I met Debi Steigerwald at the B2B Multichannel event last week. Through a casual conversation with Debi, I discovered her budget for content creation is $1000 a month. Yes, only $1000 to create original content. I was so intrigued that I asked her how she does it.
Her company, Vology, offers complete IT services and solutions for SMB and Enterprise. Like any other IT service providers, they are also a certified channel partner with companies like Intel, Dell, Acer, Cisco, Juniper, Citrix, Microsoft, RiverBed and other solution providers. As a value-added reseller (VAR) and SMB, Vology competes heavily with other IT service providers and their profit margin can be thin. It makes sense to me that Debi’s content budget is tight. I asked how she manages her $1000 per month. Here is what she shared with me:
Leverage free content from partners and manufacturers
Vology is a certified partner that sells hardware, software or services for more than 30 solution providers and manufacturers. Those companies provide ample content for their channel partners like Vology to enable them to sell and market to their customers. Debi makes sure that she takes their partners’ content (and it is FREE) and co-brands key content with Vology’s logo and contact information. In a way, she creates semi-original content without spending any money.
Reuse content as much as possible
Vology hosts a two-day annual event for their customers. A lot of useful content is created for the event: keynotes, videos/audios, speaker presentations, print collaterals etc. She reuses these content pieces for tradeshows, events, their websites and other marketing channels throughout the year.
Repackage content into digestible and snackable pieces
Debi uses Fiverr, Tenrr and other micro gig sites to find affordable freelancers. According to Debi, she would send a rough cut of 45 min. video to an offshore video editor. She makes sure that she provides very specific directions on how to edit the video and suggests the opening and closing. She can get someone to edit the video for $15. Then, she will send the same video to another person to do a soundtrack for another $15. Whiteboard video is another creative way to create a quick and easy video. For example, her CEO did a 3-minute video explaining their unique business model to prospects and customers. Debi provided a short script, product images, and usages along with that video to a freelancer.
The result was a short 2-minute whiteboard video (see below) for $150. It took only 4 days. She also outsources copywriting and blogs. She makes sure that she uses native English speakers. Through trial-and-error, she eventually found writers to fit her needs. Then, she gives them specific guidance and trains them on her products. Ultimately, she has several writers that she can tap into for product descriptions and blog posts.
Here are some tips:
Provide specific directions
Working with offshore freelancers, it’s vital to provide “crisp” and “specific” directions. In a way, you need to clearly understand what you are looking for from the get-go.
The more specific the direction, the better outcomes it is.
Do more than your share
With a limited budget, Debi writes short scripts, does research on topics for blogs, understands video/audio editing, runs keyword searches, etc… You need to get your hands dirty when your budget is tight.
Debi took senior managers’ headshots and found a freelancer to hand draw each senior manager’s image for $10 each. She has been using the hand-drawn images for presentations and received great feedback.
Creativity is affordable. Here is the white-board video with CEO explaining what SuperVAR is with a hand-drawn headshot:
She currently is working on a new form of content, infographics. She gathered stats, researched key points and provided image guidance to a freelancer, who was able to create the first infographic for only $50! Debi agrees that occasionally it is necessary to retain professionals for high-quality content. She can’t churn out high-volume and lost cost content all the time. If the company wants to demonstrate thought leadership, professionally done content for videos and white papers is necessary.
Debi has been busy building a content archive for her company for the past six months. Next year, she aims to leverage social media channels to promote content and drive traffic to the company site. For $1000, she gets 50 product descriptions, 20 blog posts, 2 videos, and select graphic designs. It’s amazing how much she stretches her budget. You go, girl!