You need content to grow your traffic. You need traffic to get customers. You need customers to get money. You need money to create content.

I'm not an expert or anything, but I think that's what mathematicians like to call "a circle".

A circle

Much like the experience-before-job-before-experience love heptagon your friendly neighbourhood millennial is fond of complaining about, the same dilemma seems to exist with content creation.

Unlike ad-words (the digital marketing equivalent of selling your soul to the devil), content marketing usually takes 3-6 months to start baring fruit. So how, as a proud owner of your new glitter pen drop-shipping business, can you weather the financial costs?

We've got some ideas.

1. Diversify your approach

Ok, I know, I know, content is king. Long-term, it's your best bet for getting sustainable traffic and growing your business - nothing else really scales the same way (besides virality).

In the early days though, you need quicker wins to diversify your efforts. You need to start kicking out content, of course, but you also need to keep your lights on in the mean time.

We'd recommend allocating 30-40% of your marketing budget to content. You honestly don't need much - hell, $250 is enough for a ContentFly subscription.

The rest of it should be distributed to more win-now methods. Sales is an option - spent $50 getting leads from Upwork, and then another $50 bucks or so emailing them through something like Klaviyo.

Depending on your business, paid ads can be an option as well. It works if you can get conversions with a low amount of $$ spent - not so worth it if you're a high-ticket item and you need hundreds of dollars just to get a single sale. That's risky.

Ultimately though, you need to do things that don't scale. Bang on doors. Hit up Facebook groups. Spray paint your local police station (don't do this please). Whatever the hell it takes to get the word out.

In the early days of ContentFly we pretty much got banned from every forum every invented.

This isn't permanent - you just need to keep yourself afloat until the content starts driving reliable, regular, organic traffic. And then you're in business.

2. Outsource your content creation

As I mentioned before, all you need is $250 to start with ContentFly.

That's 4000 words - 1 solid article a week to get your content machine spinning. That's a lot cheaper than going for a freelance writer, where you'd likely get 1 article out of that.

The reason outsourcing content is so cheap is because of economies of scale. Our writers offer much lower rates than normal because they get access to regular, interesting work - you get those savings.

The alternative, of course, is to hire a full-time writer. Now don't get me wrong, hiring a full-time writer can be a great idea (and is likely necessarily once you're a very big business).

However, you're a long way away from that. We have billion dollar companies that use ContentFly - it's just so much cheaper and easier to scale.

Outsourcing lets you get much more bang for your buck, and most importantly, you can scale up or down as needed. When your budget goes up, you just increase your content a bit.

Feeling a pinch? Dial down.

That's the power of outsourcing.

3. Consider user-driven content

One of the most powerful ways to make content scale is to start generating user driven content. Whoever your customers are, find ways to get content coming out of them.

If you're a service based business, here are a few ideas:

  1. Testimonials
  2. Video interviews
  3. Case studies

The added benefit of getting content driven by your users, is that they'll help you distribute it. Podcasts are an awesome way to start generating content, because your subjects will gladly repost into their own channels.

4. Consider Video

Tools like Lumen5 have made video much easier to produce now, and frankly, they're amazing. I understand we're shooting ourselves in the foot here since we don't offer video (yet), but...

God damnit, whatever happened to journalistic integrity?

If you're starting out, make videos! They convert like crazy, and don't take nearly as much time as content. All you really need is a smartphone - start making videos your customers would find halfway interesting, and you'll generate traffic.

And then sign up for ContentFly because you appreciate my honest in throwing my own company under the bus like that.

God I feel dirty.

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Welp, there you have it! The simple guide to growing your business while broke (or something like that). Content is great - do content. But be responsible about it - it's a long-term investment, and you gotta put food on the table while you wait.