The cost of creating and managing content can become onerous, particularly for small teams with limited resources. What are your secrets for effective content creation on a modest budget?”
Creating effective content on a modest budget can be challenging given the numerous variables that are typically present with digital experiences (different target audiences, shifts in traffic and dwell periods, trends in the industry and so many others).
The following steps will help make this goal more achievable:
- Begin with a Content Strategy:
In order to ensure the success of any digital experience, beginning with a well-thought-out strategy is vital. A digital experience strategy will help set specific goals and objectives that the experience will need to deliver, and as a result, help focus and optimize the time required to create the content. For any type of creative content to be effective, it must first have clearly defined objectives that need to be achieved. This usually involves collaborating with the client to define and prioritize business objectives for the content.
Here, you should discover things like:
- Who is the intended target audience? Identify persona(s)
- What is their purpose during exposure to the content?
- How long will they be exposed to the content?
- How often will each target be exposed to the content?
- What other noise or distractions are there surrounding content location?
- What is the desired outcome or call to action needed after target views content?
- Creating Effective Content:
It is imperative that content quality not be sacrificed because of budgets, but rather become more performance focused. New and improved approaches to content development—closely tied to delivering on objectives—will help provide a greater return on content creation investment. Ultimately, resource-efficient content production techniques must be adopted to ensure maximum value and acceptable creation costs are secured. The formula for creating effective content is based on several factors:
Available Budget, Available Source Materials or Assets, Clearly Defined Briefs and Objectives, Creative Quality Standards and probably the single-most important factor, Time to Think. Ensuring content creators get a thorough briefing with clearly defined objectives, guidance on target audience, message relevance and dwell time of target audience at the experience will result in less guess work and optimize content creation production effort.
- Use the Right Tools and Techniques:
Leveraging digital signage software with template capabilities can help make content updates easier and less time consuming. Separating content elements that will have a longer life span from elements that will require more frequent updates or changes is a smarter way to plan the content production. For example a background animation that can be purposed for several pieces of content could be created once and then leveraged multiple times. Layered variable content could be added on top (example a headline or copy that can be changed without effecting the background). This way multiple pieces of content can be created without spending tons of hours on each content piece and updating them will be less time consuming as well.
- Don’t Boil The Ocean:
As content creators we always want to explore the coolest techniques, effects and creative design approaches. Creative designers often like exploring multiple concepts and approaches to the content. This is great however it must be balanced with the budget available to do so. Keeping things simple and focused on delivering on the highest priority objectives and minimizing concepts and approaches accordingly will help ensure time is maximized and not wasted on projects with more modest budgets. Perhaps previous creative thinking or ideas that where considered for other projects and perhaps where not chosen can be dusted off and customized to fit the project at hand. Keeping a library of great ideas, content masters, templates and unused content pieces is a great way to keep things simple and more attainable.
- Minimize Approval Cycles and Rounds of Revisions:
Setting the expectation up front with the client that in order to meet lower budgets, only one round of revisions with consolidated feedback from all stakeholders will be required. This is important as some clients will ask for numerous changes and revisions that will require additional production hours that are often not projected or accounted for. This serves as a great way for a client to open up the purse strings if they know they will need numerous approval cycles or help to level set the expectation ahead of time that if they want it cheaper they can’t slow down or make the creative process more complex than it needs to be. If the time was put in up front to clearly define the objectives and the content meets those objectives numerous revisions are not needed.
Ultimately finding the right balance between available budget and effective content creation is not an exact science. You need to be prepared that sometimes you will create great content very quickly (exceeding budget expectations) and sometimes it will take longer than expected. Hopefully you work within an environment that puts the quality of the work above the dollars and cents available and can ensure to not sacrifice the quality of the content.