How Much Does Content Marketing Actually Cost?
Do you ever wonder if you’re spending too much — or too little — on your marketing each year? Content marketing is an essential piece of the puzzle for businesses that want to grow. Content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing — and it costs 62% less. Content marketing was expected to account for more than $300 billion in revenue in 2019.
But if you’re unsure what content marketing actually costs, you might feel like you’re stumbling around in the dark trying to figure it out. Here’s a breakdown of what high-quality content actually looks like and how much that content should cost.
The importance of content marketing
90% of all organizations use content in their marketing efforts. Marketers spend over 25% of their budget on content marketing. It’s worth the investment: content marketing has a conversion rate that’s six times higher than other marketing methods.
The average cost of content marketing will depend on whether you do the work yourself or not. You can save time by outsourcing these marketing tasks. But be prepared for the cost — good marketing is expensive. While DIY content marketing might be free or cheap, in-house marketing will cost you tens of thousands a year, and working with a freelancer or an agency typically costs thousands of dollars per month depending on the volume of content you need.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the process of creating and publishing engaging content that your target audience will find interesting and useful. This type of marketing strategy can be used for both internal and external communications, meaning that you can use it to create and share content with your customers and potential customers, as well as with your current and prospective employees. It’s a great strategy for building brand awareness, as well as driving engagement and link clicks.
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you might be considering investing in content marketing:
- Are you looking to establish your brand as an authority in your industry and attract new customers?
- Do you want to grow your current customer base and retain your current ones?
- Do you want to see growth in your company’s reach and profit?
Content marketing is one of the best ways to attract new customers, retain current customers, and drive revenue for your business. But because it’s such a cost-heavy marketing strategy, some businesses may be unsure as to how much it costs to implement.
In this blog post, we’ll take a detailed look at content marketing and its costs, in order to help you establish a budget and determine the return on your investment.
Content Marketing Costs
There are a few different types of costs associated with content marketing, including creation, distribution, and publishing costs.
Unsurprisingly, there is a wide range of how much content marketing costs. Content marketing cost is driven by the quantity and design needed for your business or brand.
The total cost of content marketing varies greatly depending on the type of content you create, as well as the size and type of business you are.
However, the average small businesses spend on content creation and marketing is between $500-$5,000 per month.
- $500 per month can be allocated to social media marketing or a few blog posts
- $5000 per month can account for full-scale digital marketing, with content creation and implementation
The total cost of content marketing can be broken down into several categories:
Your content strategy should always start with research. Content research includes:
- Competitor analysis
- Content audit
- Content strategy
- Digital strategies
Content research helps develop a results-driven strategy, so you aren’t paying for content that doesn’t move the needle forward.
What does content research involve?
In-depth research on your target audience. This includes researching your competitors’ content and products, their customer demographics, and their buying habits. You can access competitor content analysis tools to help with this.
Your content marketer may ask you to provide an audience persona. Lots go into determining an effective persona:
- your target customer’s background info
- purchase decisions etc.
It may seem overwhelming if you haven’t looked into this data, but it is a key source to making sure your content is impactful for your dream customer.
What does content research cost?
This stage is the most critical point of your entire content marketing plan. Content research cost generally varies from $5,000 to $25,000. An average small business would be on the lower end of that range, expect to invest $3,000-$5,000.
Costs vary depending on:
- The size of your company
- How much research needs to be done
- Whether you have an audience persona
- Industry competition
Some brands already have their audience data in hand which can be reused for this type of work; others need a lot more research before they know exactly what it takes or who their market should consist of.
The next step in the process, following strategy and planning, is content creation. Depending on your budget and strategy, this step includes everything from website copy to Instagram posts and press releases.
In order for your business to perform online, it is not enough to just have a simple website. The content on your site should be carefully targeted to the products and/or services you provide.
After the research phase, your content marketing agency may recommend additional website content. This will include:
- Extra written content for existing pages
- Creation of landing pages for advertising
- Additional website pages
Your website might be designed to the 9s, but if there is not enough content for search engines to “read” it may not be performing to your standards. Site content is integral to Google (or other search engines) rankings. Writing additional content for already existing pages is a usual suggestion, and cost will vary depending on the word count needed based on competitor analysis.
Average Costs: You can expect to pay from .15 to .25 a word for general site content. If you are in a more technical niche, costs may grow.
If advertising is part of your content marketing plan, landing pages will most likely need to be created. These pages are developed specifically to convert traffic that has been driven to your site via paid ads.
Average Costs: If your marketing company is fully designing + implementing this page, you can expect to pay $500-$1000 for an optimized lander.
Additional Website Pages
Most likely, each one of your services needs to have an independent page on your site. If you don’t have the appropriately targeted pages, your marketing agency will recommend adding them.
Average Costs: If you have a website developer, you can expect to only pay for content and strategy. If the pages need to be designed and created for you, they will most likely cost the same as landing pages.
While these costs add up, optimizing your website will result in more traffic, which means more customers or prospective clients.
Social Media Content
This is any content you publish to your social media accounts. Depending on your budget, this generally includes:
This section of content marketing services is dependent on your marketing goals. Are you looking to maintain a constant face online? Do you want to connect with current customers or find new prospects? Many businesses are looking to “go viral,” but the goal of any small business should be consistency.
What to think about with a social media strategy:
- What media channels do you want to be present on?
- How many times will you post a week?
- Is your content strategist expected to engage with your audience?
- Do you want to use paid promotion for your accounts?
Average Costs: As a whole, the cost can vary anywhere from $1,000-$20,000 per month. An average small businesses owner who is just looking for basic content production and posting can expect to pay $1,000 to $1,500.
Keyword research is key to making sure your marketing strategy is impactful. Why spend money on content or posts that your audience isn’t searching for? If you are looking to manage your content marketing in-house, this needs to be part of your strategy.
Most likely, this research will be included in the content research phase and should include:
- Analysis of existing content
- Blog post recommendations
- New prospects
- Competitor rankings
Average Costs: If you are going to do this independently, you can expect to pay $200-$500 for keyword tools. Keyword strategy from an agency usually varies from $1,000-2,000/month for small businesses.
A Quick Overview of an Average Content Marketing Campaign
To determine the estimated cost of content marketing, it’s important to understand what exactly goes into a content marketing campaign and how much each step in the process costs.
The first step in any content marketing project is strategy. In this phase, you’ll complete research and planning, outline an editorial calendar, and figure out the custom content needed for your audience segments.
OneAffiniti develops new plans and curates most topical content for your audience industry. Industries we write for include healthcare, manufacturing, and finance.
Once your game plan is ready to go, it’s time to actually create the content. In this step, you’ll need to pay for writing and graphic design. You might use the following digital formats to engage your audience:
- Case studies
- Curated content
- Resource pages
- Articles and/or blog posts
- Interactive content
OneAffiniti creates ebooks and infographics for you, helping you effectively market yourself to customers who rely on content to help make their buying decisions.
When the content is ready, you’ll use analytics to see what’s performing well. Analyzing data takes an average of 3.55 hours per week, and paying an hourly rate for somebody to do this job can add up fast. OneAffiniti analyzes content and optimizes campaigns for you and takes this task off your plate.
The final step in the process is getting your content distributed. Estimated costs to publish and promote on social media like LinkedIn or your email marketing list can run from hundreds to thousands of dollars per month. OneAffiniti automatically schedules your email campaign and publishes to your LinkedIn network.
Content marketing cost examples
As you work through your content marketing campaign, you might run into the following expenses:
- Hiring a writer — $400 per article; $65+ per hour for ad copywriting, research, etc.
- Outsourcing a graphic designer — $50+ per hour
- Video production — $75+ per hour
- Social media manager — $50+ per hour
- Lead generation content planning — $50+ per hour
- Landing page setup — $600 – $3,000
- Email marketing setup and platform — $100 – $1,000 per month
- Social media platform ads — $450+ per month
Save on content marketing with OneAffiniti
The total average yearly cost for an ongoing email and LinkedIn campaign is $60,000 or more. OneAffiniti provides this service for our partners for free, saving you thousands of dollars a year. All partners who join receive quality, customized content — and if you want to save time or money, this is the way to go. Let us take over your content marketing to boost your brand to the level where it deserves to be. Interested? Sign up today!