If you’re working in the marketing world at an agency or brand or just trying to market your own small business, chances are you’ve come across the term “content marketing.” Content marketing is a valuable technique for attracting your target market through the creation and distribution of content that is of interest to customers via various platforms and mediums (fancy words for social media channels). Content marketing is an exciting way to help promote your product or service and help move customers into the sales pipeline without actually selling.
To read a more in-depth article about content marketing check out our recent post: What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is an exciting prospect as it allows you to build real, tangible relationships with potential customers. It can increase your brand recognition and better your search results on Google and other search engines organically, but getting started in content marketing can be confusing and costly. There are many different ways you can use content marketing: blogs, social media, webinars, events, custom publications, video productions…the list goes on and on. And while the list of ways you can create content and distribute it goes on and on, the prospect of putting it into action and within a modest budget can be daunting. That’s why the expert team at SocialNicole Digital has come up with some ways for your business to leverage content marketing while still staying within your monetary and time budgets.
Here are 5 ways to leverage content marketing without breaking the bank:
1. Blogging: A Core Component For Any Content Marketing Plan
At SocialNicole Digital, we LOVE blogging! Blogging is (or should be) a major cornerstone of most content marketing strategies. For those of you who are scratching your head and saying, “but I heard blogging is dead” STOP IT! This is a number one false rumor that seems to constantly exist. I have been hearing about blogging being dead for years and I can promise you it is NOT dead! People may use different words for blogging such as Updates, News, Insights, Thoughts or a million other words to refer to their blog (SocialNicole Digital has our blog labeled as “Free Tips”) and while these descriptive words may help users understand what they are reading, the words are describing the content on the platform, the actual platform is a blog.
What Is A Blog
We often throw around the word “blog” and assume everyone understands what it is. But for many it is a vague concept. A blog is an online journal or informational “website” displaying information published in reverse chronological order, with latest posts appearing first. Blogs typically have an author listed, date, archives, categories and people can comment while most static web pages will not have any of these listed features. Blogs are different than static website pages in that they have a date, are archived in chronological order and people can comment and interact with them. Blog posts are setup to be social (or should be) so people can share the posts easily on social media, interact with them and also find them in a search.
Why Businesses Should Blog
Blogging is a huge part of effective content marketing. According to impactbnd.com, “Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website.” Blogging helps with SEO to drive people from organic search to your business website. It also helps to provide valuable information that you can share on your social media channels, email newsletters and other places. Finally blogging allows you and/or your business to establish yourself as an expert in your industry and a thought leader. All of these facts make blogging a major component of any content marketing plan. The core of content marketing is to provide relevant and strategic information to consumers without necessarily pushing your product. When done right, you don’t pitch your offering, instead you provide content that will make them a well-informed consumer and help them make their final buying decisions.
Blogging is a great way to get the entire company involved. Invite guests to blog, bring in different departments to talk about trends in your industry, to share their expertise with your consumers or even to share a behind-the-scenes look at your company. Not only is a blog huge for marketing, but it humanizes your organization. It is a platform for longer, more anecdotal content, which will get your audience more emotionally engaged.
Additionally, blogging can be done with minimal cost, and has the flexibility to be fit into almost any budget. There is some expense in setting up a branded blog (we suggest WordPress.org) and also expenses associated in resources for writing, editing and publishing blog posts – the investment is minimal when you look at the long-term effect a blog post will have. Once published it is picked up by search engines and will forever be a asset to your company for SEO.
Not sure where to start? We have an article titled 5 Tips for Starting a Business Blog to get you started.
2. Social Media: Growing Your Audience With Content Marketing
Social Media is a major part of content marketing and should not be overlooked when creating your content marketing plans. It has been reported that 79% of marketing strategists surveyed found social media to be the most effective channel for B2B content marketing, which is quite the number! Building a social media strategy that leverages platforms that your audience is present on to grow your business is no small task, but the long-term results can make it worth your time. Creating relevant content to share on your social media channels that will get your customers to take notice of you and engage is essential.
While social media channels are typically free to use, the time it takes to curate and create great content is not free. However, the amount you will spend on content marketing through social media can be a vastly lower number than you would spend on other advertising or marketing. One of the awesome things about content marketing is it has the flexibility to be super cheap or more expensive, depending on your budget, and you can still see results either way. It is also important to note that leveraging some ad spend on platforms like Facebook can really help with a businesses effectiveness on social media.
3. E-mail Blasts: Content Marketing Boost
Weekly, monthly or bi-monthly e-mail updates are another great way to update your current and potential customers on industry and company updates or share-worthy news. People must opt-in to your email list and this makes the list very valuable as they are giving you permission to reach out to them. You should definitely place an e-mail signup box on your website or blog and make sure the signup option is visible.
Email newsletters or blasts are easy to setup and for small businesses there are free options for setting up and running your email blasts through platforms like MailChimp (our preferred platform). While it does take some time to craft the content for an email newsletter, the effort is minimal and the results can be exceptional. Again, you are speaking to people who have given you permission to email them – which is huge! Remember that you can use your blog content as part of your email newsletter. One strategy to integrate your blog into your emails is to create teasers that link to specific blog posts. You can also use photos and videos for email newsletters. Repurposing content from one content marketing platform to the next is essential for keeping your costs down.
4. Video: A Smart Move in 2018
Using video as a marketing tool is another way you can draw audiences in. With platforms such as YouTube offering the capability to create and share videos of any length, and Facebook and Instagram offering live video options, there are a variety of ways in which your audience can interact with your content. From video tutorials to vlogs to real time sharing though live videos, the opportunities video content marketing offers are vast. Videos are engaging and shareable, and also help show your audience the personality of your business in a much more personal way. Videos as a marketing strategy are skyrocketing in popularity and reach. According to the Wyzowl 2018 State of Video Marketing survey, 99% of businesses which use video as a marketing tool say they will continue to do so in 2018, and 85% of businesses regard video as an important part of their marketing strategy, and using product videos can increase purchases by up to 144%.
While video can be a bit more expensive, there are plenty of ways to keep costs low, such as using a smartphone or laptop camera, and using video editing apps that are free. With smartphones that have better cameras than ever before, it isn’t necessary to invest in expensive video equipment, especially if your video marketing is just a supplement to other marketing strategies. Professional-quality videos can indeed be bank-breaking, but if you’re tech-savvy enough and willing to put in the work, you can create quality videos for a much lower cost. Be cautious of spending large portions of your ad spend budget on a professional video production without reserving budget for ad spend and promotion.
5. Recycling Your Content
If your budget is small, it may be a stretch to continually have hours spent on creating new content for your blog or social media. One way to solve this is to recycle old content. Chances are you have newsletters, blog posts and social media messages that contain content that is reusable or what we call “evergreen” content. Evergreen content is content that is not time sensitive and can be used again in the future. It’s important you get creative and come up with ways to make your old content new again. This can be done semi-regularly, or just periodically when you’re in a bind and are unable to curate enough new content.
Some ways to recycle evergreen content include:
- Reworking an old blog post to refresh it with current data and language. When you publish your updated and refreshed blog post you should setup a redirect from the old post URL to the new URL so that people find the most recent post (you do not want to leave the old post published since you have reworked the post and Google will see this as duplicate content and they can penalize your search because of that duplication).
- Create evergreen social media messages that aren’t time-sensitive and can be shared whenever you need content but don’t have the time or resources to create entirely new content. This is not cheating – rather, it’s a good way to keep all your content out there fresh, while continuing to drive home points that are important to your business and also save yourself money and time. It is good practice to rotate evergreen messages so you are not repeating the same message over and over. It is also good practice to make some updates to content each time you share so it has some unique elements.
- Another fun way to recycle content is by creating #TBT (Throwback Thursday) posts. The purpose of Throw Back Thursday posts is to invoke memories of the past and showcase important events, awards or milestones that your company may have. The goal with a #TBT post is to invoke a sense of nostalgia and connection to the brand or business. People love to see the positive and personal side of a business.
- Turning blog posts into newsletter content or turning newsletters into blog posts should also be considered. Many clients have robust newsletters, both email and offline newsletters. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Pull content from whatever source it is created and rework it for your other channels.
The Bottom Line: Content Marketing Requires Quality Content
The bottom line, whether you decide to use one or all of the above content marketing tips, is to always make sure your business is producing quality content. Make your blogs, tweets, emails, and everything in between the best they can be for maximum business growth through content marketing. Audiences respond to quality over quantity, so take your time in producing your content and make sure that your content fits your target audience and is useful to them. Content marketing is a long term investment and it’s important to realize that regardless of size or budget you can make an investment to build your digital marketing arsenal with quality content that will be valuable to your customer. Whether is one blog post a month, or tweets everyday of valuable information for your target audience – your consistent efforts can help grow a community and increase your customer base.
While content marketing is not free, it also does not need to break your piggy bank wide open! There are plenty of ways to leverage digital platforms to reach your customers in a personal and effective way.