Investing in content marketing can give you outstanding returns as a result of improved SEO, increased traffic, more leads, and higher sales. This, in turn, can make your company increasingly competitive and profitable. The strategy definitely works, but unfortunately, it can cost a lot.
Small businesses often believe they cannot afford content marketing. Although the process can require adequate budgets and personnel, you can inexpensively execute it and still enjoy the benefits. In fact, it can sometimes cost nothing at all.
The following tips will help you learn how to make it work even if you have a tight budget.
Create a Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing requires a strategic approach. By creating a good strategy, you can ensure you stay focused on your long-term goals and not just on producing as much material as you can.
Creating an effective strategy might seem time-consuming, but after a certain period, it can help you reduce your workload and produce more effective content.
Here are some basic elements every one of your campaigns should have:
Spend some time deciding what you want to achieve with your strategy and set measurable and achievable goals that support your long-term business plan. Consider whether your objectives are to drive traffic to your site, increase brand awareness or grow your email list. Remember that whatever type of content you create it should have a clearly defined purpose.
Identify your target audience as well as their problems, needs, and desires. Learn about their spending habits and the forces that influence their buying decisions. Research your competitors to find out what they do best and what weaknesses they have. Look inside your company to identify the competitive advantages that make you the best choice for your customers.
- Key Performance Indicators
Define your KPIs, so you know what constitutes success for your marketing campaign. Find software that will help you measure and track your results. Metrics such as page views, traffic, conversion rates, social shares, and click through rates often provide good ways to measure performance.
Determine the type of content that is best suited for your business and that will help you reach your target audience. After that, create a publishing calendar and spend ample time on planning and scheduling. Make sure you always have a consistent stream of fresh material.
Use the insights you learned through audience research to choose appropriate platforms for promoting your content. Decide where and for how long you will promote each piece you create.
Start a Blog
Your company blog will form the cornerstone of your content marketing strategy. Getting it started incurs almost no expense and it provides many benefits. It helps drive traffic to your website, gives you an opportunity to generate new leads and helps you establish an authority in your niche.
Some businesses can easily afford to hire professional copywriters. But if onboarding a new employee doesn’t fit your budget, there are many other ways you can produce blog posts. To keep your costs low, you can write articles yourself or assign the task to your team members.
Try to find team members who have good writing skills and enough time to do high-quality work. As an incentive, you can offer potential volunteers the option of working from home. Implementing a telecommuting policy will increase their productivity and reduce your overhead costs.
You might also consider hiring a freelancer to occasionally write for you. For a price that ranges between $20 and $30, you can get the work done less expensively than the cost of having a traditional employee do it. Of course, you can also choose to hire a professional copywriter that will work remotely. This is still a cheaper option that hiring an in-office employee to do the writing
Focus on quality over quantity
Rather than trying to produce as much as you can in the least time, put the emphasis on quality. You can measure the quality of your content by comparing the results it achieves with the intended purpose. You have to provide value to your readers, which you will not be able to do if you publish hastily produced material.
Even if you have to limit yourself to only a few weekly or monthly posts, you will get better results than if you publish many poorly written pieces. If you cannot produce a couple of great pieces a week, then don’t settle for several average ones instead. You may end up with weak posts that won’t be as effective in achieving your goals. Instead, invest your time and effort in producing amazing material even if that means you won’t publish as often.
If you make a decision to use online content providers, make sure you proofread what they deliver. Such services often provide low-quality writing, so you will have to edit it extensively before you can publish it.
Repurpose Existing Content
A great way to inexpensively produce new blog posts includes repurposing existing ones. The process involves taking material you published previously and converting it into different forms. It doesn’t have to cost anything and it can enable you to, for example, turn an article into a slideshow. Similarly, you can create videos, podcasts, infographics, and much more. As time passes and your posts become outdated, you can also try republishing them with current information.
Repurposing works, because the cost is spread across multiple items, reducing your expenses. It also gives you a great way to reach different audiences that prefer various types of content.
Accept Guest Posts
Extend the appeal of your blog by inviting guest writers to publish their own posts. The practice helps other authors gain exposure while enhancing the authority of your blog. This is also the easiest way of continuously providing fresh content for your blog and doesn’t cost a thing.
To maintain your blog’s good reputation, you can insist on using only high-quality writers for your guest posts. As your blog gains traction in the marketplace, your traffic volume will attract authors willing to exchange their expertise for exposure to your audience.
Make sure you create a web page with guest post guidelines and put a “write for us” link on the home page of the blog. Include all the information guest posters should know about when writing articles for your blog. Listing the benefits your guest authors can gain by writing for you is a great way of attracting good writers. If you don’t receive enough pitches, reach out to writers who guest post on other blogs. Try cold emailing them and invite them to write an article for you as a guest blogger.
You can also try guest posting yourself. If you are a good writer, look for blogs in your industry that accept guest posts and send them your articles. Alternatively, you can also engage your team to write guest posts too. Make sure to link to your own website and blog posts in the articles you write.
You should also engage in commenting on blogs and articles on industry-related websites. Include links to articles on your site to involve your company in community discussions. Such exposure can pique the interest of experts in your field who offer to share their perspectives in posts to your blog.
Promote Your Content
Content marketing only begins with creating amazing material. Producing it is useless if no one reads it. That is why it is extremely important to promote your posts as much as you can.
Start getting the word out by tweeting and posting links on Facebook.
Try outreaching to influencers in your niche, especially if you mention them in your posts. Also, find people who share posts similar to yours and send them a link to one of your posts they might find interesting.
Take other actions that have consistently delivered marketing results:
- Create a landing page for each area of your expertise. When you promote content, link it to the relevant page to provide appropriate context.
- Use email newsletters to keep your customers and prospects informed of exciting material available on your website. Include links to your latest blog posts.
- Broaden your scope by extending your social reach beyond Facebook and Twitter. Include sites such as LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram.
- Mention the material available on your site when you comment on related blog posts and include relevant links.
Wrapping It Up
Even though you might have a small budget, producing high-quality material doesn’t have to be impossible. With the right strategy, content marketing can skyrocket your company from a small business to a popular brand.
The tips you have just read can give you a strong start for the creation and execution of content marketing campaigns that will strengthen your brand and increase your sales.
Do you have a tight budget for content marketing? How do you cope with it? Do you have any other tips you could share with the readers?
About The Author
Jill Phillips is a freelance writer from Buffalo, NY. She is an aspiring entrepreneur and tech enthusiast, who loves to share her insight on various topics. When she is not writing, Jill enjoys taking photos and hiking with her dog. Connect with Jill via Twitter @jillphlps.