Content marketing may be nearing peak popularity. Businesses everywhere are turning toward the marketing strategy as a way to make their businesses more visible and more reputable. Much of content marketing’s popularity is due to its impressive return on investment (ROI); you can get started without a heavy investment, and technically, you can get by with only an investment of time. Over the course of months and years, you’ll see a bigger and bigger return — but it’s all the more significant if you can remain frugal and minimize the total cost of your campaign.
So how do you cut costs in content marketing?
Never de-prioritize quality
First, let’s emphasize a point about quality; the quality of your content must meet a certain threshold, or you’ll actively start damaging your campaign. Keep this in mind when you’re opting for less expensive options. For example, if you’re considering switching content providers to someone cheaper and less experienced, you could wind up with inferior content, and your overall campaign and reputation could suffer. Instead, keep content quality as your top priority, and only cut costs when the rest of your campaign can remain consistent.
How to save money
These strategies will help you preserve your quality while still saving money:
1. Start efficiently. When you first start out, you’ll be incurring several different costs all at once. You’ll have to find a good hosting provider, design your website, find a good CMS system to use, and start filling up your blog with some content. Fortunately, there are some strategies you can use to cut costs during this especially sensitive period. For example, you can choose a hosting provider that offers the most “bang for your buck,” choose a domain name that won’t cost you much, and start loading your content with images you found for free online.
2. Prioritize audience-centric content. Fluff content isn’t going to cut it. If you want every piece of content you produce to have value, every piece needs to be targeted for a niche audience. In the early stages of your campaign, that means zeroing in on one specific niche market, and finding out exactly what their wants and needs are. Targeted content is always more valuable than generic content, so keep this a high priority.
3. Don’t waste time on low-authority publishers. There’s a dramatic elevation in benefits when you start comparing the authority of various publishers against one another. A high-authority publisher (for example, a household name with millions of followers) isn’t just slightly better than a low-authority one (for example, a locally focused niche blog); it’s devastatingly better. You may need to consult low-authority sources to start building momentum, but don’t waste too much time on them.
4. Cut tactics that don’t work for you. Similarly, if you find that one of your tactics isn’t working, you need to cut it as soon as possible. It’s costing you money and isn’t doing anything for you. For this, you’ll have to keep a close eye on your performance metrics; the minute you realize one of your strategies isn’t making much of a return, scrap it and replace it with something new.
5. Utilize free and cheap sources of content distribution. Content marketing is a place that rewards efficiency, so look for ways to enhance your campaign without paying a significant amount of money. Free means of content distribution are everywhere — just take a look at social media. Almost every social media platform is free to sign up for and use, and you could potentially get your content in front of millions of people. Keep an eye out for more free platforms and opportunities to use.
6. Scale effectively. Eventually, all content marketing campaigns need to scale to keep increasing their returns. You’ll need to seek better external publishers, create more pieces, and increase the quality of your work. To remain efficient, you need to know how to scale appropriately. Otherwise, you run the risk of investing too much in strategies you didn’t really need, or not scaling fast enough to keep ratcheting up your returns.
7. Let your customers do the work for you. You can also let your customers do some of the work for you. Create a customer-run forum, or other opportunities for your customers to engage with each other on your site. Encourage them to post reviews on your site, or submit content via contests and guest posting opportunities. Many of your customers would be happy to create content on your behalf — you just have to give them a good reason. Not only does this save you money by getting someone else to produce content for you, it also increases engagement rates with your brand.
These strategies should help you minimize your total investment in your content marketing campaign. As long as your content remains well-written and targeted specifically toward your audience, you’ll be able to reduce your total expenditures while still increasing the amount of visibility, reputation, traffic and conversions you earn.
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