Content marketing can drive significant ROI. Across industries, the executive suite is bumping up content marketing budgets in recognition of this fact.
This is good news for those of us who have been beating the content bushes for many years.
Content marketing works! Told ya!
However, that doesn’t mean the boss is throwing money at YOUR content marketing budget. It may be time to revisit your content marketing budget to get the greatest return on your investment.
What does the landscape look like? How much are brands putting toward content? How can you make the most of a limited budget?
We answer all these questions and more in this guide.
Content marketing budgets are going up
The latest research tells us that across industries, content budgets are increasing:
- Half of the respondents to this Content Marketing Institute survey said they expected their content marketing budget to increase in 2023. 38% said they expected it to remain the same as in 2022.
- This isn’t too far off from what WordPress VIP recently published in its “Content Matters 2023” report. In that survey, 58.4% of respondents expected their content marketing budget to increase in 2023.
- Meanwhile, a whopping 83% of respondents to an NP Digital survey said they expected their content marketing budget to increase in 2023.
How do you allocate a budget for content marketing?
First, we must define what goes into a content marketing budget—or rather, what does not.
The following digital marketing strategies/channels all make use of content. However, they do not fall under the “content marketing” umbrella.
- Reputation marketing
If you’re including any of those line items in your content marketing budget, it’s time to do some reallocating.
Your content budget should include everything your company spends on the creation, publication, and distribution of content, including the costs of labor (in-house and freelance), equipment, and measurement.
Once you set an overall digital marketing budget, how much should go to content?
We’ve found a good estimate is 25-40%:
- Forbes contributor Aaron Agius recommends putting 25-30% of your marketing budget into content marketing.
- The average company invests 25-30% of its marketing budget into content marketing, according to WebFX.
- In a HubSpot report, 39% of marketers surveyed said they allocated 31-50% of their total marketing budget to content marketing.
How to stretch your content budget
Everything in a solid content marketing budget falls into these three categories:
Money to find and pay the right people will consume most of your budget.
Who will develop ideas for content? Who will perform keyword and audience research? If there’s no strategy in place, who will create one?
Who will write the content (or find the right freelancer to write it)? Edit it? Load it in your CMS and press “publish?”
Who’s in charge of your social strategy for the content you create? What about design elements—who will handle those? Who will track your content’s performance, measure KPIs, and glean insights from the data to inform your future strategy?
You can use an in-house employee or freelancer for these content marketing tasks.
Midsize to enterprise-level companies require an end-to-end content marketing platform. One that can help them create and publish high-quality content at scale.
Managing the entire process inside one platform makes it more streamlined and less expensive. Plus, the content performs better.
Don’t forget to budget for tools.
Here’s the list of those types of tools you’ll need to create high-quality content that engages and converts:
- Keyword, SEO, and ideation tools
- Publishing platform/content management system
- Project management
- Editorial calendar
- Social media tools
- Email marketing software + CRM
- Style guide
- Design software
If you’re looking to stretch your money, it needs to come from one of these three areas.
Outsourcing to the rescue
The single most effective move you can make to stretch your content budget is to switch to freelancers.
Almost 60% of the top content marketers use subcontractors for their marketing tasks, according to a report from CMI and MarketingProfs. Of those, 84% say they outsource content production.
Simply put, most brands outsource their content creation because it’s cheaper. For every in-house employee you hire, you need to pay their salary, benefits, taxes, and office expenses. There are additional costs associated with recruiting and training, as well as ongoing HR expenses.
When you outsource content creation, you skip most of that.
Freelancing offers a flexible content creation model that can scale easily. Whereas in-house writers naturally have limitations, you can find a freelancer for every skill set and subject matter you need.
Small to midsize companies should consider hiring a full-time, in-house staffer to manage the freelancing process. Larger organizations often opt for fully managed content solutions. One where an external team manages all the moving parts of a comprehensive content marketing strategy on your behalf.
This way, you can fill in any gaps in your team’s skill set, pivot quickly if something needs to change, and expand the reach of your content. All without adding a full-time member to your team.
Do more with less – with ClearVoice
Companies that prioritize content marketing benefit from greater brand awareness, trust, and loyalty.
If you’re looking to do more with your content marketing budget, learn how a managed content solution that uses freelancers can help. Tell us what you need—we can help.