Why Cutting Your Content Marketing Budget Could Cost You

You’ve got a big decision to make. You’ve been tasked with reducing your marketing budget. What stays and what goes? Your trigger finger is hovering over the line marked content marketing spend. Cuts have to come from somewhere, right? Hang on a minute. Here’s why you might want to think twice about cutting content spend.

Did you know that global online consumption of content doubled last year?  

Consider that for a moment. An already hungry-for-content society doubled their consumption. 

It’s hardly surprising, given that everyone was at home with little else to do, but habits stick. On average, we are now consuming a staggering 6 hours and 59 minutes of content per day, compared with just over 3 hours per day in 2019. If you don’t believe me, check the screen time function on your phone (or, if you dare, your kids’).

If your organisation’s digital channels weren’t up to scratch last year, it’s likely you’ll be feeling the pinch today. Many businesses that weren’t already going through digital transformation faltered when they couldn’t pivot quickly enough, and this year looks set to be no different. Content consumption is going to increase further as audience usage habits evolve and your competitors invest in more content to meet it. 

The long and the short? You need to be ready, which means you likely shouldn’t be slashing your content marketing budget. 

Read on to discover five ways to unlock the full potential of your organisation’s digital channels by putting that content budget to good use.

1. Create more long-form blog articles (Google will thank you for it)

Long-form blog content isn’t just loved by readers. It’s loved by Google, too.

Long articles are more authoritative than shorter ones. That’s how Google sees it and Google loves authoritative content. You wouldn’t be writing 1,500 + words on a subject unless you knew a thing or two about it, would you? 

Essentially, the more Google thinks you know about a particular subject matter, the higher you’ll be ranked. What’s more, Google will also reward you for how well your content fits into the context of your whole website. (Just wait until it crawls your Topic Cluster!)

When looking to create more authoritative content, consider the following:

  • Have you talked about this subject before?
  • Did it get lots of engagement?
  • Does it connect with your product and service pages?

On the subject of long-form articles, research blog platform Medium measured engagement levels of time spent on a web page vs. the length of blog articles. It calculated the ideal article took seven minutes to read and was around 1,600 words. There’s your sweet spot.

If you want to engage with a seriously engaged audience, get (long-form) blogging.

Download 'The Beginner's Guide to Content Strategy and Implementation'.

2. Invest in more video content (and get your sales and services teams onboard)

The video marketing rulebook was changed permanently in 2020 as lockdown, law changes and social distancing rules put up challenge after challenge for video creators.

Despite this, video creation actually increased as businesses sought new and creative ways to connect with their audiences (although some brands missed the mark and tried too hard to look authentic when clearly they weren’t).

There was also a shift in tactics. Conversations about video content extended beyond the marketing meeting into the realms of sales and service tactics, too. How would you feel if you received a personalised video from a business you’re actively engaged with? You’d think that’s pretty cool. Well, we do.

In fact, our New Business Development Rep Chris van Praag was recently invited to speak about this very subject. Check out this podcast recording and discover how you could use video to unlock your sales potential.

You get it — video content works. But what kind of impact can you expect to see from it?

HubSpot reports that having a video on your landing page can increase conversion by up to 80%. At the same time, 54% of people want to see more video content from brands they trust, while adding ‘video’ to an email subject line could increase your open rates by 19%.

And Cisco reported that video marketing is going to make up 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2022, so you better start thinking about it.

Learn more about how to make video content that performs in this article on HubSpot's Vidyard Integration: Best Practices and Pro Tips for Video That Delivers.

3. Don’t ignore email (it’s old but still the most effective channel)

If predictions are correct, your customers’ inboxes are going to be flooded with 40% more emails in 2021 as businesses fight for our attention in lieu of events, exhibitions, seminars and even international travel.

Gasp.

The point here is, your organisation can’t ignore it. Most of us take email for granted by now, but it continues to play an integral part in the most effective content marketing strategies.

You should be creating email content that is engaging, well-written and with clear calls to action. Do this and you can expect to move your customers along the buyer's journey and even closer to conversion. And the return on your marketing spend (ROMI) can be staggering, with HubSpot quoting a return of around 3,800% (just make sure you're on a platform capable of easily tracking it).

Furthermore, HubSpot says that 80% of business professionals believe that email marketing increases customer retention. And 59% say email influences their purchasing decision.

Don’t forget email hygiene. Great content won’t come to anything unless your email follows best practice. Check out this great guide from HubSpot.

Download the overview: How to build an effective content strategy in eight steps

4. Thought about podcasts? They take time and investment (but they’re worth it)

Businesses often overlook podcasts because of the considerable time and effort it takes to do them well. You need to build a base of listeners and have a recording space that makes you sound professional and offers your audience a good listening experience. 

But it’s an investment you might want to consider.

Podcast listeners are some of the most engaged listeners. What other channel keeps your audience engaged with your content for 30 minutes at a time? Try and get them to read a white paper or report for that length of time.

And podcasts are effective throughout the whole customer journey. Use them to build brand awareness, establish thought leadership, aid consideration and drive conversion. That’s right — if you use an integrated platform such as HubSpot, you can track ROI by tracing the source of the sale back to the podcast.

Podcasts are also measurable in many other ways such as the number of subscribers, reviews and chart position.

5. Use chatbots to deliver personalised content experiences

Chatbots offer your audience a more personalised user experience than any other channel.

HubSpot’s Conversational Marketing Manager, Connor Cirillo, summarises this nicely:

“Your conversational marketing audience is much more insightful than your other channels. They'll tell you in their own words how they want to interact with your business. There's no inferring or guessing, like with web traffic.”

As a content marketer, chatbots provide a great opportunity to understand the types of questions your audience is asking, and therefore its content requirements. Use these valuable insights to inform your overall content marketing strategy.

Related read: Sales Chatbots: Where Are the Wins?

Investing your content budget in the right place

Almost as tempting as cutting your content spend altogether is deciding to spend it in-house. You might think you can make your budget last longer or go further this way, but the real question should be “have you seen satisfactory results using this approach?”

To help our clients see the biggest return from their content spend, we’ve made some investments of our own over the years. For one, we’ve brought dedicated copywriters onboard, each with decades of experience in copywriting, creative writing and storytelling to their names. If your project or campaign has written content requirements, why not give those to someone whose whole career is spent crafting copy for organisations like yours?

“We both really love the content you’ve produced and your ideas. We plan to roll out most of what you’ve sent us over the coming weeks and I’ve already been in touch with [our designers] to ask them to tweak the relevant page layouts. No further amends are needed to the copy – I might change the odd word but we are pretty much taking onboard everything you’ve supplied! Thanks again for your work on this project. We’re excited to get the website updated and I look forward to working with you again soon.” Marketing Manager

That same expertise extends across the business. If you’ve recognised an opportunity to optimise your email delivery or you are interested in creating chatbots to deliver more personalised content experiences, our Inbound Marketers and HubSpot specialists have the hands-on experience and product knowledge you need to unlock the full potential of HubSpot, maximise your results and deliver the biggest return on your initial investment. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list. On the contrary. There’s a huge scope for how you can spend that uncut content marketing budget. But keep the factors mentioned above in mind as you’re allocating it.

If you’re still wondering, yes, we can help with all of these things. To get in touch, click the image below and let’s chat.

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James Mastin
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