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(Re)Sessions Lesson #2: Don’t Stop Making Content — Lean In with High-Quality Content

So your marketing department just got crushed by a devastating budget cutback and you’re tearing up all the plans you had for the next quarter. And this comes on top of having to liquidate your content marketing team who were building momentum and pushing the needle. You’ve got less money, less people, and yet you’re still expected to go out and there and drive revenue for the business. 

But that’s just not logically possible, right? You’re going to have to back off from all those plans and pause all that content you were excited about. That’s just the way it’s going to be for a while… until this recession ends and you can rebuild. You can only do less when you have less to do it with, right?

Wait! Stop! That’s the last thing you should be thinking about when purse strings are tightened up. First of all, this impacts all of the B2B brands in your industry, and as harsh as it sounds, a downturn like this presents a tremendous opportunity for the brands who can lean in and up the quality of the content they’re producing. 

To address how marketers are struggling to do more with less, Casted created a special limited series: The (Re)Sessions which focuses on the questions on every marketer’s mind when dealing with the most certain thing — uncertainty. 

In this post, we’re listening to content marketing experts about another of the best lessons we’ve learned during this recession: Whatever you do, don’t pull back on your content marketing. This is the moment where a B2B brand can rise up in authority and grow their audiences while the brands who reduce content go in the other direction. 

Share Your Genius

You might think podcasts are old news, and every B2B brand has one, right? It’s probably a pet project — one of the best things to kill when your resources are slashed.

The reality is that as a medium, B2B podcasting still has a lot of room to mature, and even though your C-suite might think that a podcast is one of the first things to cut, that’s a dangerous kind of short-sightedness as we learn from Rachel Downey, Founder and Executive Producer at Share Your Genius, an end-to-end podcast agency. Podcasts are one of your best, most wide-reaching marketing channels, so before you turn that spigot off, take a moment to think about all the value you’re about to throw out the window. 

Rachel Downey: “The other thing I would say is if you have the tendency to cut content first, I would say pause, and think about that because that might be the tendency that others will lean into, and now's the time more than ever to lean into it more. Because as others pull back, that's when you go in. Podcasting is still… It always shocks me how immature the medium is for as long as it's been around.”

Lindsay Tjepkema: “Right.”

Rachel: “But the reason I bring up the maturity around it is because there's still so much opportunity within the space to actually claim a niche, have a clear point of view, gain an audience, connect with your existing… There's just so much opportunity that's ripe, and it's here for the taking. It's here for the taking, especially if people stop. We had a client who, they've been doing podcasting for 15 years, which is insane. They've been doing podcasting for 15 years. And we'd always talk about, ‘What's the success that you've seen? What are you doing that no one else is doing?’ And constantly, it was like, ‘Well, we just didn't stop.’ And so often that's what people do is they throw in the towel because they're not seeing a ROI or they have to cut something, so why not cut this? And I always am like, ‘Don't do that.’ So to your point, to your question, if you're like, ‘I can't produce net new, but I've got a backlog, like a catalog of content.’ Then I would say leverage the heck out of that existing content. And a couple tactical things that you can do, one is obviously take one piece of one episode, and you can repurpose it into different forms of media, different forms of content. Simple things like going through and identifying the key takeaways and turning those key takeaways into social posts, Twitter threads, et cetera. Twitter threads are huge, and no one ever does it. The other thing that you can do is, obviously, if you're not using your podcast as a video, that's low-hanging fruit. You should definitely be doing that. Podcasts are now sort of… What's the word when it's the same thing as the other?”

Lindsay: “Synonymous.”

Rachel: “Everyone's always been… What is it?”

Lindsay: “Synonymous.”

Rachel: “Synonymous. Thank you.”

As ironic as it sounds, a recession gives you the chance to do something you’re always trying to do and that's to capture market share and attract an audience to your brand and the high-quality content you deliver. 

“When others back out or pull back,” Rachel says, “You lean in because now is the time to own your voice and your point of view in the marketplace. Because if you don't own that voice, somebody else will. And everybody talks about wanting to have a category, be a category creator, blah, blah, blah. It's like, okay, then you got to be known for something. So the way that you do that is you get on the mic, and you practice what you want to say, you curate the heck out of it, and you amplify it.”

You can view or listen to Rachel’s entire (Re)Sessions episode here

StudioPod

This isn’t the first recession content marketers will go through, and it won’t be the last. Julian A. Lewis II, Founder of StudioPod, a full-service podcast media and production company, looks back on the lessons he learned from the last recession when brands also had to do more with less but missed the mark. 

 

Lindsay Tjepkema: “Because in a time where, listen, marketers have been under pressure to do more with less forever, and that's never going to change. But in times like these you're do, you're pressured to do more with even less. And so marketers are being forced to make tough decisions around what in their strategy's going to come out. What's going to go? What's going to stay? What are they going to have the most control over? What is going to be most likely to drive the results that they need? And to me, it is conversations like these. It's going right to the source, it's going to customers, it's having these conversations that are going to resonate. People are wired for connection. They want to be a part of connections and conversations like these. But then there's also this opportunity to do even more with a recording like this. Yes, it becomes a podcast. Yes, it becomes a video, but how else can you wring it out? How can you use it to fuel those other channels, to fuel those other formats that may have to make a change due to the limited resources?”

Julian Lewis: “And during 2008, I was at an agency, and across the board, they're hiring freezes. Nobody was getting a raise, and budgets were a lot tighter. And I think in some cases… I was working at a direct response agency. So a lot of what we did was all about bottom of the funnel. In a lot of cases, people kind of focused primarily on that. But I think where there was a bit of a miss, was continuing to fuel the top and the middle parts of the funnel, continuing to let people know that you're there and educate people in the middle part. And I feel like people who have paused or do pause during these times, they almost hamstring themselves a little bit because now they're rushing back to try to say, ‘No, no, no. Hey, we're here also.’ Whereas where their competitors are continuing is where there's an opportunity.”

You can view or listen to Julian’s entire (Re)Sessions episode here

MarketMuse

Let’s say your content is like a tree. A good arborist will prune the branches from time to time, to get rid of dead stuff and just make the tree visually appealing. But content is not a tree, and if you recklessly prune because you think that’s what you do in a recession, you’re going to lose valuable content, especially the evergreen variety (more tree allusions!). 

Reckless pruning is just what Jeff Coyle, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at MarketMuse — a content intelligence platform company — warns against in his (Re)Sessions episode.

Lindsay Tjepkema: “As it pertains to your brand presence. It can feel good to prune pages, blogs, podcast episodes, et cetera, in your public feed. I get it. I love that purging. Marie Kondo all day long. Especially if you feel that content is from long ago when your focus was on something else or your audience was a bit different. But hold your horses. Easy there, killer. Don't do it. Think about how you can repurpose or approach those pieces of content differently, especially in times of recession or having to cut back on your budget.”

Jeff Coyle: “Consolidate pages, expand them, change their target persona, before you get rid of them. It's so worth it to consider how they weave into the clusters on your site. I see so many bad decisions, and I can tell you why they exist. They exist because there are people who advocate pruning and they don't know why pruning can work. Sometimes deletion and consolidation can work, but it's very rare, and it's only in certain situations.”

Lindsay: “Certain situations, for sure.”

Jeff: “So they advocate pruning for everyone. Half the people who prune, probably more, at least half, because the reality is pruning is very rarely the absolute right thing to do.”

Lindsay: “Yeah.”

Jeff: “But they're actually going to do damage. So you got to be thinking about, if you've never clipped a bonsai tree before, your first bonsai tree's going to look like crap. That's the reality. So don't do it just blindly.”

Lindsay: “Yeah.”

Jeff: “You're not going to have Mr. Miyagi's stuff at the end the first time you ever do it. If you don't know what you're doing, don't prune.”

When it comes to the tactical things you can do to lean in and create better content, Lindsay has this reminder: 

Lindsay: “And it's a relief. I mean, when you're in the shoes of a marketer or marketing team, marketing leader, and there is this hamster wheel, this treadmill, the incline keeps going up, and it's just slowly increasing in incline, and you're expected to keep running faster and faster and faster. And that's just not sustainable. It doesn't feel good. But going back and getting creative about: ‘This is a good thing that we already have. How else can we use it? What are some fun ways that we could use it? Can we send more people to it? How can we pull from it?’ And that's something that one person can do. That's something that an entire team of people can do. And it's a really important reminder always, but especially now in this… Maybe we're in a recession time when everybody is trying to do more with less. And by the way, sometimes it can feel icky, like, ‘Oh, I'm just doing more for the sake of doing more. I'm creating more for the sake of creating more.’ It's not. If you have something that's performing well, if you have something that's on point for what you're trying to say, that means it's resonating with people. That means people want it. And if you give people more opportunities to find that thing, or experience that thing, you are actually serving those people well.”

You can view or listen to Jeff’s entire (Re)Sessions episode here

Animalz

While the experts advise us to neither cut nor stop producing content, there are things a content marketer can do to work on a smaller scale, which actually helps a brand update and focus better on the content they can produce. This is something that Devin Bramhall, former CEO of Animalz, a content marketing agency, discussed in her (Re)Sessions episode.

Devin Bramhall: “I remember I was like, oh cool! Results! While I was focusing my creative brand on a thing, and I think that's how you get to that combination you were talking about a minute ago where, instead of saying what whole things do we need to cut, knowing that marketing is a pie that kind of needs many, a few different slices. What if you just made a smaller pie? What if instead of an eight-inch round, it was like a four-inch round, and you thought really strategically about how the fewer things that you do work together, almost support each other in a really succinct way. So okay, an example is you're going to refresh this post, and you're going to come up with a redistribution plan. So now, and you're going to make it into a video, and you're going to make that video into a bunch of different clips to help promote the new post, and you're going to... You do a relaunch of the post. People haven't seen it. If it's old, if you're refreshing it, it's old.”

Lindsay Tjepkema: “Yes. You can do amplified marketing with existing content. You don't have to create a new thing and then bring that out. One thing, 'cause we just launched playlists, and you don't have to have Casted to do playlists, but it's a fun idea to say, okay, what if you took a bunch of stuff that you have, if you're doing shows, you're doing podcasts like this, take a bunch of the podcasts and put them together into, I think it was, I'm going to say I think it was Drift, if I'm wrong, I'm sorry if it wasn't Drift, I think that they did a blog post, I think it was around Women's Month, and they highlighted a bunch of their guests and a bunch of their episodes with women that they had interviewed over the years. They were all existing. They didn't have to record a new show. They wrote a blog post, and it was a good blog post. It wasn't a summary post. It was like, ‘Hey, it's Women's Month! Here's some really great conversations that we've had with really strong women that are really inspiring,’ have had it, and they embedded it into a blog, and I don't know, but I bet it got a lot of traffic, and then they were able to send people to it and generate traffic and highlight some strong voices. I mean that's creativity. Like creativity doesn't mean what net-new thing am I going to make? And actually that is net new. That's a new thing that didn't exist before based on things it did. It's repurposing. It's repurposing finished products as ingredients of something new.”

Devin: “Yes, that's... That to me, there's more brilliance in a lot of ways, or it's a different type of brilliance, I guess. There's no reason to compare it from like a value standpoint. There's a different type of brilliance that I think doesn't get enough air time.”

A recession doesn’t have to be complete doom and gloom. As Devin advises, a hard economic time like the one we’re in can help you do something you might not have any other way of trying, and that’s experimenting to see what else your audience finds engaging.

 

Devin: “And I think this is a good time to add, if I were a company right now, I would be adding at least one small experiment to every quarter.”

Lindsay: “Yep, there you go. That's good to know.”

Devin: “This is the... Because guess what? Recession isn't always a nightmare-”

Lindsay: “Yeah.”

Devin: “...for every company. This is an opportunity, and I think if people get caught up in the fear response first. Fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear. If you can just relax, which I know it’s crazy. It's crazy for me to say-”

Lindsay: “Chill out.”

Devin: “...we're having, yeah, and I'm saying this to myself, and I'm like, it's not the most fun time to run a company right now, but it's like if you could take a deep breath and say, okay, think about things opportunistically, I think you can find more opportunity and more creative solutions, and maybe you end up winning more than other people.”

You can view or listen to Devin’s entire (Re)Sessions episode here

Seize the Opportunity Where Others Can’t

Content marketers are in a period of high anxiety and uncertainty right now. It’s easy to see how some might panic and overcompensate by slashing not just head count and budget, but they might stop producing content altogether. But if you do that, you’ll miss the opportunity to create better content than your competitors. 

If you need more on what content marketers can do during a recession to not just survive but thrive, check out the (Re)Sessions. For more on how amplified marketing can help you lean in and create outstanding content, check out The Amplified Marketing Playbook. If you’d like to see how your B2B podcasting stacks up against the rest of the industry, take our 5-minute B2B Podcast Maturity Curve assessment. And if you’d like to see how Casted can help you do more with your podcast, video series, or content marketing strategy, request a demo