The signature beneficial quality of content marketing is its efficiency. It’s relatively cost-efficient to produce content and when you publish content, it affects multiple other digital marketing strategies simultaneously. The longer you pursue it, the higher your return on investment (ROI) will climb, making it even more efficient over time. However, content marketing is still a massive investment and your return does depend on how efficiently you’re able to execute the strategy. For new businesses and small businesses with a limited budget, your These are some of the best ways to make the most of your content marketing investment: #1. Outsource to the right content firm Content marketing firms may seem counterintuitive as a choice for low-budget businesses; however, they’re usually much less expensive than hiring someone full-time. You’ll be paying hundreds to thousands of dollars a month for services that even multiple full-time team members may not be able to accomplish. The trick is to choose a content marketing firm that fits your business and provides the best services for the cost. Much of this depends on the price point for the firms you’re choosing, but you’ll also need to consider a firm’s expertise and past experience. For example, Rightly Written Content offers a variety of web content writing services, making it ideal for ongoing content writing, but if you’re after something specific like infographics, a corresponding firm like Killer Infographics might be better. #2. Establish a clear routine Even if you’re working with a content marketing firm, you’ll still need to handle some responsibilities on your own; for example, you’ll be coming up with new ideas for potential content subjects, you’ll be reviewing content before it’s published, and you’ll be going over your results to analyze the ROI of your campaign. Your effectiveness here will, in part, depend on how you handle your responsibilities, and the best way to improve your efficiency is to establish a consistent routine. Systemize your approach to everything in content marketing, choosing specific times of day to practice them and following the same steps each time. #3. Identify specialists and delegate effectively Specialist content experts are almost always more efficient than generalists; specialists have much more experience than their generalist counterparts (in their chosen area of expertise), but won’t cost much more. The downside to seeking specialists is that you’ll need to mix and match your own team to be effective, usually bound together in a network of independent contractors or agencies for a la carte orders. Finding the right specialists to add to your team, and learning how to delegate responsibilities to them in a way that favors their area of specialization, is vital if you want to remain at top efficiency. #4. Find the most efficient types of content to produce Not all types of content require the same amount of time or money to create; for example, infographics require several hours of research, and several hours from a professional designer to put together. On the other hand, a 20-minute podcast can be more or less improvised, with nothing more than a high-quality microphone to make it a reality. If you want to make the most of your budget, you’ll need to disproportionately favor types of content that require the fewest resources to produce — yet still yield significant benefits to your brand. #5. Reuse certain types of content If you want to get more value out of a piece of content, consider reusing it. Not all types of content lend themselves to this strategy; simply copying your old work isn’t going to do you much good. Instead, you’ll need to creatively transform your old work into something new, such as by consolidating it into a comprehensive eBook or compilation piece, or transforming it from its original medium into a new one (such as turning an article into a video). This spares significant resources, but still presents something new to your audience. #6. Rely on free methods of promotion and audience building The size and loyalty of your audience depends on how much attention you’re able to generate for your blog and personal brand. You can pay for advertising to do this, but it’s most cost-efficient to rely on free methods of promotion and audience building. Some of these include syndicating all your new content posts on social media, reaching out to new followers on a regular basis, getting featured as a guest author on external blogs, and working with key influencers in your industry to capitalize on their pre-existing audiences. #7. Pay close attention to your results Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll need to pay close attention to your results. Over time, you’ll need to weed out the strategies that aren’t generating as much traffic or interest as your other work, and invest heavier in the tactics that appear to be paying off. The more you tweak your approach here, the more efficient your campaign will become. Costs and Benefits The real challenge here is being able to effectively measure how much you’re spending on content marketing, and the value you’re actually getting, since you’ll be dealing with many variables in both areas. If you’re only outsourcing your work to a content firm, your equation will be relatively simple, but if you’re investing your own time and working with multiple contractors, it grows more complicated. Similarly, you can measure the results of your content efforts in terms of your traffic growth rates, conversion rates, and overall brand visibility (which is difficult to measure). Accordingly, you’ll be able to ballpark your ROI, but you’ll never be able to precisely pin it down. Treat your efficiency-improving strategies as ways to inch your ROI higher, and don’t get too frustrated if a single effort doesn’t drastically improve your calculated return.