I've been on both sides of this situation. I've had to run marketing teams without much of a budget, and I've been on the other side where I've had millions of dollars to spend. Believe it or not, there are many advantages to being bootstrapped without the luxury of a full marketing team.
When it comes to bootstrapping content marketing, there are three tips I have that can help you gain traction without having to spend a whole lot.
1. Pick a single social media platform to focus on.
I use LinkedIn almost exclusively. I've been able to garner a big audience because I focused on creating content on a consistent basis. I removed the Twitter and Facebook apps from my phone, just so I'm not tempted to go on those sites.
Other talented marketers like Gary Vaynerchuk have the almost exact opposite approach, which is to create content for every single platform. I feel like it's a great approach but extremely time-consuming for people who just don't have the time, and you end up being decent at all the platforms instead of great at one of them.
Once you build an audience, then you can move them over to the other platforms as well. But, for me, focusing on a single platform is the best thing I've ever done.
2. Be extremely opinionated, even if you're wrong.
There are two things to make your content go viral. Content that makes people really happy, and content that makes people really angry.
This is why pictures of cute dogs will never go away. Of course, you shouldn't use a dog as your content marketing strategy, but people love it, and will continue to share things that make them feel happy. This works exceptionally well on LinkedIn. Any story about an underachiever in business who accomplished something against odds will always garner attention. This approach never fails.
On the flip side, when you post controversial things that not everyone agrees with, people get upset and will do everything in their power to prove you wrong. They don't sit at home and talk to their families about it. They become keyword warriors to engage with your content and tell you their opinions on why they think you're wrong. That engagement leads to showing up higher on social feeds, and more people will discover you.
Elon Musk's tweets trigger many people. He'll say whatever's on his mind, even if it upsets readers. Opinions are extremely effective on many social media platforms.
3. Engage with the people who can drive the most value.
This approach works well for B2B companies where the price of services or products is higher. What I do is create a list of target companies and people that I would like to do business with. From that list, I start figuring out ways to get in touch with them. As I mentioned, LinkedIn is my target platform, so I add them individually on LinkedIn with a personalized message.
Then once I'm connected, I'll engage with their content. Of course, this doesn't always turn into new business, but in many instances, my being on top of their mind has helped me win new clients.
I'll occasionally send them direct messages as well. Relationships are key when you have zero budget, and social media is by far the easiest way to do it.
Don't be discouraged if you don't have a marketing team or if you're the only marketer in the company. Follow these three tips for content marketing, and you'll see traction almost immediately.