As a small business, your budget is likely minimal. The little cash you do have goes toward the expenses you feel confident will move your business forward, like meetings with potential clients or hiring new salespeople. While marketing may seem like an unnecessary expense, or one you’d rather not deal with, it’s no longer an option. Both the B2B and B2C spaces are getting more and more crowded each day, and marketing your brand is what helps you stand out.
With a small budget, however, you can’t do it all. So what’s the best tactic to get the most from a small budget? Organic content marketing, which breaks out into two categories:
- Content creation
- Content promotion
Organic content marketing is one of the best investments you can make because it helps you boost SEO value for your website over time, while building an active online audience. Not to mention, your website is the one online property you own, making it a critical tool for your business. Social media platforms may come and go, but your website will always be yours. Creating this high-quality content now will provide value for many years to come.
More importantly, educational content makes consumers 131 percent more likely to buy, according to 2017 research. Not only are they more inclined to do so because you’ve provided value right away, but you can promote your products and services with in-text ads and pop-ups once they’re on your site.
It’s critical that you pair this content creation with promotion to make sure potential customers can find the educational content you’re creating. Luckily, there are many ways to promote your content for free, making it a great marketing tactic for any budget.
Keep reading to learn more about how to facilitate organic content marketing in your small business—all while keeping it budget friendly.
Part 1: Content creation
Your blog is a great place to start creating content—if you don’t have one set up already, a developer can set it up for you quickly and easily. Once done, you may find that creating content is the hardest part of this tactic for one simple reason: it’s time-consuming.
They key is hiring someone to do the writing for you, if you don’t already have a marketing team or employee in place. The good news is, you can find qualified writers, available for contract work, on sites like UpWork. This keeps your costs low and allows you to get that much-needed content.
When choosing a writer, you can determine whether they’re a good fit or not by asking the following questions:
- Does she or he have experience writing in our industry?
- How many years of writing experience does she or he have?
- Does she or he have writing recommendations?
- Does she or he have a portfolio or samples?
Try to find a writer that checks all of these boxes. Remember that their writing voice needs to match that of your industry and brand as well. As such, it’s wise to create a brand style guide, which explains whether the voice and tone is fun and playful, informative and straight forward, informal and educational, etc. If you’ve never written a brand style guide before, check out this helpful guide from Content Marketing Institute.
You’ll also need to determine how often your writer will create content, what topics they’ll write about and who will publish the articles on the site—you or the writer. This is all part of your blogging strategy, which will also include SEO. Follow my guide, How to Blog Like a Pro, to get started with these details.
Part 2: Content promotion
Whenever a new article goes live on your blog, you have to put time into promotion to ensure people are seeing it—which is, of course, what makes it valuable. There are a number of ways to promote your content for free, including:
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Guest posting
- Influencer sharing
Let’s breakdown each promotion tactic and how to use it.
You likely already have social media profiles. Use these as a jumping off point for promoting your articles, even if you have a small following. The key is using the right keywords and hashtags in your caption to make sure that you reach both your current audience and those who are not yet following you, but may find the content helpful.
For example, if your blog post is about how to fix a laptop with water damage, your caption for Twitter may read: “Water damage doesn’t need to be the end of your laptop! Bookmark our guide for fixing your laptop after a spill! #laptoprepair #electronicstalk”
If you have a subscriber base, you have a built-in audience for promoting your content. There are a few ways you can share your new blog posts with your subscribers.
- Send a monthly content email, outlining all the new blog posts from that month.
- Send a weekly blog post email, sharing the newest blog post for that week.
- Send a monthly update email, that includes both sales and content information.
Remember to only share the introduction of your blog post, with a link back to finish reading on your site, as opposed to sharing the entire text of the blog post in the email itself. You want to get subscribers on your site where you can then direct them to sales pages.
Guest posting is a great way to promote your high-quality content, in addition to building thought leadership. This allows you to get bylined articles on other websites, showing your expertise and value.
Start by making a list of websites and blogs within your industry. Find contact information for those websites and reach out requesting to write a blog post. Explain the topic you’d like to cover along with why you’re qualified to share on that topic.
Remember that the topic should allow for you to naturally link to one of your blog posts in the guest post for the other site. If your company’s blog post is about fixing a laptop with water damage, you might pitch the topic: “5 Fixes for Common Laptop Issues.” One of those issues would be “water damage,” which is where you’d insert your link as a resource for readers.
Learn more about guest posting, and why it is valuable for your business, in 5 Reasons Guest Posting is the Missing Piece. Benefits include driving targeted traffic and brand recognition.
If you have a small following to share with, ask influencers in your space to share with their audience too. There are a few ways to do this:
- Email the blog post to the most related influencers.
- Direct message the influencers on social medial.
- Mention the influencer in a social media post, asking them to check it out and share.
Note that you don’t need to do this with every blog post—it can start to look spammy if you’re constantly asking someone to share your content. Do this only for your top content pieces, like long, in-depth guides that are purely educational. The influencer will only share if they find value in the piece of content, so pick and choose when you use this tactic.
Small budget, no problem
If PPC or paid social media ads are out of your budget, start with organic content marketing, creating and promoting great content. This not only drives SEO value for your website, but it also educates your customer, which has been found to increase conversions. Use these tips to get started with creating and promoting your content and give it time to work. A few signs that it’s working include:
- Higher organic traffic to your site
- Higher traffic from social media to your site
- Clicks to landing pages from blog posts
Ultimately, the key is making time to do the work or hiring the right contractors to do it for you. When you can provide value to potential customers, before ever asking them to buy something, while driving more traffic to your website, you make the best use of your small budget.
The information and tips shared on this blog are meant to be used as learning and personal development tools as you launch, run and grow your business. While a good place to start, these articles should not take the place of personalized advice from professionals. As our lawyers would say: “All content on Wave’s blog is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice.” Additionally, Wave is the legal copyright holder of all materials on the blog, and others cannot re-use or publish it without our written consent.