“We do the best we can with what we have”Edward Rowland Sill

There will always be a finite limit on your resources. If you’re in the market for a new car, for example, there’s what you’d love to have – premium brand, luxurious interior, superior performance – and then there’s what you can actually afford.

Getting the most bang for your buck is a need that (perhaps ironically) both shoppers and marketers will always share.

For marketers, we are tasked with identifying the best possible content marketing strategies to drive engagement, purchase consideration and conversion. But the ever-changing digital landscape gives rise to a host of new questions:

Which tools and platforms should be used?

Recruit talent or use freelancers?

Which agency would be the best fit?

To answer these questions and help you make smart investments, we’ve broken down the best use of your content marketing dollars based on business size. The following strategies will benefit everyone from “day one” entrepreneur to global marketing director.

Small Business

Small businesses are challenged with constraints from every angle, the most glaring being lack of budget and limited headcount. Small business marketers must be cognizant and adaptive of new and emerging technologies, especially when every penny counts.

Start with data.

Since content production is limited, you must provide incredible value to your customers when it comes to subject matter. Powerful (and free) online tools like BuzzSumo, Facebook Insights and Google Trends can help you understand what your target audience is interested in and how they are searching. Use the resulting data to guide your content creation, thereby earning your customers’ eyeballs (and their business).

Data will also allow you to stretch your dollar when it comes to the amount of content you can produce. Once you have a relevant topic, start with one piece of content that you can repurpose into many other format types. For example, if BuzzSumo lets you know that tulips are a hot topic in gardening right now, create a blog post about planting tulips. Once you have that, you can turn it into an eBook, a few white papers, maybe even a free webinar.

Revamp (or start) your email newsletter.

Email marketing is one of the quintessential communication tools for small business, but much of its use is still too product-centric. According to Responsys, consumers demand personalized interactions with brands. As they put it, “a batch-and-blast approach to email newsletters won’t work in today’s content age.”

Rather than use your newsletter as a direct sales tool, take a deep dive into what problems your customers are looking to solve. Use that information to integrate articles, tips and FAQs into your email marketing cadence.

Remember: Sending the right message at the right time builds meaningful conversations and greatly impacts your customers’ view of your brand. And though they may not buy right at that moment, it will greatly increase the likelihood that they’ll make a purchase when the need for your product arises.

Medium Business

Marketers at medium-sized companies (100-999 employees) may have some money to play with, but are often given tall orders when it comes to producing results. This means that your content budget should be aimed at achieving quantitative, measurable goals while tying them back to the critical objectives that leadership deem important.

In addition to leveraging data, ensure your content spend is supporting expert-written, quality content that will be distributed via the best platforms for your audience.


Most medium-sized businesses won’t be able to afford the five-person team ideally suited to produce and manage an effective content marketing program. You can, however, experience similar results by tapping into outside talent.

Hire or work with freelance writers that have experience in your industry or a strong background in journalism. According to Hubspot, you should vet freelancers by checking their social activity, reach and blog work. Have them submit writing samples to ensure they can adhere to your brand voice and style. Also see if you can negotiate a retainer-type relationship, which will be beneficial for both parties (and usually result in better content).

Sponsor your content.

A designated content marketing budget allows marketers to go beyond owned and earned media channels and create paid opportunities on social networks and platforms.

But even though you have money to spend on social, you must stay focused on your KPIs to make sure your cash is well spent. Select the networks that resonate best with your audience. For example, Facebook and Twitter tend to work best for B2C companies, while LinkedIn and other professional communities are favorites in the B2B world.


While 60 percent of B2C marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget this year, studies show that accurately measuring ROI from these activities is still one of marketing’s biggest challenges. For the enterprise marketer, moving the needle requires steering the overarching content strategy in the direction that provides consumers with the most value.

Partner with the best.

Develop and invest in close relationships with publishers or agencies that live and breathe content. Choose a partner that has a proven track record for successfully marrying strategic insights and scalable content production. A scientific, data-driven approach to content will always be better than a strategy built primarily around trends and hype.

Become a lifestyle brand.

Enterprises leading the charge in content marketing show a convergence of their brand with the lifestyle of their everyday consumer. Ghirardelli Chocolate, for example, offers creative, DIY recipe ideas with step-by-step instructional videos on their Facebook page. In other words, they show customers they are interested in helping them as people, not just as buyers.

Marketers can overcome budget uncertainty by being precise with their content marketing spend. Regardless of your business size, ensure that all components of your content marketing plan tie back to the overall marketing objectives of the organization. Eventually, you will learn more about your customers and be a pro at engaging with them on the channels they use the most.