8 Tips to Set Up a Content Marketing Budget

You know content marketing is important. When you go to sell it to your partners, your lenders, or your C-suite, though, you need to have a solid content marketing budget in hand.

How can you set up a content marketing budget that will stand up under scrutiny, bring in a hefty return on your investment, and attract new clients? These tips will help you create a budget that allows you to maximize your effectiveness on all fronts.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Know the worth of a well-funded content marketing strategy.
  • Maximize every cent of your current budget.
  • Analyze past budgets and competitors’ budgets for successes and failures.
  • Allow for flexibility to accommodate new trends and technologies.

1. Take Inventory of What Content Marketing Can Bring to the Table

To set up a budget that will position your content marketing to succeed, you need to be aware of the value content marketing can bring to your company. Even though content marketing costs 62 percent less than outbound marketing, it triples the number of leads. Even better, it delivers six times the conversion rates of other marketing strategies. That means that content marketing, not advertising, should get the lion’s share of the marketing budget.

2. Estimate the Funds You’ll Need to Level Up Your Technology and Skills

When you invest in content marketing workshops, courses, and subscriptions to industry journals, you and your team increase your ability to communicate your company’s message effectively. Coupled with cutting-edge technology’s ability to extend your reach to your target customers through data analysis and targeted messaging, your improved message gets amplified even more.

These improvements are a vital part of any successful content marketing strategy, so you need to factor them into your content marketing budget.

3. Make Sure You Make the Most of the Budget You Have

If your goal is to increase your budget yearly, you need to show that you have leveraged your current budget to the greatest extent possible. When you realize that on average, 70 percent of content that B2B content marketers create doesn’t even see the light of day, you need to conduct a thorough audit of your content strategy.

Image courtesy of Jason Miller

Focus on creating higher-quality content that you can use, repurpose, and reuse. Track the effectiveness of content. If you find out a particular type of content isn’t performing, cut it. Even if it goes against the grain of “we’ve always done it that way.”

4. Review the Nationwide Statistics for Content Marketing Budgets

Although for most companies throughout America, only 22 to 26 percent of B2B companies’ marketing budget goes to content marketing, the most successful ones allocate nearly 40 percent to it.

Image courtesy of SlideShare

If you’re a solo entrepreneur, you can bump up the percentage yourself. If, however, you’re in a larger company, you need to create a convincing argument to those who hold the purse strings that content marketing is indeed worth the investment. Looking at these statistics is your first step.

5. Look at Your Competitors’ Content Marketing Spend

You’re focused on getting that 40 percent that the most successful businesses get. The way to get to that number is to find out what some of your competitors have likely spent on their content marketing. You might not be able to score a copy of their corporate budget, but you can get a ballpark estimate by looking at their content and adding up the average cost of such content.

According to the 2018 State of the Creator Economy report, American businesses pay, on average:

  • $330 for a video
  • $115 for a list and advice article
  • $147 for a photograph
  • $190 for a motion graphic
  • $127 for a listicle
  • $311 for a white paper
  • $183 for an industry insight feature
  • $144 for an infographic
  • $168 for a trend piece

If you’re not exceeding your competitors’ content output, you need to open up your purse strings and make room in the budget to do so. If money is tight, look for creative ways to repurpose your content, such as expanding the content of an article into a white paper or using an existing article as a basis for a video script. Consider using your content as the basis for podcasts, webinars, or informative talks.

6. Consider Your Company’s Size and Your Industry

Large companies might have the funds to hire in-house content marketing teams, but it’s often more cost-efficient to hire a content marketing agency with a team of specialists, each of whom has expertise in his or her niche. As for small- to medium-sized businesses, most need to outsource the lion’s share of their marketing, unless they have someone in-house with a knack for producing killer videos, informative articles, and dazzling graphics. For startups, it can be as simple as cutting out the Starbucks to cover the costs of a blog on your website, as digital marketing guru Neil Patel advises.

If you’re in a highly competitive industry, it’s likely you’ll have to spend more on content marketing to make sure you’re getting the edge you need to rise to the top of your niche. If your company is short on money and long on ideas, put some of those ideas to work, spend a little more time on the job, and create quality content of your own.

7. Don’t Forget to Add in Content Promotional Costs

If you use an automated email service to send newsletters or other content to subscribers, be sure to include that in your base content marketing budget. Also, estimate the funds you’re likely to need for ads that promote your blog posts, white papers, videos, and other content on social media.

  • Cost Per Mille (CPM, from the Latin mille – meaning “thousand” – impressions): When you promote your content online, you need to factor in whether your goal will be primarily brand awareness or funneling traffic to your content. If you’re a startup, or if you’re introducing a new product or service, you might prefer a cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) model for your promotional ads. In that case, the more impressions, the more awareness you build among your target audience.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC): Usually, however, when you promote content, you fare better when you use the cost-per-click (CPC) model to calculate your projected costs. Since the goal is to get your audience to read, watch, or listen to your content, CPC is usually a better model for content marketing.

In 2019, the average CPM on various media is as follows:

  • Google: $2.80
  • Twitter: $5.76
  • LinkedIn: $6.05
  • Instagram: $6.70
  • Facebook: $9.06

The CPC costs for the most popular platforms are as follows:

  • Google: $0.75
  • Twitter: $0.53
  • LinkedIn: $5.61
  • Instagram: $1.28
  • Facebook: $0.51

8. Analyze Your Past Budgets for Cost and Effectiveness

Unless you’re a startup, your budgets over the past few years will be a rich source of data that can help you see what worked and what did not. Use Google Analytics, social media analytics, as well as your email and automated marketing systems to see which platforms and content types produced the most leads and revenue, as Mark Schmukler advises.

  • Boost your best performers: Allot more of the coming year’s budget to the types of content and promotional types that worked best. Cut out—or cut back on– the poorest-performing types.
  • Be flexible: Allow some wiggle room in your budget to make changes when new, more effective marketing strategies emerge. For example, when mobile platforms first emerged as major players, only those companies whose budgets were flexible enough to funnel more money into mobile content marketing could take full advantage of the new technology.

When you follow these tips, you can to maximize your content marketing budget through a strategy that is data-based, flexible, and effective.

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Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.