Content Marketing on a Budget: A Guide for Startups
As a startup, you’re likely to be pressed for time, budget and resources. Everytime you sit down to put together a marketing plan, content marketing takes a backseat.
“It can wait,” you say but can it really?
One of the biggest content marketing myths is that it’s too expensive for startups and small businesses.
In fact, the opposite is true — content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates more than three times as many leads, proving to be a cost-effective option with long-term benefits.
There are leading companies that have seen phenomenal growth, owing to their focus on creating valuable and relevant content.
Let’s take beauty brand Glossier for example. It started in 2010 as a beauty blog, Into the Gloss. In a span of seven years, it’s grown to become a $1 billion brand owing to a robust content strategy.
So, it’s time to take content marketing seriously and leverage it to grow your brand by creating awareness, educating customers and building trust.
Here are six cost-effective tips to boost your startup’s content marketing strategy.
Define your target audience
Let’s face it — you don’t have the time to publish content every second day. Hence, it’s important to be smart while developing a content marketing strategy. Your focus should be on creating highly targeted content that speaks to your audience.
Not only does targeted content let you acquire and retain customers but it also fetches you a positive ROI.
The first step is determining your target audience — gain a deeper understanding of your ideal customers along with their pain points, motivations, and needs. On the basis of that, you can do a market segmentation and develop detailed customer personas.
Once you have a better understanding of your target audience, you can create content to match their needs and interests. The idea is to create relevant content that your audience engages with and derives value from.
Optimize for on-page SEO
Optimizing content for on-page SEO makes your website more easily discoverable by search engines, helping it rank higher on Google while boosting traffic.
Content marketing and SEO go hand-in-hand because when your content ranks well, it drives relevant traffic to your website and gives you more opportunities to generate leads and revenue.
No, you don’t have to hire an SEO expert for this. Just follow these essential steps and you’re sure to see an increase in website traffic:
- Identify specific long-tail keywords using free tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner or Keyword Tool
- Craft powerful, SEO-friendly headlines with the target keyword. Use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer for help
- Use the target keyword across title tags, met-description and content
- Optimize your webpage URL to include the keyword
- Include a mix of external links to authoritative websites and internal links to relevant content on your website
- Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and loads quickly
- Create customer-centric content that matches their needs
Create visual content
It’s no secret that visual content is one of the most powerful ways to communicate. From capturing attention and communicating effectively to driving more engagement and shares — visual content offers a significant return on investment.
However, most marketers are often intimidated by the thought of producing visual content.
Venngage’s visual content marketing study revealed that 28% of marketers spend less than two hours each week to produce visual content, proving that it’s not as taxing as it’s made out to be.
What’s more, with access to image creators, video makers, GIF creators, infographic makers and other easy-to-use tools, creating visuals has become easier than ever.
You should also use photo editing software to enhance imagery and make them more appealing. If Adobe Photoshop is out of your budget, there are many web-based Photoshop alternatives you can turn to for help.
Engage on social media platforms and forums
A huge aspect of content marketing is promoting the content you create and establishing yourself as an expert in your industry/niche.
An effective way to do that is to engage with your target audience on social media communities and Q&A forums such as Quora.
Social media groups and community forums give you access to a targeted audience. Leveraging these platforms to share your expertise and offer solutions is a great way to boost awareness, attract more clients to your website and establish credibility.
So, identify groups on Facebook and LinkedIn that pertain to your niche and participate in them by striking conversations and engaging with the other community members. Use all the possible ways to drive additional traffic to your social networks. For example, by adding clickable icons to your email signature and launching email signature marketing campaigns you can effortlessly increase your social following and promote your latest content.
You should also use Reddit and Quora to find the industry-specific questions people are asking and provide insightful, in-depth answers showcasing your expertise.
Submit (and accept) guest posts
Guest blogging is a cost-effective inbound marketing tactic to expand reach and drive traffic to your website.
The key is to identify guest posting sites that would be relevant to your line of work. Make sure you focus on authoritative websites that speak to a similar target audience. Write valuable guest posts that get accepted by the host website and leave readers with useful insights.
While you can submit guest posts to establish authority, it’s also a good idea to accept guest posts from fellow bloggers. Not only does it help you feature new perspectives on your blog and expand reach but it also lets you acquire content from credible industry experts at no cost.
Repurpose top-performing content
Creating a new piece of content demands a lot of time and energy but who said you need to create something new every time?
Repurposing your existing content is a great way to maximize its potential and reach out to new audiences while saving ample time in the process.
A good way to start would be to identify your top-performing blog posts on Google Analytics. As they’ve attracted views and engaged audiences, they have the potential to get additional exposure when repurposed into different content formats.
Here are some ways to repurpose existing blog content into engaging formats:
- Publish an eBook by collating blog posts on the same topic and expand on them
- Create explainer or informative video content to complement blog posts
- Create an infographic to present complex information in a blog post
- Condense blog posts into easy-to-consume LinkedIn presentations and other social media graphics
Not having deep pockets should not stop you from leveraging content marketing to grow your startup. The key is to focus on quality over quantity and attract the right audience.
So, follow these six budget-friendly tips to develop a targeted strategy while optimizing time and costs. Make sure you document your marketing plan in line with your business goals and objectives to monitor and track progress. You can also use marketing plan resources to save time.
Simki Dutta is a content marketer at Venngage, a free infographic maker and design platform. When she’s not working, she can be found refreshing her Twitter feed and binge-watching Netflix shows.
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This blog post is about:
- Content marketing on a budget
- Content marketing for startups
- Digital Marketing
Originally Posted: May 29th, 2020
Post Updated: October 18th, 2021.