You see the shiny, glittery articles and colorful video content big businesses post on social media channels. As a small business owner, you wonder whether you’d ever be able to afford high-quality content like that.
The good news is that the road to good content is not paved with money. It will require some investment on your part, but you don’t need to dish out a bag of cash to make a video with viral potential.
The biggest hurdle most small businesses face in publishing good content is not money. It’s lack of knowledge and understanding of what constitutes good content and how to go about creating good content.
It’s important to remember that when it comes to content, quality trumps quantity. In the past, marketers used to flood the internet with hundreds and thousands of really bad “articles.” This was when online search was solely based on keywords. You could right just about anything as long as you put in the right keywords and your site would shoot up to the top 10 search results. Search engines have since evolved significantly and keyword stuffing, as the practice is now known, is currently a major SEO crime.
The challenge small businesses face is how to create quality content at affordable rates. It’s surprisingly easier than one thinks. It’s relatively easy to buy quality written content, mostly because unknown web writers work for cheap. There are also plenty of other ways to create good but low-cost content. Read ahead to find out what some of these tactics are:
Hire Freelance Writers
Freelancing writers are one of the lowest paid professions on the internet. These writers often take on a large number of individually low-cost projects. So the results for the buyer can be mixed. You can order a blog post for $5 on a site like Fiverr or FiveBucker.com. What you get will always depend on the freelancer you hire. A good freelancer will do an excellent job even for a handful of bucks. If you end up with a bad project, it will be disappointing but you would only have paid $5 for it. If you want written content far superior than what you or your marketing team can write, don’t be afraid to hire a freelancer. Try working with several freelancers and you would be able to find out who’s good and who’s not. Later, your company can rely on these freelancers to provide written content for the long term. This is a quick and worry-free method to acquire written content befitting your small business budget.
Make Text and Image Videos
Video is now widely hailed as the future of content marketing. If your company’s content strategy does not include video, which is actually surpassing written content in sharability ratings, then your online presence will have to yield to the competition soon. Most small businesses overlook video content even when fully knowing that the material is lucrative. This is because shooting original videos is expensive. Indeed, most small businesses do not have the budget to hire actors or scriptwriters for commercials like big corporations. There’s one thing to remember here though: video content is versatile.
Think about the videos you see online nowadays. Not all of them are expensively made commercials or short movies, and not each one features a celebrity. The advantage of video is that the format can be made to fit your budget. How many videos have you seen that only had images, text and perhaps a voice-over narration? If you purchase video editing software, you can make a high-quality animated video relatively free. Listicles and infographics can have video formats, and it doesn’t cost much to make these. As for voice over narration, anyone at the office can do it.
Videos can be long or short. A very short video lasting less than 3 seconds does not cost much to make. Also, it’s easy to incorporate inexpensive footage to make video better. You can use a household camera to shoot pictures of pets or scenery to use in a video if needed. No need to hire a trendy photographer. If you want a video to go viral, have an animal in it. You don’t have to pay your pet cat or dog to do the silly things on camera that online audiences love.
Be the Star in Your Own Videos
One of the most powerful types of content online is informative videos. These are the videos where an expert or a narrator conducts a “how to” or a list of tips session. For example, if a business sells electronic laptops, an online video showing how to clean laptops at home presented by a tech person has high shareability potential. Any business can adopt this model. Even boring business consultancy firms are making these informational videos (you can watch a series of Corporate Business Solutions and tips on YouTube).
The key to the success of these information videos is to present the material from an expert, professional or an unbiased reviewer’s point of view. Customers naturally prefer to know as much as they can about a product before they purchase. However, only a few bother to actually read more than one or two reviews. Plenty like to watch short videos of products in action. Some may even prefer to watch videos of tips before or after purchasing a product. There’s plenty of demand here for your company to capitalize on. So, you can be the expert of your own small business. You can present these videos as the CEO or manager of your own company. After all, you don’t have to pay yourself. All you will need is a script that a staffer can write, and a camcorder.
Other than informational videos, you can also make mini adverts for your own company. The “stars” in these videos should be you and your staffers. You can make short movies about your business, how it began, how you make your products and so on. If shot right, emphasizing on special effects, they will not look cheap. Plus, the “indieness” of cheaply made videos has a certain appeal. Consider the video an animal shelter made trying to “sell” its cats as if the animals were used cars. The video is informative, hilarious, cute and touching. Of course it went viral. The video only stars a staff member of the shelter and plenty of animals. It is shot by another staff member using a standard camcorder. Try to do something equally innovative for your small business and you will have very successful content circulating online.
Make Clickable Graphics at Home
Generally speaking, web users are highly visually oriented. Graphics are more likely to grab attention than written content. So, if you want really successful content that you can create for real cheap, make an infographic. You may be able to do it yourself using standard image software. If not, hire a freelance graphics designer for cheap. Infographics are very likely to get shared among peers. For example, if you infuse an infographic in a blog post, another blogger or a professional is likely to use it (with citation) to present the data you have included. Your infographics will circulate online for essentially no cost. Even one infographic is enough to last the year.
Provide Incentives for Customers to Create Content
You don’t have to spend a penny if your customers are happy to create content for you. Not only is customer-generated content budget friendly, such content gets shared more. The most popular form of customer generated content is a blog post, where the writer often reviews a product complete with pictures. Video reviews are also a popular format. Some bloggers may include your products in their blog posts in return for free offers. You can get many regular consumers to generate content by offering incentives in the form of discounts or bonus points in return for posting a review or mentioning your products in an article. Getting mentioned in personal social media feeds is sometimes enough to drive traffic. User-generated content is highly effective among the younger millennial crowd, which tends to rely on peers for information and recommendations.
Repurposing is a tactic that allows budget-constrained companies to get more bang out of already published content. It basically means reworking old content and publishing it again in a new piece of content. For example, if you have a video about a product already published, you can embed this video in a blog post written new. You can add a paragraph or two with new information to an older blog post and republish as an updated version. Old presentations can be reworked as infographics. Likewise, there are numerous ways to rework old content and keep publishing to increase exposure. However, make sure you are not publishing old content over and over in a highly repetitive manner. Repurpose a piece of content once or twice, and make sure the content is reused in different contexts.
Content creation does not have to be a painful and pricey process. A bit of imagination and a knack for frugality on your part will help your small business generate high-quality but low-cost content. Think along the lines of the above suggestions, and you will have great content on your hands.