The Ultimate (Budget-Friendly) Shopping Guide For Stepping Up Your Content Marketing

 
content-marketing-tools-blog-header.png

There’s no better - and ultimately almost free - way to promote your brand and your business online today than Content Marketing. By definition, Content Marketing is “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action,” according to the Content Marketing Institute.

Content Marketing can include all the various types of media you currently consume on the internet - videos (instructional, educational, vlogs, documentaries), images (photography and designed graphic images), original music, ebooks, podcasts, online radio, and blog posts - just like this one.

Essentially, Content Marketing is a way to get your brand message across to an audience while delivering value and/or entertainment. The intent is never to come across “sales-y” - occasionally you’ll be nudged to join a mailing list or follow the brand on social, but you shouldn’t be seeing a ton of Gary Vaynerchuk’s classic “right hooks”.

In order to create certain types of visual and audio content however, you’re going to need some tools. Here are some of our favourite pieces of equipment that we use to create our content.

Smartphone

The thing that never leaves your side is by far the most important asset you own as far as creating content. You have an entire arsenal of content creation sitting right in your pocket. If you own a newer phone - we currently use an iPhone 8+ - you’re essentially sitting on an end-to-end solution. From the built-in cameras, which are spectacular for both photography and video creation (our header photo was taking with an iPhone btw), to the editing apps, which are astonishingly brilliant, to the actual social apps, you technically don’t need anything else.

content-marketing-tools-blog-iphone.jpg

Some tasks aren’t as straightforward on the phone as others, such as video editing (which tends to get a bit tedious) or blog writing (it’s just easier to write long form content using a keyboard), but if your budget is limited and you likely already own a smartphone, there’s no better place to start creating.

Cameras

If you’re looking to up your Content Marketing game, you’re going to need a camera. There’s so many brands and types of cameras on the market that it can get a little overwhelming at first, so we’d recommend you do some research and see which ones suit your needs the most. We exclusively work with Canon cameras as we find them super simple to use, the output is fantastic and the upgrades and accessories (such as lenses) aren’t overly pricey.

content-marketing-tools-blog-canon-camera-2.jpg

We started off with an entry level DLSR Canon EOS Rebel T6i and a 50mm lens, which we still use primarily for our own lifestyle photography. It’s been quite the workhorse and has produced spectacular results for us and worked well for our clients when we first started out. We recently purchased the Canon G7X Mark II, a point-and-shoot camera that is super popular with YouTube vloggers. We use it almost exclusively for our video content (we also occasionally use it for photography), alongside a Manfrotto Extreme mini tripod, as the additional built-in saturation it offers is bright and sharp and brilliant in low light. The fold out screen makes vlogging simple and very efficient in almost any environment, the audio is great and it’s super lightweight so you can take it anywhere.

Audio

For those wanting to move into the audio world, or just ensure that the audio portion of your videos is on point, you’re going to need a portable microphone. After some extensive research we settled on the Zoom H4n, and since our purchase around 3 years ago it’s become one of the most useful devices in our arsenal.

We primarily use it for our craft beer podcast and the audio component of some of our videos, however we’ve used it for clients in various situations such as recording conferences directly from the soundboard and recording audio from a musician right from the external speakers. The device contains multiple inputs so you can connect lavalier (clip-on) mics to it directly in 4 channel mode, so you automatically end up with two completely separate WAV files (making editing a breeze). We’re always finding new uses for it, and it’s arguably been the most reliable piece of equipment we’ve ever owned.

Lights

Truly professional video and photography needs good lighting so luckily, you have a plethora of options. From regular socket lights to flexible LED lights, from hand-held devices to a larger complex studio setups, there’s a lighting solution available to suit every budget and every situation.

content-marketing-tools-blog-studio-lights.jpg

We were renting lighting for client shoots so often that we decided we may as well just purchase our own. As a starter we opted for a pair of socket lights with softboxes, which are really great for an office or home studio. They’re quite large, difficult to pull apart/put back together and require an outlet, so they’re not optimal for portability (depending on how much patience you have). A much more portable option is a bi-colour (meaning you can phase between warm sun and bright white lighting options) dimmable LED light, which are super light, run on batteries and don’t rely on the very trippable outlet cables.

So there you have it. We’re currently able to build all our Content Marketing using six key yet mostly entry level products from the above lists (two iPhone 8+’s, two Canon cameras, a Zoom, and some lights), and all were extremely affordable. What equipment do you use for your Content Marketing?

Sounds like too much work? We do this for a living. Talk to us about having original content created for your business.