Juicy fresh content is the backbone of online modern marketing. No matter what your final goals- be it SEO-focused drives to bring in more traffic, ROI-boosting conversions from your existing efforts, or simply driving engagement to keep your audience engaged with you, you need regular and innovative content to help your efforts thrive, both on your own pages and with external partners.
And we all know the modern mantra- high-quality content is king! But how can you balance a small budget with the need to create this branded, compelling content?
Are small businesses and startups ever-doomed to cling to the coattails of those who do have a splashy budget to throw around?
Hardly! Today we have some tips, tricks, and advice to help you create great content on any budget.
Why content matters
When you’re operating on the lower budget tiers, online marketing can seem like a mystery. With an already tight budget, is stretching it into content production really worthwhile?
The short answer- Yes! Content marketing not only helps you develop your brand presence and position yourself as an expert in your industry, but it is a launch point to develop positive relationships and trust with your customer base.
And it generates convertible leads, too. Consistent and high-quality content has become an expected must from people’s favorite brands.
Content creation has become a top priority for 80% of marketers, eating up a rough quarter of most B2B marketing budgets. Because the impact on audience decision-making is massive.
If you want growth and success for your brand, you need a unique and easily-identifiable voice across all channels.
The benefits of smart content marketing
What are those benefits, precisely? Let’s take a closer look.
Great content is a cornerstone of creating positive customer experiences- and making sure they come back for more. It’s attention-grabbing and continuously reinforces brand positivity.
Increasing the number of likes on your social channels is one thing, but what you really need is consistent traction, not huge followings. Interaction and keeping your brand at the fore of people’s minds are key.
The era of the hard sell being enough is long gone. Modern customers want to feel that they have trust in a brand and that the brand is communicative and interested in what matters to them.
When you create value without an immediate demand for audience spending, they trust what you recommend and advise.
A good brand reputation is marketing gold- and the more helpful quality content they see, the more likely that positive association is to develop.
Of course, great content also has a more measurable impact on your brand- leads. Audiences who view your content and like it are more likely to return to you when they have a need to meet.
Content can be strategically used to direct viewers to your landing page or specific campaigns. Calls to action, well used, help create that action.
Additionally, solid content influences your conversions. Because you build a strong connection, giving them the information they need to make strong, educated, purchases, you become the go-to to fill their needs.
It’s a crowded world out there, and anything that boosts your visibility above your competition is critical to your marketing needs.
Solid content well distributed helps ensure visibility, and also builds your rank with search engines and algorithms looking to push high-traction content at its viewers.
It also builds the authority that content carries. If you are seen as a credible, useful source of information, you again rank higher and attract more eyes.
Your expertise becomes clear. Brand awareness isn’t just about getting an article to page one in search results. It’s about appearing wherever your customers are looking for products like yours.
And while awareness is important, it isn’t the only important facet.
Brand loyalty matters too.
Seeing people associate help and good things with your products, specifically, makes them brand advocates- and you know the old saying about good word of mouth, right?
The opinions of friends and family still strongly influence people’s brand decisions, and having been helped by your content is a great way to get that word of mouth rolling.
It takes money to make money, yes- but great content can still be one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies you have open to you.
Yes, the upfront costs can seem steep, but the trade-off compared to paid advertisements is immense.
And you get considerable longevity from good content, too- something no paid ad will bring you. This in turn builds your organic reach, circling back to our other points.
Content marketing on a budget
So now you know why good content matters, how do you create it as cost-effectively as possible?
You have probably also heard the old saying about writing what you know. This goes for content, too. You don’t need to look outside your own company for topics, campaigns, and more. You have that experience in-house and are ready to use.
Experience-infused content brings the magic touch needed to create engaging, valuable material that can help people- and that’s where your focus should be. Not on trend-chasing and paying heavily for it.
Linked to the above point, use the skills you have in your existing team. There’s no real ‘magic’ in content creation, and an outside source isn’t always the best arbiter of how to create a compelling strategy.
Rather than slapping the burden on one person- who will need to be compensated for that- see what individual team members can bring to the table to be used.
Not only does this have the benefit of amplifying different voices and perspectives, but it also ensures consistent high-quality content generation without the need to spend and spend.
Leverage user-generated content
You have some sort of established fan base- use it. Remember how we spoke about the power of trusted opinions to drive buying decisions? Well, you have happy customers posting reviews, sharing photos on Facebook and Instagram, participating in promotions and competitions, and so on.
Don’t leave them silent and invisible! Not only can user-generated content give new customers that vital inside-eye into what you do, but it also helps keep existing fans happy.
They feel seen and acknowledged for their loyalty. Capture some user stories you can use as reels. Share positive reviews with your branding prominent. Run contests to engage people. And let your customer’s positive word-of-mouth work for you.
There’s a lot to be said for unique photos and visuals, but sometimes a great stock choice will do. Use a sound effects download on your videos instead of reinventing the wheel by recreating it.
Find strong images to build your campaign around. Keeping that balance between fresh and stock will help you lower costs without lowering quality.
Trend chase reasonably
For smaller entities, riding the coattails of what the ‘big kids’ are doing can be valuable. Obviously, there’s a balance here.
Don’t try to shoehorn yourself into conversations that aren’t about you, or chase content that’s ‘trendy’ without evaluating how that trend can work for you.
However, looking at what’s trending and how it can relate to your business can be a strong way to get your voice heard without the need to overspend on trying to boost it. Let what’s popular inspire you, and save some bucks along the way.
Hopefully, you have the data metrics in place to see what is speaking to your audience and what has less reach. You shouldn’t content recycle too much- if all people ever see are the same five things, you’ll turn them away from you.
However, that quality content you’ve already invested in doesn’t have to be a one-and-done.
Can your most popular blog post be refreshed as an infographic? Can long-form content be recycled into shorter content for different platforms? Mining what you have is a great way to keep your budget tight while still keeping new content flowing.
Influencer Marketing still has a strong pull, but you don’t need to be paying through the nose for it.
Approach people aligned with your goals and message to see if you can get new content in return for an “I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine” mutually beneficial agreement.
Not only does this bring fresh new voices to the table, but it will also cost less in effort and cash both.
It’s perfectly possible to create compelling new content without breaking the bank to do so- so don’t cop out. Avoiding developing new content is one of the easiest ways to send your social market share into the abyss.
By getting creative with your content marketing strategies, you can keep fresh and inspirational content flowing to your audience without an over-investing budget you can’t afford.
You get what you pay for but some smart hard work can pay off in spades, so be willing to put the time and effort into staying focused and brand-positive, instead of chasing trends and other time-and-money wasters all over the map.
Remember, an effective and focused content marketing strategy will help keep you focused on your end goals and producing content effectively.
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