Marketing strategies are not as straight-forward as they once were. Gone are the days of billboards, newspaper ads, and brochures. Online content marketing is quickly paving the way as a lead marketing choice, due to its ability to reach a large audience. But did you know that, with a strategic plan, its low cost is also a benefit to many small businesses?
Statistics prove that more and more business owners are understanding the value in content marketing each year. A Twitter survey hosted in 2017 revealed that 91 percent of respondents are participating in content marketing, which is strong evidence to support its popularity and effectiveness. It takes an experienced hand to know how to make your content marketing strategy work, but only 53 percent of those respondents stated they have a content specialist on their payroll. This is evidence that many business owners are handling their content marketing on their own.
How to Create Content on a Budget
If you’re one of the thousands of small businesses trying to navigate the process of successful content marketing on your own, use the following four tips to stay on pace without blowing your budget.
Tip 1: Document a Strategy
You don’t have to take Marketing 101 to know that a defined marketing plan is a necessity for businesses across industries. Because of the massive amount of technology available, marketing plans are no longer simple strategies. The intent of marketing is to reach the largest audience possible, so your platform must be wide and varied. Simply updating a business website monthly is inadequate and will not draw in a steady amount of internet traffic.
You should work to develop and document a multi-tiered strategy, so your content marketing can reach a larger audience. Use the three methods listed below to focus your marketing to a responsive audience using the most cost-effective means:
1. Identify (or Redefine) Your Audience. If you haven’t already, you should create an individual persona for the audience you want to reach by determining target age, gender, lifestyles and income. Think of your content marketing as the light through a magnifying glass, concentrating the light beam in one specific area. This will save you costs associated with marketing to unresponsive audiences. From there, decide how this individual may spend their time online. Do they enjoy blogs, social media or news content? That will determine the type of content you need to deliver.
2. Create an Editorial Calendar. Create an amazing editorial calendar to ensure you remain consistent when delivering your content. It will clue you in to when the content needs to be created and how often it should be distributed. Your audience will come to depend on your consistency, and then your site will become a trusted resource for your customers.
3. With the help of your editorial calendar, you can follow a consistent distribution timeline. Never neglect content targeting and timing when you’re content marketing on a budget. You must publish the content for the right people at the right time. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your content, but make sure it is appropriate for current events. Holidays, large sporting events, and important news items can all be tied into your marketing strategy. This will generate more traffic, be more engaging for your audience, and get you the biggest bang for your buck.
Tip 2: Mix Up Your Content
Variety is the spice of content marketing, especially when working on a strict budget. You should switch up your content topics as well as your delivery method. Don’t settle for short blurbs on your website’s blog or social media account. Browse websites and timelines to understand what your target audience is talking about and use it to your advantage. Industry news, trends and new legislation that affects your audience are always useful.
If your content is an article one week, consider combining it with a video or podcast the next. Create memes if you think your audience will appreciate them. If you are not technologically inclined, a quick Google search of “how to create cheap marketing videos for blogs” can assist. It is also possible to repurpose videos or memes for your own use, as long as copyrights do not apply.
You should also alternate the format and length of your content. It can take the form of short and concise 400-word posts or much longer articles. If you have the time, create long-form posts or white papers. Ebooks are also an option that can separate you from competitors and substantiate your brand as an informative and thorough resource. Creating different formats will establish you as well-versed and flexible within your market. People like to trust the companies they do business with, so educate them, open up conversations and invite them to actually enjoy your marketing content.
Tip 3: Recruit Guest Posters
One creative and free technique to create content is to invite guest posters to contribute to your media platforms. Many business experts, bloggers or other professionals would like help publicizing their names. When guest posters create original posts for your sites, you will receive free content, while they receive publicity. This is a win-win for both parties.
And don’t forget to be creative with your guest choices. Past customers of your business, experts in your field and local celebrities are all possible options. Be open to anyone who can provide high-quality, free content that your audience would enjoy. If you choose to market with this option, be sure to include a button for guest submissions on your website to help recruit posters.
Tip 4: Hire Outside Help
The task of marketing your content may seem daunting or time-consuming, but there is always the option of hiring someone to do it for you. If this is the path you choose, be aware of a few red flags, especially if you are trying to content market on a tight budget.
Freelancers are an option, but they are typically the most expensive option. Many freelancers charge up to $200 per post. On the flip side of that coin are seemingly reliable U.S.-based companies that often outsource their projects to non-native English speakers. This option is often very cheap, around $10 per post. As you can imagine, the writing quality is low and can cause rank penalties.
The safest option for hiring a company is to remain somewhere in the middle of those two options. With a strict budget, you need to find reliable yet affordable options for content creation. Look for a company that offers fixed pricing and only hires college-educated, U.S.-based writers and editors. This affordable option will help you remain within your budget while delivering the high-quality content your audience deserves.
Last year’s marketing trends are an indicator of how important content marketing will be in 2018. Your business should participate in content marketing to remain competitive within your verticals. If you are too busy or don’t have the staff to create the strategy and content yourself, make it a priority to hire an affordable company to do it for you!
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