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How Companies Can Get Things Done on a Budget in Response to COVID-19

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Doing business in these crazy COVID-19 times is tough.

The pandemic has messed up budgets. 

Even the mighty Google has cut its marketing budget by 50%. But this isn’t the time to stop; otherwise, you’ll send your SaaS business to an early grave. It’s time to refocus, restrategize, reallocate funds to marketing efforts that will help you keep going till we’re done . 

But you must be smart about it. With limited funds, you must prioritize. Stretch every penny to the max. Get more from less.

But how?

Repurposed content is the answer. Rework existing content for more clicks, traffic, downloads, leads, sign-ups, or free trials.

Here’s how to get things done on a tight budget in response to COVID-19 in four simple steps.

#1. Invest in bigger, better pieces

Wake up and smell the coffee: 

SERPs are now an all-or-nothing game.

Being on the front page isn’t enough anymore. Those days are long gone. Today, the top 5 results gobble all the clicks and traffic.

CTRs for posts on the 1st position are 32.28% for desktops and 25.43% for mobile devices. By the time you get to the 5th position, the figures have dramatically fallen to a mere 4.39% and 8.95%, respectively. Then it’s all downhill after that.

The lesson?

Nowadays, with content, it’s either you go big or go home.

To land the coveted top positions has become harder than ever. Content size and quality have increased. So how do you compete? Create bigger, better content than everyone else. Or don’t bother to show up.

A tough ask, I know. But here’s the good news.

To come up with epic content, you don’t have to start from scratch. Upgrade old content with potential. Look for posts with a few shares and one or two links. 

How do you make it better?

  1. Combine two or three posts into one monster post.
  2. Find two or three posts that deal with the same topic. Merge them into one mega-post; that’s the best resource on the internet on the subject. The good part is you work super fast because you combine what’s already there.
  3. Make sure the content addresses user intent.

Google wants to serve results that meet the users’ needs. Study the leading posts to determine their user intent. Search intent and relevancy changes fast these days. Tweak your post, so it addresses current user intent.

For example, Track-POD, a route planner, has a blog full of tips, tricks and information for their clients in logistics. This is a great example of why you should publish content focusing on what your clients are looking for. They place themselves as a reference in their industry by doing so.

  1. Come up with a better story for the post.

In essence, all posts are the same because they use the same data and facts. What makes content compelling is your story- the unique narrative wrapped around the facts. Spice up your post with a gripping story and get better results from the same content. 

Facts are dry and technical. Stories fascinate and dazzle.

  1. Invest in memorable custom images.

Stock images are so 90s. People don’t notice them anymore. To stand toe to toe with the best content producers, upgrade your images. Do away with stock photos and pay a good designer to craft custom images, so your content becomes more appealing and stands out.

This article from Earlybird about whether gifts are tax deductible makes great use of custom artwork in line with their brand identity. All their content uses similar style custom images.

  1. Add fresh material.

Add new material to make the post more useful. Enlarge a scanty section. Or add new points or sections altogether. As a switched on marketer, run your finished post through a revision tool like Grammarly.

Regularly updating your posts is a good way to ensure they stay relevant to readers and search engines. For example, this review of Motley Fool is regularly updated – with the last updated date mentioned in the article. This reassures readers that the information they’re reading is still accurate. 

In a winner-take-all SEO environment, don’t bother writing a post unless you know you can be number one. Do that easily by beefing up content that’s already ranking but not high enough.

It’s a ninja move to compete for those longed-for top 5 positions fast without spending a fortune.

#2. Convert list-posts into in-depth posts

Love them or hate them, lists posts work.

That’s why they feature on the popular lists of most websites. People can’t seem to get enough delicious bite-sized posts. They’re binge-read, shared, and bookmarked more than any other post. They get 218% additional shares than ‘how-to’ posts and 203% increased shares than infographics.

But shrewd marketers get much more from them.


Turn them into massive, attention-grabbing extensive guides. Expand each point into a rich deep-dive independent post. Delve deeper into each section. But what does this look like in action?

Here are the three simple steps to follow:

  1. Pick the post. 

Hop over to your Google Analytics dashboard and look up the popular posts on your site. Focus on list posts. Pick one you want to remodel.

  1. Research the topic deeply.

Probe the front-page ranking posts to see what they’ve said about the topic. Identify gaps you can capitalize on. Then study new material on the subject. All the latest trends and studies. If possible, conduct original research no competitor can copy.

  1. Rewrite the post.

Once you’ve gathered all relevant material, write the post. Follow proven writing techniques to produce a masterpiece:

  • Choose a reliable content framework like how-to guide, ultimate guide, or case study to build the post on.
  • Hook ‘em with a compelling headline. You can make readers curious, warn them of danger or tell them what to expect in ultra-specific language.
  • Open with a hypnotic story, a shocking stat, or a promise readers can’t resist.
  • Follow an established copywriting formula like the Problem-Agitate-Solution to grab and keep attention.
  • Use examples and statistical evidence to support your points and make the post credible.
  • Wrap up the post memorably and tell readers the next step they should take, e.g., share the post, download a resource, or click-through to an important page.

Give your SEO a quick boost by adding flesh to your brief list-post points.

#3. Turn good content into 5-star content with expert contributions

Not everybody’s opinion counts.

Ouch. I know it hurts, but it’s true.

Some people’s opinions matter more than others. Every niche has gatekeepers who wield great influence. Another quick-win and cost-effective way to boost your content is to refresh your old content through expert contributions.

Give your posts a new lick of paint by inviting influencers to contribute to it. 

Include influencers in your posts for more:

  • Authority.
  • Clicks.
  • Links.
  • Reach.
  • Traffic.
  • Positive brand mentions.

First, target the right influencers. There 5 types of influencers:

  1. Celebrities with 1million+ followers

While celebs have enormous audiences, they are expensive. For instance, it’s said brands have to fork up to $1 million per post if they want to work with Kylie Jenner to reach her 172 million Instagram followers. 

Most brands can’t afford that, period. Besides, one-size-fits-all marketing doesn’t work.

  1. Macro-influencers with 100k+ followers

These are highly regarded authorities with big audiences. Best-selling authors, sought-after speakers, prominent podcasters, and famous bloggers. They have responsive audiences, but, like celebs, it’s hard (but possible) to get their attention.

  1. Professionals with 20k+ followers

Prominent bloggers, business leaders, and subject matter experts with engaged audiences. With the right strategy, you can get them to contribute to your content.

  1. Micro-influencers 1000+ followers

Micro-influencers are niche authorities. They have very responsive audiences. People esteem them. They’re accessible to land because they can’t pass up an opportunity to grow their audience and increase brand awareness.

  1. Nano influencers <1000 followers

Brand evangelists who advocate for your companies everywhere they go. While they’ve got small audiences don’t, they can spark Word-of-Mouth Marketing. 

In summary, you need three things for an effective influencer partnership:

  • Audience fit.
  • Engaged audience.
  • Relevance.

Once you know whom to target, reach out to the influencers via email. But develop a relationship via social media first, so you are not a stranger when you reach out.

  • Show how long the contribution should be.
  • Point out the deadline for the contribution.
  • Specify where the article will be published.

Alternatively, conduct an in-depth audio interview.

Grab a juicy quote to include in your piece. The whole interview doubles up as a content asset. You can gate it and use it to generate leads. Or transcribe it and offer the notes as a content upgrade.

Aaron Orendorff, VP of Marketing at Common Thread Collective and former editor of Shopify, built a six-figure business in one year. 

His secret?

Baking influencer contributions into his content creation process. As a result, his content got more exposure and generated bucketloads of quality pre-sold leads for his business. Here’s an example of a post he wrote for Social Media Examiner back in 2017. The post got massive 12k shares.

He weaved meaty contributions from notable business leaders into the post. Then he tagged them on social media. They shared the post and linked to it. That was his secret sauce for most of his successful posts.

Simple enough.

But the payoff is huge. 

All it takes is a time investment in developing relationships with people your audience loves and trusts beforehand. 

How do you get an influencer’s attention?

  • Share their content.
  • Link to their posts.
  • Appreciate their work.
  • Buy their product or service.

Then you’ll be instantly recognizable in their jammed inboxes when you reach out.

Co-creation is the new normal for savvy marketers who want to establish thought leadership.

#4. Invest in superb content writers

Don’t fool yourself. 

Writers aren’t the same.

You get what you pay for. Hiring dirt-cheap writers isn’t smart.

To refresh your old content and turn it into in-depth high-ranking content, you need top writers in your corner. Codeless once did a study on the correlation between content cost and content quality. We ordered five posts on the same topic from five separate content creation companies. 

The goal?

To see which platform would produce the best content to satisfy twelve industry leaders renowned for their top-notch content. These are highly successful people who know the attributes of content that works today.

Here are the results of the study.

As you can see, the more you pay, the higher the quality you get. No plagiarism, better structure/readability, and improved accuracy. 

But that’s half the story.

At the end of it all, only one expert from a dozen said they would publish one piece. And that after reworking it. The rest? Let’s just say the experts would pass, put mildly.

Rather than waste precious resources on clueless cheap writers who crank out keyword-stuffed crap, channel them to ace writers. Better produce one great piece of content and get a 4x return on your investment than ten lousy posts but get nothing back.

I know it sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true. 

You save and make more ultimately by spending more money on solid writers. Let’s circle back to see why this is the case. Remember, the top 5 positions in Google get all the traffic, right? 

Eventually, because SEO benefits escalate with time, those top positions see exponential results up to 200% more, or even higher than pages on position six and below. You harvest a lot more money than you put in. 

The best part?

The results are recurring. All you have to do is to update your content to consolidate your position. 

But how much do A-list writers who write top-ranking content cost?

Good question.

The AWAI Pricing Guide suggests $1,000 for an effective SEO-optimized 2k words post. But it’s money well spent because it pays for itself and then some.

Slash your budget but increase your content production

Rough times don’t mean you stop marketing.

Yes, you must cut your budget, but don’t stop. Being stagnant in today’s cutthroat SEO landscape means one thing — doom for your company. Use your financial resources wisely to move ahead, even in difficult times.

Surge ahead of the competition through smart repurposed content.