People just love to say “create great content”, don’t they? But far fewer seem to be quite as excited about it when it comes to talking hard numbers. The fact is, any inbound marketing agency will tell you that creating content requires an investment of time or money – and for most busy businesses, cash is the resource they’re most able to part with.
But what should that content creation budget be? It would be tempting to throw out an enormous figure like 50%, but there are so many other content-related costs involved with inbound marketing that put demands on your budget, too.
In fact, the costs of the content process look a bit more like this:
- Administrative and management costs
- Strategy and research
- Content creation
- Content promotion
- Data monitoring and analysis
So given that the creation process is just one link in the chain, what’s reasonable? There’s no magic number, but there is a safe one.
Approximately 10 – 20% of your marketing budget should be spent on the hard costs of creating content.
Anything lower and you run the risk of painting yourself into a corner. Anything more and you risk underfunding important processes like content promotion, which can be equally important to the success of your content as creating the content itself.
Where does that content creation budget actually go?
Depending on the resources available and the processes used, a creation budget will be broken out as follows:
- Administration (managing content calendars, assigning tasks, managing the workflow)
- Paying the content creators (writer, designer, etc.)
- Editing and quality assurance (necessary if you hope to avoid disaster)
Administration costs are typically baked in to your agency fees or staff salaries. The amount you pay content creators is the big variable here. Hiring outside writing talent, for example, can range from $30 – $150/hour for subject matter experts and specialists. Design talent can fall under a similar range. Sometimes, inbound marketing agencies have these resources in-house, which can help to control costs.
Careful Stewardship is a Must!
Talking hard numbers helps reveal something important: Sometimes, it’s better to produce multiple pieces of content at a lower cost per piece than to dump your entire budget into just one, massive piece. It’s tempting as a business to throw all of your spend behind one big idea, but should that idea fail to deliver, you’ll have burned through a limited budget and greatly limited your returns.
Instead of going for the long shot, it is wise to divide that 10% – 20% of the budget into multiple projects that can cater to different stages of the buying cycle and answer different questions being asked.
Create Better, Not Just More
In wrapping up, it’s important to highlight that HubSpot noted that 53% of marketers found that producing enough content was their biggest challenge in content marketing. Now, we just finished noting that careful stewardship is important so that you can produce multiple pieces instead of just one – but the other side of the spectrum is putting all the attention on volume and little on quality.
It’s important to remember that as a brand, you are what you publish. If you think you’re going to leave a positive impression by sourcing out your content to the cheapest bidder, it’s time you thought twice. Everything with your brand name on it reflects back on your business, and everything that reflects upon your business can have a tangible impact on your business outcomes.