You already know that content marketing is a must for anybody with an online business. Even if you still have a day job, content marketing can help you attract new readers and customers and increase your online income.
The issue for a lot of entrepreneurs is cost. Let’s face it – some content marketing ideas are expensive. If you don’t have a ton of cash on hand for your marketing budget, then a $5,000 video campaign isn’t going to be feasible for you.
The great news is that there are plenty of ways to conceptualize and run a highly effective content marketing campaign even if your budget is small. I’ve spent a lot of time working on content marketing. Here are 7 of my favorite inexpensive content marketing ideas for you to try.
#1: Start a Blog
I know blogging isn’t exactly a revolutionary idea, but I meet a lot of entrepreneurs who still aren’t blogging. That makes it a must for this list.
Blog posts can be inexpensive to create. You can write them yourself if you’ve got the time and inclination. They don’t need to be long to be effective – 500 words is enough if you’re just getting started. You also have the option of hiring a freelance writer to manage your blog – and for some people, that may be less expensive than doing it themselves.
Keep in mind that you can find tons of free images to use in your blog posts. You don’t need to pay for them.
You can also plan the content for your blog using a Website Content Plan Template. This will help you structure and architect the website in a more informed way.
#2: Turn Data into Infographics
If you spend any time online, you know that infographics are everywhere. They’re a great way to present data because they offer a visual representation of numbers, making it easier to understand and absorb information.
You don’t have to spend money to make a great-looking infographic. There are lots of free online tools available. For example, I really like Canva’s infographic creator – and Canva is one of my favorite content creation tools. They offer both free and paid options.
If you do want to hire a designer, you may be able to do it inexpensively on Fiverr. Just make sure to get some samples and check references.
#3: Do a Live Q & A Video
There’s no denying the popularity of video content, but some entrepreneurs stay away from video because they fear it will cost too much to create a quality video. But guess what? The increasing availability of live video options takes much of the pressure away and makes it easy to connect with your target audience.
It’s simple to use Facebook Live to do a live Q & A with your followers. A lot of entrepreneurs shoot videos without any special equipment. All you really need are good lighting and a decent microphone. Your followers can ask questions in the comment section and you can pick the ones you respond to live. You can also use questions you don’t get to in a future video or blog post!
#4: Solicit User-Created Content
You know what’s even better than content you create? Content your users create for you! If you strike the right chord, you can run a contest that will generate tons of content for you to use in return for a small investment on your part.
One of my favorite examples of user-generated content is the contest that Starbucks runs on Instagram. They challenge their followers to make a design on a plain white cup and post it using the hashtag #WhiteCupContest. They choose a winner whose design is made into a limited edition cup to be sold at Starbucks stores.
If you want users to create content for you, you’ll need to incentivize them. Running a contest where you give away a free product, service, or gift card is a great way to inspire them.
#5: Record Video Testimonials
Another inexpensive way to create video content is to get one or more of your clients or customers to record a video testimonial. The ideal person for a video testimonial is one who has a great story – a story that highlights the difference you or your product made in their lives.
For example, if you sell an informational product, you could film a testimonial from someone who read your book (or took your course) and then used what they learned to do something amazing. If you decide to film a testimonial, make sure that you’ve got excellent lighting and a quality microphone. Back up any claims you make with data.
#6: Curate Meaningful Content
Not all the content you share on social media needs to be original. In fact, some of the best content marketing is the result of content curation.
Content curation is what happens when you seek out content that you think might be useful and relevant to your followers. Here are some tips to help you with content curation:
- Always read (or watch) a piece of content before sharing it.
- Explain why you chose this piece of content to share and how you think it might help your followers.
- Add your own analysis or comment. For example, if you shared a list of 10 marketing tools, mention a tool you like that the article didn’t include.
- Mix curated content with original content for the biggest impact.
Content curation is often less time-consuming than creating original content and all it costs you is time. It’s a great way to keep your social media accounts relevant and active.
#7: Give Your Users a Look Behind the Scenes
People who follow brands on social media want to get access to content they couldn’t get otherwise. One way to provide it is by giving them a look behind the scenes.
For example, if you make a handmade project to sell, film yourself making it. If you publish journals and other low content books, use a screen recording tool to make a video of you creating a template. Or, film an event that you attend and share that, instead.
Your followers will feel special because they got a look at something most people don’t get to see. And because a behind the scenes video can be unscripted, it doesn’t need to cost much to produce.
Content marketing is a must but spending big money on your content marketing is not. Instead, try one of the 7 ideas I’ve listed here to get your next marketing campaign off to a good start.