Coming up with new, fresh content can be a struggle. However, doing so is crucial for content marketing purposes. Creating new, engaging content on a regular basis is the key to building and maintaining an audience who want to return to time and again. And this type of strategy is also helpful ranking in the search engines.
While there are many how-to content marketing articles and guides available online, not many of them offer advice on how to create engaging content on a limited budget. We’ve created this guide to help you learn how to plan content for your business, even if you have a tight budget. Let’s get started!
Plan Content: Choose the Right Platforms
Before getting started with creating wonderful content, you’ll first need to choose which platforms to use. The first step is to complete an audit (nothing more than an overview) by answering these key questions:
- Which platforms do you already use? These probably include some mix of websites, social media, email and more.
- Which platforms are used by your competitors?
- What type of content is preferred by your target audience? Here, you’ll need to consider if your target audience prefers case studies, articles, infographics, videos, research papers and more.
- Which forms of content do you use well and most of the time?
Do you already produce great content in a specific medium? Are you able to create fresh content on a specific platform?
For instance, some companies may try to implement articles on a specific platform, only to find no one’s reading the content. This is a loss of time, money, and effort, as well as failure to connect with and engage with the target audience. Instead, the company needs to try other types of content to see what their audience prefers.
When it comes to creating content, you need to stay with the type of content you can do well. If you have abandoned blogs, social media profiles, and more, then this can make your business look bad.
Now’s the time to create a list of platforms your target audience prefers. Then, work to create the type of content they prefer. This saves money and effort, just be sure to stay on budget.
How Often to Conduct Content Marketing?
This has to do with the frequency and consistency of publishing great content. Here, you’ll need to consider the time available/needed (by you or staff) and then consider how much to budget.
Next, you’ll need to create a content plan such as this:
- Daily content: may include social media posts on platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIN or even Instagram. Remember, you can save money and time by creating batches of content once a week or so.
- Weekly content: these might include Instagram images, blog posts and/or case studies, and even email marketing, such as newsletters.
- Quarterly (or less frequent) content creation: could include ebooks and research papers. These types of content may take more time and effort; however, if they’re only done on a quarterly basis (or less often), then it’s possible to schedule content creation into a long-term project schedule.
The key here is to find the frequency of content creation and publishing that works for you. Then you’ll need to create a steady content creation plan to make sure to have content ready when you need it.
Planning Content Topics
Now you’re ready to begin planning the topics. This can be a frustrating exercise, but an easy way to start out is by taking a look at the calendar and upcoming events that are important to your industry. These may include:
- National holidays
- Sporting events
- Major shopping events
- Social media “holidays”
- National months, weeks, days of observance (such as Black History Month, and so on)
- Industry events
- Community events
- Company events
- Trade shows
- Events held by partners, clients and more
Whatever the event, just make sure the content is geared to that specific event and is tied into your company and industry. You can do things such as writing preview articles on the event, live social event content (such as Tweets, Facebook posts and more). You can even add photos!
Make this a fun exercise and remember to keep the content engaging and relevant for your target audience.
Tag Your Topics
This can be an exercise that causes many businesses to struggle. What if your company’s new, or you’re working for a new company and don’t have experience to select important topics? Or you may be writer who is completely burned out on the topic. These are all commons issues; however, don’t despair!
There are a couple of ways to work through this problem:
- Topic research questions: this will include asking the questions that customers/clients most often ask about your services. To find these questions, ask your team—sales & marketing and managers frequently have to deal with these types of questions. In addition, you can read comments and reviews online, check your website’s search tool data, and ask for customer feedback. These are all great sources of content. And remember to take a look at what your competitors are writing about!
- Research tools: be sure to use free SEO research tools to find those topics that may be important to your customers and clients. These include Google’s Keyword Planner, SEMRush, BuzzSumo, ahrefs, and Answer the Public. Some of these tools are free to use, or they may require you to sign up for a free account in order to use them. That’s great—you won’t have to pay anything to get some great SEO-based insights on content for your target audience!
Now, you’re ready to create that amazing content. However, what if you don’t have the skills to create that great content? We have the answer—you can use these free tools!
- Create great, engaging copy with these tools: Writtent & Forge and Smith.
- Create social media images with: Zapier or Sproutsocial.
- Need infographics? Check out these tools.
- Video creation—no problem with these free tools. Need to edit videos, we’ve got you covered with these handy tools.
- Would you like to create an amazing podcast? Then check out these free podcast tools.
- If you’re just starting out with email marketing, check out these great tools.
- We even found a free tool to help you create ebooks!
These are some great free tools available online that you can use to start getting caught up with your content marketing. Remember that frequency and consistency and creating the preferred content of your target audience are key to a successful content marketing strategy on any budget.
Liam is a website designer and digital marketer based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. He spent a decade working within the charity sector before moving into the marketing space a number of years ago. Liam always strives to do something slightly different with every project and always designs to deliver results, not just pretty websites.