I recently shelled out big bucks to replace my home’s entire air conditioning and heating system. When the serviceman told me repairs would be too costly considering the age of the machinery in my house, I kicked into research gear and spent hours searching the web for information and, more importantly, for the best local company to whom I could entrust my comfort and my checkbook.
Websites that had no information other than the “we’ve been in business for 10 years so trust us” sort of drivel were almost immediately eliminated from my list of possibles. Companies that had websites which showcased their expertise and helped me understand why spending $8,000 was a good thing were the ones who made my short list for an in-person conversation.
Clearly, the whole “content is king” movement has lead to “woohoo” cheers from individuals who today expect reams of information before making a purchasing decision.
Many businesses, however, are experiencing much different reactions to the changing “content is king” marketing environment, including:
- Panic once they realize what it takes to produce a constant stream of fresh and smart content to distribute across a growing number of communications channels.
- Pressure on their budgets because producing quality marketing content (note the emphasis on “quality”) is not cheap — businesses either have to take up the valuable time of in-house staff or hire an outside content writer.
I have an answer to solving both the panic and budget pressure quandaries: Make plans to reuse research before the content creation process even begins.
Calming Content Panic
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or even me) to figure out that a talented communicator can spread the wealth of one compelling subject across a number of communications channels.
Say you’ve decided your company needs a white paper about how to solve a customer challenge. Why not use that same subject for a slide presentation or video that can be shared on your website, at tradeshows, in customer meetings and across a number of social media sites? How about breaking down that same white paper into a blog series? Can you develop a news release? A sales letter? A newsletter article?
The key to success here is giving your content developers a heads up before they begin their research process. Letting them know you want them to double- or triple-dip into one set of research and develop a number of separate deliverables allows them to be better prepared to ask a broader range of questions during subject matter expert interviews and collect the right sort of info needed for different forms of communication.
Lessening Content Budget Pressure
Pre-planning for multiple projects focused on one topic likely reaps you savings in two ways: time and money.
Time: For in-house content developers, time freed from multiple interviews can be spent on more strategic tasks. You also spare your busy subject matter expert repeated impositions on his or her time.
Money: If you hire a freelancer or contract writer for these sorts of projects, chances are you can negotiate a better fee if you offer a package deal rather than dole out individual projects one by one.
Heeding the call and complying with the “content is king” mantra doesn’t have to be overly difficult or overly expensive. The first step, as in most tasks in life, it to start with a bit of pre-planning.