Before we begin, let’s get this straight – content creation doesn’t come in cheap for a reason. There’s a reason simple doodle videos cost thousands to make or why a simple, 600 word long, article can cost hundreds of dollars. Content marketing doesn’t come in cheap for the simple reason of it not being easy to produce.
Take a look at Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 report. As you can see, 50% largest B2C organizations are planning to increase content marketing spending over the next 12 months on top of allocating 32% of their total marketing budget to content marketing. Basically, this whole report is a nice sign that content marketing is far from stagnating and, if done correctly, it’s still one of the best, if not the best, forms of marketing that you can use.
Fortunately, the Internet is still like the Wild West, where, given enough time, dedication and hustle, you can do wonders even if you’re on a tight budget. This is a quick guide for all who wish to do content marketing, but have a low budget. Usually, companies which have low budget have also limited resources available. This article will mainly focus on how you can optimize your time and resources to get the best bang for your buck.
#1 Don’t waste time on bad content
The content you produce should be as good as possible, but good content takes time and resources. If you have smaller firm and doing content marketing on a budget, you’ll be hard pressed to find them. That being said, you should only consider creating content if it adds value. As a rule of thumb, creating valuable content does take a lot of time, so make sure to do whatever it takes to create valuable content only.
It might seem that you simply can’t find time to create quality content, but that just means that your resources and time are not optimized properly.
Simply put – if you’re on a budget, you don’t have that privilege to spend your limited time on doing something that doesn’t add value.
How do you do it?
- Create content schedule and stick to it
- Remember that quality must never be sacrificed for the sake of frequency
What you want to do is have a clear vision of your content’s purpose. Do you want it to increase brand awareness? Do you want to use content to generate leads and then sell your products to them? Does your content serve the sole purpose of giving you an extra edge in terms of SEO?
Whatever your answer might be, it drastically changes the way you should approach content marketing. Without a clear vision of what purpose does the content serve, you can’t expect it to have much effect.
The hardest part of having a content schedule is this almost paradoxical situation where, in the same time, you have to follow the schedule and remember to stay flexible. It goes without saying that you should be as disciplined as possible when creating content. People often dismiss content as something that serves the purpose of being sort of “extra value” (which is horribly wrong) and it’s easy to completely disregard content if you’re not keeping up with the schedule. At the same time, people trying to create content on a budget often face the problem of being the only ones in charge of everything. This tempo, of course, is hard to follow so they settle for low quality content which, let’s be honest, doesn’t do much.
Don’t worry too much about the frequency. If you have to sacrifice something, sacrifice quantity for the sake of quality. Sure, 10 bad blog posts might give you traffic, but one flagship article that you took time to write will convert. Not to mention organic SEO, the possibility for it to go viral etc.
- Figure out why you’re dong content marketing in the first place
- Always make sure to use your limited amount of time and money to create content that adds value
- It’s better to write one good article a month than one bad article each week
#2 Keep it fresh or keep it your way
When doing content marketing on a budget, it’s important to tackle fresh topics. You want to use the least amount of resources possible to achieve the maximum amount of utility possible. And while that’s a good strategy for everyone, it’s especially relevant when it comes to budget content marketing and budget marketing in general.
If you are fast enough and a fresh topic isn’t overly discussed, make it your priority to be among the first. The early bird gets the worm, remember. The more relevant your content is, the chances of it becoming viral are higher. Not to mention that it helps with SERP rankings tremendously if you haven’t got a major competition for relevant keywords. Surely, some of them will overtake your spot, but you should still be having a significant traffic based on being in the right place at the right time.
Your other option is creating flagship content that’s based on the topics you know and care about. No matter how much a certain subject has been covered, there’s always place for improvement. Like I said – deliver content that adds value.
#3 If it takes too much time, it’s probably not worth it
The hardest part of doing content marketing isn’t the process itself – it’s getting the right people exposed to your content. You could say that this is the hardest part of doing business in general (and you would be right), but it’s even harder if you don’t have a dedicated SEO/content/outreach team that know various channels by heart and have their presence already established there.
But here’s a catch – the fact that you’re limited might just mean that you have an advantage compared to others. As ridiculous as that might sound at first, people who have limited time produce the most innovative ideas. When content marketing is your full-time job, there is a common mistake by attempting to cover too many channels, whereas people who have limited resources succeed following these rules:
- Offering quality content
- Not sticking to channels that suck
This is where you should stick to the Pareto principle as much as you can. Your time is your most valuable asset so stop wasting it on things that don’t offer much in return. Your best bet would be to experiment with as much channels you can, and then focus on those channels that drive most traffic, engagement or revenue. Don’t be fooled by number of users that certain networks have. Sometimes you’ll drive more traffic by posting on obscure forums that have a couple of thousands of users than you would have by using Facebook.
Preparation and research is the name of the game and quality content marketing is 50% content creation and 50% content distribution. Don’t neglect the latter part of the equation. If, let’s say, Reddit has been your main source of traffic, it’s better to sacrifice Twitter, Quora or something else and dedicate more time to Reddit. Don’t be afraid of neglecting channels, as long as you are neglecting low-utility channels.
Take your time to know the pros and cons of your desired channels, create a compelling and informative persona and deliver your content. Nobody likes spam and, with the time earned from cutting down on unnecessary channels, you can deliver spam-free, high quality content to the channels that are really worth your time. Strive to build organic presence, establish authority and you’ll have a constant influx of traffic.
Instead of recap, here’s an example of budget content marketing done right
Let’s say you run a video game marketing agency and you want to start creating content. Unfortunately, you don’t have a lot of free time and your resources are also limited. You could do following:
- Decide to start writing a blog
- Establish a clear schedule
- Write a blog post once a month, but decide that every blog post should be extremely valuable and helpful
Now, after some time, you have created a couple of high quality blog posts, but the traffic has yet to come. Then you decide to:
- Open a Reddit and Quora account
- Join smaller, but more organic Facebook groups
Most of these high-quality communities have strict spam-free policies which means that you have to build your reputation there. And so you:
- Start answering relevant Questions on Quora
- Start discussing and sharing knowledge in a Facebook group that has a good and vibrant community
- Open up a Reddit thread where, once a month, you give advice to people for free. Everyone can ask you something about video game marketing and you’ll help them without anything in return.
After a while, you’ll see the traffic increase significantly. As more and more people learn about you, they become interested in what else you have to offer. This is where they stumble upon your blog. You get free social shares and signals, free back-links for SEO and your blog continues to grow, fueled by the right kind of traffic. The rest is up to you!