Running a small business – or getting one off the round – is a titanic task. It’s also immensely costly.

One of the most important aspects of continued business success is your content marketing activity strategy. To peek above the heads of your competition you need to outspend them, right? Not so fast.

So come on cheapskates, let’s have a look at some budget ideas you can get moving on today to stretch your marketing dollar and get the most bang for your buck. Paying more than you need to is a suckers game.

DIY video and infographics

In the year 2020 most marketing experts are aware of the ever-increasing power of visual content marketing.

“Those of you who are headed towards digital marketing careers should have a complete understanding of the power of video as a marketing tool. This is not only because they might be interested in making amazing videos, but because they’ll probably have to learn to incorporate video into their content in order to remain competitive.” – Digital Marketing Institute

Infographic images are equally as important in a modern content marketing plan, largely for their ability to make complex concepts easily digestible. Not only this, they are highly shareable pieces of eye candy which do well on social media.

However, this has largely been an expensive proposition so far. Hiring videographers and designers, either in house or freelance, is not a cheap solution.

Luckily, we live in an era of DIY, with templates, ideas and assistance everywhere you look online. Check out ‘YouTube University’ for great tutorials.

For video content: consider creating simple, short videos shot on a smartphone. Instead of animations, create personal videos such as interviews, or camera facing announcements. Perhaps you can stich slides together or use basic video editing software to create product or service clips.

For infographics: Try getting used to the basics of Adobe Illustrator – see YouTube for free training.

Luckily, you don’t have to create these from scratch either, a little bit of googling will reveal a plethora of vector templates designed explicitly for infographics creators. It takes a bit of learning but is not nearly as hard as you think, if you seek the right resources.

Get your blog on

Your blog will be one of the cornerstones of your content marketing efforts and, thankfully, is cheap and easy to implement. Even if writing isn’t your strongpoint, I’m confident you can still create compelling copy with practice and research.

Don’t sell

The blog is one of the single most effective ways to build brand awareness and should be your business’ archive of wisdom, not just a home for company updates. In fact, those should be a rarity.

It’s not a place for sales pitches, I repeat NOT a place for sales pitches. That is the quickest way you can turn your audience off forever.

Be a thought leader

This is where you display what the industry calls ‘thought leadership’. It may sound a touch pretentious but that is exactly what you should strive to be – a thought leader (it’s free, too!). Try your hand at top 10 lists, tip collections, best practices for your industry, etc.

Be genuine

These are genuinely interesting and shareable pieces of content, very relatable and useful to the target audience.

Be more than a person selling things, be more than a brand, instead become a source of genuinely useful information in your industry.

SEO benefits

Another hidden benefit to creating high quality, honest, ‘sales-free’ blog content is that your search engine optimisation (SEO) will get a natural boost, assisting your rankings in the eyes of the almighty king of search – Google.

Social media smarts

Social accounts have one thing in common, they’re free and, luckily, one of the best methods you have to get your message to market. Awesome. So how to maximise the benefits?

Don’t try to be everything to everyone

Firstly, you need to pick your battles. There’s no reason to go about spreading yourself thin by feeling the need to be represented on every form of social media you can list. Be picky.

Does LinkedIn suit your business better or something visual like Instagram? You certainly should not restrict yourself to just one channel. Facebook, for example, suits everyone and, with its reach, is always a hot target. But be careful of being everything to everyone – you’ll invariably waste time and resources shouting into an empty room.

So what are you posting?

All of your content you made above!

Social media is the primary vehicle for pushing people to your blog, website or sales funnel. Simply host your fresh content on your social channels and link back to it!

Create interesting infographics, videos and gifs, something clickable and shareable. Be genuine, know your audience and, if in doubt, sponge ideas from your competitors. There are competitors out there that have spent tens of thousands on media teams and social experts so you don’t need to! Don’t steal, just borrow.

A little goes a long way

The flipside is you’ll have to drop some coin for real traction. Social media for business is now a ‘pay to play’ scenario. But fear not, a little goes a long way so this is still very cheap in the big picture.

So, after you’ve written an excellent blog, posted a link image and teaser line on Facebook, look into boosting it with a few bucks to get it trending.