This list of dos and don'ts can help you get more out of your content marketing budget without having to spend more money.

Have you ever had a job where you were given an unlimited budget to create a top-to-bottom content marketing plan? Of course not!

The truth is, most small and medium-sized businesses have tight budgets and marketers must be keenly aware of how and where to spend their marketing dollars – or risk being cut for lack of ROI.  

If you are a marketer trying to marry big ideas with a small budget, pay close attention to these right (& wrong) ways to cut corners with your content marketing budget.

Elements_Fuschia_Misc_CheckX DON’T post the same content to multiple sites.

A franchise, for example, may have 100 separate domains that are slightly differentiated by geography and co-branding but focus on the exact same target audience. You may think you will get the most “bang for your buck” by posting the same article across each website but this is a major “no-no” for Google. When Google finds duplicate content on a site, it will at the very least stop indexing your content. Even worse, you could start to see ranking/traffic losses.

Elements_Fuschia_Misc_CheckX DON’T waste money on social media management you don’t need.

Just because you can be on a social network doesn’t mean you need to be. There is absolutely no need to spend money on social media just to “be there” when your prospects aren’t there in the first place. Even if you are using a free social service that doesn’t eat into your budget, you need to think about the time someone may be spending managing the social strategy.

When it comes to social media, most companies focus on the big four (Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn), but don’t necessarily understand what they are doing or how to measure ROI. You might be running the same strategy across each network when, in reality, there are effective and ineffective ways to use each. Knowing which social media network is best aligned with your content goals will help maximize engagement with the right audience and avoid wasting time.

Elements_Fuschia_Misc_CheckX DON’T go for the cheapest content creator.

Everyone likes getting a good deal but marketers must understand that quality content can come at a premium. In the end, if you spend three times as long editing a mediocre piece from the cheaper freelancer or a free intern, are you really saving money?

Everyone likes getting a good deal but marketers must understand that quality content can come at a premium.

You may be able to hire a college intern or an entry-level employee to help create content, but will this person have the experience needed to produce content for your Enterprise Application Development Services with authority? In a situation like this, you’re better off working with a seasoned producer who can deliver with minimal edits and knows how to optimize content for the web.

checkmark_smallDO Stay on top of SEO industry news.

This is a big one! The rules of SEO change often, and  you need to know the rules of the game if your content is going to perform properly.

After Google rolled out the Panda algorithm update, quality content that answered actual search queries began to outrank low-quality content that did not (even when it was posted in large quantities.) This was one way that Google makes sure marketers create content to educate real-life prospects about products and services, rather than just pumping out large volumes of content to attract search crawlers.

When was the last time you did an audit on the content you are producing? Does it fit Google’s Quality Guidelines? If the answer is “no,” you could be wasting valuable time and resources. Take Google Authorship for example. If you didn’t stay up to date with the latest SEO trends, you might not know that Google did away with Authorship benefits this past summer. Implementing Authorship now will by no means hurt your site. But, sitting around and waiting to see if it will boost your SEO is a waste of your time that could come back to bite you, especially when the boss wants to see results from your year-long marketing efforts.

checkmark_smallDO Repurpose top performing content across multiple platforms:

Developing content requires a great deal of time and effort. When you have a piece you know is performing well, leverage it! Really great content can be repurposed and interpreted in a new form, which helps stretch your marketing dollars that much more.

When you have a piece you know is performing well, leverage it!

Dive into your analytics and figure out which articles, for example, had the highest click-through-rate or assisted the most conversions. Perhaps you could create a part-two in the series, turn the article into a more in-depth white paper or even create a quarterly roundup of similar articles. If you know what your potential customers are looking for, give it to them!

In addition to repurposing content, make sure to invest in content that will perform across multiple platforms. A really great video blog strategy can augment a site’s organic traffic, enhance social media engagement and even be used in email campaigns to increase click-through-rates. It’s so obvious, it’s a no-brainer – one piece of content, 3 different applications.

checkmark_smallDO Develop mutually beneficial partnerships.

To increase your content’s reach, partner with organizations or individuals that align with your brand and give them incentive to promote the content. If you sell gourmet cookware, interview a popular chef or set up a live demonstration at a high-end restaurant. The chef or restaurant then has the PR incentive to promote the article or video within their networks which puts your content in front of many new people who have limited brand awareness.

Content marketing is not meant to be overtly promotional so the idea of working within a diverse affiliate network to promote an idea or a concept not only broadens your reach but can help provide varied perspectives and insights into industry problems.

We’re all working within tight budgets and under time constraints, but what we all need to do is work smarter. There are bad ways to cut corners with your content marketing spend, but there are also many ways to be more resourceful with the investments you’re already making. If you develop pieces that are right for your brand and make an impact across all channels, you can have a champagne strategy on a beer budget.

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Like what you read? Check out some other posts by Lori:

Lori is a content marketer, entrepreneur and musician living in Boston, MA. After receiving her BA from Umass Lowell and MA from Emerson College, Lori has worked in both in-house and agency settings and is thrilled to be a member of the Brafton Account Management team.