How to Maintain a Steady Flow of High-end Content Without Breaking the Bank

Ann Masters
Ann Masters
Content Strategist
Published Apr 18, 2024

Content marketing. Global brands that enjoy the luxury of being household names have to do it. Mid-sized firms with strong footings in their markets have to do it. And up-and-coming small businesses, nonprofits with tight budgets, and local family-owned businesses have to do it. The difference? Not everyone has access to big budgets, a dedicated marketing team, an agency partner, independent contractors, and other resources that make it easy to steadily produce high-quality work.

If you identify with the whole “I need to do more with less” scenario, you’re not alone. In fact, client partners ranging from multi-million-dollar companies to community-based organizations consistently ask us the same thing: How can I reduce my team’s content marketing burden without compromising quality? Great question. Here are 8 ways to do exactly that.

1. Choose quality over quantity

This is the foundational rule of any solid content marketing plan, no matter what resources you have. The value and impact of one or two exceptional pieces of content will always outweigh that of several lower-quality ones. Think of it this way: would you rather have half a dozen three-day-old {insert the name of your favorite baked good} or two that are fresh out of the oven? Yeah. Us, too. 

Start by streamlining your marketing plan and budgeting your time to ensure quality is never compromised. If you can’t reasonably produce 20 blogs a month, don’t. Better to post one or two per week and use the extra time to ensure they deliver the substantive insights your audience seeks. The same holds true for social media posts, newsletters, videos, white papers, and any other content that you generate on a regular basis.

2. Create an editorial calendar

One of the best ways to ensure you’re making the most of your “content time” is to create an editorial calendar. Start by identifying mainstream holidays, seasonal themes, brand-relevant dates (like 3/14 if your followers are fans of math or 5/4 for Star Wars aficionados). You can also consider including obscure national holidays that give you a chance to put a smile on your consumers’ faces. For example, 3/26 is national “Make Up Your Own Holiday” day — a perfect opportunity to engage your consumers to generate some high-quality UGC (hop down to #7 to learn more). Once you’ve completed this process, fine-tune your list so you can plan a sustainable cadence and mix of content. 

Be sure to leave ample room for more standard content fare — industry-relevant blogs, thought leadership pieces, instructional videos, infographics, and the like. Think of these as the nutrient-rich elements of your editorial calendar that give you the foundation to add a la cart “surprise and delight” pieces (content dessert!) for your audience to relish.

If you’re curious about editorial calendar tools, they range from free to subscription-based. For the cost of $0, you can create a dedicated Google Calendar or, if you love spreadsheets as much as our company president does (hi, Cortney!), consider customizing a free Google Sheet template, like one of Smartsheet’s Content and Editorial Calendars. For more out-of-the-box options, there’s HubSpot, Trello, or CoSchedule — all of which have free or paid options, depending on your needs. Of course there are plenty of other tools out there, so do your research, experiment, and start planning. 

3. Cozy up to data and analytics 

How’s this for a circular statement? The best way to know what content your audience is consuming is to know what content your audience is consuming. Data, analytics, and stats can tell you that — and a whole lot more. 

This applies to both broad-based and highly targeted questions. For example, if you’re exploring blog topics and want to know what business concerns are top of mind for your audience, explore the research. And if you’re wondering what content on your website is garnering the most engagement, look at your website analytics (Google Analytics is robust and free). The same holds true for social, email, newsletters, videos, webinars, etc. 

The bottom line: If you produce a piece of content, track its performance. Identifying what’s working will help you focus your efforts, drive efficiency, adjust your content calendar (tip #2) accordingly, and maximize the value and impact of your content. 

4. Mine your internal talent

Take a close look at the experts you work with every day — your colleagues, managers, leaders, and executives — and tap into their expertise. Invite them to share their insights and knowledge via a blog post, an internal lunch & learn (these are easily repurposed a la point #3), a social media campaign, or — you get the idea.

When you’re mining your internal talent, don’t forget to explore their skills and interests beyond their expertise. Consider conducting an informal company survey (Google Forms is free and easy to use) to learn about your people’s untapped knowledge and talents. 

A developer who is a classically trained musician, for example, could write a piece about the correlation between music and programming*. It’s also not uncommon to discover that an employee has an extensive background in a particular industry — like finance, health care, or retail — that your company is interested in pursuing. But you won’t know if you don’t ask.

*Author is neither a musician nor a programmer and is only assuming there’s a correlation between music and programming because, isn’t there?  

5. Repurpose your existing content

Extend the life and the reach of your existing content by adjusting it to fit different formats, platforms, or channels. For example, if you’ve created a white paper or a thought leadership article, break it down to create a series of blog posts or an email or social media campaign. This process also works in reverse.

If you generate a lot of individual pieces of content about a particular topic, weave them together to form a larger, more comprehensive article or e-book. Do you do webinars or podcasts? Use the transcripts to write a featured article on the same topic, or pull out key moments and share them on social or showcase them on your website.

Evergreen content offers another “repurposing” opportunity in the form of content updates. A piece on industry trends, for example, could be refreshed to reflect what’s unfolding now. You can revisit articles or blogs to provide updated statistics, new use cases, emerging technologies, and industry influencers — or even expand it to encompass additional markets. 

6. Invite guests to contribute

A great way to get engaging, relevant content is to invite quality content creators — like industry thought leaders, members of your local business community, client partners, and subject matter experts — to guest post on your website. 

Be sure to make it worth their while by offering to promote their work on your social channels and wherever and however else it makes sense (i.e., backlinks, email, newsletter feature, etc.). You can also gain additional exposure for your brand — and traffic to your website — by providing them with social posts they can share on their own channels.

7. Take advantage of UGC (User Generated Content)

UGC is content that’s created by your customers. It’s an ideal way to get the word out about your brand while acknowledging and celebrating the people who love it enough to “content” about it. It’s also a great way to garner the quality content you need to build your social media presence and following. 

Tap into your existing social community and invite them to share their experiences with your product. When a follower independently posts a piece of content that you love, ask them if you can highlight it on your channel. Continue to build relationships with your brand’s best UGC creators by liking and commenting on their posts and sending them free products. You can also build larger pieces of content around UGC. For example, a blog about a new product launch could showcase how people reacted to it on social media.

Beyond social, you can also use UGC like customer testimonials, video reviews, articles that showcase your brand, “unboxing” videos, and more to bolster your existing content. 

8. Enlist the assistance of AI

Large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT and Gemini (formerly known as Bard) can greatly reduce your cognitive load by helping you conduct research, brainstorm ideas, draft outlines, explore topics and trends, play around with different approaches, fine-tune your ideas, and even optimize your SEO. 

If it lives on the internet, an LLM can access it, assess its relevance, and either toss it aside or serve it up in a manner of seconds. That’s a massive time saver, and even if you invest in a subscription (ChatGPT’s paid version is only $20 a month), you’re still coming out way ahead when it comes to efficiencies gained.

Of course there are caveats to consider: if you use AI to write content, it will sound like AI content. To avoid its robotic tone and repetitive, er, ”repetitiveness,” be sure to edit it well. AI is also prone to hallucinations — inaccurate, fake, or fabricated information — so always double-check facts and stats.

Now go forth and “content” to your heart’s (and budget’s) content

There you go. Eight ways to help make the most of your marketing resources while still ensuring you’re producing relevant, high-quality content that does exactly what it should: engage your audience, extend your reach, garner new leads, and keep people coming back for more.

Looking for an agency partner who can give you exactly the level of content support you need, no more, no less? Reach out to Dragon Army today. We’d love to talk through how to help you keep your content engine moving forward at a productive and affordable pace.