In some cases Western companies have a huge budget coming to hundreds of thousands dollars to realize content marketing strategy. But in this article we are going to speak about the companies having a budget deficit for marketing generally and content marketing in particular.
We often hear from our customers: “What content marketing strategy are you planning to realize with our limited budget?” One of the main advantages of content marketing is the possibility to work with a limited budget. And we have proven it many times.
Let us consider the typical scenario for a small business: suggest that you can spare only $650-800 to promote your site by hiring an agency. This cost includes everything: creation, editing, and distribution of your content. How can the best result be achieved in this situation?
Decide on the content you want to distribute in the web
The first thing you have to do is to create a content plan (the more the horizon of planning the better). In these terms you are to decide on what sorts of media content you are going to use to realize various content marketing projects.
The advertisement budget you spend on realizing your content strategy directly depends on what type of content you are going to use and whether you are planning to turn to outsourcing companies.
Let us consider the following types of content:
- Text content. Yes, text content can be costly, especially if it includes technical or research work and also if it presupposes some conversion scenario (so called “selling texts”). But it is mostly an exception – on the whole, text scenarios are the cheapest on the market. At that, text content is the main part of any content marketing strategy which must be taken into consideration.
- Infographics. Is there a team of graphics designers in your staff specialized in infographics? Or will you have to turn to outsourcing company for this service? Speak to the designers or agencies in this area in order to find out how much the creation of infographics for your purposes will cost. Get to know what type of payment they prefer: hourly or once-only (for a project)? This can influence the general budget of the project considerably – don’t forget that we have only 620-775 USD.
- Video. Although video seems to be an expensive means of communication, it is not necessarily one. Believe it or not, but video taken by a cell phone or by an amateur digital camera can be as effective as a video taken by a professional video-operator. The issue is actually not a price, but demand and a communicative potential. If you want to make a high quality video, your $600-800 a month will clearly be not enough. But if you can make a video yourself and edit it inside your company or even hire a freelance operator or an inexpensive agency, this amount of money will be sufficient.
- Photo: Photos, just like videos, can be a costly pleasure but it is not bound to be. Even pictures taken by a cell phone can become a great content – especially taking into account the number of filters and applications available currently for editing the pictures.
Make a budgeting plan
We would strongly recommend you to make a budgeting plan for the nearest 6-12 months based on what sorts of content you are going to use. For example, you can choose the following plan of action:
- Give for outsourcing the creation of two-four infographics during a year ($500-950 a year).
- Give for outsourcing the creation of 2-4 quality reviews of your products or services ($650-950 a year) with their distribution on thematic resources or third-party blogs that have big traffic but your target audience.
- Blog on a corporate site with periodicity of one post a week ($1300-1600 a year) using a hired editor.
- Hire a copywriter or an agency to write 4 articles and 4 news per month for a corporate site ($3900-4500 a year).
As a result you have the sum from $6300-8100, and our yearly budget is $7750-9700. As you see, we even have a reserve! What to do with it, we’ll try to explain a bit later.
Use your time to the maximum
Though 24 hours per month can seem not so long period of time, it can become long if you use it to the maximum. For instance, following the example of outsourcing services given above, you can spare the time for the following:
- One hour per week. Make a rough plan for your post in a blog and send it to the editor (read above) for reworking. Then publish it in the blog. We recommend that you chose a certain day of the week for this and always do it at the same day.
- Five hours per quarter. Devote yourself to managing the projects on the outsourcing enumerated before – either an article, or infographics for distribution on the third-party resources. They require your participation. Whatever the professional, your expertise on the theme is not enough for him. Supervise, work closely together with your executors.
- Two hours per week. Arrange the work with the executors in such a manner that the themes of the articles and news for your site were sent to you for endorsement. Meanwhile, help your copywriters, prompt them what to write about and how to develop the theme as best as possible. Check the written materials personally, make your corrections. Your readers need an expertise, not flowers of speech. And remember the point: if you personally do not need the texts, nobody will.
- 15 minutes per day. Answer the tweets, comments on the site, blog, social networks etc. Interact with others, discuss your content. Be sociable, speak to your audience. Don’t be ashamed to admit your mistakes. It will be challenging at first, as time flows fast in social networks. But in your case, the case of a budget deficit, we cannot afford such a luxury – so, the discipline is a strict condition.
- One hour per month. Make new discoveries. Research the efficiency of various methods of your or other’s content marketing strategy. It will not only facilitate your understanding of general tendencies on the market but also allow amending your own strategy of promotion.
Totally, it results in 27 hours per week. Clearly, this schedule is not easy to follow impeccably. But if you use the editor’s calendar and make a plan of action fulfillment you will be surprised at the results achieved.
The main thing is to follow this plan permanently. Content-marketing explosion cannot be obtained without following your strategy with maniacal persistence. No retreat, build your company brick by brick month after month. It is possible with the budget of $650-800, but! But you have to understand one important thing – you personally must supervise all the work and dive deep into everything regardless of being an owner of the business or a hired advertisement and marketing manager.
If there is a possibility, you can ask the staff of your company to take part in content marketing projects in order to achieve the maximum results (your users need an expertise!). Some of them may want to write for a corporate blog now and again understanding all the good they can do for the company and for your brand.
Some companies have by mere chance discovered the talent of very decent copywriters in people who were not expected to have it. Ask someone of the warehouse staff to write an article about deliveries, or an accountant to explain the financial aspect of some issue, or a sale manager to tell about the most frequently asked questions in your area of business. Why not? Or you can organize a contest for a position with the best working schedule, received backlinks etc. Sometimes a simple friendly competition can bring a real flow of creative ideas.
Raise additional funds
In the given example we managed to save some money of a given budget. How to use it?
For example, you can buy an advertisement to promote your site in social networks. You can spend it on a serious research of your market (e.g. in the end of the year). You can increase the amount of the created infographics. (If it is really good, you’ll be surprised at a high potential of this way of content to create uncontrolled republications, thus increasing the number of audience’s contacts with your brand, as you do not forget to brand your infographics, do you?).
Develop in accordance with your budget
If you can afford to spend much more than $650-800 a month and seven hours a week to realize content marketing strategy of your project, you can expand your plan – by amount of materials as well as by using other sorts of content (postings, presentations, video- and audio-podcasts etc.).
If you have more time for content marketing, try to use “staff” resources to the maximum and occupy yourself with content promotion, distribution and interaction with the audience.
Always assess your success
In content marketing campaign assessing the success is crucial as it helps understand what is necessary (and what is not) to do next time. Review your monthly reports and determine what materials found a broad response in social networks (likes, retweets, shares), what materials obtained natural links from the other sites, what materials appeared more interesting for the present audience of your site. Try to estimate the success of your content marketing campaign in figures. You cannot do here without statistics. Content marketing is impossible without analytics.
There are many ways to spend $650-800 per month and seven hours per week to realize your content marketing strategy – you are only to find the one which suits you and your target audience the best.
One can be said for sure: it can be done and it can bring a success. The fact that your budget for content-marketing strategy is limited does not mean that you will not make a success. Trust our experience. We had customers with a far smaller budget. There are some current market leaders among them.
What pieces of advice would you give to realize a content marketing strategy for a small budget? Leave your comments below.
P.S. Yes, at the end, the most important. There is no paragraph about allocating a budget for the link mass rental in our article. Guess why?