Is it really possible to produce affordable content without sacrificing quality?
Any marketer worth their salt should know how important it is to update a website with fresh and relevant content on a regular basis. Google loves content. Customers love content. Content is king. Amen.
But quality content is expensive.
An average market price for a 1500-word article of a decent quality is around $70.
If you suffer from perfectionism, you would need to fork out around $100 (and very often even more) for a superior quality piece of writing.
And it's just one article!
If you post around 3 to 5 pieces per month, it sums up to an average of $300-$500.
You probably won’t be surprised if I tell you that this sum can be lowered significantly.
In most cases, lower price goes hand-in-hand with lower class content.
However, there are ways to produce affordable content without sacrificing quality of the material.
Today, I want to share those techniques with you.
Before you start producing content...
Prior to ordering any kind of content for your website, stop for a minute and think.
“Does this type of content really work for me?”
You see, not every expensive type of content is able to deliver your message in the most effective way. Different content types suit different niches and serve different purposes.
Here are some most popular content types and their approximate prices per piece:
If you've been in your business for quite a while, it will be easier for you to identify what type of content you should focus on.
Say you have infographics, blog articles, and videos on your website. To identify their cost effectiveness, you need to know two things: one, price; and two, popularity metrics (number of views, shares, comments, etc.)
An infographic that cost you $900 got 2500 views;
- You paid $250 for an article and it got viewed 2000 times;
- A video that is worth $2000 got 1000 views;
If you divide the cost by the number of views, you'll know how much one view costs you.
An infographic is worth 0,36 cent.
- An article – 0,125 cent.
- A video - $2.
At this point, it is clear that two most cost-effective types of content in your case are infographics and blog articles.
This is how you identify your type of content in order to cut expenses on something that does not pay off in any way.
If you are just starting to build up your audience, spend some time on your competitors’ websites analyzing their content.
Simply do what I’ve described above, and as you cannot know exact prices, use average ones.
Also, focus on quality rather than quantity.
10 low-quality blog posts may cost just as much as one good article, but then you won’t be able to identify real price per view (as there will be little or no views).
All the money you save in such way is not worth lost customers or lower Google rankings.
How do you actually stop spending so much on content?
- Written content
It is the most commonly used content type. It does an amazing job getting the message across. It sells, it educates. Google robots are after it—not to mention that it occupies the biggest part of any webpage.
I believe written content deserves a special treatment, so I will go ahead and dedicate the biggest part of this article to texts, words, and letters.
Here’s what you can do to stop spending so much on written content.
1. Update your old blog posts and articles.
It is truly the cheapest way to get fresh content for your website (in fact, it's free if you do it yourself). Go through your own archives and you'll definitely find content that can be either updated or reworked.
How do you know that your old writing needs some refreshing?
- The information in a blog post is outdated. What was acceptable back in 2012 might not be that adequate now. However, your audience still read those posts, and people need advice that would be relevant at the present time. The same applies to crazy designs that scream “Hello, welcome back to the age of CDs and chat rooms”.
- The topic is evergreen. People just can’t get enough of certain topics, period.
- You have more experience now and have much more to add. Did you find new apps that help fellow travellers book hotel rooms? Update.
Did you just try out an awesome link-building technique and it worked? Update. Did you discover a new way to combat skin issues? You know what to do!
- You have more experience now and realize that you have changed your mind. Confess that you were mistaken and describe your new experience.
It takes courage, but people tend to grow both emotionally and professionally, and looking back at your past self you may find yourself thinking “Oh, boy.
I must have been possessed by an evil demon when I told people content marketing is doomed.”
- The blog article is not popular and poorly written. Spend one or two evenings polishing and enriching articles you’re slightly embarrassed of.
You’ll get rid of low quality content and at the same time get fresh blog posts at practically no cost. Time for spring cleaning!
2. Reformat or repurpose your own posts
What I mean by that is that one and the same article can be used in many different ways. Here’s what you can do:
- use it as a script for a video
- use it as a script for a podcasts
- publish it as an infographic
- publish it as a slide presentation
- create an ebook (if you have enough content to work with)
All that is new content that requires very little work and money.
Apart from feeding an always hungry content monster, you’ll learn how your own audience reacts to unconventional content types (like videos or podcasts), investing less than you would have invested doing everything from the ground up.
Also, you’ll get an opportunity to expose yourself to new audiences if you decide to go a step further and republish your articles, presentations, videos, or podcasts on other niche websites.
3. Use rewriting instead of regular writing
In fact, rewriting is often given priority by website owners due to its effectiveness. It takes less time (as writers do not need to spend time on research), content is not plagiarized, and the quality is often high-class.
What is more - it is so much cheaper! If you pay $70 for an article written from scratch, it will cost you only $35-40 to have it rewritten. You can have your own blog posts rewritten or find information elsewhere on the Internet. Professional rewriters can transform articles into brand-new pieces of writing so nobody will accuse you of being dishonest.
Professional rewriters can transform articles into brand-new pieces of writing so nobody will accuse you of being dishonest.
Note: By professional rewriting I mean rewriting done by hand. Do not confuse it with rephrasing that various online article spinning and rewriting tools offer (unless you enjoy staying awake at night correcting grammar).
Apart from that, there’s a danger of getting plagiarized content, as machines do not add ideas or modify already existing ones. They simply rephrase.
4. Use freelancers instead of writing agencies
Yes, it takes time to find a suitable writer. Yes, freelancers are not cheap as well, especially if you hire native English-speakers. Yes, there are writers who fail deadlines and do not deliver what you expected.
Therefore, focus on beginners.
The reality shows that very often they are really hard-working and reliable. And even if they are foreigners, their English level is really good (however, it is advisable to test it beforehand). Apart from that, you’ll be surprised at the speed of their work and respect with which they treat their clients.
Young and aspiring freelancers do not charge much, as they do not have that much experience. What they do have is enthusiasm and diligence that allows them to produce high-quality work, as they need good feedbacks in order to get more clients in the future.
Prices start from $2 per article! Can there be anything cheaper?
Yes, there can!
5. Invite guest writers
Just like freshly-baked freelancers, young bloggers are on a never-ending quest for good reputation and opportunities for exposure. Even talented writers with tons of experience write for others from time to time, as such contribution translates into more traffic for their own blogs.
Therefore, let others know that you accept guest posts: you get free content and your guest writers get to promote their own blogs. However, be sure to write a clear and strict guest posting policy. Your site is no place for spammers.
You can also get in touch with some good writers by yourself. You definitely come across good guest posts on different websites from time to time. Why not invite their authors to write for you, too?
If written content is a means of communication, images usually serve as baits. They set the mood, make the text visually appealing, and get customers’ eyes glued to webpages for a long time.
Finding affordable images that would complement your articles is challenging, but possible.
Below you will find a list of resources that offer free or really cheap images that you can legally use on your websites:
· Pixabay. Offers free photos, illustrations, vector graphics, and videos. Attribution not required.
· Lifeofpix. A community of photographers sharing free pictures for everybody to enjoy. Amazing website design, extensive collection of high-quality pictures, no copyright restrictions.
· Publicdomainarchive. They update their database on a weekly basis. You can also get a premium membership for only $10 per month and download high-resolution photos in bulk.
· Fotolia by Adobe. Numerous free photos, vectors, illustrations, and videos. For some pictures, however, you need to pay, but the price is really affordable (just a couple of cents per image).
· Magdeleine. Some photos do require attribution, some do not. Make sure to check the license type before you download.
· Travelcofeebook. Offers amazing photos (mostly landscapes from travels all over the world). No attribution required.
· Gratisography. Pictures taken by Ryan McGuire are free to download. You may use them for whichever purposes with no attribution.
· MMT. Stunning pictures from Jeffrey Betts are free for commercial use.
As you can see, ways to protect your money and eliminate unnecessary spending do exist.
There are also other content types that are worth mentioning, but I decided to start with the most common.
Let me know in the comments if you need info on how to get cheap infographics, videos, podcasts, etc. It will be my pleasure to share my secret cheat sheet with you!