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Don’t Waste Your Hard-Won Content Budget on These Avoidable Mistakes



Don’t Waste Your Hard-Won Content Budget on These Avoidable Mistakes

More money shouldn’t mean more money wasted.

Over 60% of marketers in CMI’s annual research say they expected bigger content marketing budgets in 2022 as compared to 2021. To spend that increase wisely – or make better use of your existing (or reduced) budget – look to trim costly errors and oversights out of your approach.

The presenters at Content Marketing World 2022 share some of the biggest content marketing budget mistakes they see. While they don’t all agree about tech investments, their opinions are well-aligned regarding audience-related costs. They also had plenty to say about old-school techniques, grounding elements, and more.

How many of these mistakes will you rectify? (And how many have you already avoided?)

Assuming rather than asking

The best way to blow your content budget is to write the wrong rebuttal – I Didn’t Ask, They Didn’t Answer – to Marcus Sheridan’s epic tome They Ask, You Answer. Yep, that’s right. Assuming you know your audience and spending loads of cash without getting to know them for real – in the pub, coffee shop, or even on Zoom – that’s where you go wrong.

You should talk to them, not just at the beginning of your process but throughout. Always ask: Does this make sense? Does this still make sense? Change things up regularly based on the responses you get. We get so caught up in what we think they want and forget to take the time to find out what they want. – Jon Burkhart, founder, TBC Global Limited

Creating content your audience doesn’t care about

Spending time and resources on creating, publishing, and promoting content that won’t meet your target audience’s needs and expectations is a waste. A significant part of your budget should be spent researching your audience, understanding their reason for interacting with your content, receiving feedback, or simply talking to them. – Igor Bielobradek, digital marketing senior manager, Deloitte

Dismissing the experience

Every part of our investment will be a waste – from the data we collect to the content we create – unless we focus on the content experience. Your buyer expects to find the content relevant to them and not have to sift through content meant for other audiences. A focus on the experience is everything, from the environment in which your content lives to the structure that allows for personalization and context. – Randy Frisch, chief evangelist, Uberflip

Investing based on internal leaders’ opinions

Spending time and money on product content based on the whims and egos of sales, product teams, and executives. Map content to the buyer journey, and you will find that the biggest gap is always in education, context, and use cases. – Michael Brenner, CEO, Marketing Insider Group

Not doing your research

Any content marketing dollars spent without a fundamental, research- and data-driven understanding of the buyer journey and buyer personas are wasted. – Mark Emond, president, Demand Spring

Expecting success without knowing the audience

The biggest waste of money is making any content without a clear understanding of your target audience. You need to know their story – their emotions, pains, fears, hopes, and goals – and what your obstacles are to reaching them. – Tim Schmoyer, founder/CEO, Video Creators

Creating for no one

The biggest waste of a content marketing budget is creating content that provides no value to the audience. Corporations and brands churn out massive amounts of content every single day that no one asks for, no one wants, and no one cares about. Here’s the simplest way to check whether your content was a waste: Would you pay out of your pocket, even a dollar, for your company’s most recent content campaign? If the answer is no, then your content was a waste. – Christopher Penn, chief data scientist,

Failing to connect the what to the who

The biggest waste is spending time and money creating the wrong content for the right audience. When you do not take the time to truly identify who you are trying to engage and what engages them, it’s like throwing spaghetti with random content types. You do a disservice to the brand and the audience. It’s such a waste of time creating white papers for audiences that simply want to watch 15-second video clips. – Michael Weiss, vice president of consulting services and solutions, Creative Circle

The biggest waste is spending time and money creating the wrong #content for the right audience, says @mikepweiss via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Promoting content where your audience isn’t

There’s no use in promoting content via certain channels if that’s not where your target audiences are spending time. – Michelle Garrett, consultant, Garrett Public Relations

Expecting tech to solve process problems

Throwing tools and technology at a process problem is a budget mistake. You may think you’re doing something about your ways of working when you buy a shiny new piece of software. But if you don’t address the real underlying issues, there’s not much a tool can do. Visualize your work first (I love a good Kanban board for this). It’s likely the bottleneck isn’t where you thought. Buying a tool to fix the wrong problem is a huge waste of a much-needed budget. – Andrea Fryrear, CEO and co-founder, AgileSherpas

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Going all in with automation before you’re ready

Overpriced automation platforms. Don’t buy a $1,000-a-month tool unless you’re ready to get the full value from it. That usually means you have strong, gate-worthy content assets, an engaged list of subscribers, a documented content strategy, and a website designed specifically to convert visitors. – Andy Crestodina, co-founder and chief marketing officer, Orbit Media Studios

Seeing tech as the elixir

Purchasing software that isn’t properly adopted and integrated. Too often, we think that technology will magically solve our problems without putting in the time and effort to get leadership buy-in, proper implementation, and adequate training. – Brian Piper, director of content strategy and assessment, University of Rochester

Investing in tools more than writers

Spending too much money on tools and not enough on quality writers, in-house or otherwise. All too often, brands rely on tools to fix and make up for poor-quality content. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big fan of editing and creation tools like, Grammarly, and Semrush. They can provide the SEO and grammatical edge to compete with the best of the best, but they can’t make a dead canary sing. Invest in your wordy birds first. Let the tools sweeten their song, not replace it (or autotune it). – Haley Collins, director of operations and content, GPO

Invest in your wordy birds. Let tech tools sweeten their song, not replace or autotune it, says Haley Collins via @AnnGynn @CMIContent #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Making humans do all the heavy lifting

It’s a mistake to rely on 100% human-powered content strategy and production. Dozens of AI-powered technologies can reduce the costs of planning and creating content. – Paul Roetzer, CEO, Marketing AI Institute

Underusing automation tools

Marketing automation is worth every penny if you can optimize it and measure the ROI. Continuously audit your tools to make sure you’re getting the most for your budget and cut anything that isn’t contributing to your bottom line. – Ahava Leibtag, founder and president, Aha Media Group

Working with too many vendors

A lot of resource waste (time and money) happens when marketers use too many vendors or technologies. Often, you can save your budget by using fewer trusted vendors and bundling more of their services into one contract. Marketers should ask vendors what services and products they offer to see if they can condense their vendor list. – Brittany Graff, senior director of marketing, Painting with a Twist

Adding tools that add time

We use a tool (I won’t name it) that helps us create more SEO-worthy content. I would usually spend a few hours on a blog post. Now, I spend four to six hours getting all the keywords, paragraphs, titles, and images to align with this tool’s scoring system. My time is worth more than that.

I get the ROI in the long run, but since this function is not naturally aligned with my skill sets, I feel like it’s a waste of my time, which considering how much I get paid, is a ding on our budget too. Does anyone else feel like you’re trying to make your content fit into an SEO mold? – Viveka von Rosen, chief visibility officer, Vengreso

Deprioritizing planning and analysis

All too often, organizations deprioritize content planning and evaluation in favor of constantly cranking out new content. This leads to random acts of content – content created without considering the relevant content needed – and/or publishing without a promotion strategy.

Stop setting goals around creating a certain volume of content. Instead, aim to have the right mix of content that resonates with your target audiences at key stages of their buyer’s journey.

To achieve this, place equal weight on content strategy, development, and evaluation. A content lifecycle plan will help keep site content fresh and increase the likelihood that existing content assets can be reworked for future marketing campaigns.

You can also create a content scorecard and frequently evaluate your metrics to inform data-driven decisions, ensuring each piece of content created has a purpose and meets your goals. – Wendy Covey, CEO and co-founder, TREW Marketing

Sharing opinions instead of data

A big content waste is sharing low-value opinions instead of high-value data. Buyers don’t care about your opinions and are increasingly suspicious of them. They want independent data that grows their knowledge and business. – Justin Ethington, partner, TrendCandy

Continually creating all-new content

The biggest waste of a content marketing budget just might be in the creation of new content. Yes, you heard me. Content marketing is based on content creation, and this will often take up a great percentage of a content marketing budget. But do you always need to create new content?

Smart organizations know that at a point, they have all the core content they need in their “library.” They shift by leveraging content as their intellectual property and focusing on repurposing and republishing it. This ensures a greater ROI and frees-up resources for those things that you’ve been putting off, like those short-form videos. – Neal Schaffer, president, PDCA Social

The biggest waste of a #ContentMarketing budget just might be in the creation of new content, says @NealSchaffer via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Only using content once

The biggest waste of a content marketing budget is when content isn’t repurposed or distributed to its full potential. If you spend hours, days, or weeks creating a fantastic, high-value piece of content, you need to squeeze every last drop of value from it.

Repurposing your content is the No. 1 way to make your content marketing budget go further. Consider how to promote that content over time and repurpose it to produce more high-value pieces. It will help you get the maximum return, connect with a broader audience, and eliminate wasted time, effort, and budget. – Amy Woods, founder and CEO, Content 10x

Failing to iterate

The two biggest mistakes I often see are: 1. Not thinking through the strategy and pouring budget/mindshare/effort into a bucket that might not yield the results you expect. 2. The failure to iterate and adapt once a strategy is in place.

It’s essential to monitor, analyze, and – pardon the jargon – pivot, when necessary. This doesn’t mean abandoning ship if you’re not hitting a specific benchmark or KPI immediately. Rather, always operate as if your hypothesis could be (and likely is) wrong. Often, a strategy takes longer than a few months to drive results, but it’s our job as marketers to infer insights and signals from our audiences and adjust accordingly.

TL;DR: Assess, evaluate, and optimize. – Michael Bordieri, senior content solutions consultant, LinkedIn

Duplicating instead of localizing content

Far too often, we see brands using duplicative content on their websites – particularly on their local pages. Google loves unique, localized content, so it can be a waste of time and budget to invest in tools that duplicate content for multiple business units and locations. Unique, localized content at scale is a smarter investment, especially for large brands with hundreds (or even thousands) of locations. – Jane Marie Barnes, account manager, GPO

Thinking you can buy success

Betting on paid before proving organic. You can’t just throw money at content – that’s like winking in the dark. You have to roll up your sweatshirt sleeves and do the (sometimes) painstaking work of writing social media posts, blogs, or newsletters, creating low-rent videos, and conducting your own webinars or podcasts – no matter how unpolished they may be.

You don’t have to be perfect. But you do have to have firsthand knowledge. No way of learning is more valuable than experiencing the pain yourself because the hard way is the way. It can mean the difference between creating legacy content that will drive exponential traffic your way for years and creating evaporative content that offers only a one-time punch. – Kate Bradley Chernis, co-founder and CEO, Lately

Using stock-like assets

In general, there is a lot of waste in some of the old-school “marketing assets,” like those created through professional photoshoots. Today’s consumer is savvy and cynical about stock-like photos and videos. Find more authentic ways to be professional and creative. – Jacquie Chakirelis, chief digital strategy officer, Quest Digital/ Great Lakes Publishing

Stocking up

It is hard to get away from stock photography, but do you want to use the same images in your marketing that your competitors may? It is worth hiring a professional photographer to create visuals unique to your company or brand. They can take enough shots, so you don’t have to use the same images repeatedly. You also can get photos in different settings and angles and with different models. – Andi Robinson, global digital content marketing, Corteva Agriscience

Ignoring the power of predictions

Creating content that has no opportunity to be successful is the largest waste of budget. Failing to implement predictive technologies to get high content success rates, test plans, and reporting confidence is the combined cause of the waste. – Jeff Coyle, co-founder, CSO, MarketMuse

Rushing into the metaverse

Right now, it’s spending money on design and development of metaverse experiences. I just don’t see the payoff beyond the PR that comes with doing something neat there. – Jason Falls, senior influence strategist, Cornett

Piecemeal outsourcing

Many marketers will hand off parts of projects for outside agencies to complete. When we do this, we often end up reducing our ROI due to the huge knowledge gaps. Instead, we can increase ROI by having external creators focus on projects where they have a unique, “outsider” viewpoint – for example, using an agency that focuses on influencer marketing or audience research. You could also maximize agency ROI by including them, as an extension of your team, on large-scale projects. Then, have your internal team help round out the rest. For example, the agency can create a larger, gated asset, and your internal team can craft the subject matter expert blogs and promotional materials. – Amy Higgins, senior director, content marketing, Twilio

Following trendy channels

A lot of companies start distributing content through certain channels simply because they are in vogue. That’s what happened with Facebook; that’s how it is today with YouTube and podcasts. There’s nothing wrong with these channels. They are useful – as long as you know how to get returns on that investment. – Cassio Politi, founder, Tracto Content Marketing

Calling it quits

Starting a program and stopping it in less than 17 months. – Joe Pulizzi, founder, The Tilt

Paying to promote free content

Using paid advertising to generate page views of an ungated asset is a waste. Why? It tells me you’re not taking advantage of tried-and-true organic methods first – optimizing for search engines, involving influencers in your content, or creating high-quality content in the first place. – Dennis Shiao, founder, Attention Retention

Creating content without revenue objectives

Creating content for content’s sake might be the most significant waste of a content marketing budget. Creating content can be an essential part of a modern marketing strategy. Still, without a clear understanding that our content must drive revenue (and must be measured with that in mind), it’s easy to check the content marketing box without clearly understanding how (or if) our content contributes to sales. – Andrew Davis, author and keynote speaker, Monumental Shift

Ignoring the business impact

The biggest waste of content marketing budget is when it’s spent on content that lacks a clear business goal or isn’t being measured. If you create content that can be measured and tied to business results – and build your strategy on the business’ real needs – your budget will be well spent. Even when an initiative fails, you’ll learn how to use your budget more wisely next time. That, in itself, is worth the waste. – Inbar Yagur, vice president of marketing, GrowthSpace

Failing to plan well

Poor planning. Only spend time and money on projects that have clear end goals. Who is this content going to reach? How will they find it? What will they do after engaging with the content? How will you know if the project was successful? Know your expected outcomes before you start a project. – Penny Gralewski, senior director, product and portfolio marketing, DataRobot

Operating without a strategy

The biggest waste of a content marketing budget is spending and creating without a foundational strategy. Don’t just create. Create intentionally.

Do you know the audience segments you’re trying to reach? Do you know their channel preferences and content consumption behaviors? Have you thought deeply about what your brand voice should be? Have you built the content pillars of your program – the topics you’ll cover from a unique perspective and how they’ll add value to your audiences?

These are just a few of the questions. If you don’t ask them, you set yourself up to create content nobody will read, view, hear, etc. If you build it, they won’t come unless you give them a reason to. – Chris Blose, founder, Chris Blose Content

Lacking a strong foundation

Creating content without a strategy can lead to waste. You need to outline what you’re going to say, who will care about it, where it should be delivered for maximum impact, and how it will be measured for success or improvement. Without assessing those factors, you are wasting valuable time and money. – Karen McFarlane, chief marketing officer, LetterShop

Over-creation and under-distribution

The biggest waste of budget in content marketing is over-creation and under-distribution. We don’t use these terms often, but we should include them in our daily conversations. Most content marketers love creating remarkable content but lack the focus or knowledge to create visibility for their content. Less content, more marketing. – Bert van Loon, strategist, CMFF

Forgoing a distribution plan

Not having a plan for distribution. You can create all the high-quality content you want, but if you don’t include spend for distribution, it’s all for naught. – Meg Coffey, managing director, Coffey & Tea

Thinking only about creation

The biggest waste is blowing your entire budget on content creation without dedicating any resources to content distribution. You can create the most interesting, audience-focused content, but without a distribution plan, it may as well not exist.

At a minimum, you should promote all content across your social media channels, in your email newsletters, and through paid advertising – including boosting your top-performing social posts. Every piece of content also should have at least three uses to best reach your target reader and enable them to consume the content in their preferred format. – Erika Heald, founder, lead consultant, Erika Heald Marketing Consulting

You can create the most audience-focused #content, but without a distribution plan, it may as well not exist, says @SFerika via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Setting and forgetting

The biggest waste of any type of marketing budget is something you set and forget. Whether it’s the output of a creative or content agency, a paid social or influencer program, or content syndication, you need to monitor, learn, and evolve. Resist the temptation to stop paying attention to the things that are working. Continuous refinement can make well-performing programs generate even better results, and staying involved will avoid surprises and keep things from slipping off the rails while you’re not looking. – Monica Norton, head of content marketing, Yelp

Spending without reflection

Continually creating content in types that don’t perform is the biggest waste of precious budget. You may not analyze the downstream results of your content, or you may feel you need to spend your entire budget, so it doesn’t get reduced. But doing things the way you’ve always done it isn’t effective whatsoever.

As the power of social (think UGC) becomes more prevalent, brands should consider what content has been most effective, what has helped drive sales, and what users will be most likely to engage with in the future. As younger generations rise in the workplace, we face tremendous changes to how business gets done. If you’re not considering those changes today, it’s going to cost you in the long run. – Jenn VandeZande, editor-in-chief, SAP Customer Experience

Taking the eye off the ultimate prize

The biggest waste of a content marketing budget is not tying it back to revenue. That answer sounds like a cop-out, but a lot of content marketers beg for more budget, and when they get it, they spend it primarily on freelancers for writing. That’s great, but when you have the budget, you need to prove ROI.

That isn’t just a content marketing thing – it’s how things work in marketing, in general. If you don’t, you risk having your budget pulled or, worse, having to lay off staff. You need to have a solid plan for how to turn that budget into company revenue, and content repurposing, typically in gated asset format, is one of the first ways to do that. – Tracey Wallace, director of content strategy, Klaviyo

Read between the budget lines

Good stewardship of the money – Whether your content marketing budget increases, decreases, or stays the same, thoughtful stewardship of those dollars is always a smart play. Paying attention to the bottom line isn’t just good for your company; it helps keep your content marketing program running smoothly and successfully.


Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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How to Schedule Ad Customizers for Google RSAs [2024]



How to Schedule Ad Customizers for Google RSAs [2024]

It’s no wonder that responsive search ads have steadily grown in popularity in recent years. Through Google’s machine learning capabilities, RSAs provide a powerful way to automate the testing of multiple headlines and descriptions to ensure a closer match to user intent. The benefits are clear: RSAs mean broader reach, better engagement, and improved performance metrics.

However, all these benefits come at a significant (but reasonable) cost – they can be extremely difficult to manage, especially when it comes to updating ad copy to promote limited time offers.

I know this firsthand – I work with several ecommerce clients with promotions that constantly change. Not too long ago, I found myself going through the consistently tedious process of updating a client’s RSA headlines and copy. As I was making the changes, I thought to myself: “There must be a better way to update this ad copy. I shouldn’t have to use find and replace so many times while pausing and enabling my ad campaigns.”

After expressing this to my colleague, Jordan Stambaugh, the two of us agreed there must be a better way. But we’d have to make it happen. A few weeks later, we put that idea into action and created a more efficient process for updating RSA ad copy on a scheduled basis. If you want to try this process for yourself, just keep reading.

Responsive Search Ad Customizers 101: Basic Options & Execution

Before diving into the process of scheduling automatic updates for your RSA customizers, it’s essential to understand some key Responsive Search Ad fundamentals.

First, you can customize three main options within RSAs: the Attribute Name, the Data Type, and the Account Value. Each of these plays a vital role in personalizing your ads:

  • Attribute Name: This is essentially the identifier for the customizer. It is how you’ll reference the specific piece of information you’re customizing within the ad. For instance, if you’re running a promotion, you might name an attribute “Promotion.”
  • Data Type: This indicates the kind of data the attribute represents and it determines how the information can be formatted and used within the ad. Common data types include Text (for plain, non-numeric text), Percent (to represent percentage discounts), Price (to denote monetary values), and Number (for any numerical value).
  • Account Value: This is the default value for the attribute that you set at the account level. It acts as a fallback if more specific values aren’t provided at the campaign or ad group level.

For example, if you wanted to promote a 10% off discount using RSAs, you’d use the “Discount” attribute, a data type of “Percent,” and an account value of “10% off.” Then, when someone is searching for products, Google would test automatically inserting a copy regarding a 10% off promotion into your ad.

Once you’ve set up the right customization options, you can start to format your RSAs with customizers.

Here’s how:

  • Start by typing in {
  • Click on Ad Customizer then select your attribute
  • Google will populate your attributes that are already uploaded
  • For a simple offer, use the “Default text” attribute as a catch-all. This will ensure your ads run smoothly if Google can’t pull the right messaging from your RSA feed



How to Schedule Your Ad Customizers with a Feed

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s cover how to schedule your ad customizers.

Just follow this three step process:

1. Create the feed

Start by creating two sheets: The Parent sheet, and the Child sheet. The “Parent” sheet will act as the primary data source, while the child sheet will pull data from the parent sheet.

We’ll start by building the parent sheet. After opening the sheet, start by renaming the active tab to “Promotions.” Don’t skip this step, it’s crucial for referencing this range in formulas later on.

In your “Promotions” tab, head to the top row and label columns A, B, and C with the headers of your ad customizer attributes. For example, you might have “BrandSaleHeadline” as your attribute in column A, “text” as the Data Type in column B, and “Shop the Collection” as the Account Value in column C.

Once your headers are in place, move to cell C2. Here, you’ll input the expression =lookup(today(),F:G,E:E). This formula will play a key role in dynamically updating your RSA customizer based on the current date.

Next, go to columns E, F, and G, which will be used to manage your scheduling. In these columns, you’ll list out the different values your chosen attribute might take, alongside their corresponding start and end dates. For example, under the “BrandSaleHeadline” attribute, you might schedule various promotional headlines to appear during different sale periods throughout the year.

Here’s how your sheet might look:

Now look back at the first 3 columns on your sheet. They should look like this:

Now create a second sheet. We’ll call this sheet the Child sheet. It’s going to automatically pull in data from the parent sheet you just created, and will be the one you link to Google Ads later on.

Columns A, B and C will be almost identical to the child sheet, but we will be using a special formula later so we can automatically populate this. So, start by labeling Row 1 Column A “Attribute,” then the next column as “Data type,” then column C as “Account value.” 

Then go to C2 and use this expression to populate the right account value from the parent document: =importrange(“[PARENT DOCUMENT URL HERE]”,”Promotions!C2″)

Your sheet should now look like this:

We recommend adding a date range with default text for any days you’re  not running a promotion. In the example above, we have “Shop Our Collection” appearing as default text.

2. Input attributes

Once you have your feed created, the next step involves inputting your attributes into the Google Ads platform. This can be done either manually or through a bulk upload.

For the manual approach, navigate to “Tools & Settings” in your Google Ads interface, then go to ‘Setup’ followed by “Business Data.” Here, you’ll find an option for “Ad Customizer Attributes.” Click the plus sign to add your attributes. It’s crucial to use the same attribute names that you’ve established in your Parent Google Sheet template to ensure consistency and proper data synchronization.



Alternatively, if you prefer the bulk upload method, again head to “Tools & Settings.” This time, select “Bulk Actions” and then “Uploads.” For this process, you only need to upload columns A to C from your template. 

Be aware that it might take some time for your uploaded attributes to be reflected in the business data section of Google Ads.

3. Set up an automatic schedule

At this point, you’ve almost finished scheduling your ad customizers. Navigate to Tools & Settings, then Bulk Actions, then Uploads, then click the Schedules tab at the top. Select your Child Google Sheet as the data source, and share your Google Sheet with the appropriate email.



And there you have it – Google will automatically pull in the data you populated in the sheets into your RSAs.

Common Challenges When Scheduling RSA Ad Customizers

When we test these sheets with our clients in the wild, we’ve uncovered five common challenges. Be on the lookout for these issues – solving them before they happen can save you a lot of trouble down the line.

Not scheduling your upload when the site changes 

The first and most significant hurdle is the mismatch between the scheduled data upload and website content updates. For instance, if the Google Sheet is set to upload at 11 am, but the website changes occur at 3 pm, there’s going to be a discrepancy where the wrong message could be displayed for several hours, or new messaging could appear prematurely. Conversely, if the website updates happen before the scheduled sheet upload, outdated promotions might linger until the new data is imported. Synchronizing these schedules is crucial; it’s best to align them so updates occur simultaneously.

Skipping QA during a message change

Another pitfall is neglecting quality assurance (QA) during message updates. It’s vital to regularly check the business data section to verify that the correct values are in place post-update.

Issues with the IMPORTRANGE function

Then there’s the technical aspect of setting up the IMPORTRANGE function correctly in the Google Sheets template. The ‘child’ template must reliably pull data from the ‘parent’ sheet. If this function isn’t configured correctly, data won’t be imported as needed.

Not sharing access of the Google template for automatic uploads

Pay attention to your access permissions for the Google Sheets template. Google will prompt you with the email address that needs permission to access the ‘child’ sheet for automatic uploads. Overlooking the sharing of your sheet with this address will prevent the system from working.

Having date range gaps in your parent sheet

Lastly, a common oversight is leaving date range gaps in the ‘parent’ sheet. Every single date must be accounted for without overlaps. A practical tip is to have an ‘evergreen’ backup message ready, scheduled to run continuously, ideally through the end of the year, to cover any potential gaps.


Leveraging Google Sheets in conjunction with Google Ads to schedule RSA ad customizers is a game-changer for managing dynamic promotional content. This process not only streamlines your workflows but also ensures that your ads remain relevant and up-to-date, reflecting current promotions without the need for constant manual intervention. 

By adopting this method, you’ll save significant time and effort, allowing you to focus more on strategy and less on the minutiae of ad copy updates. Give it a try and experience a more efficient way to manage your RSAs, keeping your campaigns fresh and engaging with minimal hassle.

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10 Advanced Tips for Crafting Engaging Social Content Strategies



10 Advanced Tips for Crafting Engaging Social Content Strategies

In 2023, there are a total of 4.89 billion social media users worldwide. One of the many reasons you should build your brand’s presence on social media is to capture a slice of this pie.

So, if you’re a marketer wanting to crush it online — this is your time to take action. The social presence of billions of users shows great potential to connect, engage, and build lasting relationships with your target audience.

The real power lies not just in being active on social media networks but in planning social media goals in advance and crafting engaging social media content strategies that make a meaningful impact.

And creating one isn’t as easy as it sounds. It requires a thoughtful approach that goes beyond the basics.

To help you accomplish your social media goals, we’ll cover ten advanced tips that you can use to craft an engaging social media content strategy.

1. Conduct A/B Testing

A/B testing allows you to optimize your social media marketing strategy based on insights and social media metrics.

Experiment with different content formats, headlines, captions, and visuals to see which format performs better.

You can also try different content styles and focus on visual content, which is 40x more likely to be shared on social media.

Example: Test two different headlines for a product announcement social post and use the one that users engaged with and shared more. You’ll need to track social metrics like reactions, shares, and new followers during your test.

2. Personalize your content

Before creating a social media marketing plan or content calendar, segment your audience based on demographics, behaviors, and interests.

Craft tailored messages for each segment and find social media content ideas for that target audience.

And to encourage them to engage with you, publish funny content. 80% of marketers say that funny content is the most effective form of social media posts.

Example: Tap into Instagram retargeting ads to promote personalized product recommendations to customers based on their past purchase history.

3. Embrace User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content is a powerful way to build trust, gather a sense of community, and increase engagement rates.

Encourage users to share their experiences and stories about your brand.

Plan a posting schedule using social media tools, highlight, and feature UGC in your content, and give credit to the creators to showcase the authenticity.

Then, create a dedicated UGC marketing campaign.

Example: Invite customers to share photos of themselves using your product with a branded hashtag. Comment on and share these photos on your company’s social media (with permission, of course), thanking the participants for joining in on the fun.

4. Incorporate influencer collaboration

Partner with influencers in your industry who have high engagement rates. 67% of marketers agree they prefer working with micro-influencers with 10k-100k followers or subscribers.

Collaborating with influencers allows you to tap into their social networks and leverage their credibility to boost engagement.

Use social media management tools to co-create content, host giveaways, or collaborate on campaigns aligning with your brand and the influencers’ style to extend your reach and gain engagement.

If your target audience is Gen Z, you can prefer Instagram Reels for influencer marketing.

For context, look at the stats below:

1701077164 213 10 Advanced Tips for Crafting Engaging Social Content Strategies

Example: Partner with a fitness influencer to promote your health supplements through workout videos.

5. Use interactive elements

To accomplish your social media marketing goals, you can engage people to interact with your brand via polls, quizzes, and surveys. Encourage them to participate and share the results.

Incorporating interactive elements into your social media marketing strategy will spark active participation between your social media team and audience, making them more likely to engage and share opinions.

Example: Host a poll on X (formerly Twitter) to let your audience choose the next product feature you’ll develop or the types of content they’d like to see.

6. Leverage user reviews and testimonials

Showcase user reviews and testimonials as part of your content strategy. Highlight positive feedback and make improvements by taking accountability for negative feedback.

Incorporate these testimonials into your social media strategies to create dedicated reviews or testimonial videos. Sharing this social proof helps build trust and credibility with your audience.

Example: Feature video social proof of a satisfied customer explaining how your software improved their business.

7. Create long-form content

While social media platforms are mostly known for short-form content, they’re switching gears to focus on long-form content.

It’s great, especially if your business receives great engagement on X (formerly Twitter).

“Long-form posts on the microblogging platform are now at 3 billion views per day and rising.”, said Elon Musk, the owner of X.

“This is roughly on par with all newspaper articles views on Earth,” he continued.

1701077165 831 10 Advanced Tips for Crafting Engaging Social Content Strategies

Educational content and case studies tend to work great on LinkedIn. Additionally, blog posts can also help you establish your brand as an authority in your industry.

Publishing compelling content is a great way to increase engagement and shares. You can also repurpose educational content on multiple sites and tailor it to each platform for the best results.

Example: Publish content about challenges and opportunities your company faced and how it helped you increase return on investment.

8. Collaborate with other brands

Collaborate with complementary brands or businesses for promotional content.

As part of your digital marketing strategy, come up with mutually beneficial collaboration ideas that can help you both increase reach and tap into ideal customers.

Joint campaigns, cross-promotions, or co-sponsored events are great ways to use the power of collaboration.

Example: Team up with a travel agency to promote your hotel and their vacation packages through a joint social media campaign.

9. Emphasize customer service

Social channels aren’t just a source for publishing content but also for providing excellent customer service.

Marketers these days actively invest in building social media communities to better connect and interact with potential customers.

Respond promptly to inquiries, comments, and feedback from your audience. Show them you genuinely care about them by addressing their concerns and providing helpful solutions.

This level of engagement can build customer loyalty and community building.

Example: Respond to customers’ support requests on social accounts and resolve their issues within a few hours.

10. Monitor trends and stay updated

Stay updated with social media trends, algorithm changes, and content formats. Track performances, content audits, and social media KPIs.

Experiment with new features or types of content introduced by social media channels.

Plan your social media content calendar based on engagement metrics. Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing and identify strategies that work well in your industry.

Out of all content types, short-form videos are taking the spotlight. Research states that 64% of shoppers ended up making a purchase after seeing branded video content on social platforms.

Example: If video content is becoming popular on social platforms, create your social media content strategy around it.

You might also consider incorporating data storytelling into your strategy. Why? More brands are moving towards storytelling in their social media posts.

This helps reach larger audiences and accomplish business goals. If you haven’t thought about it, give it a thought. The early bird catches the worm.

Final Words

And there you have it — ten advanced tips to level up your social media marketing strategy.

Test the waters with new features on social channels and plan your content marketing strategy accordingly.

With consistency and some creativity, you can increase your brand awareness and establish a strong foothold in the vast sea of social media.

Are you ready to boost your social media presence and accomplish all your business goals? Here’s to your success!

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3 Questions About AI in Content: What? So What? Now What?



3 Questions About AI in Content: What? So What? Now What?

In the United States, Thanksgiving will give us the needed break to take a collective breath.

I don’t know about you, but getting my bearings around the disruptions of generative AI presents an extreme challenge. Innovations come so quickly that once we think we have our arms around it, something new appears.

Almost one year into seeing what generative AI can do for content creation and marketing strategies, OpenAI has introduced custom GPTs for those who pay for access.

You can build custom ChatGPT applications to use the tool’s newest capabilities to do things specifically valuable to you. For example, your company could upload 10 years of blog articles and instruct the custom GPT to use the knowledge gained from the content to formulate answers to questions on the blogs’ topics. In theory, you get the depth and breadth of ChatGPT’s large language learning model focused on your knowledge base and able to take specific actions, such as sending an email or automating a task.

Impressive. But sheesh. What does that do to your plans to integrate tools into your marketing workflow? It seems like one of a hundred things that you’re supposed to pay attention to right now.

Time to reflect

If your time frees up this week either because of the holiday or because the Americans are on holiday, take a moment and reflect on these disruptions to your current marketing and content efforts.

A little more than 20 years ago, a nursing professor at Swansea University published a helpful framework for self-reflection and communication. His exercise has helped me in times of disruption, and perhaps it can be for you as well.

Answer a few questions that fall into three stages – what, so what, and now what?

  • What? Describe what has happened simply and objectively – without judgment or interpretation. Some helpful prompts: What happened? What did you observe? What events occurred? What is the current situation?
  • So what? Answer questions about what you know now that you didn’t know. You can introduce emotions. Some helpful prompts: What did you learn? What difference have the events made? Answer as yourself or within the context of your team or company.

    If it’s just you, potential questions could be: Did what happened clarify an interest? Did you hear or feel anything that surprised you? How is your experience different than what you expected? What do these events mean to you?

    If you answer on behalf of a team or group, you can ask the self-questions along with these prompts: What do these events suggest to you about this group? How might the group work better or worse with these events? How were decisions made or not made based on these events?

  • Now what? Reflect on your future actions based on the first two steps. These broader implications react to what happened. Questions center on defining and looking at the root cause: What would contribute to a successful response? What would be in the way of successfully navigating through this? What learning has now occurred, and how can I/we apply this learning?    

Ask your team to do this same exercise. When you meet back up, create a workshop or team gathering where you discuss the answers and determine where opportunities may exist.

Real reflections aren’t hot takes

If you find yourself thinking that process is basic, well, you’re right. These three questions – and the provocations that come from them – mirror a progression you’ve all tried to work through a problem. However, you don’t often do it for big disruptions in the moment. It’s just too easy to jump to the third step, “now what,” and confuse it with “what’s next.” You get overwhelmed by all the actions you can take.

You can see this challenge happening with the disruption of generative AI.

Check out this article that reflects on the disruption of generative AI in the video game industry. To make the case, it leverages Bain & Company research that “more than half of video game development process will be supported by generative AI within the next five to 10 years.” It uses “what happened” to make a case for “what’s next.” The author didn’t even bother to ask “so what” to reach the conclusion: “Microsoft wants AI to solve problems that game makers say they won’t actually have.”

If you reflect on what the Bain research actually said, you can see it’s almost the opposite of the Microsoft conclusion. The research plainly says few executives believe AI will reduce development costs. They say AI will not significantly impact talent and “do not believe it will replace the creative spark necessary for game development.”

By misinterpreting what happened and not asking, “So what,” the author jumped to predicting what’s next, which is almost useless to make any productive change to address what’s really happening.    

This is why working through this process is helpful.

Now, to be clear, hot takes are fun. I’m not suggesting you do away with predictions or the occasional response. Hot takes are a great way to start the conversation, not to finish them.

Take the time – and the process – to work it out. It’s not perfect. It’s also not meant to be a fail-safe way to predict the future. The three-question stages are meant to help you balance facts and feelings to make more productive and satisfying responses to the disruptions you face.

The process is meant to change your future, not by helping you see it more clearly but by helping you clearly see how you change it.

It’s your story. Have a wonderful, reflective Thanksgiving, and tell it well.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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