Content marketing is a necessary element of any marketer's toolkit. However, it can be costly to produce and manage, and during trying times, the budget you have to spend on it may be stretched to shoestring proportions. That is why we'll share some of how you can get around this to ensure that your business can create content despite that.
Defining Content Marketing
Content refers to a diverse set of media created by producers, videographers, photographers, editors, designers, and writers. While the cost of these types of content varies, so do the skills required and rates charged.
Content is utilized in marketing as it is the 'magnet' that communicates with your audience - the message and showcasing of what you're sharing with them. For many marketers, this aims to create messaging that resonates, drives traffic, or adds value for the audience. Ideally, your business will have access to content creators who can produce high-quality multimedia for your company. The process begins with a strategy and conception and ends with edited content that is ready for distribution. There is no getting around the need for content in digital marketing. You will need to populate your website, reach out to potential and actual customers, and convey your business's value and values across your social media channels.
Content usually serves one of three purposes - navigational, information, or transformational.
Types of content include ebooks, webinars, videos, podcasts, infographics, case studies, animations, slides, listicles, interactive posts, and digital magazines. An effective marketing strategy will include many types of content to ensure it is well rounded and reaches as many people in your target audience as possible.
Creating Content on a Budget
When dealing with a reduced budget, investing in content is often not considered a high priority. This is because written content is valuable, yet the results only show over the long term. A low budget often points to financial distress, which therefore requires results sooner rather than later. However, one would be remiss not to try to stretch your budget for content. With all businesses generating content for their digital marketing, your business would become forgotten by audiences and search engines alike without it. Consumers have come to expect content, as it forms a relevant part of their consumer journey with a brand. This begins with the inspiration stage, where consumers shop around among competitors to make comparisons. Once you have appealed to a potential customer, your content can convert them into a lead. From then on, the deeper down the sales funnel they go, there more high-value content they will need to remain engaged with your brand. Therefore, content is about promotions and explainers and helpful information, newsworthy updates, and niche topics.
Content can either be created by an in-house team, freelancers, or an agency. These are the considerations to take into account when deciding which option is best for your business - and budget:
In-house: If you have an in-house team with the necessary experience and capacity to create content, this is an excellent option as they'll also be highly knowledgeable about your brand.
Freelancers: If you do not have a team to work on content, you can outsource the work to a group of freelancers. Their range in skills and abilities will differ, with budget, experience, and availability being key considerations when deciding which freelancers to work with. For a shoestring budget, you may consider sourcing them on a website like Upwork.com.
Agency: When working with an agency, you pay for a complete package, with content created by their specialists. While many agencies charge premium prices, it may be worth looking into agencies that can work with your budget to create content for you. When working out the costs, factor in their ability to manage the work being done, which you would otherwise need to do when working with an in-house team or freelancers.
All content created needs to be in line with your overall marketing strategy, optimized, and designed for user-friendly consumption. By ensuring the content you make and share is optimized, you'll be able to prolong that content's effects since search engines take a while to collate all of the information on the web about a brand. By doing this, you'll be extending your budget in a sense.
Having a low budget will affect the volume and velocity of your content. However, it should not affect the quality by a large degree. While you may not have access to the best available content creators, the content you produce and share needs to be high quality and consistent. When it comes to making tough decisions based on budget, this means opting for quality over quantity, always.
Tips on Keeping Content Costs Low
- Repurpose: When devising your content plan and calendar, find ways to repurpose the content you create, as this can save you time and money. For instance, use clips from a podcast you host elsewhere as a bite-sized voiceover or break down a comprehensive blog post into several social media posts.
- Creation: When it comes to content creation, you can get creative when collaborating on tasks. For instance, asking employees to contribute to the blog, getting interns to gather customer testimonials for you, the business owner, dedicating time one per week to producing thought leadership blog posts.
- Tools: You can use various tools to assist you, from editing to optimizing and sourcing. Make use of these to lessen the load and opt for free or 'lite' versions where possible. For instance, surf the web to source freelancer sites and use SEO suggestions and platforms that edit text, photography, or videography. Remember, the latest edition iPhones produce high-quality videos.
- Plan: Devising content plans is essential when on a budget. This will ensure that you cover your bases in terms of consistency and stretch things out as far as possible. You can plan your content calendar to ensure you cover all of your bases and have a well-rounded strategy that is cohesive and makes the most of the available funds. If you have enough room within your budget to promote your content for higher-yielding results, you will also need to plan and measure the success of these and make adjustments where necessary.
- Free: Without stretching your brand too thin by being available on every possible platform, consider the spaces you can contribute, and make substantial efforts. For instance, having a blog is necessary and freely available when you have your website. Likewise, it'll cost you nothing to create a social media account. Use the free channels available to communicate and share content with your audience.
- User-generated content: For free content that services to inspire your audience credibly, encourage your customers to share their content relating to your brand. Whether it's a review, a video, or photos, resharing these can add to your current content and provide a third-party boost as well.
That sums up our guide to creating content marketing on a shoestring budget. The key takeaway is not to skimp on quality but rather to ensure consistency and find creative ways to make your content scratch further. Consider the types of content, the creators you can employ, and the tips on how to lower your budget for the best approach to managing a strapped budget.
Nexa has a team of content creators who work with all kinds of budgets. Get in touch with us to find out what we can produce for you, given your business needs and budget.