Albert Einstein said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” He was encouraging others to face problems with the knowledge that they might find a way to resolve them or learn from the experience.
Many businesses — online and off — are facing serious challenges in 2020, particularly given the impact that COVID-19 is having on bottom lines. But some companies are finding a way to resolve some current business issues — or, at least, create a more solid foundation for the future — by using this time to work on content marketing.
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Yes, in the current environment, many businesses are understandably scaling back on content budgets. But at the same time, other businesses are actually increasing budgets — and it’s not just those that are enjoying a traffic bump during this period.
Businesses Are Still Investing Because Content Is Valuable
For example, Kevin Miller, the founder and CEO of The Word Counter, says he’s doubled his monthly content budget during this time. “I am increasing content spend because many others are slowing down,” says Miller. “Also, writers have a greater capacity to get new topics completed. It helps me plan out the entire years’ worth of content and get it at a cheaper rate.”
But Miller’s not just looking out for his own bottom line. “It feels great to give work to people who are really in need right now and allows me to feed money back into the freelance writing economy that can use it.”
Meg Marrs, the founder and CEO of K9 of Mine, is also increasing content spend in April 2020. “With more folks stuck at home and spending more time online, we expect to see an increase in traffic and want to take advantage of that with as much content as possible.”
5 Reasons to Keep Creating — or Even Create More — Content Now
- The competition can outpace you. If you’re not creating content now and the competition is, you may never catch up. They will have weeks or months of content where you have none, which can help them perform better than you in SERPs and engage with consumers at a time when people are looking for entertainment, support or guidance from brands.
- You have time to invest in quality. Changes to projects or business priorities might mean you have time to invest in quality. And, as Miller pointed out, if you don’t personally have an opening your schedule, you may find qualified, experienced freelancers happy to provide high-quality content right now. It’s a time to stock up on editorial for the future.
- Content has long-term value and builds authority. When choosing what to spend marketing budget on in this season, consider what will provide long-term value. Advertising is short-term. Morgan Taylor, the CMO for LetMeBank, points out that, “nobody wants to feel marketed to at this time. It can come off as tasteless if you directly market at a time like this, but that doesn’t mean we have stopped producing and using content.” Taylor recommends switching focus to content that’s informative and drives SEO and brand awareness.
- SEO takes time, and creating content ensures you don’t waste it. Since SEO takes time to build, Taylor’s recommendation is sound. Investing in more content during this time — when advertising might not be an option — puts you in a strong SEO position in the future.
- You can use it again later. Plus, all the content you create during this time can be reused in the future. You can pull components out for social media posts and repurpose content for future posts, ebooks or white papers, providing additional value down the road (and reducing the cost and time associated with future content creation).
Measuring the Long-Term Value of Content
Staying the course with your content budget during a time of uncertainty can be bold, and investing more in content even bolder. Whether you’re trying to ease your own concerns or get buy-in from clients, bosses or other stakeholders, you need a way to measure the value of content.
How you advocate for content depends on your business model. We reached out to business owners, marketing managers and others who are confident enough in their plans to hold steady or increase content right now. Here’s how they’re calculating the value of content.
- Kevin Miller of The Word Counter uses Google Adsense revenue per post. It’s simple, available on his dashboard and lets him create projections of what his content is likely to earn in the future.
- Morgan Taylor advises tracking the value of the customer over their life with you. A solid CRM system lets you gather this type of data; once you know what the average customer brings to your bottom line, you can calculate content value by how many customers it brings into your fold. And since content can keep bringing in new customers for months or years, that value can be big.
- Jesse Nieminen of Viima provides a formula for calculating the lifetime value of content: “Total number of inbound leads * conversion to paying customers * average lifetime value of customer – cost to convert traffic and deliver service.”
- Meg Marrs also provides a formula, stating, “We try to calculate a value per visitor amount by dividing the revenue the page generated by monthly traffic to get a revenue per user number. So for example: $400 of revenue / 5,000 page views per month = .08 cents per user.” Marrs says this calculation lets them compare the revenue generation of various articles.
Time to Make a Decision. . .
Are you going to invest in the long-term value of content during this season like many of the businesses above? Steps for doing so include:
- Figuring out how you calculate the value of your content
- Understanding what your customers need during this time and how to serve that need with content that also provides long-term value (based on the metric above)
- Getting buy-in from other stakeholders by showing them how much today’s content can do for the business in the future
- Reaching out to internal teams or qualified freelance writers to create the kind of content that will have a lasting impact