Content Marketing on a Shoestring Budget:

FOR ARTISTS, CREATIVES AND NONPROFITS

AMY JACOBUS

Wordsmith, baker of layer cakes, frequenter of cutesy cafes, marketing brain and exercise enthusiast – among other joyous things.

My clients are the hardest working and most creative HUMANS I KNOW.

No matter their mission, product or service, they have a few things in common:

  • They have super small staffs
  • They have limited time
  • They have restricted budgets

You may think a nonprofit with a multi-million dollar budget doesn’t share the same challenges as an individual artist who pulls in a revenue of under $100k, but both actually struggle with being under-resourced.

The larger nonprofit has more programs to run, more overhead in staff salaries and office space, etc. They often still have a small team that’s overstretched. Just like the individual artist or solopreneur who works nights and weekends to keep up with everything on their to-do list.

THE OBJECTIVE IS TO FIND MORE OF YOUR IDEAL FANS AND CUSTOMERS THROUGH AWESOME CONTENT. KEEP THEM AROUND, GAIN THEIR TRUST & SELL TO THEM LATER.

Content marketing, as defined by Contently (a wonderful resource for articles and advice), is making and sharing “valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Great content marketing requires all the resources (time, money and creative-power) and so often feels out of reach for a one-woman shop or a nonprofit’s overworked team of three. But there are methods to creating a stellar content marketing plan (and executing it!) with limited resources.

Here are five of my scrappy, pull it off anyway, tips.

#1. Batch Your Content

Whether your brilliant content comes in the form of video, think pieces, podcast interviews or painted portraits, creating in batches will help you save time, money and manpower.

Imagine any of these scenarios: Spending one afternoon writing a month’s worth of blog posts. Filming several YouTube tutorials, dance videos or whatever you need to create on location for one full day. Recording with four guests in your studio over one weekend.

You’re saving money by only renting a space for one specific time, you’re saving energy when focusing so intently on one activity, and you’re saving your team from attending many different creative rap sessions instead of just one. (Now they can use that other time to get to those sales emails or web updates!)

#2. Build to your Strengths (Choosing a medium)

Whether you’re a natural on camera or a really strong writer, choosing a content medium that sticks to your strengths is an important way to save on time and effort. (And ultimately money, because let’s face it, if you’re not a strong writer, you need to hire more savvy editors, and if you’re not the best on camera, you’ll need to spend a lot more time in post-production.)

Added bonus? Choosing the medium through which you create most comfortably is going to feel easy and fun rather than stressful and frustrating.

#3. Re-use material you already have

You’ve already created, written and produced so much valuable content. I know this, because every single one of my clients, from independent choreographers to small photography businesses to nonprofits in the education sphere, have a store of great stuff they’re just sitting on, simply because it was already shared that one time, years ago.

Dig up those photos on your external drive – that’s what #throwbackthursday is for! Digitize old videos and start a series of your art “from the archives.” Page through old journals and edit some of your musings to yourself to shape them for public consumption.

Awesome. Time & money saved again.

#4. Allow content to inspire content

I always sit with the things I write for this blog a minute longer than I really need to. Why? Because 9 times out of 10, I find a related topic to expand on in the next post!

My Arts Marketing Pet Peeves post inspired a longer article on the importance of mobile-friendly websites.

When you look back in the treasure trove of content you’ve already created, make sure to think about those topics and works of art from other angles. Can you grow that work in another direction? How can you extend your effort on one thing, instead of create something completely from scratch?

#5. Squeeze every last drop out of everything you do

I still can’t believe my clients who don’t share the content they’ve created in every single way they can. All your writing and all your artwork should be shared as widely as possible to make the deepest impact.

On social media, through cross-promotion with collaborators and colleagues, with paid digital ads, pumped up on your website with SEO, sent out to your list through email, and pitched to other publications and companies as guest content. 

The possibilities are truly endless. Have you paused to think about all the places your content can live?

Oh, look! A little more time invested gets a whole lot more out of your money spent.