Content marketing is all the rage these days. We know that good content in many formats like ebooks, webinars and blog posts can attract the right people to our business and those people can become customers. Most businesses think creating good content takes money and time. Not necessarily. Here's how to do content marketing on a budget:
1 - Produce your content in-house - Employees already know your business and your customer. They know the common problems, questions and issues your customers have too. They also know how to answer those questions since they do it every day! Have them take 1-2 hours per week to put that info on paper. Or, they can record themselves giving those hints. Then, post them on your website and social media accounts. Using your expert employees that you already pay means you don't have to pay outsiders.
Consider this, a few weeks ago I got the brakes on my car done. I asked the technician a few questions about why pads wear down and how I could maintain them better. She knew the answer to all of those questions immediately. Then, the person behind me in line asked her those exact same questions and the technician was happy to do her best impression of a broken record. Instead of wasting her breath she could easily record a video series of those FAQs being answered on YouTube and have them loop in the shop and online.
2 - Recycle your content - Be environmentally friendly! There is a good chance your content has crossover appeal. Hey, if Justin Timberlake can be an actor then your video can be a blog post. Or vice versa. Content marketing takes take time. Producing all the content you need to turn your little presence online into a lead machine isn't easy. Since you don't have time or money you need to stretch whatever content you have to as many formats as possible.
Let's look at podcasts. Podcasts are easy ways to get content live. You can record a Skype call with someone and post it online and anywhere else audio plays. You can even replace the elevator music on your office phone with your podcast recordings. Podcasts make great blog posts too. A recap of the podcast and links to any resources mentioned on the show is an easy blog post that will take minutes to tap together. Lastly, you can take that audio recording, convert it to a video file and upload it to YouTube even if there is no video. If you do all that you would have stretched that one 60 minute phone call into 4 different types of content (at minimum). Here's some other ways you can save time on content marketing.
3 - Outsource the Details - Look, the hard part is all done. You've been diligent about creating new stuff once or twice a week and you're also repackaging that stuff in different formats to feed the content cookie monster different pieces. Now, you need a touch of web/graphic work to polish it off a bit or to create some landing pages on your site. In cases like that you can get very affordable help through freelancer sites like Elance or Upwork. It's great if you can do some design and coding on your own, but if you spend a few hours doing this then that's time you aren't growing the business or helping customers.
Marketing automation software: to buy or not to buy? - There is a lot of great software that can help bring purpose to your content marketing strategy. Marketing automation software helps you nurture leads and has many modules aimed at helping you measure, track and analyze how well your content marketing is doing. In addition to regularly feeding targeted content to your subscribers. Some of these tools include HubSpot (my favorite), Marketo, Eloqua, Cision, Infusionsoft and others. Any of these applications will help you manage your content marketing strategy better...if you actually put in the work.
In a nutshell, content marketing is similar to exercise - it's cheap and you can do it for free if you have the drive (thousands of people run in parks after all). Or, you can buy a gym membership and get a personal trainer. That's kind of like what marketing automation software is to content marketing. The gym membership and trainer helps, but you have to decide what you can and can't afford. Just know this; no automation software alone will help you if you have issues with leads and signups (here's how to get more of those). They have modules that can apply best-practices to get leads and signups, but you need to help yourself by feeding the content cookie monster first.
This whitepaper outlines how to manage your content marketing strategy without marketing automation software.