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Small Content Marketing Team? Get Big Results

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Small Content Marketing Team? Get Big Results

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.

On a small #content team, everything you create has to count, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent @Canto. Click To Tweet

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.

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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.

Yes, you have to write your #ContentMarketing strategy down. But it doesn’t have to be long or complicated, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent @Canto. Click To Tweet

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

Categories/topics

  • 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.).

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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.

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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?

In the planning stage, think about how you can turn one piece of #content into multiple pieces, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent @Canto. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

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.

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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:

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  • 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)

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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:

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



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MARKETING

5 Elements of Content That Will Build Brand Recall

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5 Elements of Content That Will Build Brand Recall

Gone are the days of traditional sales and marketing strategies. In today’s media landscape, driving sales and engagement through content has proven to be a highly successful and cost-effective strategy

Hence, most modern businesses have a content marketing arm that achieves the following by simply creating and distributing content:

  • Address customers’ paint points and gain their trust
  • Improve product accessibility via SEO
  • Increase opportunities for conversion
  • Generate leads
  • Build brand awareness and recall

Unfortunately, competition to reach the right audience has increasingly intensified. And that’s just the beginning of it.

The end goal is to consistently make sales, attain a loyal customer base, and build brand recall. So, how exactly do you achieve that? What kind of content will eventually enable your audience to easily recognize your products and services?

We uncover the five major elements of content that will build brand recall.

#1: Accessibility

Before gunning for brand recall, ensure that your audience can easily find information about your products and services. It’s virtually impossible to be recognized if you aren’t even visible or searchable.

Thus, this is where strategies such as onsite/offsite search engine optimization (SEO), simplifying user experience, improving scalability, expanding channels, and developing customer feedback platforms come into play.

That said, SEO strategies are usually the content marketers’ main focus. Investing in content SEO not only improves your brand’s visibility, but it also drives more conversions to your website. You do so by identifying your customers’ top search terms, optimizing your website’s content, and addressing high volume search queries.

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#2: Relatability

You must identify and understand your target audience before creating any piece of content – whether onsite or offsite. This is when it’s time to utilize data you have on your customers, which can be accessible via tools such as Google Analytics or AHREFs. These tools should give you insights on common search queries, keywords, website traffic, conversion, engagement, and such.

Customer feedback and surveys are also essential in understanding what your customers need. Your content should be able to address their pain points while providing them with information and services on what they’re looking for.

Once your audience find themselves relating to your content, it won’t be long until they purchase your product.

#3: Engagement

Reaching your audience is one thing, but customer engagement is a whole different beast. It’s easy to lose your customers’ attention in a crowded and noisy online economy.

As mentioned, understanding your customers’ needs and pain points is vital to your content strategy. Your content must be something they find useful enough for them to engage with. In short, there must be something in it for them.

There are many ways to skin this cat. You could engage your audience via content onsite with a great customer experience channel before and after they purchase. Another opportunity for engagement is developing social media content that encourages them to participate in your marketing campaign.

In conclusion, your content must be customer-centric before anything else.

#4: Value & Relevance

So, you’ve identified your target audience and learned to understand them, but how exactly do you convince them to choose your product over others? How do you stand out amongst your competitors?

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It’s equally important to understand your own products and services. You must identify your main value proposition, and how this is relevant to your customers. Having a stellar product is a waste if your target market doesn’t know its full value.

Thus, content marketers should communicate a product’s relevance and unique selling point. It’s their job to inform the target audience on how they can benefit from the product.  

#5: Consistency

There’s no bigger obstacle to brand recall than inconsistency. This applies to all types of content – articles, infographics, video ads, images, and social media posts.

For customers to remember you, your message, design, and overall branding should always be uniform and consistent. A disconnect between these elements is confusing and thus makes it difficult for your audience to recognize your brand.

Therefore, a marketing team must streamline uniform messages, value propositions, templates, and editorial and design guidelines before reaching out to the desired audience. In the world of marketing, familiarity breeds brand recall.

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