How to Stretch Your Content Marketing Budget in 2022
If your content marketing budget represented your bank account, would you be planning a holiday abroad or would you instead be asking for a loan? The simple fact is that it takes money to make money. However, there are many ways in which a budget can be stretched in order to give your efforts a much-needed boost.
Would you ever attempt to undertake a kitchen renovation without clearly defining what it is that you hope to achieve? In the same respect, it makes little sense to spend a great deal of money on a content marketing campaign if you are unaware of your ultimate target. Want to avoid falling into the overspending trap? Then read on for top tips to keep you on track.
1. Define Your Unique Goals
As Website Magazine points out, the most common reason involves trying to replicate the success of others. In other words, a business owner sees the success of a competitor and falsely believes that he or she can duplicate this momentum. This will often lead to an overstretched budget in no time at all.
So, the first step involves clarifying what it is that you are hoping to achieve. Try to answer these questions:
- What type of audience am I catering to?
- Do my products and services match their interests?
- Which online channels can provide my campaign with the greatest level of exposure?
- How long do I have to achieve these goals?
It makes little sense to compile a massive amount of data if you are not aware of how it can be used. This information will represent nothing more than “noise” if you do not first highlight what it is that you are trying to achieve.
2. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
This phrase was used to promote a nationwide recycling campaign throughout the United States during the 1990s. It is just as appropriate when speaking about managing a tight marketing budget. Lean advertising essentially involves obtaining maximum results by using a minimal amount of effort. One excellent way to achieve this balance is to re-purpose existing material.
While the benefits attributed to recycling old content work well in theory, you need to select the right type of posts. Here are some tips to help leverage the power of your prior efforts:
- Make certain that the content is evergreen (not associated with specific times, dates or events).
- Choose posts that were the most popular with your readers in the past.
- Rework the material into a different format, such as a white paper or an infographic.
Why spend extra money when you can instead optimise a marketing budget by re-tooling older materials that have already resonated well with your audience? As the expression goes, it pays to work smart as opposed to hard.
3. Take Advantage of Free Marketing Opportunities
We should now take a moment to clarify what separates promotions from content marketing. Although these two terms are often used interchangeably, promotional campaigns usually involve some type of expenditure (such as pay-per-click advertising or paying commissions to a social media influencer). The problem here is that companies grappling with a tight budget might not have the ability to actively implement a PR strategy.
Why not instead take advantage of the numerous free opportunities at your disposal? As you might have guessed, we are referring to social media marketing. Content expert guru Neal Schaffer recently noted that an incredible 94 per cent of marketers are now expected to use social media as a facet of their overall advertising strategies. Not only will this accommodate a tight budget, but word of mouth is a great way to provide your efforts with a transparent edge.
4: Go Local
Those of us who have ever taken part in an all-you-can-eat buffet will be well aware that our eyes are often larger than our stomachs. This scenario can be used to describe yet another way in which already slim budgets may be stretched to the breaking point. Targeting an extremely large audience might seem like a good idea, but pitfalls abound. These include:
- Being forced to create massive amounts of material.
- Due to the sheer volume, content can become watered down and lose impact.
- It is much more difficult to identify a target audience.
- Marketers will not be able to efficiently understand the results of their efforts due to the volume of data that needs to be interpreted.
Adhering to a strict content marketing budget will often signify that a more localised approach is needed. Not only can you better appreciate how the campaign is performing, but nearly three-quarters of all consumers now prefer material that has been written with a local audience in mind. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with thinking outside of the box, you could easily become lost if you stray too far from its borders.
5. The Power of Collaboration
“None of us is as smart as all of us.”
– Author and leadership specialist Ken Blanchard
Would the Vikings have ever been able to reach North America if their sailors failed to row in unison? Would trade routes have been established between Europe and the Middle East if different regions failed to appreciate the benefits of working together? While we might not be talking about conquering a geographic region, collaboration can still represent another powerful tool within your budget-friendly arsenal. Here’s an example to help to cement this point…
Clothing designer Levi’s chose to enter into a partnership with Water.org back in 2011. The ultimate goal was to provide a staggering 200 million litres of clean drinking water to impoverished parts of the world. While this was certainly a charitable cause, we should remember that it also made good business sense. Levi’s was able to establish itself as an environmentally conscious company that offered brand appeal to a younger audience who took sustainability seriously.
Collaborating with another individual or firm related to your industry is a great way to increase brand exposure while potentially opening up an entirely new demographic. Still, be sure to choose organisations with a solid and transparent reputation. These very same traits will soon be associated with your efforts, especially if your venture is relatively new.
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6. Find a More Effective Means of Content Distribution
Another useful hack to optimise your content marketing budget involves knowing how to effectively distribute the material itself. This is in direct contrast to those who believe that simply creating more posts is the path to success. While such an approach might work well if you are given carte blanche in terms of finances, limited funds dictate that leaner methods need to be adopted.
First, take a look at which channels (including social media pages and blog posts) are generating the most interest. Tools such as Google Analytics can work wonders here. You should then scrutinise the results to determine if any stone has been left unturned. For instance, try to incorporate hyperlinks to relevant pages within your website. Outbound and affiliate links can also be used to boost brand recognition across third-party platforms. You could likewise embed these links within outgoing emails and similar customer notifications, and this conveniently leads us to our next tip…
7. Leverage the Advantages of Content Marketing Software
Time is money in this day and age. Therefore, it makes little sense to devote a great deal of time to marketing your content if you constantly fail to hit the mark. This can sometimes result from a lack of in-house efficiency. After all, employing a full-time marketing team can cost a great deal of money.
One effective way to adopt a tight marketing strategy involves the use of cutting-edge software platforms. These tools have been designed to provide you with a means to curate quality material without being forced to jump through digital “hoops” in terms of logistics. Here are some of the top-rated bundles to consider:
For the sake of brevity, we won’t describe each one in greater detail. These utilities nonetheless offer a wide range of benefits, so take some time to examine what they can provide. Any small monthly fees that may be incurred could be well worth the investment from a long-term perspective.
8. Ask Your Customers for Feedback
Beethoven was at least partially deaf when he wrote his famous Moonlight Sonata in 1801. How was he able to compose such a masterpiece with hearing issues? Many believe that he placed his ear upon the piano in order to better appreciate how the chords resonated with one another. While this story might have been slightly romanticised over the years, it “rings” just as true when applied to the world of content marketing on a budget.
Listen to what your customers and followers have to say. The main benefit here is that you can begin to develop an organic relationship with your audience base. This valuable input will also enable you to focus your efforts in the right direction. You can therefore avoid needless strategies that cost even more money. Otherwise, you will be composing a marketing “symphony” to an audience that cannot appreciate the sound.
Bonus: Don’t Forget About Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation (SEO) has been a mainstay of the content marketing community since as far back as the 1990s. While some of the techniques may have evolved, the overall purpose is just as relevant in these modern times. SEO will provide your website (and the content found within) with the digital “visibility ” required to rank high within search engines such as Google and Bing. You will be happy to learn that there are plenty of hacks that are absolutely free to use, and here’s a quick summary of the three most useful:
Pay attention to meta titles and meta descriptions
Meta titles and their associated descriptions are intended to display to search engines (and visitors) what is contained within a page. Keep them short and to the point. Stick to the maximum amount of characters and always incorporate relevant keywords. These simple tricks will have a massive impact on your online visibility.
Partner with content curation experts
Which keywords are the most appropriate? How long should an article be? What is the best tone of voice to use? These questions can be challenging to answer if you are new to the content marketing game. Furthermore, they can consume valuable in-house resources that might be better used elsewhere. This is why reaching out to guest authors and professional writers should always be considered. They will be able to create high-quality material, ultimately leading to a higher return on investment (ROI).
Design your website with a mobile-friendly edge
Although this final tip is not directly related to managing a content marketing budget, its importance is undeniable. Studies have shown that 79 per cent of all smartphone users employ these devices when purchasing a specific product or service. Of what use is developing quality material if it cannot be viewed due to an outdated website?
The bottom line is that mobile-friendly web design is the wave of the future. Make certain that all elements within your portal can be viewed from on-the-go devices. Use tools such as Google Analytics to appreciate how many visitors are accessing your pages remotely. If a problem is found (such as an HTML error or an image that has not been optimised for smaller display screens), it can easily be corrected. These cost-effective methods will undoubtedly pay off in the long run.
Big Rewards for Small Budgets
No business should ever descend to the point where its content marketing budget is running on empty. Adopting a leaner and more agile approach is the best way to ensure that you and your team will rise to the occasion when it matters the most. Firms that are capable of battling through the tough times will undoubtedly enjoy an edge when the money does indeed begin to roll in!
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