Content on a budgetAs an SME owner, there have probably been times when you’ve felt a tad envious of your larger counterparts; companies with content marketing budgets greater than your annual turnover, which is channelled into developing campaigns that get noticed around the world.

Often, the top priority of these big corporations is quantity – sending as many marketing messages out, through as many channels as possible, in order to get consumers’ attention. And while this has no doubt proved its effectiveness, when you’re a smaller business you’d be better off focusing first and foremost on something else: quality.

Plenty of definitions of ‘quality content’ get thrown about, but I like to think of quality content as content that achieves three things: it provides value to your target audience, it answers questions your target audience have, and it solves their problems. Do you need to blow serious bucks in order to achieve these three things? No, you don’t!

Just because you’re an SME doesn’t mean you can’t create a content marketing strategy that rocks. I was reading an interesting article on BoostBlog the other day which imparts some useful advice on how SMEs can reap the rewards of a quality content plan without busting their budget. Here’s what I learned:

1. Get organised

Proper planning prevents poor strategy execution. So, get organised and get access to an editorial calendar, where you can map out your content plan for the coming months. This will help simplify your schedule and keep you on-track. Google Calendar is a great tool to use and guess what? It’s free!

To help boost the efficiency and effectiveness of your content strategy, it’s a good idea to assign one employee the role of ‘content overseer.’ This is someone who will be responsible for checking and updating the calendar, feeding back to you, communicating content plans to employees and organising brainstorming sessions.

2. Get employees on board

When it comes to idea generation, the more brains the better. Besides, coming up with 6 months’ worth of blog posts alone is an extremely arduous task. Use the knowledge, experience and unique skillsets of each employee to help craft your content; that way, you will keep topics nice and varied and people will find it more engaging to read.

Perhaps a couple of employees want to have a crack at writing an article. They might not be a writer by trade, and a little editing may be required, but that’s not to say they haven’t got expert insights they’re willing to share with you to help make your company look like a pro.

3. Embrace content curation

Sharing is caring, right? Right. Content creation means sharing third-party content alongside your own review or commentary. There are two obvious benefits: the first is that it saves you time and the second is that over time, it can help assert your company as an authority.

But, there are some rules. The first is that content needs to appeal to your target audience; it needs to be something you know your audience will read and find insightful when you share it on your social media channels. It also needs to be fresh (as in, recently written or created), as well as originating from a credible source.

And one more thing: don’t become lazy and start curating all your content. Curated content should only form part of your overall strategy. Use it to complement to your own, unique, well-written content.

4. Repurpose old content

There will be times when you and your team suffer what is known as a ‘creative block’. Weeks when, during a brainstorming session, no one comes up with the goods. And when those moments occur, there’s a simple solution: recycle.

I’m talking about repurposing your old content – old idea, fresh approach. For example, you could use an idea from one of last year’s blog post and put a new ‘spin’ on it, adding recent insights and statistics. Or, you could switch-up the format of content, for instance by turning a video into an article or a recent survey into an eye-catching infographic.

Any tips of your own on how to produce quality content on a budget?

Ben Hollom

September 9, 2015