I know, you are probably thinking that I say this too much. It’s probably one of the most overused phrases ever to grace the world of digital marking too. But seriously, it’s still a phrase in today’s world because it’s true!
Content marketing seems pretty easy, right? You just write some blog posts or add some more pages to your site, and all done! No, that’s not how it’s done at all. It really is more complicated than you think. First, you need a strong keyword research plan. Find your audience. A multitude of creativity. Hopefully you don’t run into writer’s block. Top-notch grammar. And tons of ideas! Then you come into the competition. That is really just the beginning too. So let’s start off figuring out what content marketing really is.
What Is Content Marketing?
A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Content is your influence
Content can serve as a complementary strategy to almost any other online marketing strategy:
Content helps SEO by providing more we Authority and increasing your domain authority as well as earning inbound links.
It provides source material for a social media marketing campaign.
It can enhance the value of your landing page and other web pages.
It can help you build relationships with other online brands and industries.
But that’s not all! In addition to these core complementary influences, content has a number of positive effects that function independently:
New Traffic. If you’re guest posting or just producing content on your own blog, people will be more likely to find you and click through your site. You can also encourage further site interactions by interlinking your blog posts with other pieces of onsite content.
Reputation. The more people see your content, the more they will remember your brand and the higher your reputation with those individuals will be.
Brand Trust. When a visitor stumbles on your site for any reason, your content can secure his/her confidence in your brand, so long as that content is authoritative, helpful, and well written overall.
Influence Conversions. Again assuming your content is well written, a well placed call to action embedded in your content can encourage direct conversions resulting in more average revenue for every visitor on your site.
Content That Lasts Forever
They call it “evergreen” content because it lasts forever. Trendy content, news content, and other forms of in the moment material are important, and usually attract a lot of visitors, but some forms of content will always be relevant. Interesting and relevant content that does not become dated is necessary in order to be found online by search engines. Evergreen content can help deliver traffic to your website and hold a valuable position in search engine rankings for months or even years from when it was first published. For example, write a post about why content marketing is important for your business and explain the process. Every website owner wants to grow their business and expand their traffic so this post I am writing right now, should be pretty relevant for months if not years to come.
So, How To Start Content Marketing?
Content marketing does not have to be complicated. So if you want to do content marketing, without having to blow your marketing budget. Here’s what you do:
1. Start a blog.
The cost of starting a blog is basically free.
You don’t even have to call it a blog, just a place on your website where you can post content – here are a few pointers:
Don’t create a new site that’s called blog.example.com – use the same root domain as your website. Otherwise that creates a different root domain and a new link profile. One of the goals of content marketing is SEO, and you’re not going to get the SEO benefit to your main site if you launch a new one – like blog.example.com. Instead, use this format: example.com/blog.
Use WordPress. It’s the easiest and most versatile CMS for blogging. If you’re going to be recruiting the help of others for the blog, this is going to be important. Plus, it doesn’t cost anything. If you already use a WordPress site, simply add a new page, and call it “blog”.
Link to it from your main page. This is content marketing best practice. A few simple menu links works best for any website, especially from a conversion standpoint. You can look at the top of this page and see how I’ve positioned my blog link called “Make Money Blog“.
2. Post Once a week.
Now that you have a blog, you’re officially almost doing content marketing.
You need to start creating content. This is the awesome part. This is where you start to refine your message, gain first place rank, get linkbacks from the New York Times, field interviews from CNN, and consider retiring in a mansion on the French Riviera because your company will be so successful!
Wait.. let’s take a step back.
Baby steps. The goal right now is to just create some content. Do it just once a week if you have to. You have to start somewhere.
So, how do you get that content on a shoestring budget?
3. How do I do it?
Content can be expensive. I have heard of copywriters command $25,000 for putting together just a few hundred words. (Thinking about changing my profession). Other professional blog writers charge $400 – 700 per post.
You can’t afford $700 for an article on your blog. (Yet.) Someday, hopefully, yes. But not right now, that’s for sure.
Here are some options that cost less. The list below is ordered from least expensive to slightly more expensive than free:
1. Do the writing yourself.
This is your free choice. It costs you nothing except your time. Many small online businesses take this route. It doesn’t take a ton of time but it does mean you will have to find somewhere in your schedule.
2. Assign team members to do the writing.
This also doesn’t cost you anything. Although, keep in mind that your employees are not exactly “free.” If you choose to assign this task to your workers, be aware of their existing workload and ability.
3. Hire a freelancer.
This could cost you about $10-75 per post. Just remember, the more you pay, the better quality you’ll be able to get. Find a freelancer to do the work on a consistent basis. Not just a one and done. Do a phone interview after selecting a few of them and get samples of their work. You want this person to be the best for your company.
Textbroker’s rates start at 1.3 cents (USD) per word. At this rate, a short blog post of 300 words would cost just shy of four dollars. These articles are considered low quality, however, and are expected to have errors. Higher quality work costs substantially more. Using top-grade writers on Textbroker could cost you $21.60 for a 300 word article.
5. Other options.
You could hire a content marketing firm. This is usually a very expensive option and I would advise against this for many reasons:
They usually lock you into a long-term contract. If you’re unsatisfied with their product, you’ve still contracted to pay a set amount for a specified duration.
The cost is high. Often, such companies simply use the same resource of writers, but add a substantial markup.
The quality is often subpar.
The great thing about a content marketing firm is that you get a completely outsourced process, from start to finish. No more worrying about SEO, no juggling an editorial calendar, no vetting writers, or proofreading work. There are, however, cons that I think outweigh such pros.
Thoughts: What do I do now?
I have just explained how you can start content marketing for little to no money.
As you gain more money through your content marketing efforts, you’ll be able to invest that money back into content marketing.
Here’s how to keep improving:
Scale up your quality. Be willing to improve your content spending to improve your quality.
Increase your output. Eventually, you may get to the point where you can post daily or almost daily.
Use a variety of content. Videos, infographics, and webinars cast more, but have huge results. As you earn more via content marketing, consider launching additional content effort.
Integrate content marketing with social media marketing.
Leverage your content marketing to grow a mailing list and start email marketing.
Create free resources (ebooks) that you can give away to leads.
Content marketing will pay for itself. Even though you might have a small budget at first, you can snowball it into something that will totally change your company. Content marketing can take you from a nobody’s-ever-heard-of-it business to a massively popular brand.
The potential is there, you’ve just got to take those baby steps and start out.
What content marketing method are you going to use?