Thinking Ahead to What You’ll Create
It’s that time of year again… Budget Time! We know, we know… we’re marketers too. Annual budget planning is not our favorite thing either. But, we are buckling down and taking a long, hard look at the numbers to make sure that we are prepared as we approach the coming year. Since we’re getting a head start on the budget train, we thought we’d share a few of our tips and tricks to help you with your budget journey. This is the 2nd in a 3 part series on annual budgeting for a marketing department.
There are 3 main resources that marketing leaders need to evaluate as they begin the 2015 “Adventure in Budgeting.” In this article, we will explore the 2nd area of focus, Content, the creative “meat” of your branding initiatives. After reading the first blog in this series, you’ve evaluated your talent resources and estimated how many types of projects each person can create during the workweek. Now comes the fun part… the “What” – the content you want to share with the world next year. What does your brand create to get people to buy your product or service? Let’s start with a few questions (as usual)…
What are the backbone content initiatives for your brand?
The ones that really work for your marketing strategy. Does your company always produce an annual catalog? A video per week? Daily email campaigns? Make the list of “expected” content before you take the next step…
What worked in 2014?
After you’ve browsed through your quicksand of analytics for the year, you can really see what type of content is getting clicks/shares/opens/views/conversions/SALES. Are the popular content pieces the same as the ones you’ve listed as your standard brand content initiatives? You may be surprised at what you find. (Side note: We realize that messaging has a lot to do with content success… you can’t really budget messaging though, so just make sure you are weighing messaging with content type during this process.)
Every successful marketer has something to say about a Content, or Editorial, Calendar… namely, that it works! Get all of your ideas out in one place, then organize them around company or industry events, new product launches, pop culture happenings, or simply producing a new campaign on a regularly scheduled basis. Looking for ideas on content creation? No fear – we wrote a blog on that: Choosing Tactics for Your Content Marketing. No time to read anything else today? Here’s the short version (but bookmark the blog too, just to be safe):
Of course, every marketing department and brand is different. Our advice? Make sure it’s all in one place and easy to move around. There are a vast offering of articles on creating a content calendar, so we won’t go into the details in this specific post (click here, here or here for some of the best articles we’ve found on this subject and here and here for some great templates for creating one). We will say, though, that our calendar is one of the only things that keeps us sane. Also, puppies.
Pull out that spreadsheet of what your Talent can accomplish and line it up with what you must create, based on audience expectation and last year’s successful projects. Put a number (hours only!) to each content initiative… campaign or content creation level… whatever works best for you.
Do you have extra time in the books? Fantastic! What NEW initiatives can you make happen? Never filmed a video? Maybe it’s time. Launching a new product? Maybe a targeted social advertising campaign is in the cards. The options are endless, and only you know what will be best for your brand. Now, if you don’t have extra time with your current team, and you can already tell they’re going to be stretched thin on the initiatives you have in mind, you have some big decisions to make for your brand.
In-house or Outsource?
If you’re going to make new or additional initiatives happen, you’ll need more people! Put a “talent” column in that budget and add in hours for new in-house hires, freelance consultants or an agency. Only you know what will be the best fit for your strategy.
So, you’ve made it through 2 blogs on budgeting and haven’t even used a dollar sign… don’t fret. We’ll get to the nitty gritty numbers in the 3rd installment of the series (the “How”), and see if we can find some solutions to those big marketing $ problems. We may even have a couple great giveaways to help you in your Adventure in Budgeting!
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About The Author
Courtney Todd brings over ten years marketing and communications experience to her role at Distribion. She specializes in B2B marketing and has worked in a range of industries including technology, luxury furniture manufacturing and healthcare. She holds an MFA from Columbia University in New York and a BA from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Connect with Courtney on LinkedIn and Twitter.