You know how important content marketing is in the 21st century. Especially right now, you know that today’s customers tune out salesy ads and flashy promos.
But you also know that you’re on a tight budget. “Is there such a thing as budget-friendly content marketing?” you ask. Today’s customers want information. And they want to know that you have their back with expertise and advice.
You can deliver that information through content marketing, even when you’re strapped for cash. Here’s how.
- Start with a blog on your company website. Keep working at it. Publish content consistently.
- Broaden your content strategy to include more digital channels.
- Expand your reach and then monetize your expertise or research with strategically gated content.
Start with a Website-Based Blog
Do you have a website? Most businesses today do. If you don’t, make getting one your top priority. Here’s why.
You need an online space that you own. Social media sites might be free to use, but they’re notorious for disallowing posts. And – they can shut down as soon as the next social fad rolls along. Remember MySpace?
Today’s customers, too, search for even local businesses online. If you’re not out there, you’ll miss out on their business.
The good news is this: You can get a bare-bones website for as little as $2.95 per month – less than the price of a good cup of coffee. If your website nets you only one customer per month, it’s well worth giving up a cup of coffee, right?
Once your website is up and running, create a page for your blog. Before you start to write, though, take some time to plan what you want to post.
Online marketing expert Neil Patel recommends that you post once per week at a minimum. If you can possibly make the time, though, we recommend that you post about 11 times a month. Our research shows that both B2C and B2B companies show a marked increase in web traffic when they post at least 11 times every month.
- Use a WordPress CMS for your website: Unless you’re a coding expert, a WordPress website is your best bet. It’s user-friendly, and it gives you a wealth of helpful tools to use once you get more accustomed to posting.
- Use the same root domain as your company’s website: For example, if your website is “ShinyNewToys.com,” use a subdomain, such as “ShinyNewToys.com/blog” rather than “blog.ShinyNewToys.com.” Doing so is essential if you want to rank high in potential customer searches.
- Start with your customers’ pain points and interests: Too many companies we talk to think that their blog posts need to be self-promotional. Instead, solve problems for your customers, and only insert your products when they’re part of the solution. The goal is to position yourself as a helpful source of information they can use to better their businesses and their lives.
- Use keywords that people use to search for your products and services: Think about what words people use to search for what you sell. Include those words in your content. Simple questions that include your keywords are always good since many of today’s customer searches use voice searches via Siri, Alexa, or other personal digital assistants.
- But don’t overload your posts with keywords: Many first-time bloggers – or those without much content marketing experience – include way too many keywords in their posts. Google and other search engines can easily recognize synonyms for what you sell. Make your wording natural. Posts that read awkwardly don’t impress search engines, and neither will your customers.
- Use all types of content: If you’re not a writer, you can always post how-to videos, demo videos, or explainer videos. Infographics, too, if you’re a numbers-based business, such as a financial services company, or photos of your products in use, can be the focus of your posts.
Follow Content Marketing Best Practices
Here’s what you need to do to start filling your blog with killer content that will help you rise above your competition:
- Use free tools to suggest keywords and blog topics: You don’t have to post ads on Google to take advantage of Google’s Keyword Planner. Just enter the names of your products and services, and it will provide a long list of keywords that you can use in your content. Often, keywords that are more specific to your topic are your best bet since they’ll attract the right customers. For instance, for our fictional toy shop, using “toddler appropriate toys” might be a better bet than simply “toys” in a blog post about how to select safe toys for tiny tots.
- Use subject matter experts and your sales team’s input to come up with topics: Unless you’re a solo entrepreneur, you probably have a sales team that can tell you about all the objections and questions they field from potential customers. Team members that design, develop, and test your products are a gold mine of ideas. They can teach your customers how to use your products and services to solve the problems they face in business and in life. Activating your employees to publish and promote content is one of the most effective ways to spread the word about your blog – and your business.
Finally, don’t forget that content that informs and educates your customers is the most successful ever. They will keep coming back to you when they’re in trouble or doubt.
Promote Your Blog Posts on Social Media
To get the word out about your blog posts, post them on your social media pages. Time your posts to reach your target audience while they’re online. If you have a little extra in your budget, boost your posts among those whose demographics, interests, and social media likes match those of your target customers.
If you take a little extra time to create customer personas for your likely customers, you can take advantage of free-to-use, yet robust analytics programs, such as Facebook Analytics and Google Analytics, to limit your boosted posts to these audience segments.
Expand Your Content Strategy But Narrow Your Targeting
To reach even more of your target audience with more in-depth content, expand your content marketing strategy to offer what content marketers call “gated content.” You could start with a newsletter with short, informative articles that your customers can put to use in their own businesses or lives and inside information about new offerings that can help your customers solve their most pressing problems.
As you get more comfortable with producing content, you can create detailed, highly technical white papers to provide your business customers with actionable information. Or, you can write an e-book that teaches your customers new skills or new information that they can put to use in their own lives.
Make sure that you require at least an email address to those that sign up for gated content. This step allows you to communicate with these people and build a relationship through valuable content.
Use a call to action at the end of your blog posts and social media posts that allow them to sign up for this more in-depth content. When you do move to offer gated content in addition to your blog, make sure that it’s top-quality and offers real value.
Again, Blog Consistently
It’s easy to get involved in the day-to-day aspects of your business. Although during busy times, it’s easy to forget that you need to publish blog posts, it’s a necessary part of maintaining the consistent outreach that builds trust in your target customers.
Use a content calendar to map out when you want to publish each piece of content. Use Google Calendar or another tool to remind you plenty of time ahead so that you always publish consistently. When you’re consistent, your likelihood of your content yielding a positive ROI goes up by a factor of 13.
When you’re ready to outsource at least some of your content production, we’re here to lend you a hand. If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content that’s consistently published, check out our Content Builder Service. Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today and generate more traffic and leads for your business.