Getting Your Content Marketing Assets Created Affordably

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This is the third of a four-part series called “Content Marketing on a Budget: How To Get The Best Content Mix For Your Buck”. Over the course of these posts we’ll be helping you understand how to think about content marketing so you can make the right content choices when you have a limited budget.

Once you’ve set the focus of your content campaign and decided on the kinds of content you want to spend your budget on, it’s time to get down to the business of getting the marketing assets themselves created.

Decide Who’s Creating The Content

The first question that you’ll find yourself asking at this stage is, “Who is going to create the content?” Depending on the type of content you need to create, the person or team that you’ll tap to be the creator could very well be someone who already works at your company. For example, someone in a marketing role at your company may be perfectly suited to producing white paper and case study content, as the technical and visual design requirements for creating those documents don’t generally require a specialist skill set. Otherwise, for more involved types of content such as microsites, videos, and infographics, you’ll likely have to look to professionals outside of your company to do the production.

Whether it’s working with individual writers and designers or a content production studio, there are a number of notable advantages of working with specialists on your content: they have a tried-and-tested process for designing it from your input, workflows to ensure that it can be done predictably, the resources to execute on the designs, and in some cases, specialized tools to ensure that the collaboration and production process itself can be managed smoothly.

However, because of the fact there are more parties involved, it’s in the production stage that there is greatest risk for budget overruns. Simply put, there are a lot of things that can go awry when trying to get content produced. Ideas can be misinterpreted or poorly communicated, the tone could be off, there can be many different people involved with the process and an equally many number of platforms and channels where communication is taking place. All of it ends up amounting to extra time being taken and extra iteration rounds for the content to get completed the way it needs to be.

Provide Clear, Specific Input and Feedback

One of the keys to getting the marketing assets created affordably is making sure that you do everything possible to ensure that it gets done right with the most efficient use of time and resources as possible. How can you do that? Simple. Make sure you’re clear on the specifics of what the content needs to do and what it needs to be, and communicate those things as clearly as possible to your production vendor as you can.

You’re helping everyone involved by providing detailed input at the outset of the content production process. Good agencies/studios will use this input to brief their teams, and it’s a base of information you can return to during the course of the production to check the progress against and ensure that everything is going smoothly.

So what kind of input should you provide? Here are the essentials:

  • Background – What ideas and context led to your need for this content? Where does it fit into to your overall content plan? Why did you choose this particular type of content?
  • Budget – How much can you spend on this content?
  • Target Audience – Who does the content need to address, what do you know about them, what they like, and how they behave?
  • Content Goals – What do you want this content to achieve for your company?
  • Tone of Voice – How does the content need to come across? The content needs to reach audiences at the right emotional level for it to have an impact and be memorable.  
  • Key Message – What is the central thing that you are trying to say to your audience through the content?
  • Key Benefits – How will the audience be better off for having listened to the message of your content.
  • Supporting Data – Additional facts and figures that support the central message of the content.
  • Audience Takeaway – What is the one thing you want your audience to remember after experiencing this content?
  • Deliverables – What physical and/or digital pieces of content should you have at the end of the production process?
  • Timelines – When do you need the content? When are you planning on publishing it?

And although it’s up to the content producer to take the info you provide and condense it into a creative brief off of which to work, it might be helpful when coming up with the above to think about the questions that teams, agencies and studios use ask themselves to create those briefs. You want to make sure that you’re answering those questions. The more informed your creative partners are about subject and goals of the content you need them to create, the better off your marketing assets will turn out.

That’s it for now, but make sure to check out the final article in this series, which talks about how to measure the impact of your content depending on the focus you previously set, so you know for sure that you’re getting your money’s worth.