How Much Should You Be Spending on Content Marketing?

By now, you’ve probably heard all about the wonderful benefits of content marketing. But have you actually invested in a strategy yet, or are you holding off for some reason? Maybe some part of you thinks it’s a fad that will soon blow over.

Let me assure you that content marketing is much more than a fad. In fact, it’s a rapidly growing practice. Implemented correctly, the potential returns for your business are significant – and the more you invest, the more you’ll get in return. You need to get started today, but just how much should you be spending on content marketing? That’s what we’re going to cover here.

You must speculate to accumulate

If you’ve read any other articles on content marketing, you’ve likely come across the phrase ‘content is king’ — and while it’s horribly overused, it does have some basis in reality. If you absolutely nail your content, it can easily become the cornerstone of your entire marketing strategy, supporting everything else you do and providing the best rate of return.

So let’s just settle for saying that content is incredibly powerful, and all the best and most successful brands know this. They’re out there creating more content than ever before, because they know that great content:

  • Builds links
  • Fosters trust
  • Establishes authority
  • Improves customer relationships
  • Creates compounding rates of return

Yes, you did read that last one right, and we’ll address that shortly. Gather up all these factors and it’s clear that content marketing — particularly in the field of ecommerce — is crucial to success. Just in case you’re unsure, here are some compelling statistics:

Content marketing is probably the single most effective form of marketing because today’s consumers have become inured to traditional marketing forms — if you want to reach them, you need something that captures their interest.

But at the end of the day, it all comes down to ROI

Good content marketing allows you to spread your brand’s message into many different areas, enhancing brand visibility, reputation, traffic and engagement. Because of this, it naturally tends to have a higher ROI than other forms of marketing.

Imagine that you produce a piece of content that spreads across social media, forums, and perhaps even some news outlets — any one of these avenues has the potential to bring in traffic and make you money. Investing in just one piece of content gives you shareability across all kinds of platforms. Your reach and your returns become much greater.

But how exactly do you measure the returns of your content marketing? It can be a little tricky. Content marketing is fundamentally a long-term strategy. Not only is it extraordinarily unlikely to provide ROI until it’s been running for some time, but it also has such varied and complex benefits — such as influencing user spending, building future traffic, and engendering brand loyalty — that it can be hard to calculate specific value.

To give yourself an estimate, you should aim to compare the monthly costs of producing content to the tangible benefits (and sales) that can clearly be attributed to that content. Remember that the content you produce can be reused, recycled and reworked over time, so the value of a post doesn’t end after you’ve used it once.

Content types – what’s the best investment for your audience?

While the amount you spend on content production is important, you need to have a good idea of how to spend it. It’s common for new content marketers to feel rushed into producing as many blog posts as possible, using as little time and money as possible. This approach might work for some areas of business, but it doesn’t work for content marketing.

This is because content marketing is mostly about quality. Given a choice between 3 exceptional blog posts with meaningful value or 12 that just quality as ‘filler content’, you should always choose the former. That said, you do need enough content to get noticed. Ultimately, it’s about striking a balance and starting as early as you can. Publish 1 helpful or insightful article every week, and 2 months down the line you will have built up a set of 8 good blog posts.

If you don’t already have a blog set up on your site, you should create one. Just about any standard CMS can handle blogging natively, though not every ecommerce system can — something like Shopify’s system for quickly creating an eshop will provide a blogging section by default, but something like Magento will require a free blogging extension. If you do use an extension, be sure to keep the blog on your main domain and not a subdomain to benefit most from the traffic it brings in.

But the humble blog post isn’t the only form of content that’s valuable. There are plenty of other options out there, from photo galleries and infographics to social stories and videos. Videos, in particular, are thought to be the future of content marketing.

Here are some good reasons to consider video when planning your content marketing strategy:

Yes, video can be expensive to produce (though this will depend on the required level of production value), but if you get it right, it’s an investment you’re not likely to regret.

The price of getting your content out there

As we’ve established, great content marketing requires a significant investment of time and money (the more you’re willing to part with, the more you’ll ultimately benefit). But if you’re a lone entrepreneur or you run a small business, there’s no need to stress about cost too much — it’s possible to run a successful content marketing campaign without spending all that much.

Start with simple posts that are carefully researched and well-written, whether by you or by a freelance writer. Find out what your audience is searching for online and answer the most common questions. Demonstrate your expertise and you’ll be able to earn trust — the better your answers are, the more valuable they’ll be.

Your business may well survive without a content marketing strategy, but as a business owner, your aim should be to thrive, not merely survive. If you hope to one day outrank your competitors, a content marketing strategy should be high on your list of priorities.

Justifying the value of content marketing

As briefly mentioned earlier, one of the exciting things about content marketing is that it offers you compounding returns in the long run. Unlike paid advertising, which comes and goes, content marketing leaves you with permanent (or at least semi-permanent) assets. And the more you publish, the more your reputation grows.

Think of it this way: in one year, you may publish 24 pieces of content (averaging at 2 per month). The following year, you may publish a further 24, leaving you with 48 pieces in total. All of that content can provide value well into the future, particularly if it’s evergreen content, so the benefits compound while your workload stays the same.

Well-optimized content (and lots of it) will really make an impact when it comes to ranking in search engines. Google loves relevance, and it loves regularity. A website that continues to produce fresh content is preferable to one that never changes. As you steadily climb the SERPs, you’ll inevitably see your traffic climb accordingly.

How much are other brands spending?

It may feel daunting trying to put together a digital marketing strategy that incorporates a content marketing budget, but it’s essential if you hope to reach your target audience and encourage relevant people to take note of your brand.

There are three ways to include content marketing in your strategy: you can do it all in-house, work alongside a specialist agency, or hand the entire project to an agency. As you might expect, the more you hand over, the greater the expense — but the more time you’ll save.

A recent study showed that the average organization spends 29% of its marketing budget on content marketing. Further, 51% of businesses said they planned to increase their content marketing budgets in the coming year. When the business world is united in agreement that content marketing is worth pursuing, you can see where the marketing industry is headed.

In business, you can learn a lot from what your competitors are doing. If you’re lucky enough to have competitors that aren’t making the most of content marketing, then you have the opportunity to set yourself apart. The longer you wait, the less you’ll stand to benefit — so get started right now.

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