Content marketing is a great way to grow brand awareness, generate leads, and drive revenue. But in order to ensure you’re getting a return on your investment, you need a content marketing budget. 

A content marketing budget ensures you have the resources needed to execute against your content marketing strategy, and that you’re not overextending yourself. It also fosters transparency, as your entire organization has insight into the inputs and outputs of your content marketing efforts

In this guide, we’re going to explain what a content marketing budget is, and how to create one using our content marketing budget template.

Let’s get started.

What is a Content Marketing Budget?

A content marketing budget is a written document outlining the amount of money your business is investing in the creation, publication, and distribution of content. These costs may include labor, equipment, design, vendors, and more.

Your content marketing budget should be created in conjunction with your content marketing strategy. After all—it’s hard to set goals if you don’t know how much money you can invest toward reaching them.

By and large, content marketing is proven to be a lower-cost acquisition channel, compared to other marketing tactics. That said, the more you invest in content marketing, the more you’re going to get out of it.

If you’re new to content marketing, we recommend starting with a small budget, and then expand over time as you fine-tune your strategy and figure out what works. Being able to show results with a small budget will also make it easier to justify a larger budget in the future.

And just what will those line items in your budget be? Let’s take a look at some of the most common costs associated with content marketing.

Content Marketing Costs

Your content marketing investment will differ depending on your goals and the type of content you want to create. For example, writing blog posts costs less than video content marketing. 

It will also differ depending on the nature of your business. According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), B2B marketers allocate 26% of their marketing budget to content marketing. B2C marketers, on the other hand, only dedicate 22% of their marketing budgets to content marketing. Both sides say their content marketing budgets are increasing year-over-year.

CMI says that the most successful content marketing organizations dedicate roughly 40% of their marketing budget toward content marketing.

Regardless of the size of your budget, here are areas that all organizations will have to invest in to start a content marketing program:

Labor

You need people to create, edit, distribute, and promote content. Some organizations hire freelancers to do this, while others use a content marketing agency. However, the most cost-effective long-term strategy is to hire in-house content marketers.

You can technically get started with just one full-time writer, but over time you’ll want to build out a team that includes editors, a content marketing manager (to oversee the strategy), link builders (to generate quality backlinks to your site and improve SEO), a social media strategist, and a graphic designer.

How much does content marketing talent cost? According to a recent survey of content marketing pros, the average salary is about $79,000 per year. Editors and content marketing managers tend to make more, while content writers and link builders make less (Payscale says the median salary for a content writer is around $53,000).

And don’t forget to account for taxes and benefits for your full-time employees. 

Freelancers are typically paid on a per-article basis. The average going rate is roughly $100-$300 per article, although the cost can be much higher depending on the content format, length, and subject matter.

Equipment

There are hardware and software costs associated with the creation of content. Here are some of the typical equipment expenses:

  • Computer/laptop
  • Computer monitor
  • Keyboard/mouse/etc.
  • Content management system (CMS)
  • Social media management tool
  • Email marketing tool
  • Content intelligence platform
  • Content calendar tool
  • Design software

Additional equipment costs depend on the type of content you want to create. For video content, you’ll need the following:

  • Video camera
  • Lighting equipment
  • Microphone
  • Video editing software

If you want to host a podcast, here are some additional purchases you might need to make:

  • Audio recording and editing software
  • A podcast hosting account
  • A boom

Bottom line is, your equipment expenses can vary a lot. That’s why it’s important to create your content marketing budget in conjunction with your content marketing strategy. This way, you know what’s financially possible. 

Promotion/Distribution

Once the content is created, you should spend part of your budget promoting it, especially when just starting out. Promoting your content helps get it in front of your desired audience. For brands new to content marketing, it also helps prospects know that you exist.

Here are a few ways to promote and distribute your content:

  • Ads
  • Promoted posts
  • Sponsored content

You can also invest in influencer marketing. The costs of working with an influencer can vary greatly. A tweet can cost as little as $30, while a blog post can cost you several hundred dollars.

Cost Breakdown by Content Type

If bucketing different content costs makes your head spin, you can try to determine the budget for each individual piece of content. You can then determine how much content you want to create, and adjust your budget accordingly.

Once again, this will vary greatly by content format. 

Influencer marketing company Izea has created a report on the average costs of creating different types of content—factoring in labor, equipment, and other costs. They are as follows:

  • Motion graphics cost $156
  • Infographics cost $185
  • Listicles cost $214
  • Articles cost $249
  • Photography costs $349
  • Topical videos cost $631
  • White papers cost $959

You can use this as a rough estimate to determine what you might need to spend.

A Content Marketing Budget is Time-Based

Keep in mind that your budget is time-based. This means it will vary year-over-year, quarter-over-quarter, and month-over-month. In order to keep your budget in line, it’s important to determine how much you want to spend annually, quarterly, and monthly.

If you exceed your budget one quarter, you should revise your budget for the next quarter. This will keep you from overspending. To do this, create one column in your budget template for how much you forecast to spend, and another for what you actually end up spending.

Then add that money to or subtract it from next quarter’s budget.

How to Make a Content Marketing Budget

Now that you know the expenses associated with content marketing, it’s time to create your own content marketing budget. As we said before, there are many factors to consider as you undertake this process. We recommend having your content marketing strategy in-hand, and following these steps:

  1. Analyze your goals: What exactly do you want your content marketing efforts to achieve? Do you want to generate more pageviews, create new leads, increase your share of voice? And by exactly how much do you want to increase these metrics? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you reverse engineer your budget. You can see exactly how much you need to spend in order to meet your stated objectives. The best way to do this is by assigning a dollar amount to specific outcomes, such as the value of a pageview or an ebook download. Then you can see how much of each metric you need to drive in order to generate a positive ROI.
  2. Evaluate your competition: Every industry has a different content marketing landscape, and some are more competitive than others. If you operate in the B2B SaaS space, for example, you’ll probably need a fairly large content marketing budget in order to generate value, since the competition is fierce. This is why we recommend auditing your competitors when planning your budget. By seeing what your competition is doing, you’ll know the quantity, quality, format, and focus of content you need to create.
  3. Company size: Most important is the size of your company. If you’re a small business, you might not have a lot to invest in content marketing. If that’s the case, start small and focus on quality over quantity. Remember: If you show some initial results, you’ll be able to secure a larger budget down the road.

A content marketing budget is a living document. You should continually reevaluate what you’re spending budget on, and the results you’re seeing from that investment. You may find that you need to adjust your investments in order to maximize ROI.

Create a Content Marketing Budget Template

Now that you have all the information you need to create an informed content marketing budget, the last piece is pulling it all together into a document. That’s where we can help. We’ve created a content marketing budget template. 

Knotch Can Help Get The Most Out of Your Content Marketing Budget

Creating content is an investment of both time and money—so you want to be sure that you’re maximizing value.

That’s where Knotch can help.

Knotch is a Content Intelligence Platform that allows you to evaluate content performance from a quantitative and qualitative perspective, in real-time. Within the Knotch platform, you get tailored insights into the performance of your content, allowing you to quickly determine if your content marketing program is driving results.

By having a full view of your content performance, you can optimize easily, stretch your budget further, and maximize ROI.

To find out more, sign up for a content marketing demo of Knotch.