There’s no one-size-fits-all content marketing budget calculation out there.

High-impact content marketing initiatives will look different from company to company depending on factors like audience, industry, and goals.

As a baseline reference, the average B2B marketing team reportedly spends 26% of its marketing budget on content marketing. And the average B2C marketing team spends 22% of its marketing budget on content marketing.

No one sets out to run an average content marketing team, though—you want your content marketing initiatives to excel. So, what kind of content marketing budget will you need to come up with to make this happen?

There are a few moving pieces to consider when putting together your content marketing budget. In some places, you can pinch pennies. Others require a solid investment to function properly. Here are the factors to consider while putting together a content marketing budget.

Content marketing expenses you shouldn’t skimp on

Content marketing is often considered a lower-cost channel by those who oversee financial decisions. For that reason, budget gatekeepers might balk at any significant cost that content marketers propose. Be sure your company doesn’t make this rookie content marketing mistake.

Though content marketing won’t require you to pay for traffic or ad placement, you’ll still have some upfront and ongoing costs to run an effective content strategy. These are the most crucial investments content marketing teams will need to budget for to succeed:

Content marketing talent

Above all, you’ll need to invest in the talent who will ideate, execute, and manage a successful content marketing strategy for your business. Depending on the scope of your ideal content marketing strategy, this could mean paying the rates for a few contractors, or investing in an in-house content team.

As much as you can, make room in your content marketing budget for paying your content marketing team well. Hiring the right content marketer, though it might cost you more than you expect upfront, could save you tons of money and time.

For example, finding a content marketer with solid experience and a proven track record of success means your new hire can work with relatively little oversight. A talented and deadline-driven content writer could save you from having to hire a line editor or SEO specialist. Basically, well-paid writers do good work that doesn’t require you to spend extra time reviewing, editing, and optimizing your content.

The average salary for a Content Marketing Manager in the US overall is $82,011. But, if you’re headquartered in a larger, more expensive city, you should budget for more. For reference, the average salary for a Content Marketing Manager in NYC is $94,171. Are you ready to make that investment?

Domain infrastructure

Setting up a healthy domain as your content marketing platform is a must, and it’s not going to be cheap. Within the context of websites, “healthy” is a way to describe a website that runs well under the hood.

Google and other search engines have high standards for how the websites in their top search results function. Any broken links or slow page load times could knock your search engine results down across the board—not just for the poor-performing page in question.

Doing a slapdash job on the technical side of your blog could mean slow page load times, 404 errors, and pages that are uncrawlable by Google. All of this will make it difficult—if not impossible—to rank for any given search term your content marketing team is trying to rank for. Moreover, it could force readers to look for the content they need on another business’s site.

Hire an engineer and a designer—whether they’re in-house or contracted—to build and maintain your business’s blog domain. Ask them to go through all the necessary steps of tending to your domain health, which include, but aren’t limited to fixing 404 errors, creating uniform URL structures, expediting load time, and streamlining HTML code.

Also assign them crucial domain functions like:

  • Intuitive, engaging design: Behavior metrics like bounce rate, page dwell time, and site dwell time are huge factors in Google’s evaluation of results. A shoddy and hard-to-navigate design could mean users won’t engage with your content. As a result, your behavior metrics could hold your content marketing performance back.
  • Content Management System: A CMS like WordPress allows content marketing teams to navigate the backend of your business blog on a day-to-day basis.
  • Mobile-friendly design: Google’s algorithm now operates through mobile-first indexing. So, no matter how healthy your domain is on desktop, if it’s wonky and dysfunctional on a mobile device—like a smartphone or a tablet—then your content and SEO marketing efforts could all be for naught.
  • Google Analytics: Also ask your engineering to help sync your domain with your Google Analytics account. This is a task that most engineers will know how to do this, but it won’t necessarily be intuitive for your average content marketer.

Altogether, the cost of setting up a healthy and intuitive blog will depend on your starting point, or if you require a custom design. The costs of building a blog for your business will include varying expenses depending on what stages you’ve already completed.

Domain names, for instance, can cost anywhere from $5 to $1000, but if you’ve already built a business website, then you won’t need to worry about that cost. A blog-focused Content Management System, however, is something every business that’s new to content marketing will need to invest in.

All in, your blog domain may cost you around $3,000, but it’s worth it. You don’t want to invest in your content marketing strategy, only to find that your site design and infrastructure have been limiting your success.

SEO tools

SEO techniques are the backbones of some of the most successful content marketing teams. That’s because search engine users are some of the highest-intent, highest-quality traffic out there.

Though there are some free SEO tools out there that can be helpful, many paid SEO tools will elevate your content marketing game.

A tool like Screaming Frog, for example, will constantly crawl your domain to audit it for errors that could hurt your search results—think broken links, duplicate content, and page errors. The full version of this SEO tool would cost you $181 a year, but offers a constant audit that no human employee or free tool could manage.

Meanwhile, all-in-one tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs offer crucial features like keyword analytics, rank tracking, competitor tracking, and backlink tracking. SEMrush and Ahrefs cost $99.95 per month and $99 per month, respectively.

Now, these tools aren’t cheap, but they aren’t luxuries either. Top content marketing teams will require top tools for strategizing—and Screaming Frog, SEMrush, and Ahrefs are the tip of the iceberg. Be sure to budget at least $115 a month for SEO tools like these.

Content marketing functions you can budget with

At this point of learning about content marketing budgets, you might be sweating. Content marketing was supposed to be cheap, right? Well, fear not—there are more than a few free or low-cost functions of content marketing that give it its cost-effective reputation.

For instance, you can access free traffic analytics through Google Analytics. Link building—a crucial function for increasing your domain authority and, in turn, your search rankings—will only require strategic outreach and relationship building. Social media content marketing and email content marketing will both require very little upfront investment as well. The social scheduling software Buffer starts at just $15 a month. HubSpot offers a free plan for their email marketing software, and it’s affordable to scale up.

Plus, once you make your initial investment in your CMS, your team can perform in-house production and publishing rather than relying on an engineer or contractor to build every post they create.

Overall, many of the most important content marketing functions are either free or low-cost. As a result, your content marketing budget will likely balance out in spite of any expensive talent and tools you invest in. So, don’t hesitate to shell out on the things that will require a larger portion of your content marketing budget—just be ready to spend wisely.

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