One of the biggest objections against content marketing is that it’s expensive.
‘I could run PPC ads for a month for the price of two average articles’. – I’ve heard this more than once.
Sure, but once you stop running ads, the clients stop coming. Content is the gift that keeps on giving.
Plus, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Of course, as with every marketing tactic, the more you invest in it, the better and faster the results will be. But this doesn’t mean content is only for the rich and famous.
Case study: Idunn, the digital marketing agency I run. I started the agency with no team (on the back of my freelancing career) and no other investment besides web hosting. It took a lot of trial and error, but after a few months my content strategy began producing the first paying customers.
No PPC ads, no paid advertising of any kind. Just content marketing and SEO on a shoestring budget.
Keep in mind that, at the time, I was handling client requests AND my own agency’s content.
But it worked.
Better yet, articles that I’ve written two years ago are still ranking well and producing ROI.
This is the power of content marketing. This can happen when content marketing is done right, irrespective of your budget.
Let’s take a look at how you can make your content work for you without breaking the bank.
1. Don’t write a single word before having a strategy in place
No, not even the first blog post of a brand-new website, so you don’t have an empty section. Take the time to figure out your content strategy.
Start by answering these three questions:
- Whom are you writing for? (aka what’s your ideal client/buyer persona)
- What problem is your content solving? (for THEM – your buyers)
- How will every single piece of content help you grow your business?
In other words: play a fun game of connecting the dots.
The three answers above are worth nothing if you don’t leverage the connection between them. Sure, helping to solve others’ problems is great. But you shouldn’t be doing it without a ROI – unless you’re an NGO.
You’re running a business and a business is supposed to make profit.
So – what’s at the intersection between your clients’ needs and wants and your profit? How does this translate into content topics? What can you write to prove your expertise in a manner that convinces people to hire you?
If you can’t answer all this, you will waste money on useless, irrelevant content writing and marketing. On the other hand, if every single one of your pieces of content is relevant to both potential customers and your business goals, you’re all set to make money out of content marketing.
2. Repurpose your best content
Had a blog post that was well-received by your audience? Leverage it even more. Ideation and initial research for a topic are the most time – and money – consuming of content creation.
So why not get more juice from a single blog post or other type of content?
Turn it into a video, an infographic and/or use snippets of it as social media posts.
- Bundle several topics into an ebook
- Turn a webinar into a series of blog posts
- Turn internal information as case studies (here’s why)
You can find more information on repurposing content here.
All you need is a bit of creativity.
I know what you’re thinking – won’t people tire of my re-hashing the same old subject?
Not really, no.
You see, different people like different types of content. Even the same people consume different formats at different times of day.
For instance, your audience may be too busy to attend your live webinar, but they will read the notes from it when they have the time (if you turn them into a blog post). Similarly, they may not have the time to read your long-form blog post while they’re rushing to work. But they could listen to it in a podcast format during their commute.
Experimenting is key here. In time, you will realize which formats bring the best ROI and which you can ignore. Remember: you don’t have to be everywhere, just where it matters.
3. Listen to your audience
Time for a reality-check: your content marketing strategy is not about you. It’s about your readers.
So ask them what they would like to read/learn about. Or take a close look to what they’re sharing or retweeting. Can you map similar topics to your business goals? If so, this is the beginning of your editorial calendar.
I know, we all have topics that we love. We’d all love to brag about our own success and amazing products on our blog.
But no one really wants to read that. (Unless we’re talking about bottom-of-the-funnel readers who are ready to convert into customers and need additional proof.)
Think about user intent and your customers’ buying journey. Your content should help them along the way and push them further to converting.
Otherwise, you’re wasting money on content that only you like to read.
4. Be consistent
A blog post per day may not be feasible for your budget. And that’s OK.
Sure, posting frequently is great. It will help you rank higher in the SERPs and bring more readers to your website.
But the real key to profitable content marketing is consistency.
If you can only afford to publish a blog post every week or even every two weeks, do it. You don’t have to forego content marketing altogether just because you can’t afford to produce tens of hundreds of words every week.
After all, you’re not a content mill.
Be realistic: how much can you publish in a month without compromising quality? That’s your frequency.
Try and stick to it no matter what.
Your readers will get used to seeing new blog posts from you every week/fortnight and that’s what you should be aiming for.
Ideally, your evergreen content should be written weeks in advance of publishing. And you can leave some empty room in your editorial calendar for seasonal posts or for commenting on breaking news that affect your industry directly.
Content marketing is one of those rare tactics that keeps on giving. Unlike PPC ads, where results stop when your budget is depleted, content keeps on producing results, sometimes even for years to come.
And no, you don’t have to invest a fortune in it.
You just have to be smart about it.
Don’t create content just because internet gurus tell you to have to have at least a thousand posts in your blog category. Create content because you have something worth reading to say and because you know exactly how it will help your business grow.
By Adriana Tica