels – frequency
- Blog – brand website – 1x per week
- E-newsletter – subscriber database – 1x per month
- Video – YouTube – 4x per year
- Social posts – Twitter 1x a day and Instagram 2x a week
Content marketing objectives and goals
- To increase awareness of the Safe At Home brand as the go-to resource for home safety information
- Increase unique visitors to the blog by 10% each month
- To grow the database of subscribers who opt in for more content from Safe At Home
- Increase contacts with email addresses by 20% each quarter
- To convert subscribers into customers
- Grow number of subscribers who also purchase products by 5% year over year
And don’t stop at documenting your content marketing strategy.
Post it somewhere where you see it every day. Distribute it to all stakeholders. Then, add check-in appointments to your calendar to review what’s working (and isn’t). Also, recheck your goals and objectives based on internal triggers (e.g., a new business direction) and external ones (e.g., a global pandemic, etc.).
2. Make the most of the content you create
Your team works hard to create the content. Here’s how to make that content work harder for you.
Break it into smaller pieces
Emily King detailed how her company atomized its content in the article How To Atomize 1 Killer Piece of Content into 10.
Her content team took an exclusive e-newsletter article and turned it into the following 10 pieces of content (as the graphic shows:
- Three blog posts
- Three podcast episodes
- One presentation
- One board game
- One quiz
- One infographic
Some pieces required no additional work, and some needed more effort. But it still took less time and used fewer resources than if they had created 10 content items from scratch.
Can your small team pull off something similar? Absolutely.
In the planning stage, think about the best content you can create for your audience – and how you can turn that big idea into multiple pieces. You can do that by answering these questions:
- What topic would resonate best with our target audience?
- What unique angle could we take?
- Who would be the sources?
- What would be the central piece of content?
- What other content could be created from it?
- What additional work would need to happen to create the other pieces?
The last question is critical to efficient content creation. For example, let’s say you decide to create a long-form article as your central piece and create a five-minute video from it. If you plan for it, you know that when you conduct interviews for the article, you also should record them for video. If you hit on the video idea after writing the content, you’d have to go back and ask the source for a second interview.
Repurpose your best work
If you follow the Pareto principle, 20% of your content delivers 80% of your results. Your percentages may not be exactly that, but I bet the concept does apply to your content marketing: Some of your content delivers big, but most of it does not.
Do more with the content that delivers big. These questions will help you figure out what to do and how to do it:
- Which content performed well?
- What format is it in?
- Should it be republished as is?
- How could it be updated or tweaked to be current and relevant?
- How could it be repackaged for additional channels?
The Content Marketing Institute blog follows this repurposing practice in several ways.
- The small editorial team updates articles that perform well and are still relevant to add more recent statistics, correct titles for sources, update outdated links, and add new angles. (For example, at the top of this article, you can see the “Updated” label that lets readers know we’ve brought this one back.)
- CMI also knows its audience responds to “best-of” content. At least once a year, the team curates a new article with excerpts from recent top-performing articles. See 10 Content Marketing Articles Readers (Like You) Loved This Year as an example.
- The CMI team looks for ways to extend the reach of event content to a new or expanded audience. The content team creates blog posts from in-person and virtual events, livestream interviews, Twitter chats, and more. Writers watch the sessions, read transcripts, or scour Tweets and comments, then add context and their perspectives. For example, Kim Moutsos recently turned a livestream interview with Tim Schmoyer into this article: Try These 5 YouTube Video Tips and Watch What Happens to Your Results.
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3. Put it all together
Processes and workflows rarely excite creative content marketers. Yet, establishing systems should give you more time to spend on creative development (or other more interesting tasks).
Make a master tracker
If you have an editorial calendar, that’s a great step. If you create a master tracker – an editorial calendar on steroids – that’s even better.
Documenting your process, from content ideas through publication, in one place – and making it accessible to all stakeholders – saves time. You won’t have to dig through emails or other messages to figure out what’s been done, what still needs to be done, and how effective it is.
Your master tracker should include:
- Production process (assignments, reviews, approvals, deadlines)
- Related content elements (keywords, headlines, metadata, etc.)
- Goals and metrics (dated and updated regularly)
Create all related content at once
You’ve finished the article, infographic, or video. But that isn’t the end of your content creation. You’ll still need a headline, meta description, calls to action, etc. So write all those content accouterments when you create the original piece.
Your related content elements could include:
- SEO-focused URL (keywords)
- Meta description
- Social media headline options
- Call to action
- Preview text that appears in an email
- Excerpt for newsletter
It makes sense to create all of this right away. You’re already in the mindset of that content – the topic, the purpose, the interesting sentences, etc. If you wait to do the related content elements, you likely will have to reread or view the original piece.
Save time and sanity
Making your small content marketing team even mightier requires creating a maximizing framework. By creating a one-page strategy, doing more with the content you’re already creating, and developing one-stop implementation resources, you’ll save time, keep your sanity, and deliver bigger results for your business.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute