It’s virtually impossible to spend any amount of time on the web without reading about content marketing. Most professional marketers agree that content marketing is the best way to connect with your target audience and make sales.
That all sounds good, but it also sounds expensive! When you’re working for yourself — and especially when you’re just starting out — you might not have the cash on hand to dedicate to content marketing.
What I see is a lot of people in publishing who don’t bother with content marketing because they think they can’t afford it. The problem with that is that you’re cutting yourself off from a proven way to attract new customers and improve customer loyalty.
I have good news for you. You don’t need a huge budget to use content marketing to grow your business and sell your products. Here’s what you need to know.
You can’t engage in content marketing without content, but some types of content are more affordable than others. Blogging is one of the lowest-cost ways to engage in content marketing.
If you already have a WordPress website, you can add a blog to your site for free. You won’t need to worry about coding the page because all WordPress templates come with a blog. You can simply add the blog to your site.
Blogging might not seem like a cutting-edge marketing tool, but you don’t need to be fancy to be effective. If you’re prepared to write the blog posts yourself, the only thing that maintaining a blog will cost you is your time.
You can also choose to outsource blog writing. Keep in mind that you will get what you pay for. Hiring a writer through a low-cost site such as Fiverr isn’t going to yield the high-quality results you might want.
If you decide to blog, you’ll get the best results if you stick to a regular posting schedule. Even posting once a week can be enough to keep your readers engaged and coming back for more.
Strategic Social Media
Social media marketing is a content marketing option that can be inexpensive or expensive depending on how you use it. Certainly, it can be pricey to run targeted ads for days or weeks on end. However, there’s a way to use it to your advantage even if you have only a small amount to spend.
You can share content in almost any format on social media. Facebook is the most versatile because you can share:
- Written content (with no character limit)
- Photos and other visual content, including illustrations and infographics
To market low content books such as planners and coloring books, Instagram and Pinterest are ideal because they are image-based.
Keep in mind that you can use built-in tools on WordPress, for example, to share your blog posts on Facebook and Twitter. That’s an easy way to amplify your reach without spending a lot of money.
User Forums and Groups
Paid advertising is one way to find the people who are most likely to be interested in your content, but it’s not the only way. A quick Google search of key topics related to the products you sell can help you find online groups dedicated to everything from bullet journaling to homeschooling. Your target audience is likely to belong to these groups.
Facebook groups are a terrific resource for content marketing. While many groups prohibit direct marketing, some do not. They may offer members a once-a-month chance to link directly to their websites or Etsy shops. Others may feature a document where members can list their products.
The best part about this type of marketing is that even if you can’t sell your products directly, you may still be able to link to your blog posts or other content.
What if you could get your social media followers to create content for you? It’s not as difficult as you might think. Here are some suggestions:
- Post a picture of something you have done with a product — for example, a couple of bullet journal pages — and ask your followers to post examples of how they’ve used your journal. You can share the best ones.
- Create a hashtag to encourage people to tag you in their content. Hashtags make it easy to find individual posts and can help you if you want to share user content.
- Host a social media contest. This is a content marketing trick that many large companies use.
User-generated content won’t cost you anything, but that’s not the only benefit of soliciting it. When you share content created by your followers, you can also increase customer loyalty and build a bond with the people who use your products. If they feel seen and appreciated, they’ll be more likely to buy from you again in the future.
Videos can be expensive to produce. There’s no denying that. If you’re going to buy or rent professional equipment, the costs can add up quickly. The good news is that video production has become extremely accessible and affordable thanks to advances in technology and social media.
One of the easiest ways to create video content is to do a livestream, which you can do on Facebook or Instagram. When you do live videos, one of the biggest advantages is that the people who watch won’t be expecting perfection. They’ll even appreciate it if you don’t seem to be overly scripted or rehearsed.
Live video is ideal for certain types of content, including:
- Unboxing videos
- Product demonstrations
- Live Q & A with your audience
- Behind-the-scenes tours
The two most important things you’ll need if you want to use live video in your marketing are good lighting and a good microphone. You should also make sure that you have a quiet place to film where you won’t be interrupted by kids, pets, or traffic noise.
After being creative and having fun with producing your videos, the final step is choosing where to display them. From social media to your website, the opportunities are endless!
The most important element you need for content marketing on a budget is creativity. I suggest looking at the types of content that other publishers are sharing, whether it’s on their websites or on social media, and borrowing some of their ideas for yourself!
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