As we move into Q4, the mentions of next year’s marketing budgets start to creep into our daily conversations. And for small businesses, this part of the budget can sometimes seem incredibly daunting. But if you’re looking to get the most bang for your marketing buck, content marketing is something worth exploring; if you aren’t already.
Despite what many small business owners may believe, content marketing can be affordable. According to DemandMetric, content marketing costs 62 percent less than outbound marketing and generates 3x as many leads! What and ROI, right?
Still, we know that having a low budget can limit what you do with your content marketing. To help you do more with less, here are some ways to do content marketing on a shoestring budget:
Solve Problems with Your Content
Helping people through your content is one of the main purposes of content marketing. If you need a greater incentive to lend a helping hand to your audience, just look at the many small businesses that have found success by sharing their knowledge.
By offering solutions to your customer’s biggest problems, you establish authority in your niche, attract new customers, and solidify your relationships with existing customers—all of which leads to greater sales for your business.
There is no shortage of ways for you to begin helping people with your content marketing. A simple, yet effective strategy is to start answering questions on Quora. Not only can you find out more about your target market on Quora, but you can also add a subtle plug for your products or blog content (just don’t make it too spammy).
Write Guest Posts
If you have a good handle on your own blog, it’s time to take things up a notch. Guest blogging is a cost-effective way to reach a wider audience, build your email list, improve your search engine rankings, and spread the word about your brand.
For guest posting to work, it’s important to be choosy about who you pitch to. Posting a well-written article on a low-quality website is a waste of effort and could hurt your brand’s reputation.
To get the most bang for your buck, check the social influence of those you are considering pitching to. If they have a large following on social media, this is a good indication that you will get at least some traffic back to your site if your posts are high-quality.
Brian Dean from BackLinko wrote an informative guide on how to find and pitch to bloggers for guest blogging opportunities. Give guest blogging a try and remember to track your referral traffic in Google Analytics to see if your efforts are paying off.
Repurpose Your Content
You may not be able to churn out as much content as larger companies can, but what you do produce is high-quality. Why not give these top-notch pieces of content the promotion they deserve?
Rather than let your best content sit in your blog’s archive, consider repurposing them to give your content new life. For example, you could turn a series of blog posts into an eBook, or create a new blog post featuring your most popular posts of all time. You could even take your visual-heavy content and create an infographic from it to post to Pinterest.
Here are a few other ways to repurpose your content:
- Turn content into a slide deck using SlideShare
- Update an older blog post and promote it.
- Turn your marketing data into case studies.
- Promote your evergreen content with a new headline on social media.
There are many advantages to repurposing your content, the most obvious being that it saves you time and money because you have already written most of it. Additionally, not everyone consumes content in the same way. By recycling your content, you can reach a wider audience and reinforce your brand’s message.
Get Creative with Your Video Content on Instagram
Instagram has leveled the playing field for small and large businesses with its impressive video content tools. Today, smaller brands can easily create engaging video content that rivals any big box retailer thanks to Boomerang, Hyperlapse, and Stories.
In fact, some of the best Instagram videos are from those who aren’t afraid to get a little creative. Take BarkBox, for example. The dog subscription box service uses Instagram Stories to show their silly side and once produced a Story featuring a “doggie interview”, in which an employee interviews a pug.
The video was funny, engaging, and most importantly—it made BarkBox stand apart from ther competitors. Get creative on Instagram and monitor your results in Instagram Analytics to see if your efforts are paying off.
Pro Tip: Looking to get some inspiration for future content? Try out Instagram’s poll feature and ask your follows what they want to know or see!
Leverage User-Generated Content
When it comes to purchasing a product, we’re far more likely to trust the recommendations of family and friends than brands. User-generated content, or UGC, is content that is created by your audience and is extremely effective at driving engagement and sales.
Best of all, it’s one of the most cost-effective forms of content marketing there is. Your business can simply repost content that uses a specific hashtag to showcase a customer’s experience with your brand, or ask users to submit photos as part of a social media contest.
Keep the momentum going by commenting on user-generated content, like Halo Top does on Instagram. You can also drive conversions for your online store by placing UGC on your website. Just remember to ask for the user’s permission to post!
Collaborate with Other Small Businesses
It’s downright impossible for small businesses to produce as much content as big retailers. But when small businesses partner together, they can reach a wider audience, share their resources, and create amazing content.
For example, you and your partner could host a joint social media contest, collaborate on an eBook, host a Facebook Q&A, or combine your data and create an original research study.
The key to a good partnership is finding someone who has skills to complement your own. If you have a weak spot in your content marketing, find someone who can help you strengthen it with their skillset.
No matter how small your budget is, you can make content marketing work for your organization. In fact, I’d argue that not having a big budget forces you to get creative and can lead to some truly amazing pieces of content.
Just know that it may take time. Be patient and give it a few months to start seeing results. Once your content marketing begins generating traffic and sales, you can invest in other content marketing strategies to grow your small business.