Efficient & Cost-Effective Content Marketing
Anyone with an Instagram account can tell you that there’s value in compelling content. We’re here to tell you that in addition to ensuring your content marketing efforts will be more efficient and effective, a strong content strategy can help ensure that you’ll get noticed online and earn more website visits, more leads, and more customers—all while spending less money. But strong content isn’t something that is created reactively to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ on social. You have to be proactive in planning it, and that discipline will lead to a cohesive aesthetic, and more impactful, effective, and evocative, content in everything you hit ‘publish’ on.
If this seems obvious…that’s because it is. But you’d be surprised how many people don’t take the time to stop and think their content creation through. They’re so busy scrambling to reactively fill their channels that they’re never able to get in front of it. Read on to find out why hitting pause to come up with a game plan can help, and how we implemented a proactive content strategy for Juggernaut Wines. With these simple and easy-to-follow tips you can develop a strong content production strategy for your brand that positions you as an in demand influencer instead of desperate for likes.
Create Content That Is Proactive Instead of Reactive
A proactive approach is critical when it comes to content production, from your ideation, to your shoots and your publication schedule. Instead of creating content and then figuring out how it fits into your overall marketing strategy (reactive), you’ll save time, money, and massive headaches by mapping out a content strategy and then generating content that adheres to that roadmap (proactive).
For example, having a strong content strategy in place will take the ‘work’ out of your content production because you’ll already have determined the aesthetic you want for photo shoots and the tone of voice needed for your copy, and based on your budget exactly how much content you can afford to create. It all comes down to planning—everything from your budget, your brand personality, your content themes, content calendar and your production schedule—and when your plan is well strategized and well executed, it will streamline your content creation process, ensure an end results that is more engaging for your consumers, and a more effective method of communication that supports your brand’s mission.
Set A Budget
Part of proactive content planning, is knowing how much capital to allocate to content production. You already are aware that your content marketing strategy will have a positive impact on your marketing goals and bottom line. The first step is determining how much of your marketing budget you have for content creation and once you know that figure, you’ll be able to determine how much you can allocate to photo shoots, video production, and blog copy.
Whatever your budget is, be transparent with it to your internal stakeholders and your vendors. Know what you’re willing to spend and put it out there early. If a content creator is outside your budget for the project, move on. There are thousands of talented content creators out there—in your budget and in your area. If you find yourself continually getting turned down, then you either need to change your production quality expectations, quantity expectations, or adjust your budget allocations.
Finally, if you have minimal resources to spend on content production, you’ll want to optimize any photo or video shoots for maximum runway. If you can only afford one day of shooting, it’s critical to capture as much content as possible in that single shoot, i.e., with photographers and videographers shooting on the same set that same day. Choreograph your crew and your set to ensure that you have multiple vignettes in close proximity, costume changes, a variety of products, and your script on hand to get as much as you can out of that day. With pre-planning and strategic forward-thinking it’s possible to create major cost efficiencies.
Define Your Brand Personality
Defining your brand’s personality is incredibly important; a brand personality should reflect your company values, your vision, and mission. When you’ve identified your brand’s personality all of your visual communication can—and should—mirror that persona. This is what helps consumers decipher between you and your competitors instantaneously as they scroll through their social feeds, read emails, or search for blog content. A helpful exercise in determining your brand personality is to visualize your brand as a living breathing person and start assigning that persona character attributes. In order to define a brand persona for Juggernaut Wines, we asked ourselves: If Juggernaut was a person, how would we define his character? The answer we arrived at was that he was intense, adventurous, and brooding. We then took building this character study one step further, and defined where this man would live, what he/she would wear, and even the type of vehicle he would drive. The answers to those questions translated into a very specific aesthetic that then informed our production and the resulting creative.
Create Content Themes
Content themes are broad buckets that help you categorize your content and that all the content you produce should fall into. Your content themes should lie at the intersection of your brand (your values, personality, and unique selling proposition) and your audiences’ interests. Your content themes should each support your brand, provide value to your audience, and help differentiate your brand from the competition. We created content themes for Juggernaut Wines, Grit + Grace, The Power of Nature, and Light Me Up—that were based on brand personality traits with each being an extension of the overall characteristic of intensity in personality and drive, but also in climate and growing conditions. Grit + Grace as a content theme focuses on lifestyle imagery featuring our brand persona, while The Power of Nature theme focuses on the unique forces that create our family of wines, and Light Me Up is an inspirational theme that focuses on the rugged and wild outdoors.
Tie Your Persona to Your Content Themes
Once you’ve built your brand persona and created content themes, it’s very easy to create content within the parameters of that style guide. Beyond that, it’s more efficient and cost-effective. You’ll know what your lifestyle content should look like; in the case of Juggernaut our persona and content themes dictated the rugged and moody atmosphere seen in our photography. Based on that aesthetic, we also knew what time of day to shoot, how to dress our talent, what types of props to bring, how products should be captured, and what kind of activities should be shot for compelling storytelling.
Develop A Content Calendar
A content calendar will help you stay on track with your content production and publishing schedule and minimize surprises that can set you back. A content calendar ensures that you don’t miss sharing relevant company updates or promotions, avoid grammatical mistakes and that your imagery is always channel-optimized. Whether you’re publishing a blog, sending an email newsletter, or posting to a social media channel, a shared content calendar with key stakeholders will allow everyone involved in each aspect of content production to stay on track.
Stay On Your Production Schedule
Once you have a content calendar—with clearly defined content buckets that you want to tell stories around—you can create a content production schedule. That way, you’ll be shooting photography or writing copy towards an end that underscores your business objective.
When It Comes To Content Marketing Invest In Quality Over Quantity
Effective content marketing is all about storytelling. Today effective storytelling means that you’ve captured your audiences’ attention—a true feat in the digital age of constant cat memes distraction. Learning how to tell your brand’s story in a compelling way will be the cornerstone of all your content marketing efforts. Storytelling uses narrative and images to create an engaging experience for your audience.
Being proactive about your content development means that you’ve planned ahead to develop your narrative, defined your tone, and have a visual foundation to support your storytelling. Defining your content strategy will also help determine the amount of content you need, the ad spend you need to ensure your target audience sees it, the channels you share it on, and your publication schedule.
About the Author: Justin Witt is Digital Media Director at Affinity Creative Group, Mare Island, CA. Justin has spent his career designing and developing brand-centric, strategic and engaging digital and media for clients across California’s Wine Country. With a passion for connecting brands with their audiences at the emotional level, Justin enjoys inspiring the imagination of clients and their consumers through beautiful design and impactful marketing strategies and experiences.