DIY tips for creating budget friendly and engaging owned content

12 Mar 2018 DIY tips for creating budget friendly and engaging owned content

Your digital content can’t always foster engagement with just text alone – you need to add multimedia, new tools and new tactics into the mix. However, purchasing multimedia (or hiring someone else to make it for you) can get expensive. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, creating your owned content in-house could be the best option.

If your budget is low, your owned content can still bring in a high ROI – you just need to combine resourcefulness and creativity with the right tools and information. Below, we’ll help you figure out what you need in order to transform into a digital content pro.

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Communicatto’s owned content recommendations:


  • Storyboards: Get your vision across to your team by visually laying out your video beforehand. Canva has storyboard templates that are both simple and effective.


  • Video footage and/or photos: If you don’t have an in-house photographer, you may want to invest in a good camera of your own – or, if all else fails, simply use your smartphone’s camera. If you still can’t get the shot you want, stock footage and photos are the next best thing. Pixabay offers free images and video clips; iStock has a much larger library (though you will have to pay).


  • Editing software: Final Cut Pro is popular among YouTubers and content marketers alike. However, Filmora is a high-quality alternative that’s a little more budget friendly. If you’re just looking to make a quick (albeit less customizable) video, Animoto provides many easy-to-use templates that allow you to swap in your own video footage, photos and text. For animated videos, software like Moovly is a great option.


  • Music: Filmora and Animoto both offer royalty-free music options. If you have your heart set on a specific song, you’ll have to purchase the rights to use it from the publisher.


  • Go live: If you’re not into the technicalities of editing videos, you can still achieve a lot with a simple video shot on your smartphone. After all, live social media videos and stories are popular for a reason. After deciding on your video’s subject matter (Q&A’s and event highlights are both popular), simply log on to your favourite social media platform and start filming! The final product won’t necessarily be pretty or polished, but this is still a fun way to connect with your target audience.


Visual content

  • Image files: Again, taking your own photos or using a stock photo site is the first step. Don’t just “borrow” something from Google Images – you need to own the rights to each and every photo you use.


  • Photo editing software: Whether you’re creating infographics, memes or the perfect Instagram post, you’ll need a tool that allows you to add text, graphics, charts, filters and other adornments to your images. Canva is one of our favourites – and it comes with tons of templates that make visual content creation a breeze.


Downloadable white papers and reports

  • Solid sources: You’ll need a few good stats to backup your white paper’s content. Of course, you must ensure that these stats come from solid, trustworthy sources. Formulate a “circle of trust” – meaning websites, blogs and interviewees that you can depend on to provide the highest quality information.


  • An editor: The hardest part of creating a white paper is actually writing the thing. While your word processor’s spell check should help keep the typos at bay, make sure to have several team members look over the copy before it’s finalized, or even bring in a freelance editor.


  • Document design tool: Simply writing a white paper or report isn’t enough; it also has to look incredible. Tools like LucidPress provide beautiful templates that turn boring documents into visually-stunning masterpieces. Eye-catching photography and a consistent design throughout the document will make all the difference.



  • Host site: First thing’s first – you need a platform on which to host your webinar. and GoToMeeting are both great options. These platforms make it easy for attendees to sign in – and the can also listen in via phone if need be.


  • Event page: What’s the point of hosting a webinar if guests can’t sign up for it? This is where sites like Eventbrite come in handy – you can send sign-up emails to potential attendees, manage RSVPs and provide all the details so your guests can easily log in to the webinar. Eventbrite also sends out reminder emails so your guests won’t forget about the event!


  • Social media: While social media obviously applies to all of the multimedia items in this list, it’s particularly helpful when promoting your webinar. Let your followers know what you’re up to and how they can participate (including a few eye-catching images never hurts, either). And don’t forget to create a hashtag!


  • Presentation: Creating a slide deck on PowerPoint will help to keep the presentation on track and will give attendees something compelling to look at throughout. Make sure your slides are on-brand, visually appealing and informative – you may even wish to make the slides available for download post-webinar.


  • Follow-up video: Most webinar platforms allow you to record the entire presentation – take advantage of this feature! You can upload the video file to YouTube afterwards, which will make it easy for those who missed the webinar to view the event. By creating a piece of video content from your webinar, you’re basically killing two birds with one stone!



  • Recording equipment: While having a high-quality mic for recording your podcast is ideal, simply using your computer and a headset is an option if you’re just testing the podcasting waters and aren’t ready to invest. Luckily, there are a wide variety of recording device options that work with every budget.


  • Sound editing software: Once you’ve got your podcast recorded, you’ve got to edit out all the awkward pauses, off-topic ramblings and any other audio mishaps. Finding the right software is key – you want something that allows you to easily edit, arrange and improve the sound quality of your recordings. While there are many editing tools out there, Audacity is free and recommended for beginners.


  • Interviewees: While this technically isn’t a requirement, many podcasters keep their content fresh by featuring different guests on each episode. Choose guests that are knowledgeable, intriguing or have a wide following – this will bring more listeners to your series. To record an interview when your guest isn’t in the same room as you, consider Skype add-ons or a computer recorder like ScreenFlow. Even a simple call recorder app on your phone could do the trick.


  • Cover art: Every podcast needs a good, easily identifiable cover image – and it needs to be the right dimensions (1400 x 1400 pixels minimum). Make sure the image file is a JPEG or PNG, and avoid making the image cluttered or illegible.


Lindey Sudo
Lindey Sudo

Writer and Golden Girls enthusiast Lindey Sudo travels the continent in search of great stories. As a graduate of the Vancouver Film School’s Writing Program, she has spent time brainstorming in writers’ rooms, networking in Los Angeles and captivating audiences on Canada’s Smartest Person in Toronto (as an audience member). Lindey’s all-consuming love for the written word has led to her latest endeavour: content creation. When not glued to her word processor, Lindey enjoys playing guitar, skiing, attempting aerial yoga and Rolling Up The Rim To Win.

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