Don’t waste money on a content marketing strategy that doesn’t work. Follow these steps to bootstrap great content that drives returns and boosts revenue.
Content marketing leaders and influencers experience 7.8 times more growth than content followers.
Plus it also costs over 60% less than traditional marketing and earns you three times as much revenue.
The struggle comes with creating consistently great content.
It’s tough to be on top form all of the time. You need a content marketing strategy that gets consistent results without draining your budget.
This article looks at 4 steps that you can take to create consistently awesome content.
Before getting to those, let’s look at why you need content marketing in the first place.
Why Content Marketing?
One of the wonderful advantages of content marketing is that it builds trust over time. In fact, 70% of people prefer to learn about a business through its content rather than its ads.
It’s great for engagement too. As you can see above, 70% of people feel like they’re closer to a company after reading content that inspires them.
Content marketing proves useful at every stage of the sales funnel. You can use an array of content marketing platforms to build awareness about your business.
However, it’s your content that keeps those people engaged. Your content proves you’re an authority and gives people more reason to buy from you.
That’s why content marketing gets the high ROI mentioned above. The biggest issue that any marketing team has is its budget. You now know why you need content marketing.
However, you may not have a lot of money to play with.
There are a few things that you can do to build a great strategy without spending a penny. Just follow these steps.
Content marketing for free: 4 steps for making it work with any budget
Step 1 – Generate Content Ideas
The idea is the hardest part of creating a piece of content.
Everything grows from that little seed.
You need some inspiration.
Happily, there are plenty of free content marketing tools out there to help with generating ideas.
Let’s start with the basics – keywords.
The heart and soul of any SEO strategy, your keywords also play a huge part in your content marketing. After all, you can have great content but if it doesn’t answer the questions and queries that your audience makes, it doesn’t create revenue.
You need keyword research before you can come up with ideas.
Google’s Keyword Planner Tool is a great start. Pop a keyword into the tool and it gives you a bunch of suggestions that you can build on.
There are plenty more tools, like Soovle. This tool doesn’t cost anything and it gives you a list of relevant keywords to target:
This is just the start. Once you have your keyword list, it’s time to come up with some ideas.You have manual techniques and a range of tools at your disposal for this.
Let’s look at the manual stuff first.Get onto social media. Check groups on Facebook and LinkedIn to see what people who have an interest in your industry are asking.
Answer their questions. Create content based on the pain points that you see people sharing in these groups.
Quora is another great place to pick up on people’s questions:
Check out the related questions for even more ideas. Then, there are the tools.
Portent’s Content Idea Generator offers a great way of coming up with content ideas.
You just plug a keyword into the search box and press the button. You get an instant article title. A quick press of the refresh button gives you another and another and…You get the idea.
Here’s the point. You don’t have to invest a lot of time figuring out what to write about. There are plenty of ways to clue yourself into what people want to know.
Use these techniques to create a list of content ideas before moving onto the next step…
Step 2 – Create a Cost-Effective and Balanced Marketing Strategy
Let’s jump straight into the steps you need to follow to create a balanced marketing strategy:
- Step 1. Define the goals of the content that you intend to create.
- Step 2. Define the audience that the content should appeal to. This helps you to create relevant content that offers value to the right people.
- Step 3. Audit the content you’ve already produced to see which proved most effective. This informs your future strategy.
- Step 4. Put a system in place to manage your content output. This means creating a schedule and figuring out when you should unveil different ideas to your audience.
- Step 5. Come up with some ideas. We covered that above.
- Step 6. Figure out which types of content you need to create. The audit from Step 3 helps you here.
- Step 7. Create and publish your content.
It’s this final step that adds time and cost to the equation.
Here’s the simple truth:
One great piece of content is much better than dozens of substandard pieces.
Focus your approach to this strategy on knowing when to put your content out there. A great idea can sit a while if you need time to let another one brew.
Of course, you also need to cut down on the amount of time you spend creating your content. You still need to publish with some regularity, after all.
It’s here that you need to apply the 80:20 rule.
80% of the value of a piece comes from 20% of the effort that you put into it.
It’s possible to overwork a great piece. You may try to create dozens of custom images or load it full of information that doesn’t serve the overall point.
Stop when you’re at the point where the content says what it needs to. This approach helps you to save time and keep your costs down.
Step 3 – Promote Your Content Through the Right Channels
There are loads of tools out there that can help you to keep track of what happens with your content. Many also tell you what you can do to expand your reach.
You need to know how to use these tools to promote your content in a budget-friendly way.
Use Social Media Platforms
Social media platforms are a good start.
Your piece of content isn’t an island. You’ve researched and learned from other people’s ideas to create it.
Let them know about it.
Tell somebody if you mention them by name. People love to earn recognition for their work. If your piece offers some recognition, they’ll want to hear about it.And they’ll usually share it among their followers too.
This puts you in front of a wider audience. However, bear in mind that social media doesn’t drive as much organic traffic as it used to.
Use it to build a community, but don’t rely on it for website hits.
Leverage Your Network
Use Twitter to tag an influencer into a piece that they’ve helped you to create.
Share your content in groups that contain people who’ve played a part in helping you to create your content.
Your existing network is a free resource. These are influencers, partners, and colleagues that you’ve already built connections with. Get them promoting your content for you. Great content is ultimately shareable.
Use Good Free Content Marketing Tools
This is where free content marketing tools come into play again.
Buzzsumo is one of our favourites.
Most people know this as a keyword research tool. However, you can also use it to see who’s sharing your content.
Pop your company name or a product into the search box and you’ll get something like this:
Each of these articles has a View Sharers link next to it. Click that and you get something that looks like this:
These are all people who’ve found your content engaging. Leverage them to your advantage whenever you create new content. Follow them and get in touch when you create new content.
Make it easier for them to share what you create. If they did it once, they may do it again.
Syndicate Your Content
Finally, there’s syndication. This means sharing your content directly on other platforms, such as Medium. It’s the same content, but on a platform with a much higher readership than your site.
You still need to let Google know who created the content though. Otherwise, your website doesn’t get any credit with search engines.
Pop the following tag into the syndicated piece:<link rel=”canonical” href=”www.yoururl.com” />
All of the credit for the piece then goes to you in the eyes of search engines. But you’ve used some free content marketing platforms to get more eyes on your content.
Step 4 – Use the Right Content Marketing Tools for SEO
Getting SEO right is one of the keys to maximising your content’s potential.However, you don’t want to stuff your content full of keywords.
That’s grounds for search engine banishment. Thankfully, there are some content marketing tools for SEO that tell you if you’ve overdone it.
One of those tools is Yoast.
Yoast offers a quick and easy way of checking to see if you’ve overdone it. Plug your content into the textbox and add a focus keyword for the piece.
The little light in the top-right corner tells you if it’s good from an SEO standpoint. Red means it needs work while green means it’s good to go. You’re not left to fumble about blindly though.
Scroll down to get actionable advice on how to improve the piece from both an SEO and readability perspective:
Note the list of issues at the bottom.
Fix them and you have a well-written piece that’s also optimised. That makes Yoast one of the best free content writing tools for SEO.
There are four key steps to doing content marketing for free and making it work on any budget:
- Find ways to generate content ideas
- Create a strategy that suits your budget and produces great content
- Discover how to promote your content without paying for it
- Optimise every piece to achieve the best possible search engine ranking
The advice in this article should help you to make a start. Eventually, you’ll get to a point where you can rely on extra hands, often through an agency.
That’s where Online Marketing Gurus come in. We help you to learn content marketing and we create strategies that work. Got questions about content or SEO?
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However, it’s the quality of that traffic that’s the true deciding factor.
You need to avoid creating a digital strategy that delivers traffic without the conversions you need to drive revenue.
With all of this evidence, along with the statistics in this article, you can see just how vital digital marketing is for your business.
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