If at First Your Content Marketing Doesn't Succeed ... Scale It
In football, when a team is losing by an arm and a leg, they tend to favor throwing the ball downfield (instead of running it) to score as fast as they can. It’s because throwing the ball usually yields better, quicker results.
The stakes may be different, but this philosophy of shooting for familiar fences is something content marketers can relate to. If something isn’t working, there’s a natural tendency to abandon the tactic or channel for what you know already works.
But sometimes—hear us out—scaling content marketing solves content marketing problems.
When should you scale content? That depends.
Why content at scale should be a priority
Proponents of the adage “less is more” will probably want to plug their ears for this one: When it comes to content marketing, more is more.
According to HubSpot, marketers today create content that speaks to multiple audience segments (often three or more). Add this to the reality brands are facing across the rapidly expanding universe of social media, and it’s clear any content strategy worth its salt will err on the side of scaling content marketing efforts across many segments and platforms.
For brands unsure about how to scale content marketing, there are two compelling reasons why it should be in the cards.
Content at scale gives brands more chances to cut through the digital noise. Today’s audiences are inundated with content. (That means you, adorable cat video.) Brands that build the right content marketing plans have the best chance at standing out from the crowd. This means fostering conversations and making the focal point them, not you.
Innovative content with authentic messaging is a winning combination. And don’t forget about video: It’s quickly becoming the format standard for content marketers. On average, a person consumes 84 minutes of video every day.
Content at scale fuels larger digital marketing efforts. There was a time when you could browse the Web, talk to friends, and track your stocks—all while basking in the familiar refrain of “You’ve got mail.” Today’s audiences have escaped the bounds of AOL, consuming different types of content across different types of channels. Scaling content means repurposing existing content as much as it means creating new pieces of content. It’s the kind of effort that keeps audiences connected no matter where they show up—and where you meet them—online.
At a minimum, you should be exploring new website content, social media content, and other digital channels.
But what if your brand is already doing all the right things? Should you keep doing what you know works? Or should you double down on it?
If it ain't broke, don't fix it (but do more of it)
It’s true that nobody likes a sore loser. But, by all means, be a sore winner. If your content is hitting the proverbial mother lode, find ways to scale it even further.
This is especially important because of content marketing’s return on investment. Compared to more traditional forms of marketing, content marketing costs 62% less and drives three times as many leads. And if your content marketing’s actually good, keep it comin’.
And you can keep it comin’ by doing three things in particular.
Look at what’s driving engagement. Do more of what’s making people engage with your content. How much of your content does your audience end up sharing? What kind of content sees the most traction online? How your content efforts resonate with your audience can be a great leading indicator of whether they convert into new customers, repeat customers, or brand ambassadors.
Look at what’s driving results. Do more of what’s helping achieve business goals. What content marketing campaigns are driving the lowest customer acquisition cost for your online brokerage? What kind of content is getting people to visit the brick-and-mortar storefront? Answer these questions to double down on content marketing efforts that move the needle and impact business decisions.
Lean further into your data. Learn what’s working and how it’s working. Are the wins happening because of your audience segmentation? Is it because of the content distribution strategy? Use data from content that’s out there and any experiments you’re running so you can properly attribute success to the appropriate efforts. Then you can scale those efforts.
If your content marketing flat out works, it’s not just about doing more of it. Learn why it works, then set yourself up to scale.
If it's broke, maybe fix it
A popular Coldplay song has these lyrics:
I wish that I could work it out
And the hardest part
Was letting go
While the song isn’t about the pain content marketers feel when campaigns fall flat, Chris Martin’s lyrics pull at our heartstrings just the same.
Sometimes, brands hit roadblocks when trying to scale content marketing efforts. Maybe the podcast series falls flat. Maybe the LinkedIn posts aren’t getting reactions from your target audience. Maybe the graphics for social media aren’t getting the expected return on investment (ROI).
As heartbreaking as it can be, in these instances, the data will tell you all you need to know before you try it all over again. Which content marketing efforts are driving engagement? Are they driving results? What should we scrap?
And sometimes, social events dictate when to pivot and when to scale. 2020’s global pandemic has forced entire industries to adapt to new realities. Marketing goals have shifted because buyer priorities have changed. Marketing teams face real bandwidth challenges for creating new content.
In these instances, adapting quickly is more important than churning out more content for the sake of more content. Learn from data to keep creating content your audience wants to consume.
But you can only really pivot or scale content if you’re doing enough to start with.
Do it (don't wait for it)
While it’s true the tortoise can beat the hare (if the conditions are just right), having a jet pack strapped to his back would make the race a whole lot easier—maybe a little unfair.
When brands struggle to scale content marketing early enough, it’s usually not from a lack of effort or imagination. Rather, it’s because they haven’t published enough content to begin with. Testing the waters with broad strokes that are anchored to a content strategy? That’s your jet pack.
ROI is important, but in the beginning, it’s just an acronym. Don’t expect to see your sales lift on day one of your blog or social post. However, if you’re not seeing results in a reasonable amount of time, it may be because you’re not delivering enough content at scale. When building your content marketing strategy, consider the channels and the quality of your content. But take it a step further and dial in the right quantity, too.
For many brands trying to create good content quickly, this is where added firepower can help. Flanking yourself with a content marketing agency, the right tools, and the right resources can be the difference between floundering in shallow pools and thriving in deeper waters.
The gap is wide. Less than 40% of average-performing B2C brands have a documented content strategy to speak of. On the flip side, of the most effective B2C brands, 60% have a documented content strategy.
With enough content, you can have the data and results you need to make the right decisions and make content at scale an everyday occurrence.
How you can scale content right now
Content marketing isn’t going anywhere. For your brand to compete in today’s digital spaces, doing more with your content could make the difference.
As your organization explores when to scale content marketing, there are ways to make decisions faster and better. Investing in content marketing support allows you expand efforts and scale when you need to. But more important, the right kind of support can help brand marketers tie the results of content at scale to their real business goals.