Five (free) content marketing strategies to grow your business if you have no budget for marketing

Among your many tasks when you start a business is the need to market it to prospective customers. One of the best ways is to create content that people connect with

Among the many different tasks on your plate when you launch your start-up will be the need to market your business to prospective customers. One of the best ways of doing this is with a sound content marketing strategy.

It’s easy to be a little cynical about all the terms and buzzwords you’ll come across as you research how best to market your new enterprise. Content marketing, however, is proving to be a concept that has value as it can help small businesses operate on a more level playing field with the big brands.

In fact, in the absence of the big marketing budgets that large brands have, it’s often smaller businesses who are using free social media in much more creative ways.

Foresight and planning is key, though. Although content is a broad term, content marketing refers mainly to promoting a business through social media.

How to make money from the internet

Since Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube have been with us all for a while now, the temptation is great to think that setting up a profile or page on these social media platforms and adding the odd update or post is all that content marketing entails.

It’s not. While it’s not rocket science, it does involve a little thought. Here are a few strategies to help you build a content marketing strategy for your business that delivers results quickly.

1. Set up a content marketing calendar

One of the challenges in running a proper content marketing strategy for your start-up is coming up with new ideas to talk about, and you don’t want an out-of-date Facebook page or blog to be a customer’s first view of your business. Setting up a calendar encourages you to brainstorm what you can talk about through your social media platforms as your business’ voice to attract people to your site, or bricks and mortar business.

Are you setting up a fashion business? Perhaps the different society horse races of the season will give you a chance to speak about fashion in a way that isn’t a hard sell, but still lets potential customers know of you. Oscar night could be another one.

Have you just launched an artisan food business? If so, tailor your content calendar to have something valuable to say around food festivals and holidays where eating is the main focus of activity, such as Christmas and Easter.

2. Test which channels your followers respond to

Social media is great in that engagement with your potential customers is immediate. Be prepared to test what type of content and which platform will work best for your business. It might be that your customers are receptive to tweets with a witty hashtag but that YouTube videos leave them cold. If that is the case, put more of your time into communicating with them on Twitter.

3. Question your customers with SurveyMonkey

Test whether a survey would be right for your business. Ask no more than three or four questions, using a platform like SurveyMonkey, and comb the responses you get for insights into the industry you’re in. One survey could give rise to a good few piece of content.

4. Use images in your social media

Humans love pictures and including visual material, be it an image, video or infographic, in your social media content is makes it more ‘sticky’.

In other words, people will spend more time on your social media presence and click through to wherever you want to take them (for example, your website, an ebook, an article about you on a news site) and become more and more engaged with your business. This takes them closer to making a purchase with you.

5. Repurpose existing content

Whenever you create a piece of content, look at ways to get more bang for your buck by repurposing that content for other uses. If you’ve created an ebook that can be downloaded from your site, is it possible to harvest some Twitter updates from each chapter?

A YouTube video might also very shareable on your Facebook page with a small post attached. And don’t neglect the comments you get in response to your social media content; these could give you potential content ideas.

Finally, don’t forget the army of freelancers out there who will be able to help you with the pieces you’re not set up to do, such as design work for infographics, paid on an hourly rate or a project fee.

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