Content has easily become the most important part of any company’s marketing strategy, and it’s also one of the most resource intensive and stressful components to continuously produce.
Because your business needs unique content in order to get noticed online (increase in search engine rankings, gain traffic from external sites, get shared on social media) it can fast become the bane of your marketing team’s existence when fresh content is seemingly needed day in, and day out.
The good news is that quality matters more than quantity when it comes to content. The bad news is that high quality content often comes at a high cost, one that many smaller businesses simply can’t afford for the long term.
Have no fear! We’re here to give you tips and tricks on how to create shareable, engaging content on a strict budget.
Just because you’re working with limited resources doesn’t mean that you have to forgo the benefits of content marketing, nor does it mean that you have to settle for unengaging, low quality fluff. By trying out these tips and tricks, you can create great content for at least half of the money and time than usual.
Be short, sweet, punchy and make sure to include visuals
When it comes to written content, it’s quality over quantity that counts. Your copy should be short and sweet, and punchy to boot. Whilst this applies to your actual written content, there are other techniques to make your content easy to read and engage with that have little to do with word choice.
For example, break up your written content with punchy titles, easy to skim bullet points, and tiny single sentence paragraphs. Don’t worry, you’re not handing in an essay, you are absolutely encouraged to bend the grammatical and punctuation rules a bit to make your text easy to read.
Visuals are very important for keeping readers engaged, so make sure to include imagery, graphs, and even moving GIFs or video to help keep your audience on the page.
Avoid being too wordy. You can achieve this by avoiding descriptive words, and making sure your sentences get straight to the point. Everyone’s attention spans are quite short in the digital age, so make sure you’re delivering on your content’s promise as quickly and surely as possible.
Switch the perspective on your content: forgo the promotional, and aim for the narrative
Everyone’s been sold to now for decades. The average person can see right through promotional content at a single glance. A brand talking about itself or its products is no longer engaging content. Switch things up and instead of objective promotion, go for subjective storytelling.
Need to promote a product? Think deeply about your target audience, and figure out what the personal story behind your product and the type of people that benefit from it is. Get detailed and specific, make your stories as human and emotional as possible. It’s narrative, these days, that grabs and holds attention. People are looking for the personality behind the brand, and the feeling behind the content. Approach all your content from a story-telling mindset and reap the benefits of engaging narratives.
If you’re having trouble coming up with stories, why not let real life people help you out? You might want to create content based on real life interviews with real customers, for example. Or you might want to use a story about the founder of your business that’s tried and true. As they say, the best writers write what they know.
Video content is far more engaging and shareable – but you don’t need film equipment to reap the benefits
The top 5% of videos retain a whopping 77% of viewers until their very end, showing that when done right, video content is an engagement force to be reckoned with. If you’re looking to increase the shareability of your content, then video has to be a part of your marketing mix.
But video is resource intensive, traditionally creating films have required film sets, equipment, and trained teams to boot – but in the digital age, where most videos are under 2 minutes long, there’s budget ways of creating video content that’s still high performance in the grand scheme of things.
Let’s have a look at two of the most accessible forms of video content for the budget creator.
- The cinemagraph
-The cinemagraph is a video of a still image, where one component of the image movies. For example, an image of a teapot pouring out tea, and the stream of tea moves like a GIF whilst the rest of the image does not.
-You achieve the attention-grabbing quality of a video without having to actually produce much video content – just one image or short clip is needed.
-You can achieve a cinemagraph just by downloading the free app of the same name – making this an incredibly low budget option for video content.
- Single image zoom video
-You can avoid having to film footage altogether by creating a video out of a still image. Simply use a cheap or free film editing software (such as iMovie) and import a single image. Then use the zoom effect to zoom into specific parts of the image. Other effects could be used to create further movement, even though your content is technically just a singular image.
– This method saves plenty of time and money, and also means you can cross channel image content that otherwise would have just been used statically on web pages or blog posts. Simply import a beautiful image into your editing software and throw in some zooms. Voila, instant video content.
Save money on content, and put it into SEO
If you’re saving money on content, then consider putting some of it aside to making sure that that content is visible. There’s a lot of noise on the internet (well, duh) and it takes plenty of optimisation to make sure your content isn’t drowned out. After all, your content needs clicks and eyes to have any sort of affect, but without investing in SEO, your content may end up never seeing the light of day.
Go ahead and skimp on content creation costs with our tips, and then use some of those surplus savings to sink into high quality SEO strategies – or maybe even treat yourself to a specialist who can do the grunt work of optimisation for you. Any which way you choose, make sure that all your content is as optimised as possible, just so that you don’t waste your time on content that doesn’t get seen.
If you’re looking to tackle SEO yourself, you’re going to have to do a lot of self-study. Google’s algorithms update frequently, making SEO a time consuming job. Sometimes, some things are better off left for the experts.
Streamline content creation
With automation tools, and other efficiency boosting strategies, content creation can take up far less time, and resources. By streamlining your content creation processes, you’ll find content production much less of a daily headache, and more so a task you tackle every now and then. By using workflow techniques that improve efficiency in tandem with automation tools that help you put content broadcast on autopilot, you’ll be able to produce and publish a large volume of content all within your strict budget.
One part of the production process you can easily streamline is topic ideas. Often, content creators get stuck in time intensive cycles of having to come up with a topic in order to create a content piece. This means that if you’re trying to publish a piece every couple of days, you’ll have to struggle to come up with an idea as often as you have to struggle to create the actual copy.
By setting aside time to create an entire directory of content topics, or titles, you take out the decision-making guess-work of the daily content production grind. Next time a content creator needs to produce a piece, all they have to do is pick a topic from the directory. Coming up with ideas is often the most time consuming part of the content production process, so a simple reworking of the workflow like this can save you lots of time (and money) in the long run.
How can you use automation tools to make content production easier?
If you’re using a Marketing Automation platform (which is an overall time and money saver for all your content marketing needs) you can utilise automation tools to take the pain out of content production and publication.
By creating a whole series of email campaigns ahead of time, and have them schedule to publish in succession – or even trigger to send based on certain contact behaviours – you can get all of your content production out of the way ahead of time. This means on a day to day basis, your content marketing team can focus on other things.
You may also be able to use automation tools which help you cross channel content. There’s no point using a great piece of content only once. By using RSS feed tools, for example, you can populate an e-newsletter with articles pulled from your business’ blog.
By using a Marketing Automation platform with A/B split testing, and detailed reports, you can also increase the engagement of your content by experimenting and analysing data. A/B split testing, for example, enables you to send different versions of email campaigns with differing subject lines or content. The subject line which garners the most opens then becomes the official subject line of your email campaign; increasing overall engagement rates. With detailed publication reports, you can also easily identify the content which garners the most click throughs, and shape your content strategy based off of what your contacts are actually engaged with.
There’s no magic rule when it comes to creating engaging content, because every business has a different story to tell, and a unique audience they’re telling it to. For this reason, analysing data and using findings to shed light on what your contacts actually want is an integral part of creating engaging shareable content on a budget.
Are you keen to find out how using a Marketing Automation platform can make content creation on a budget that much easier? Talk to the experts at Swift Digital, and give us a call on 02 9929 7001.