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Today’s businesses have a content overload challenge. Every minute in 2017, there were 448,000 tweets along with 317,000 status updates and 54,000 shared links on Facebook.

With content so ubiquitous, competition for an audience is ferocious. It’s also not cheap. The average one- to two-minute B2B web video costs between $1,500 and $20,000. The average small business, though, spends only $400 per month on marketing.

Despite these challenges, simply not marketing in today’s world isn’t an option. Entrepreneurs and small- to mid-sized businesses are forced to enter the fray, and to stay competitive, they must get scrappy in producing high-quality content across social media that can get their brand out there — and their story remembered.

Weathering the Content Storm

Great content starts with the right mindset and a good story. Businesses that foreground a brand narrative and embrace variety, particularly on social media, can leverage the fact that audiences want (and seek) to engage narrative content across multiple platforms and formats.

Unfortunately, though, disseminating a variety of content can be expensive. To maintain a tight budget, brands must get strategic with content repurposing. By altering content through either angle or format, companies can maximize the work they’ve already done in generating that foundational material while simultaneously reducing costs by reusing it in a “new” way.

A great example of both variety and content repurposing comes from RedPixie, a London-based Microsoft partner and one of Europe’s largest cloud providers. RedPixie does an exemplary job of leveraging multiple social media channels with new and repurposed content that’s always linked back to its website (the nucleus of a brand’s web presence). The company consistently provides high-quality content in “homegrown” YouTube videos, professional Facebook videos, and blog posts, all aimed at engaging customers and prospects via storytelling — not just selling to them.

3 Rules for Crafting Effective Content

With these two strategies in mind, you’re ready to employ a few simple rules to craft engaging content narratives.

  1. Be cohesive and concise. Often, brands try to “boil the ocean” when telling their stories. Resist that temptation, because less is more when it comes to crafting a compelling narrative. A single well-constructed story that resonates with consumers is far more effective than a slew of random anecdotes or a laundry list of disconnected facts, even if those anecdotes or facts reflect favorably on your company.
  2. Be consistent. In recent years, the number of B2B marketing touchpoints required to close a deal skyrocketed by at least 50 percent. Thus, businesses — particularly small- to mid-sized ones — must stay in front of customers and prospects longer, using content and information that deeply engages them. Establishing and sticking to a written editorial calendar based on desired business outcomes and target audiences can help brands train this new marketing muscle.
  3. Be committed. Social media success requires real investments in production, creativity, and time. Leaders must set their marketing teams up with the resources and agility required to execute social media strategies and to thereafter quantitatively and qualitatively evaluate their efficacy. Still, don’t let budget constraints quash creativity and potential. Infographics, for instance, are visually appealing and relatively inexpensive data-driven tools that can intrigue customers. Short, on-point blog posts are also inexpensive and effective. More recently, Facebook Live has emerged as a unique video engagement tool for a business on a budget.

Social media has made it easier than ever to get your story out there. Brands that craft compelling narratives and then leverage those narratives by repurposing them on a variety of social platforms will quickly see their web presences far exceed their marketing budgets. You don’t have to be a billion-dollar company to create strong digital content — but you do have to think like one. And a great story that engages audiences across the spectrum of social media is a gold mine.

What has been your most effective social media practice? Join the conversation with the Microsoft Partner Community here.