Strategic content management is a touch task: Maintaining editorial calendar, producing high-quality content and promoting it on social media and beyond – all of that takes lots of time and effort.
Hiring editors, writers and paying for tools that scale the process is one way to deal with that problem. But what if you don’t have the budget for that (And you won’t believe how many companies actually don’t!)
Inexpensive content marketing exists: that doesn’t mean sacrificing quality in the name of saving a few bucks. It’s about creative approaches and free tools allowing you to still produce top-notch content while not spending a fortune.
I have learned to create content on a strict budget, so I can put most of my monetary allocation towards areas where it is really needed, like advertising (and expensive coffees with too much cream and sugar).
What I Mean By “Budget”
I should specify one point about the word “budget” in this context. I am only referring to money for half of it. Of course it is important to have a set amount of cash you are able to use for content, and to stick to that amount. Even if that amount is zero.
But I also mean a budget for time and effort. When you run a website of any kind, but especially one that is driven by content, you are forced to wear many hats. There just aren’t enough hours in a day to dedicate too much to generating content, no matter how good.
So these five tips I am about to cover are directed at more than saving money. They are also meant to save you time.
With that disclaimer in place, let’s get started!
Use What You’ve Got
If you have been running a site for awhile you should already have a fair amount of content made. Why not try and get a bit more out of what you already have?
One of my popular articles is a compilation of links to other posts with visual quotes. It acts as a master list, and generates a ton of traffic and shares. Especially on Pinterest, where it is responsible for giving me my first ever foothold on the network.
But there are other ways to reuse old content. Make updates, for example, or repackage it using a different format (use stats in a post to make an infographic, film a video of you explaining the concept, etc).
There are plenty of free tools you can use here (linked here as well). I’d like to add Cyfe (Freemium) to the list because it makes organizing and monitoring your old content very easy and effective (We are also saving time here!)
Widgets I am using to keep an eye on my content:
- Google Analytics (Landing pages) to see pages that start driving traffic
- Twitter search (monitoring my domain name) to see which of my site pages are being tweeted
- Notes (To add my to-do list and notes)
- iFrame for my Google Spreadsheet with the export of all my blog articles (it’s searchable)
Branch Out Into New Media
Branching out into new media is going to immediately expand your ability to create content. Being able to triple your output or more in one single step is a pretty huge deal. I do this by making a video, a text post, an infographic, and a Slideshare presentation of all major posts.
It targets different audiences on various platforms, and improves my results with less effort than you might imagine. You see many other popular websites doing the same thing, such as Cracked or The Richest, who create videos out of old and new posts to get views from a more visually based audience who may have missed or skimmed it on their site.
Even if you don’t have time to constantly come up with original visuals and videos, you can still use this trick. There are plenty of online resources that visualize for you and you are encouraged to reuse that visual content with proper credit, for example:
- Use Emarketer, SiteGeek, and MarketingCharts for up-to-date marketing and web-related visualizations
- Use Fiverr to get your content created (Fiverr is great for outsourcing comics and cartoons: Just look for good gigs)
- Use tons of Creative Commons resources available out there.
A regular column featuring a fresh perspective is most often a good thing for your blog. You get someone write the content, manage comments and even help you share it around.
Of course, if you are not going to pay your contributors, you will need to create strong incentives for them to write for your site for free. Having a popular site that will bring traffic to them is the best option. If you are not there yet, consider adding social media promotion for your writers, give away your tools or services, etc.
Trello is a great way to plan your editorial calendar and collaborate with your contributors. You can set deadlines, message your writers, take notes of article ideas, etc.
Request User Content
Expert interviews and expert round-ups are on the rise these days. You may be growing tired of them but that doesn’t mean you can still use them creatively to generate free content and stand out.
Invite a bunch of social media influencers to contribute a quote to your article and you’ll see many more shares when it goes live!
- Easily invite experts (without spending time chasing contact information or composing emails)
- Easily approve quotes or ideas and generate an HTML code with all the credits included
- Easily notify all the participants once your article goes live for them to go ahead and share
Here are some ideas on using expert interviews creatively.
I love Creative Commons content. You can find just about anything, in any form of media. Most is free for general use on blogs, with credit. Some is royalty and attribution free. Others are allowed for commercial content.
While you don’t want to present these items as they are with no context, they can greatly enhance your content, or offer you ideas to build around them. I have spent many days going through CC sites and finding concepts that I later build into popular content. You can save a ton of time by going there first.
Do you have any ideas for creating content on a budget, whether that refers to money or time? Let us know in the comments!
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* Adapted lead image: Public Domain, pixabay.com via getstencil.com
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