How Should Brands Budget for their Content Marketing Campaign
Say your content marketing plan is already mapped out and is ripe for implementation. What’s next?
In Shark Tank, billionaire Mark Cuban always says, “Ideas are cheap. Execution is expensive.” Everything costs money. Whether you’re a popular or an emerging brand, there is one question that seems to stop us on our tracks every time we need to test and run our content marketing implementation roadmap: “How much budget should I allot for my content marketing campaign?”
In this article, we’ll qualify the almost disconcerting “It depends” answer you always get from consultants or digital marketing firms. We’ll get into several factors that can inform your budgeting decisions so you can manage tools, resources, distribution channels well enough to reach your goals, whether it’s to raise brand awareness, build engagement and loyalty around your brand, or simply to drive revenue growth.
WHAT SHOULD YOUR BUDGET INCLUDE?
Before even reaching for your calculator, you should know the components of your budget. Here are some basic items to consider before you start pulling figures here and there:
- CONTENT TEAM
Decide whether you’re going to hire an in-house content marketing team or a bunch of freelancers. A skeletal content team comprises writers and editors, videographers, graphic designers, a content strategist, and a content manager. Certain firms hire talents who specialise in many disciplines, which result in more savings. However, you also have to consider the duration of the project and daily work load as hiring full-time employees carry certain legal obligations.
- TOOLS AND DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS
Apart from the usual laptop and other peripherals, you have to account for the tools your content team uses perpetually or only within the duration of the project. The typical tools used by content marketing teams are editing and design tools, SEO tools for keyword research and rank tracking, analytics and reporting tools, CMS, project tracking tool, content calendar tools, etc. Some of these tools require licences; others require you to pay annual or monthly subions.
If your content strategy includes promoting your brand on social media, it’s good news that most social media platforms are free to use. However, if you need to have a business account with the intent of running ads and bidding placements for them, you will have to add that as part of your budget.
We urge you to create a list of the top tools you’d like your team to use and compute the operational costs of having them.
If you hire a set of full-time employees to make up your content team, you need to invest in their learning too. As such, you have to send them to training courses, enrol them in workshops and conferences, and buy books and other learning references.
HOW DO VARIOUS INDUSTRIES BUDGET FOR THEIR CONTENT?
Based on a Hubspot survey with over 1,000 respondents, all of which were marketers, 26% of them say their quarterly budgets fall within the range of 40K-80K USD.
Coming in second was 15.8% saying they spend somewhere between 100K-200K USD. Third was 11% saying they work with under 11K USD.
Keep in mind that these numbers are still up to a few interpretations. One, 51% of marketers spend below 80K USD on content marketing every quarter. Two, the data don’t segregate between industries and sizes of the business. Lastly, it’s usual that these numbers don’t necessarily funnel into content marketing campaigns alone, as they may be part of an overarching marketing budget.
These numbers should only give you a benchmark of how others do their budgeting. But there’s always an advantage in outdoing the competition by always doing more of what others do.
In a survey done by Gartner and Deloitte, we’re able to know the average marketing budget of industries (in percentage) against their total revenue:
- Manufacturing - 13%
- Service Consulting - 21%
- Technology - 10%
- Travel and hospitality - 8%
- Consumer Goods - 8%
- Retail Wholesale - 14%
- Education - 3%
- Communications Media - 10%
BUDGETING CONTENT BY SIZE OF BUSINESS
Generally, businesses allot 8.7% of their total revenue for marketing. But this number changes based on a company’s age and size. Let’s see how different businesses approach budgeting when it comes to marketing.
For new businesses, especially those who're just starting to drive their first content marketing campaign, they are advised to begin at the low end of the budget spectrum and allocate for bigger budgets once they learn more and gather greater confidence about the landscape.
For emerging brands, including SMEs, it’s better to set realistic goals where you can be allowed to fail but provide learning opportunities which can let the team quickly turn around thereafter.
For solo entrepreneurs, they can start managing the content themselves or hiring a multi-skilled digital marketing contractor who can regularly make content for their brand. It’s highly recommended to explore starter plans of certain content marketing tools so they can carry out essential tasks and take advantage of producing professionally-made content.
It’s important to remember that content marketing is an ongoing process that requires consistent investment to remain effective. By budgeting carefully and with great consideration, you’re sure to support all efforts required by your marketing plan and ultimately, achieve the desired results!