If it feels like your content marketing goals are loftier than your content marketing budget, you’re not alone. The Content Marketing Institute recently released a report detailing some dissatisfaction among content marketers: a workload that’s too large, while budgets aren’t growing to match it. Luckily, there are a lot of free or low-cost tools out there that can help you do more with less. When it comes to content marketing, your law firm can use these tools to make a big impact with a small budget.
A Robust Graphic Design Software
If you don’t have the budget to keep a professional designer on staff, you might think you’re destined to have boring visuals. However, today’s graphic design tools make it easy for even beginners to put together attractive and compelling graphics. Great design is only a click away with these options:
- Adobe Express – There is a free basic plan and a free 30-day trial (after that it’s about $10 for a premium plan). This tool comes highly recommended by industry professionals and provides a lot of free templates to help you get started.
- Canva – You can use the free basic plan or take advantage of a $149.90 yearly subscription for teams with up to five members. Users say Canva is an incredibly versatile tool that produces great results, even for novices. Try Canva for anything from basic visuals to social media posts, infographics, and even videos.
- Looka – This AI-powered brand identity platform is ideal for creating logos. The cost is $20 for one-time logo creation or $96 or $192 for a yearly subscription.
Infographic Design Help
Infographics are a valuable asset for law firms. When thought leadership is key, infographics can help you to streamline research and produce easy-to-digest graphics. Infographics have also become more popular in recent years, and readers love them. The availability of tools like Canva has made it easier to create this category of visuals. Adobe and Canva are both good tools for producing infographics, but there are some other specific tools we like as well.
- Infogram – This tool is really helpful for producing infographic-like charts and other small graphics for presenting data in an attractive format. They offer a free basic plan as well as a $19 per month pro package and the $67 per month business package.
- Piktochart – Many people use this software when they’re just starting their infographic journey. It’s great for beginners and very intuitive. Users also say it’s flexible with lots of customizable options. You can also use this tool to produce videos, which is a plus. In addition to a free basic plan, a pro plan is available $14 per month per team member.
User-Friendly Podcasting Tools
Podcasting is growing in popularity. According to Edison Research, the amount of Americans over the age of twelve who have ever listened to a podcast grew to 62% this year. People have become accustomed to consuming information in an audio format, and podcasts are a great way to share your knowledge and expertise. If you are new to podcasting, you might be intimidated by the process. However, there are some really effective tools out there to support you.
- Audacity – This is a free, open-source platform that comes highly recommended. It’s truly a “multitasker”, offering editing and recording capabilities, as well as a lot of other features. The system works with Windows, macOS, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems, and you can view literally hundreds of tutorials on how to make the most of the software.
- GarageBand – This Apple tool is free and comes standard on Mac computers, iPads, and iPhones. Users say the sound quality is great for a free platform, but it’s not always the most intuitive. You can play around with it and watch some tutorials until you feel comfortable, though.
- Reaper – Sort of like a step up from Audacity, this tool is incredibly user-friendly and offers more effects. Another nice feature is that they charge a one-time fee ($225 for a commercial license) as well as a free trial.
Editorial Calendar Support
You can always maintain your calendar in a spreadsheet or Google Sheet format, but at some point that becomes cumbersome. If you want to take a more sophisticated approach, look into tools that can help. Here are some options for free or low-cost editorial calendar tools to keep your content marketing train on track.
- Trello – This option is many marketers’ favorite. It’s marketed as a tool for managing projects, organizing tasks, and fostering collaboration. Most people find Trello easy to use, even those that don’t love technology. Using Trello boards, content pieces are tagged, annotated, and arranged into categories based on their current stage in the content workflow. The basic plan is free and the fees for smaller teams range from $5 – $10 per user, per month.
- Airtable – This tool has been described as “an all-in-one collaboration tool with powerful editorial workflows.” It offers similar functionality to Trello but in a format that you might prefer. It’s worth looking at both tools and seeing what is best for your own team. Airtable is free for individuals and teams, and $10 – $20 per user for upgraded plans.
- Flow-e – You can use this software to turn your Gmail and Outlook tasks into more organized lists while adding things like notes, to-dos, and deadlines. Many people work out of their email and this can eliminate the need for an entirely separate editorial calendar. It’s free, but larger paid plans are available in conjunction with their parent company, Kanbanize.
Effective Video Editing Software
Similar to podcasting, video is growing in popularity. Consider the fact that YouTube is the second most visited website in the United States. It’s clear that video should be a key part of your marketing strategy. If you want your marketing efforts to remain impactful in today’s landscape, video is something you need to get comfortable with. Here are some tools that can support your efforts.
- Clipchamp (for Windows) or iMovie (for macOS and iOS devices) – Many people are aware of these options simply because they are available and compatible with certain operating systems. While iMovie is free, Clipchamp has a free basic plan as well as an upgraded plan for $119.99 per year. Depending on your operating system, both of these are worth exploring to see what they can do.
- Adobe Premiere Pro – Experts say this is one of the more sophisticated editing suites available. Though there is a learning curve for new video editors, the robust features make it worth trying out. The price is $20.99-a-month for an individual plan, or $35.99-a-month for a business plan.
- Descript – This is a popular tool that users love because of its transcription capabilities. This tool also provides audio editing features along with standard video options. You can use the transcript to make close-captioned files or reuse the text in other areas, like a blog. Along with a free basic plan, upgraded plans are available for $12 – $24 each month.
It can feel daunting to produce great content when keeping an eye on your budget. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The tools above make it easier than ever to produce high-quality, compelling content that your audience will find valuable. Give a couple of them a try and see how your marketing content improves. If you’re not sure you’re using the right marketing technology to help you meet your goals, give our Technology Strength Scorecard a try. This tool evaluates your current technology and its ability to drive business development, so we can make suggestions for optimizing and improving.