According to one study by Kapost and Eloqua, content marketing provides three to five times the ROI of traditional marketing. Another study by the Content Marketing Institute shows that B2B organizations dedicate 29% of their budget to content marketing on average. Among the top performers, that number jumps to 39%.
But throwing money at content isn’t going to buy success. Like anything else in business, you need to understand your options, and buy the combination of services that makes the most sense for your business.
But with the dizzying range of prices and services available, it can be challenging to figure out how much content marketing will cost your business. So, what should you budget, and how can you find a provider that delivers solid ROI? Here’s what you need to know.
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- What is Content Marketing?
- Content Marketing Models
- How Much Does Content Marketing Cost?
- Website Content is a Means, Not an End
- Learn More About What It Takes to Get Results From Your Content
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing (CM) is the practice of planning, creating and sharing relevant and engaging digital content. Content marketers strive to connect with their clients’ audience and meet specific goals, such as generating leads, building brand awareness or driving the marketing pipeline. CM includes a range of web content writing, including homepage content, blogs, newsletters, along with other types of media like webcasts, podcasts and infographics.
CM also includes a lot of work outside of content creation, including:
Different goals, industries and companies call for different types of content. For a new company, a content marketer might focus on creating educational content to increase brand recognition. For a more established brand, marketing might focus more on driving conversions — for example, by highlighting benefits of the company’s products or targeting specific segments.
If you want to deliver relevant content to your audience, you need to study what they’re searching for. Keyword research can tell you how customers are getting to your website, and help you refine your content strategy and improve ROI.
Good content marketers take the time to analyze what the competitors are doing. Are they blogging, and if so, how often? Are they active on social media? What topics are they addressing? What’s their voice?
Keyword research doesn’t occur in a vacuum. You need to understand how your competitors use content to connect with their audiences. Competitive analysis looks at what keywords and topics your competitors are targeting, but it goes beyond that. Content marketers
Distribution and promotion
Depending on your internal workflow, your content marketing team may publish, update and manage your marketing efforts. They’ll format and post blogs, and send out email newsletters, schedule regular social media posts, and even handle various site administration tasks. Which tasks your CM team handles depends on your workflow and preferences — some companies prefer to have their web content writers hand off content to internal marketing staff for publication.
Monitoring and Improvement
Marketing is an iterative process. Your CM team should send out scheduled reports on how content is performing, and meet with you to hone your content strategy. In many cases, they’ll also collaborate with other departments to support your company — for example, by promoting new products or addressing questions your sales team receives.
Content Marketing Models
Because content marketing covers strategy, research and content, there are different ways to divide up the services. Many companies will benefit from partnering with a full-service content marketing agency to handle everything from research, to SEO, to ongoing content creation.
This is a great option for small businesses — you can just plug into a working system — and companies looking to outsource their marketing program to focus on their core competencies. Outsourcing can also help you to stick to a budget — allowing you to figure out exactly how much content marketing will cost your business.
If you have marketing assets in place, however, you may only need some of the services. For example, you might have an in-house SEO and content strategy expert, and just need a website content writer and social media team. In that case, you’ll have a lot of options, including:
- Contractors: Contractors can provide piecework (for example, your homepage) or ongoing work (e.g. two blog posts a week). This can be a workable approach if you have a solid content marketing department, and just need some help with extra content. However, finding the right writer can be tricky. They require extra oversight, and contractors may not be available when you need them, so make sure you pay close attention to the fine print in your consulting agreement.
- Content Writing Services: Content services are platforms. Companies send out content requests, which are farmed out to writers, managed by the service. This can be a good way to get lots of content at a low price, but you get what you pay for. You generally won’t be able to work closely with your writers, and will have problems with inconsistent quality and voice as a result.
- In-House Staff: Some companies get great results from internal content marketing teams, but you’ll be reinventing the wheel to some degree. For SMEs with modest budgets, it’s usually not worth it.
- Agencies: Full service content marketing agencies can work with you to provide the skills you lack internally. A good agency will work as an an extension of your own team, and give you a lot of extra flexibility you won’t get with from retaining contractors or adding staff. If one of your team members departs or goes on vacation, or you need an outside site audit, you’ll have someone standing by to fill in.