Economy Down? Avoid Cutting Content Marketing Budgets | Express Writers

Content Marketing Budgets: Avoid Cutting Quality While Keeping Costs Down During Economic Downturns

by | Jan 10, 2023 | Content Marketing

Studies show content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional marketing methods and costs 62% less. That means content marketing is consistently one of the most reliable marketing tactics. So, if you’re considering cutting your content marketing budget, you might want to pause first.

Making that decision can feel heavy during economic uncertainty. However, Harvard Business Review notes that companies that continued to prioritize marketing bounced back strongest after an economic downturn. These brands take up more space in a less saturated market because their competitors take a break from marketing. That means when you avoid cutting your content marketing budget, you’re able to maintain visibility that others don’t.

You probably know that long-term content marketing success comes from continued and sustained effort ­– not in fits and spurts. It’s not a get-rich-quick gimmick but a powerful tool that improves over time.

Still on the fence about your content marketing budget? Read on to learn more about:

  • How content marketing can increase profits.
  • The versatility of content marketing.
  • Ideas for implementing content marketing successfully.

We’ll show you how you can maximize ROI, so your content marketing pays for itself while you build customer loyalty and attract new audience members.

Content Marketing Budgets: Avoid making cuts when tiems are lean

A Consistent Content Marketing Strategy Means Better Budget Use

Under economic pressure, leaders prioritize short-term solutions. But standing your ground by advocating for your department and its budget is essential. When you establish goals for your content from the start, you can justify the paths you take to bring visitors to your site.

With over 50% of trackable website traffic coming from organic search, you can’t discount the importance of optimizing content that encourages folks to stay on your site.

That means understanding Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential so your site has a better chance of bringing in visitors. The more content you have on your website, the more opportunities there are for keyword placement, links, and people-first content through SEO.

Though Google continually modifies its ranking factors, we know one of the chief characteristics of high-ranking pages is high-quality content. Google will see right through web pages that lack substance. By having high-quality pages, users spend an increased amount of time on the page, the page has a lower bounce rate, and the content offers the reader solutions to a problem they have.

So, if your competitors decide to reduce the intensity of their content marketing budgets, then competition for Search Engine Results Placement (SERP) will diminish. Fewer competing search results make it more likely that your content gets on the top pages in search engines.

In order to take advantage of this decrease in competition, you need to have a content marketing strategy. Instead of posting content whenever something strikes your fancy, create a content marketing calendar to establish the topics that you’ll write about and a consistent schedule.

This schedule provides structure and stability, whether you’re pushing out content once a week or once a month– it also gives your audiences something they know they can look forward to.

Focus on the content marketing methods your brand finds success with. It’s not necessarily the time to go out on a limb with the newest experimental social media platform, but you could find that taking a risk pays off in the long run. By focusing the bulk of your content on the things your business does well, you have that space to try a few new things, which helps you expand your strategy without losing steam.

Should Your Content Marketing Strategy Include Paid Search?

Overall, content marketing executed correctly results in higher ROI than paid search advertising. But it can be important to know the difference, especially during a recession or down economic year.

Advertisers only pay for these ads when they get clicked, so paid search essentially comes with a built-in ROI tracker, while content marketing proves notoriously tricky to attach directly to revenue. However, Kraft did show that its content marketing had 4x better ROI than traditional advertising.

The most significant financial advantage of relying on organic search results is that they cost nothing. Once you’ve paid for the content, it exists on the internet and anyone who uses the right search term can access it. As long as the keyword is relevant, you can pull your target audience directly to your site.

In contrast, paid ads only show up if you’re willing to pay for them. For example, Google ads uses a bidding system that prioritizes larger ad spend when targeting a keyword. When you’re thinking about this from a budgetary perspective, it might not be the most helpful way to keep costs low.

Organic content is also seen as more trustworthy since trust in advertising continues to decline. Content marketing often reaches audiences in the awareness phase of customer lifecycle marketing and builds rapport with audiences. Even if they aren’t ready to purchase, your brand will be top-of-mind when the time comes.

Try not to get caught up in reaching whatever metric or measurement you think will impress at next week’s budget meeting. Instead, stick to long-term solutions to bring in continual dividends. This gives you the chance to cultivate better relationships with your target audience since you’re taking the time to develop content that actually helps them.

Work Smarter, Not Harder with Your Content Marketing Budget

During economic lows, people are more likely to change their spending habits to save money. Some even limit spending to only essential items.

One strategy that has worked for years with consumers is to offer them something for free. You can capitalize on this when consumers aren’t spending as much money. The goal of this tactic is to get their attention.

Offering up information your clients need as a free downloadable gets attention on your brand and builds trust with your readership. They don’t feel that you’re only trying to sell them something.

The attention theory holds true regardless of the world’s financial state, but during less prosperous times, it can be even more beneficial. Since many people spend less time at restaurants, bars, and theaters, they’re likely spending more time at home looking at their screens.

These people hunt for the funniest TikTok, tastiest recipe, or most helpful “How-To” article. As a brand, you’re provided a one-of-a-kind opportunity to reach people on their devices when they’re most receptive to it. Building this trust without forcing them to buy something puts you in a great position to be the company they choose when they are ready to buy.

Another option is to post refreshed versions of old content. You can update lower-performing posts or enhance posts that perform well. In 2021, HubSpot found that 76% of its monthly blog views came from “old” posts, meaning ones published before the current month. Additionally, 92% of leads from their blog came from older posts.

Another way to be smart about your content is to cross-post it. That means repurposing content for your social media channels, YouTube videos, or lead magnets. When you take advantage of this, your content can go further without you needing to spend a ton more on research and writing.

Effective Content Marketing Cuts Costs, Not Quality

If you still need to cut your budget but want to keep up with content, you want to ensure that you implement your strategy in a way that makes sense and is effective for your business and your audience.

You don’t always need to focus on the next big thing or new platform, you can stick to a few tried and true types of content and generate some stellar ROI.

These are some of our favorite methods of cost-effective content creation:

1.     Generate Traffic through Authority Blog Content

Blogging is the most well-known content marketing source – for a good reason: 77% of internet users read blogs. In fact, companies that blog produce 67% more monthly leads (Source: DemandMetric).

Writing blog posts for your organization is beneficial for a multitude of reasons. You can boost your SEO and page rankings, establish yourself as an authority in your industry, and build trust with your audience by becoming a trusted resource. In addition, your posts could go viral and get a number of views if your content is on point.

Getting started might feel difficult at first, but once you start posting regularly and know what blog types work best with your audience, you can be unstoppable.

Some ideas of popular blog formats to get you started:

Listicles: Put together an article that lists things in your topic vein. These posts are usually quick, easy, and enjoyable for audiences to read.

Tutorials and How-tos: Is there a process in your industry that readers would like to see broken down? Creating a step-by-step guide to demystify a part of your work can interest customers.

Case studies: Do you have an example of your work that makes you incredibly proud? You can document this achievement in a post, giving audiences a behind-the-scenes look at your company that demonstrates your prowess.

Interviews: See if an industry thought leader or long-time employee would be willing to answer a few questions about their work. Post the back-and-forth interaction, differentiating between participants. Readers love to feel like a fly on the wall during a conversation.

Reviews: If there’s a relevant new software or product that’s all the rage in your industry, have someone from your company try it and write about their impressions. A first-hand account of their experience informs your audience if they should jump on the new product bandwagon.

Client testimonials: You can ask satisfied customers if they would consider writing about their experience with your business. Often, other people’s accounts come across as more trustworthy.

Advice columns: Ask your audience if they have questions about your company or industry and have someone write a response. Post both the question and answer in an “Ask the Editor” fashion.

FAQs: Are there inquiries you get more often than you have time to answer? Compiling a list of these question-and-answer responses can improve SERP placement and increase traffic to your website.

The possibilities are endless with blogging. Because there are so many types of blogs, you can choose a few different formats and get them to work for your business. Plus, the overhead is lower for blogs if you have an in-house writer or a content writing service that you partner with.

2.     Hone Your Brand Ethos with Infographics

Infographics are visual representations of potentially complicated ideas. They make information more accessible to readers and can stand independently or add a graphic design element to a longer text post.

Businesses create infographics to enhance brand awareness and credibility by presenting themselves as subject matter experts. When you have advanced knowledge on a subject, you want your audience to follow along easily when you break down a complex topic. This is where infographics can be a huge help because they’re great visibility tools.

Additionally, they tend to be shareable, meaning more earned media for your brand.

Some standard topic ideas for infographics include:

  • Presenting data and numbers in an attractive way.
  • Directing readers through a process or timeline.
  • Categorizing disparate thoughts into smaller chunks.
  • Breaking down a complicated process.
  • Creatively revamping existing content.

Like blogging, good infographics also present an opportunity for earning backlinks (anchored links to your website) and boosting SEO through alt-text and those links.

3.     Provide Value with Ebooks, Guides, and Whitepapers

It’s been argued that long-form content (pieces between 1,000–7,500 words) is coming back as a  response to the ultra-short, “snackable” snippets of information.

Creating gated content that requires a download allows you to gather users’ email addresses before they can access helps you create an ongoing email list to reach out to as part of your greater marketing strategy. Your subscriber list is likely more engaged with your business than a cold email list, which is why growing those lists is helpful in nurturing potential leads.

4.     Craft Pillar Content that Answers Audience Questions

Writing in-depth content, or “pillar content,” is a valuable marketing asset. When you create content around a specific pillar, you address any questions a reader may have about a specific topic. For example, a marketing agency might have a pillar dedicated to all things content strategy to nurture leads who want to step up their marketing game.

Additionally, pillar content tends to be evergreen. This means that the core of your pillar won’t change much over time and can be updated, while you can build on other connected topics regularly.

Some beneficial forms of evergreen content are:

  • Industry overviews: If you have extensive knowledge of an industry, people will find value in the insights you’ve gleaned during your tenure.
  • Tips and best practices: Understanding an industry standard and the tricks people use to optimize their experiences make for great content because people always want to improve their skills and experience.
  • Definitions and glossaries: Do you work in an industry with tons of jargon that a newbie would need to spend months learning? Cut them some slack and compile a group of terms people might be curious about.
  • Checklists and templates: Types of documents with precise specifications can be intimidating to create. Uploading content that people can use to track their progress is helpful.
  • Propriety research: If you or someone at your company has researched something that can improve aspects of your industry or the world, share that.

Creating content that can be a pillar for your company is a great way to build trust and center your brand as the solution to your audience’s problems. This way, they keep coming back to your site because you have everything they need.

Trust Your Content Marketing Budget with Express Writers

Although many speculate the inevitability of an impending recession, you don’t have to surrender your marketing goals. Working on a comprehensive strategy will allow you to mitigate the impact of economic slowdown while keeping yourself relevant when things start picking up again.

The good news for content marketers is that bringing in revenue is a simple metric to track. But you might not have the time to dedicate to creating content internally. Instead of spending hours and your hard-earned money on finding and vetting writers, outsource to the content writing service that cares.

The team at Express Writers is here to help you use your marketing budget wisely. Find out how we help boost our clients’ content at Express Writers.

Get in touch with Express Writers about content marketing today!