5 Tools for a Big Impact on a Small Budget [Sponsored]

The Content Marketing Institute’s just lately launched Content Marketing Career & Salary 2023 Outlook (registration required) highlights a huge supply of dissatisfaction amongst content material entrepreneurs: the weighty workload. Twenty-four % of entrepreneurs say they’re “very” or “extremely” confused at work.

Complicating the workload subject is that budgets don’t appear to be rising on the identical tempo because the stress stage. According to CMI and MarketingProfs’s newest B2B analysis, solely 50% of content material entrepreneurs count on their budgets to extend in 2023, in contrast with 66% who foresaw a rise in 2022.

For content material advertising groups with restricted in-house assets, these two truths pose a important problem: How do you create killer content material when your staff members really feel overwhelmed, and also you lack the price range to offer them extra assets?

One viable strategy is to behave like Batman: Reach into your gadget-stuffed utility belt and use free or low-cost instruments that make it simpler to supply efficient content material.

I’m talking from expertise right here. For instance, at one startup the place I led content material advertising efforts, there was no cash to allocate towards know-how or some other side of content material creation and promotion. Zero {dollars}. I used to be pressured to make do with the free instruments I found on-line.

Here are 5 varieties of instruments to contemplate when it’s essential to make a huge impression with a small content material advertising price range (or no price range in any respect).

Need to create killer content, but your teams are overwhelmed and your budget is underwhelming? Act like Batman: Reach into your utility belt for readily available tools, says @JohnJEgan. #sponsored Click To Tweet

1. Graphic design software program

I’m hardly a skilled designer, however even I’ve been capable of produce engaging graphics with available – and free or low-cost – design software program. Just a few of my favourite design instruments are:

  • Adobe Express: Cost: Free primary plan; $9.99 for the premium plan, with a free 30-day trial.
  • Canva: Cost: Free primary plan; $149.90 yearly subscription for groups with as much as 5 members.
  • Looka: Cost: $20 for one-time emblem creation; $96 or $192 for a yearly subscription.

I’ve relied on Canva to generate graphics simply, and I proceed to be amazed at its versatility. For occasion, you possibly can produce infographics, social media posts, and movies by the platform.

Meanwhile, I’ve used Looka’s AI-powered model identification platform to create eye-catching logos. For instance, I made a emblem in Looka for my LLC, Jayhawk Media (proven under). You may by no means guess that a non-designer crafted it.

A white capital J and Jayhawk Media LLC appear over a bright red background.

Though I’ve tinkered with Adobe, I’ve but to create any graphics with it. However, it comes extremely advisable by Doug Bonderud of HubSpot: “It’s easy to use, and it comes with a host of free templates. If you’re looking to quickly create posters or videos for ad campaigns, [Adobe Express] is a great choice.”

Don’t be discouraged for those who strive a design device and aren’t keen on it. Experiment with different instruments till you discover one which works for you.

2. Infographic design software program

You may produce infographics with Adobe and Canva.

Brian Wallace, founder and president of NowSourcing, an infographic design company, recommends Canva for “quick hit” infographics. “Many non-designers already use Canva for other projects, so this is a good fit for them when they need a graphic in a hurry,” he says.

Here are two different infographic design instruments you may wish to take into account:

  • Infogram: Easy-to-use Infogram has come in useful once I’ve wanted infographic-like charts and different small graphics to current knowledge in a horny format. Price: Free primary plan; $19 a month for the professional package deal and $67 a month for the enterprise package deal. At $149 a month, the staff package deal could be a price range buster.
  • Piktochart: When I taught myself the best way to create infographics, I turned to Piktochart. I discovered it intuitive (you don’t must be a graphics guru to get the dangle of it) and versatile (because of its many customizable templates). By the way in which, you may as well produce movies with Piktochart. Price: Free primary plan; $14 a month per staff member (as many as two dozen staff members) for the professional plan.

If you suppose you possibly can’t grasp at the least certainly one of these instruments, suppose once more. Back in 2015, I jumped into infographic design software program for the primary time. (No one else at our scrappy startup had the time to whip up infographics on a common foundation, and I couldn’t afford to outsource the work.) While I’m nonetheless not a design knowledgeable, I’ve been capable of generate infographics that quite a few on-line shops have revealed.

For instance, I used Piktochart to create an infographic for an out of doors providers firm’s weblog, through which I shared 12 home décor and design trends.

3. Podcasting software program

Podcasting isn’t certainly one of my areas of experience, however I do know that it’s rising in reputation. According to Edison Research, the variety of Americans ages 12 and over who’ve ever listened to a podcast climbed from 57% in 2021 to 62% in 2022.

Image through Edison Research

If you’re already immersed in podcasting, otherwise you’re gearing as much as launch a podcast, you’ll want some technological assist. And for those who’re working with a tight content material advertising price range, you’ll need that assist to be free or low-cost.

One audio enhancing device you could wish to consider is Audacity, a free, open-source platform. In a casual survey I performed, a number of podcasting consultants advisable this device. For one cause, it’s a multitasker: You can edit and report audio for Windows, macOS, GNU/Linux, and different working methods. Oh, and it doesn’t damage that Audacity is free.

Podcast producer Richard Butler says Audacity stays a mainstay for many podcasters due to its sturdy options. “There are hundreds upon hundreds of tutorials for this software, but everyone I’ve ever taught to podcast has picked it up relatively quickly,” he says.

Here are three different audio enhancing instruments that individuals in my casual survey praised:

  • Riverside.fm: Linda Melone, a B2B copywriter and podcaster, likes Riverside.fm as a result of audio is stored locally on a podcaster’s pc, leading to better sound quality. The various is cloud-stored audio, which can be subject to technical glitches. Price: Free primary plan, $15-a-month commonplace plan, and $24-a-month professional plan. Pricing for the enterprise plan is tailor-made to every shopper.
  • GarageBand: Melone recommends this Apple device as a result of it’s free and already constructed into Mac computer systems, iPads, and iPhones. Although she lauds the sound high quality, it does have some limitations: “I find it’s not very intuitive, so I don’t always use it,” Melone says.
  • Reaper: Butler calls Reaper a “next step up” from Audacity. Among the pluses he mentions are that it’s extra user-friendly than Audacity and affords an array of results. In addition, he appreciates that Reaper costs solely a one-time payment ($60 for a discounted license for sure prospects, akin to nonprofits and academic organizations, or $225 for a industrial license). Reaper affords a 60-day free trial.

4. Editorial calendar software program

Sure, you possibly can keep your editorial calendar in a spreadsheet. But how useful is that? (Hint: not very.) Therefore, you must discover free or low-cost editorial calendar software program to maintain your content material advertising prepare on observe.

My favourite on this class is Trello, which is billed as a device for managing initiatives, organizing duties, and constructing collaboration. I discover Trello simple to know, even for probably the most non-techie particular person on the market. Most importantly, it does exactly what it’s imagined to do.

In the pattern Trello board (under), content material items are tagged, annotated, and organized into classes primarily based on their present stage within the content material workflow.

Image through HubSpot

Trello’s primary plan is free. The commonplace plan for smaller groups is $5 per consumer every month; the premium plan for bigger groups is $10 per consumer every month. The next-cost enterprise plan is obtainable.

While I’m a huge fan of Trello, it won’t be the best choice for you. Content Mavericks recommends a number of instruments value investigating, together with:

  • Airtable: As Content Mavericks describes it, Airtable “is an all-in-one collaboration tool with powerful editorial workflows.” Price: Free plan for people and groups; $10 per consumer every month or $20 per consumer every month for upgraded plans, with free trials for each. An enterprise-level package deal can be obtainable.
  • Flow-e: According to Content Mavericks, “Flow-e turns your Gmail and Outlook into Trello-like task lists while letting you add notes, to-dos, and due dates to emails. Perfect if you love working out of your email and want to eliminate the need for an external editorial calendar.” Price: Free, though the staff plan is geared towards use along side Kanbanize, a paid product from the identical firm.
  • Zenkit: Content Mavericks notes Zenkit is a undertaking administration device that may double as an editorial calendar. Price: Free private plan; $9 a month per consumer for the “plus” plan and $25 a month per consumer for the marketing strategy. A personalized enterprise plan can be obtainable.

It’s value noting that I haven’t tried Airtable, Flow-e, or Zenkit. As such, I’d recommend testing editorial calendar software program, ideally by a free trial, earlier than spending cash on it.

5. Video enhancing software program

Cisco as soon as predicted that web video visitors would symbolize 84% of all client web visitors by 2022. It’s a extensively quoted statistic that is smart, on condition that YouTube ranks because the second most visited web site within the U.S., based on Semrush.

Will that in thoughts, video ought to be a key a part of your content material advertising program. But in case your price range can’t accommodate hiring a videographer, what do you do? You shoot your personal video (maybe on a smartphone) and edit the video with free or low-cost software program. Here are 4 video enhancing instruments that deserve a look.

  • Canva: Canva will get a nod right here as a result of its visible content material capabilities are so versatile.
  • Clipchamp (Windows devices) and iMovie (macOS and iOS devices): Several folks I surveyed talked about Clipchamp and iMovie. Why? Because free variations can be found and are suitable with Microsoft (Clipchamp) and Apple (iMovie) software program. Price for Clipchamp: Free primary plan; $119.99 a 12 months for the upgraded plan. Price for iMovie: Free.
  • Adobe Premiere Pro: Joey Campbell, director of natural progress at Nike (a former shopper), tells me he usually makes use of Adobe Premiere Pro (generally known as Premiere Rush for cellular) to edit movies. “I think it’s one of the most sophisticated video editing suites out there, but it does have a learning curve for newer video editors,” Campbell says. Price: $20.99-a-month particular person plan; $35.99-a-month marketing strategy.
  • Descript: Bart Frischknecht, co-founder and CEO of Comomba, supplier of a content material advertising platform, likes iMovie, Soapbox, and Vidyard. But he’s on the point of change to Descript, which additionally obtained suggestions from different folks I surveyed. Frischknecht makes use of the free model of Descript, which additionally offers audio enhancing options. He hails this device for its “very strong” transcription capabilities. “I can grab the transcript and make a close-captioned file or reuse the text in a blog, which is awesome,” Frischknecht says. Price: Free primary plan; upgraded plans for $12 per editor every month or $24 per editor every month. A custom-priced enterprise is obtainable too.

The backside line

Yes, it may be daunting to supply content material on a shoestring price range. But with the appropriate instruments, perspective, and time administration, you and the remainder of your content material advertising staff can generate high-quality content material that your viewers will suppose got here from a high-dollar initiative.

All instruments talked about are recognized by the creator. If you’ve got a device to recommend, please add it within the feedback.

About Jayhawk Media (*5*)

Published by Jayhawk Media LLC affiliate HawkStar Press, The Stripped-Down Guide to Content Marketing: Success Secrets for Beginners is designed to assist companies be taught key classes about content material advertising, keep away from errors, save time and construct income. Buy the ebook on Amazon.

Jayhawk Media makes a speciality of content material creation and content material advertising technique; HawkStar Press is its publishing arm.