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Just the name sounds impressively expensive.
And – without a doubt – content marketing can become very expensive.
But it doesn’t have to.
In fact, there are many ways you can get started with content marketing without breaking the bank or even spending a dime.
Why pay extra for something you can easily get for free? WordPress is one of the most popular platforms for blogs and websites and it’s popular for good reason – it’s versatile and free!
Install WordPress on your new site and you can change out templates on a whim and, even better, customize those templates to be exactly what you need without doing much more than moving items and changing some colors. Sure, you can pay a lot more for a fully customized site, but in the vast majority of cases it’s not necessary, so why waste the money?
Set up a writing schedule
As it turns out the hardest part of blogging isn’t setting up the blog, it’s having the stamina to go the distance. Once you have the blog, you can expect to see your interest dwindle as time gets tricky to manage.
This is why you need a writing schedule. Write a new post every other day at 10 AM. Or start your Tuesday morning by writing a new weekly post. It might even be possible, if you have the right team, to divvy up writing schedule across employees – John posts on Mondays, Sally on Wednesdays and so on.
Clean up low-quality posts
If you want to improve your marketing game, you can’t have ugly materials out there with your name on them. This might mean going back through and republishing old things with a new eye for detail and experiences.
It might also mean paying for cheap new articles and then improving them back in the office. Just know that bulk ordered articles for pennies on the dollar are often just as sloppy as you’d expect them to be.
Create a writer’s guide
Before you actually start a serious content marketing campaign, you need to establish what you deem to be acceptable content. This means establishing a writer’s guide. How long should your posts be? How do you format images? Do you have a preferred method to handle links and citations?
Not only will creating a writer’s guide make you think through the new content strategy you’re planning, it will also provide a document that can be used in-house for anyone creating posts for your company, and also be given to freelancers who may be creating outsourced content.
Compile newsworthy information
Not one for writing long blog posts? You don’t have to. Just go out and see what’s happening in the world. You can even let Google do this for you with headlines delivered daily to find trends in big and narrow niches.
Your job then would be to simply cull through the headlines, pick the ones that are most suitable for your audience, add a bit of commentary and post. Not only will you be caught up on your industry, but your daily reading time can become your daily posting time simultaneously.
Stick to your subject matter
If the thought of blogging about things makes your eye twitch, quit stressing. There’s no need to reinvent the blogosphere for your content marketing. Just stick to what you know best.
If you make widgets, tell us about the widgets. If you are a player in the industry of widgets, tell us how they fit into the grander scheme and things we might not have thought about. If you are truly an expert in what you do, you should have plenty to say on the subject.
Submit your own posts as articles
When you take content marketing out of just your blog and into larger networks and social media platforms, there is not a reason you can’t double or even triple dip.
That blog post you wrote can become a great article. And that article can provide some quick statistics for a series of tweets. And that image with the article? Might look great on Instagram or Pinterest. One good blog post can certainly go a long way.
Create and maintain social media accounts
Creating a social media account doesn’t take much initially. Again, like a blog, it’s maintaining the accounts where we tend to fall flat. You don’t necessarily need 10 different social media accounts, but it’s free to set them up, so why not?
Set up accounts on at least the major platforms and set yourself a schedule for posting. One quick post every other day – perhaps a repost of that blog post or a link to industry news – takes less than thirty minutes and will allow you to build your social media presence with minimal effort over the years. Age your accounts, if you will.
Post articles through social media
Blogs aren’t the only place you can post your articles. You can post full articles through Facebook easily enough. But the best strategy is probably one of leaving a bit of a teaser and bringing customers back to your site for more details.
This works with a tweet, an image, a pin, a post and even a snap. A bonus feature is being able to tailor your online audience through the various social media accounts and sales departments.
Look for things you’ve already written
If the thought of creating mounds of content is intimidating, it doesn’t need to be. You probably already have way more content created than you’ve thought about. Have you made any long or explanatory forum posts? How about emails?
How much time have you spent interacting in the comments sections on previous posts? Can you use those conversations as new posts? Of course, you can!
Make video or image-based posts
We are especially susceptible to images and videos, so if you have the means and you’re not camera shy, just give us what we want! Make videos explaining new features and topics. Show us some pictures in your announcements and instructions.
Not only will those images catch our eye, but they will also give you something to link to and from in your various social media platforms.
So long as you’re creating pictures, why not make something that contains both images and information? Infographics are big right now because they are so eye-catching and instructional.
Make a series of infographics and brand them well and then share them everywhere you can – perhaps as the image for a more in-depth article on the topic at hand.
Use your existing presentations (but clean them up first)
Finally, don’t be afraid to dig back through your old presentations. Slideshare.net is a collection of PowerPoints that are designed to be informative and useful for others. They are content others find useful that can be branded for you – content marketing at its finest! Just remember to clean up your presentations first and remove any proprietary materials before posting.
Content can definitely be expensive, and hiring a content firm can be an expensive option for a company on a shoestring budget. But fortunately, the companies with deep pockets do not hold all of the influence in the content world. Posts, videos, presentations and more can be created, shared and used as a foundation for your business by investing nothing more than time and creativity.