Did you know that content marketing is one of the most affordable ways to market your brand or business?
Content marketing is a ‘slow burn’ – its effects are a little bit like compounding interest: the more you put into it now, the greater the reward later. People often become a bit disheartened because they go hard on content marketing for a couple of weeks and can’t see any immediate ROI. But that is because they don’t understand the long-term benefits of this form of marketing.
I like to think of content marketing like gardening – each new piece of content that you ‘plant’ about your brand or business will eventually grow into a beautiful flower (or tasty vegetable), ready to harvest. But it won’t happen overnight, and it does require the right conditions.
If you have a small marketing budget and are prepared to DIY some of your marketing efforts yourself, then content marketing has some great benefits. It is easier to learn and understand than complex digital marketing concepts like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), or Google Ads. And it is easier to DIY parts of a content marketing strategy than it is to DIY outdoor advertising or print advertising. And finally, it doesn’t require the large upfront costs that most traditional forms of marketing or advertising require.
All you need for a successful content marketing campaign is a commitment to being consistent, a half decent website (or other ‘owned’ platform*), and a handful of free social media accounts. Oh, and patience. Be at peace with the idea that success isn’t going to happen overnight, and that you need to keep investing to see your compounding interest grow.
In this article I’m going to share a few tips to help guide a low-budget content marketing campaign. But first, let’s take a quick dip into why content marketing converts better than other types of marketing.
*Owned platforms are digital platforms that you have complete and total control and ownership over. The most common owned platform is your website. Social media accounts are not ‘owned’ because you don’t have control over them; Facebook could turn their platform off at any second, and you’d lose access to that audience. You also can’t export your user database from Facebook or Instagram, another characteristic that prevents them from being fully ‘owned’.
Content Marketing that Converts:
According to Demand Metric, 70% of people would rather learn about a company through articles, videos, and social media posts than through advertisements. Furthermore, 82% of consumers reported feeling more positive about a company after reading custom content.
We’ve written about this a lot previously, but content marketing’s role is to build connection with your audience.
A well-structured content marketing strategy will focus first on giving your audience value (usually in the form of education or entertainment or providing a free solution for a small problem). The next step is to build connection by sharing your story and ‘humanising’ your brand. Once you have done these first two steps, you can start to educate your audience about your product offering.
Taking this approach to content marketing increases the conversion rate of your audience for a number of reasons:
- Building a connection with your audience makes them feel like they ‘know’ you. They are emotionally invested in your story and your journey and will support your business where they are able to.
- Giving them value or solving a minor problem for free builds goodwill. You helped them out of a sticky situation, saving them a couple of bucks, and they won’t forget this.
- Consistently providing information and content about a particular topic helps establish you as an expert on that topic. When people have a problem related to that topic, you will be top of their mind. In future, they will likely come straight to you for assistance, rather than Googling or searching for a new solution.
Ultimately, humans are creatures of habit and comfort – we’d rather use a brand or service that we feel like we ‘know’ rather than take the time to get to know a new brand. Content marketing allows you to build trust with your audience before they need your service – so that by the time they are ready to buy, they wouldn’t even think of going anywhere else.
That is why content marketing is a ‘slow burn’ – because you’re trying to catch your prospective clients’ attention months before they are ready to buy. You’re trying to reel them into following your social media accounts, signing up to your newsletter, and becoming regular readers of your blog, long before they need your services. That way, when that day comes that they do need what you’re selling… they wouldn’t dream of going to anyone else.
4 Tips for Any Content Marketing Budget:
Ok, so now we have a thorough understanding of why content marketing is a long-term game and why the dividends at the end are so much more valuable than those offered by other forms of content marketing, let’s get into some practical tips to help you get started with content marketing on any budget!
Tip 1: Generating Relevant and On-Trend Content Ideas
You’re going to need to get comfortable with creating content on a regular basis – copywriting and blogs, social media posts, videos, whitepapers – what ever you’re most comfortable with.
Most business owners can come up with a handful of content or topic ideas off the top of their head – but you’re going to need a new handful of content ideas every single month.
Where do all these ideas come from?
The trick to coming up with great content ideas is to pick topics you know your audience is interested in. Creating content around topics you know they are interested in will help increase engagement with your content as well. There is nothing worse than spending 2-3 hours pouring your heart out into a blog, releasing it into the wild, only to receive silence in return.
Instead, if you try to shape your content around answering questions you know your audience has or providing educational resources around common problems, you’re much more likely to receive the reactions you’re after.
We have a great article that outlines some of our top tips for coming up with content ideas which you can find here, but some of our quick take-away tips include:
- Online forums and Facebook Groups – jump into some of the more popular online forums and Facebook group where you know your target market are spending their time online. Follow the posts, threads, and questions, and constantly be asking yourself “could I create a blog about that topic?” or “could I shoot a quick 60 second video to answer that person’s question?”
- FAQs – what questions do your existing or new customers commonly ask you? Our general rule of thumb is that for every one person who verbalises a question, there are probably 10 people also thinking the same question. If you are consistently being asked the same questions, creating an educational blog around each question is a really great way to not only answer their questions but to establish yourself as a helpful resource for those other 10 people who never got around to asking.
- Google & Keyword Research – Keyword research will tell you what terms and questions people are typing into Google. This gives you great insight into what people are interested in, and what information they are looking for. When you Google a term, you’ll often see sections on the search engine result page like ‘people frequently ask’ or ‘similar searches’ – these are also great spots to look for content ideas. We also recommend Google Trends – this tool will help you see what topics, ideas or news is currently trending in your industry.
- Answer the Public – this is a great tool that collates question-based queries from all over the internet to show you what some of the most frequently asked questions are in relation to a particular topic. If you type in a high-level topic like ‘house plants’, you’ll get dozens and dozens of questions that people have typed into Google, forums, and other sites, looking for answers.
Tip 2: Pick Your Platforms
If you have limited resources – either budget or time – for your content marketing efforts, then the worst thing you can do is spread yourself too thin. You do not need to be active on every single social media platform.
Rather, you would get much better results from selecting the one or two platforms that make the most sense for your brand, target market, product offering, and the style of content you’re planning on producing.
If you’re not comfortable being in front of the camera, then there is no point being on YouTube or TikTok. Likewise, if your audience is predominantly people or brands in the professional services space, then you’re probably going to have a hard time tracking them down on Pinterest.
Our recent article ‘Social Media Marketing in 2022: Where Are Your Users?’ will provide you with some great insight into how different demographics are currently using different social media platforms. You can also ask yourself the following questions to help you decide which platforms to focus on:
- What platforms do you KNOW your target audience are active on?
- What type of content are you most comfortable creating (blogs, videos, photos, short posts etc), and what platforms would that content perform best on?
- What platforms are your competition most active on?*
*Knowing which platforms your competition is most active on, and where they are seeing success can help you make your decision where to invest your resources. Firstly, if they are posting frequently on a platform but have a relatively small and unengaged audience, that could be a sign that your target audience aren’t very engaged on that platform. Secondly, if they are seeing success and you know you can produce better content than they have – then it might be a sign that that platform is easier to grow an audience on. And thirdly, if they are AREN’T active on a particular platform, then you can investigate whether there is opportunity on that platform or not – it might make it easier to build an audience on a platform with less competition.
Tip 3: Repurpose and Reuse
The best DIY content marketers have perfected a system for creating content in batches that they then spin and repurpose for different platforms and in different formats. The key to this tip is to focus on creating evergreen content.
Evergreen content is content that is timeless – it has a long lifespan and doesn’t become outdated quickly. It doesn’t reference current events or circumstances, and it isn’t seasonal (ie. Doesn’t reference Christmas, the new year, Easter etc.). It can be read on any day, at any time and it will still be relevant. For example, a blog article titled ‘Copywriting that Converts’ is evergreen. A blog titled ‘Christmas Copywriting that Converts’ is not.
Ok, so you’ve got your evergreen topic, the next step is to create a long-form piece of content around this topic and then slice and dice it into smaller pieces of content as well as convert it into other formats.
An example of this would be this blog. This blog is over 2000 words long – that qualifies it as ‘long-form’ (another example would be a 10+ minute video). If we wanted to spin this piece of content into multiple pieces of content, we could do the following:
- 5 social media posts: one post that links to the full article, as well as 4 additional social media posts, one for each of the tips covered in the blog.
- Email Marketing: we can add a tip to each of our weekly email newsletters for the next 4 weeks.
- Podcast: we can record a reading of this blog and release it as a podcast.
- Live Q&A: we can host a live Q&A on Facebook following the release of this article, where we can answer any questions that our audience has.
- Follow-up Article: we can then turn the questions that the audience asks at the live Q&A into a follow-up piece (and then start the whole process over again).
It will take a little bit of trial-and-error for you to establish you own ‘content machine’ that works for you, but the more you work towards systemising your content creation efforts, the more efficient it will become.
Tip 4: Build Relationships
Alrighty we have left the most important part of content marketing to the end: build relationships.
Too many brands and people focus on the content creation side of content marketing and forget that the ultimate goal for content marketing is to build connection and relationships with your audience (so that they feel loyal to you).
If you are just dumping content into their feed 2-3 times a week and not sticking around to have a chat with them then you’ve only done half the job. Make sure that you are replying to every comment and question; engage with your audience and make them feel loved.
When we get new followers on our Instagram page, we send them a little ‘thank you’ message to acknowledge them. We also follow a lot of Facebook Groups that are relevant to our target audience – like ‘Brisbane Small Business’ and ‘Women in Business’ – and we are active in these groups, answering questions and sharing ideas. This makes these communities a lot more receptive when we share our latest blog article into them or want to pose our own poll or question to the group.
Whatever solution works for you, make sure that you are carving out time in your content marketing schedule to engage and build relationships with your audience if you want to maximise your results.
Low Budget Content Marketing that Converts
Our four tips for low budget content marketing that converts all have one thing in common – strategy. Rather than throwing content at the internet and hoping it sticks, you’re taking a moment to plan. You’re reducing the platforms and topics and being more selective to ensure your resources are being spent in the best way possible. You’re establishing a system that is not only efficient, but helps you remain consistent. And you’re keeping your existing audience engaged while you continue to build your following.
If you can commit to these activities consistently – even if it is just 2-3 hours per week to begin with, you will see results. They will be slow, and the more you put into it, the more you will get out – again, it is just like compounding interest.
If you have any questions or would like to talk to BeKonstructive Marketing about how we can partner with you to help you get your content marketing efforts off the ground, please get in touch with us here.