Savvy Speaks: Money-Saving Content Development Tips

Savvy Speaks: Money-Saving Content Development Tips
Savvy Sisters - Wed Jul 06, 2011 @ 08:30AM
Comments: 6

Content marketing is the "it" thing these days. We're not surprised. As content creators, we've always known that providing valuable information is the best way to a prospect's heart. The challenge for many companies, however, is the expense of creating all this great content. Whether you're allocating internal resources or outsourcing, winning content comes at a cost. Today, we share some of our best tips for saving money on your content development budget. 



Recycle. Repurpose. Reuse.

Each piece of key content you create can have a life that extends well beyond its original purpose. Transcribe a webinar into a text document, break a white paper down into a series of blog posts, record a live event and edit it into a series of podcasts, compile a series of blog posts into an e-book. 

In addition to stretching your budget, serving your content up in a variety of formats (short form vs. long form, multimedia vs. text), you have a better shot at reaching a wider audience. Not everyone likes to read. Not everyone likes video. Give people options. 

Think about your key content as an expensive gourmet meal and the derivative works as a week's worth of beautifully prepared, tasty, and budget conscious leftovers. 



Tap into themes

Bucket your content projects by themes (ideally mapped to the most pressing issues facing your prospects and customers). Next create a foundational document for each theme based on your research and interviews with subject matter experts. By pulling from this "platform" document as you create each content asset associated with the theme, you'll streamline the development process.



Create a "Content Machine"

Having a well-oiled, repeatable content process in place will save both time and money, as well as supply you with a constant stream of quality content. For example, creating a process for capturing sales wins as they happen and immediately turning them into case studies ensures that you have 1) a lot of case studies for the sales team to work with, and 2) that those valuable wins don't get lost and forgotten as you move onto the next one. As everyone becomes more adept at the process, it becomes second nature instead of a major - and costly- effort.



Begin With The End in Mind

Plan a campaign not a one off!  I have a client that comes to me with every projects as piece-meal.  They hire me for a white paper then later they decide they also want a solution brief, then a webinar, then powerpoint with talk track, etc, etc, etc.  There are often months between these requests.  This forces me to do all the "getting up to speed" rereading the research material, reviewing their product documents and competitive analysis.  I have to bill them for this time over and over again.

It would be more cost effective and efficient if they would come to me with a plan even if it was phased with all the content they would like to generate over a time period so I could do all the development up front even if they want it delivered months apart.  If they created a plan I would know and anticipate the elements as a larger project working to seam them together and ultimately it would be more cohesive. 



Use a virtual assistant

Everyone inevitably needs help, which cost money. My suggestion is to find the best help for your needs. For standard tasks that don't require a consultant or writer, I suggest hiring a virtual assistant as a more affordable option.

For instance, my VA uploads blog posts in WordPress, makes website updates, transcribes videos and podcasts. Here is a list of seven things content marketers can cross off their to-do list with the help of a VA.

Wendy Thomas


Like virtually anything else in life, correcting a content mistake early costs far less than trying to correct that same mistake later.

Don't be afraid to test the waters. Always remember that it's not about you. A comment on your material is a comment on your material, believe it or not, it's not a personal judgement statement about you as an individual.

Ask, challenge, go with your gut, get a consensus, try it out, do all you can humanly do at the beginning and then every step along the way to ensure that your content fits the need you identified and that it consistently blends with your businesses message and purpose. 


Do you have any budget-reducing tricks up your sleeve? Don't hold back. Let us know in the comments - you might make some of our clients very happy!


Comments: 6


1. Nate Warren - Fusion Marketing Partners  |  my website   |   Thu Jul 07, 2011 @ 03:13PM

One of the biggest challenges is to create the most efficient pathway between the unique experience of your SME client and the finished piece of content. You want to put their insider perspective on display without bogging them down too much with creating the material. Sometimes it's a tough balance, because until the day comes when you can write your client's subject better than they can (this is a serious investment in time), you will always partially rely on them to drive original content with real value for the target. Some of your suggestions (repurposing, especially) we have used to great effect. Others I hadn't considered before reading this. Thanks for the suggestions. Nice post.

2. Stephanie Tilton  |  my website   |   Wed Jul 13, 2011 @ 10:48AM

Nate, you're so right about the balance of helping clients while also showcasing their unique perspective. In fact, I'd say this is true for any size company -- the goal is always to help the company's angle shine through while offloading it of the content-development burden. And they know the story they want to tell better than anyone else (or, at least, they should.) Glad you found some of the suggestions helpful!

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