You want more and more people to find and visit your website.
You want them to become your loyal readers and keep coming back for more.
But getting started with content marketing feels like the toughest road to conquer.
No doubt, creating high-quality content is expensive. For most companies, it is. And it makes you think, is it even possible to make content marketing work for your business on a small budget?
Fortunately, the answer is yes.
It’s all about knowing what matters and how to use the resources you already have to achieve maximum results.
Here’s what you can expect to learn today:
- Why you should opt for content marketing
- The actual cost of content marketing
- How to do content marketing on a shoestring budget
- Which channels would be the best for your business’s content marketing strategy
- How to create quality content consistently without any heavy investment
- How to use your blog to generate more leads
And if you stick till the end, I’ve listed some pretty good resources too.
Let’s dive right in.
Why do small businesses need content marketing?
More than 70% of the customers would rather like to know about your company through a blog post or an article than a paid advertisement.
No matter how expensive content marketing seems on the surface, you should know that it’s 62% less costly than any outbound marketing strategy and brings three times the results.
Apart from that, here are a few more reasons why you should opt for content marketing:
- It helps you build trust with your audience
- It promotes your brand without selling
- It directly puts your business in front of a large audience
- It’s comparatively easier to perform and analyze
- It generates more leads to your website; and
- It attracts potential buyers
Actual cost: Content marketing budget breakdown
The real cost of your content marketing always depends on your goal with the content.
The 1000 words are just 1000 words until you decide what those 1000 words will do for you. And that’s where the price difference comes into play.
Still, here’s a list of estimated costs of different types of content to give you an idea.
No doubt, blogging is the first thing that comes to mind while talking about content marketing.
Being on a budget, you can expect to pay anywhere from $0 – $200 per blog post depending on how you’re operating—writing yourself or hiring a content agency or a freelance writer.
eBooks are the best to offer as a lead magnet if you’re willing to start growing your mailing list.
You can write one yourself using Google docs and doing some basic research on its structure and design. Or you can hire a freelance writer to do it for you.
If you’re going for the latter, expect to pay up to $4500. The cost mainly depends on its length, the amount of research, number of interviews and consultation calls required.
If you’re on a budget and willing to repurpose your blog content into infographics, then hiring a freelance graphic designer is one of the best solutions for you.
The reasons behind it are simple, an agency might charge you up to a few thousand dollars, and doing it yourself can cost you tons of hours to get it right if you haven’t done it before.
However, a freelancer may charge you as little as $25 to $300 per piece,depending on their expertise.
If creating videos is one of the types of content you want to produce, most of your budget will go into it.
You can opt for multiple ways to create videos like screen recording, live videos, promotional films, animated videos, etc.
Most of it may cost anywhere between 3-5 digits, as it also includes the script, voiceover, narration, actors, and other essential resources.
If you’re going for an animated video or simple promotional videos, then you can consider hiring freelancers to do it for you. It may cost you around $500-$1000 or up.
A simple content audit for your limited budget content marketing
If you already have a blog or website with published content. Then it’s time for you to go through all of it and determine which content is still relevant and which is not.
The first step would be to keep in mind what’s essential for your audience and your business. Then decide which of the content you should keep, update, repurpose, or remove altogether.
If you have a huge website with tons of pages, then a free downloadable tool like Screaming Frog might help.
You can also track old content on your blog that has stopped bringing results in the last 12 months with Click Flow Content Tool, but it costs around $100 a month.
Make the most of your content marketing budget by determining the right channels
Once you’ve done your content audit, you’d need to decide which of the platforms, apart from your blog, you would post fresh content on.
If you’re short on time, it’s always good to decide and focus on a few essential channels that’ll have the maximum impact on your business.
Consider a Facebook and LinkedIn page as a must for your social media presence. From there on, you can find out which other platforms you should go for.
If you’re a little confused, it’d be better if you check out what your competitors are doing.
No matter which social media platform you choose, always remain active there and always have some solid content on your website to direct your audience to, so you can use the attention you grabbed to increase your leads.
After all, you never establish your business on rented land.
Small business marketing on a budget may require you to go more strategically and put in more effort, yet, you can’t afford to skip anything—especially the major strategies like email marketing.
To keep your email marketing up and running, follow a few simple steps:
- Let your subscribers know when they can expect your emails
- Show up at the promised time
- Never ghost them
- Avoid being bland and boring
For starters, MailerLite is a great email marketing platform. They offer free entry-level accounts and a number of email templates. If sending generic emails based on templates is not how you operate, then learn how to send great newsletters weekly.
How small businesses can create content regularly and scale it like a pro
The most important thing that successful content marketers do is that they keep all of their content marketing channels updated regularly.
Here’s how to have regular fresh content for your blog and social media channels.
Invite guest bloggers
One of the best sources for regular new content is guest bloggers. Although, if you don’t currently have high domain authority, it’d be a little hard for you to attract big authority writers.
Yet, many freelance writers out there are trying to get published somewhere. All they need is a platform to showcase their work and maybe a little feedback. And all you need is fresh and good content for your blog.
So, create a ‘Write For Us’ page on your website, and soon you’ll start attracting writers who want to create content for you.
Another great way to keep your channels updated is by repurposing your old content. You can convert an old list post into an infographic or a short checklist post for social media.
While sharing these infographics and short posts on your social channels, you can link back to the original post and see the impact your repurposed content is creating.
You can also create a short video out of the old content or convert your long-form post into an eBook and offer it as a lead magnet.
DIY within minimal time
It’s possible to do the writing yourself without sweating blood. Here’s how.
Create an editorial content calendar
You’re a busy person, and if you’re going to create regular content yourself, you must keep track of dates.
You cannot afford to research the topic each time you sit to write, edit content whenever you feel like, and publish it on any date.
Consistent publishing dates give your audience an idea of when to expect new content. And if you deliver great value each time you hit publish, they keep coming back for more.
Create the content topics for at least four blog posts a month in your editorial calendar and have these columns at least:
- First draft date
- Editing date
- Publishing date
For now, using a spreadsheet to create a content calendar would be enough. But as your content game grows, you can consider investing in project management platforms or apps like Trello, Co-schedule, Contently, etc.
Create outlines in batches
Once you have your topics ready, it’ll be better to create detailed outlines of all of these topics at once. It’ll help you complete your blog posts in the minimum amount of time.
Because when you have a detailed outline, all you need to do is get from point A to point B, and so on. You could choose to outsource this task to a VA.
Hire a copy editor
We all know that long-form content performs the best. And if you’re creating such content, then it’ll be better to hire a copy-editor. They charge relatively less than writers and can improve your writing tremendously.
Any decent copywriter will charge anywhere from $0.01 – $0.02 per word. This way, you can keep on posting good quality content at the bare minimum.
Assign writing to your in-house team
If you have an outstanding in-house team of experts, then you can create a pretty much good amount of quality content for your blog. All you have to do is,
- Brainstorm ideas together
- Assign different team members to create content in their field of expertise
- Get the content edited by your copy-editor
- Schedule the publishing date
Hire a freelance writer
If you and your team are short on time and have no other choice than to hire a freelance writer, consider the following.
Create a detailed ad
When you begin your hunt for your perfect but cost-effective writer, then list your exact needs in the job ad and be as specific as you can.
Post your job ad
Once your job ad is ready, you’ll need to post it on a website that is likely to attract high quality writers.
Fortunately, there are plenty of websites you can use for this purpose. Check out Blogging Wizard’s article on freelance job websites to get started.
Create a content guide for writers to follow
Your next step would be to create special guidelines for your writers to follow.
This way, you’ll get most things right, like the use of headers, length of sentences and paragraphs, links and anchor texts, your spelling preferences, images and other media types, capitalization, and the overall style of the posts.
A word about content marketing firms and content provider
Choosing content marketing firms may turn out to be a poor choice for you if you’re a small business marketer.
The first reason behind this is that they run on a long-term contract basis, and if you don’t like their services down the road, you’d still need to pay for the particular duration of time you signed up for.
Plus, they outsource their workload to no one but the same newbie freelance writers you’re trying to avoid.
The only benefit they offer you is that they take full content responsibility from start to finish.
Next on the list are content providers like Upwork and Textbroker. You can get content from these platforms for as little as $5 for a single blog post, but the content will be of cheap quality and may contain errors.
Track and measure your content performance to avoid misspending
No matter what business you’re in, you must track your progress.
Determine where the traffic is coming from to your site. If it’s organic traffic, keep on working on your content strategy and SEO.
If it’s social traffic coming from social media channels, then make sure you have regular high-quality content to keep them engaged with you.
Use Google Analytics to track your organic traffic, bounce rate, and conversion rate. It’s pretty simple to use and available free of cost.
Ignore SEO at your own risk
Most business owners think your story and good quality content is all you need to get ahead. But trust me on this, it’s not true.
If you want people to read your quality content, then you need SEO more than anything.
You can begin by searching for keywords manually and start by targeting long-tail keywords. But you would also need to track your keyword ranking, do content analysis, monitor inbound links, etc.
Here are a few freemium SEO tools that you can get started with instantly:
Are you ready to level up your content marketing game?
By now, you know more than an average small business owner about getting started with content marketing on a small budget.
With just a little planning and efforts made in the right direction, you can start producing results.
The best way to get ahead is to re-use the returns you get from these methods and keep on improving your content marketing game for a better ROI, loads of traffic, new leads, clients, and customers, and higher profits.