With advertising costing anywhere from a couple of hundred pounds for your local paper or radio station to thousands for a national one, and leaflet drops and mailshots no cheaper, it is hardly surprising that content marketing has taken off the way it has. (Quite aside from the fact that most people hardly even notice ads any more, let alone read them.)
Content marketing can and should be targeted, which most other forms of promotion can’t – yes, you can advertise your widget in a magazine aimed at widget-fanciers, but what if you’re an accountant, for example, or a dentist? Even an ad in your local paper might be wasted on 95% of the readers, which makes your cost per response extremely high. A banner ad at the local football pitch might pull in a few customers, but it’s unlikely to pay for itself very fast.
With content marketing your only up-front costs are your website and the time of the person doing the writing, plus however much you want to spend on your online advertising (a subject for a future blog). If you target your online campaign properly, it shouldn’t cost very much at all; many people will tell you £1 per day is effective. Compared to the press or radio, that’s peanuts. Even the amount you’d spend to make a professional YouTube video is peanuts compared to them, and you’ll get a lot more interested views for your money (and yes, video is part of content marketing – a very effective part, since it engages more than one of your senses).
If you do your online promotion via social media, it will again only cost you time; but it can take up quite a lot of time, unless you automate the process through the likes of Buffer, Hootsuite, HubSpot etc (links below). A well-targeted ad might well prove cheaper (depending how you cost your time) and could be more effective in reaching people who haven’t yet heard of you. Doing both is probably the best plan for overall reach and relationship-building, though for start-ups with a tiny marketing budget, really working your social media will pay off.
When I say, above, that “your only up-front costs are your website and the time of the person doing the writing”, I’m not advocating giving the job to the lowest-paid member of staff. (If you are the business, this question doesn’t arise, of course.) Your content marketing is your brand, your “face” to the world, and it has to be written with authority and knowledge of your business and your market. Leaving the job to the office junior isn’t fair on him/her or on your business; they may not have a flair for writing, either. Give the job to a person or team of people with both the knowledge and the ability to do it properly, and include it in their job description.
Doing content marketing properly is not only the best way to build relationships with current and potential customers, it’s also an effective way to do the job with a tiny marketing budget. The great thing about it is, you never know who’s going to pass your message on to someone who would never normally have heard of you, and suddenly you find you have a customer in Spain or Sri Lanka (maybe not, if you’re an accountant or dentist…).
Here’s to that happy day!
P.S. While we’re on the subject, why not link with me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn? You’ll find all the buttons in the sidebar of my Home page https://greatcopy.info/
Useful links (they’ll open in a new window):