‘How much does content marketing cost?’
We get asked this question a lot at Canny.
And it’s perfectly understandable that you would want to know how much content marketing costs so that you can work out how to allocate your budget.
People can fall under the misconception that content marketing is very expensive and can therefore be reluctant to invest in it as a service.
However, instead of looking purely at the figures (I know this can be difficult when you’ve got to justify your spending) the main focus should be on the value that content marketing brings to your business.
If you get one or two loyal customers as a result of a well-written blog post or a downloadable e-book, surely that makes your content marketing a success. It’s doing what it needs to do – attracting customers and encouraging them to invest.
Obviously every business is concerned about money. We know you’re conscious about your budget and you need to see a return on your investment. Whether you operate in the B2C or B2B market, increasing your website traffic and making more money is what keeps your business alive.
In this post we’re going to explore what content marketing can do for your business in terms of adding value, as well as taking a look at what some companies charge for this service.
What Content Marketing Is and What It Can Do for Your Business
Content marketing involves creating and publishing content with the aim of attracting customers. It does not directly promote your brand, but instead stimulates interest with your target audience who are then more likely to buy your products or services.
It comes in many forms including blog posts, articles, whitepapers, ebooks, newsletters, videos, and infographics, each designed to inform, educate or entertain your audience around a particular subject.
These pieces of content help your audience to solve a problem and give them answers to their most burning questions.
As a result, you are showing your readers that you are the go-to company for their needs, which encourages them to trust (and ultimately invest) in your offering.
In terms of what content marketing can do for your business, the possibilities are huge. There’s got to be a reason why 93% of B2B companies use content marketing to grow their business.
A lot of reasons actually.
Let’s take a look.
- Content marketing positions you as an expert in your field by providing your audience with purposeful and useful content.
- By giving your readers information and help with a certain subject, you are forming a more meaningful and long lasting relationship. As such, they are more likely to become repeat customers.
- Content marketing is a two way conversation. Instead of direct sales, which shouts at a customer, content talks to them instead and draws them into your offering. This is a key difference between interruptive marketing and permission marketing.
- You can respond to your customers needs better as you can measure which types of content customers interact with more. For example, you can monitor likes and comments on social media, and tweak your content marketing strategy to suit.
- You can make your content more fun and engaging. By utilising a range of formats such as videos and infographics you have the freedom to be informative but creative.
- Content marketing helps you build up trust with your customers and adds credibility to your offering. You can create testimonials and case studies to showcase the positive experiences of other clients.
- Years after you have published your content, it will continue to generate leads. This means the time and effort you have put into creating your blog post or template will be well and truly worthwhile.
- You can repurpose content and diversify the formats you use to attract an even wider audience.
These are just a handful of reasons why content marketing is so valuable.
There are many different options when it comes to content marketing services, so let’s look at some typical offerings.
What Types of Content Marketing Services Do Agencies Offer?
Each agency will have their own ‘menu’ of content marketing services.
It depends on what types of content work best for your business and what you are trying to achieve.
The best way to find content marketing services which suit your requirements is to reach out and talk to the agency. Ask them about their content marketing deliverables and how they plan to help you achieve your objectives.
At Canny, we love speaking with new clients and developing ways we can maximise their content marketing. We’re a friendly bunch so if this is something you need help with then get in touch with a member of our team!
But, let’s get back to other agencies and what they typically offer you:
Content marketing strategy
Before diving into creating content, you need to have a sound content marketing strategy. This helps an agency understand where you want to be and how they can help you get there.
A key part of this is solidifying your customer persona. Before you can start effectively creating content you need to know who it is intended for. Who do you want to see your content? Who are you trying to engage? This gives your content a purpose and increases the likelihood that it will be successful.
An agency should also perform an audit of your existing content to see which pieces are your big hitters, and which are falling flat. If there’s a topic you’ve spoken about in a blog post which your customers are engaging with, then this can be repurposed into other formats. Why not get the absolute most out of it and turn it into a video to capture an even wider net of people?
After understanding who you are targeting and what types of content you’re creating it’s time to develop a content publishing schedule. This outlines the amount of content you’re creating and the frequency of publishing.
Before an agency can start creating content, they need to understand which content types and which platforms are working for your business. This will involve thorough research into your business to gauge whether blogging, social media, video, or a blend of all 3 will be most successful.
At this point, they should invite you to revisit your buying personas together, to ensure all of the content they create is targeted and reaches your desired consumer.
It is their job to get your content in front of the right people.
Creating content is one thing. Getting it seen is another.
An agency will ensure the content they are producing is optimised for maximum exposure and visibility, otherwise it’s not actually doing anything valuable for your business.
By carrying out keyword research and implementing SEO best practices, it will ensure Google- and therefore your audience- can discover your content.
Creating blogs, news articles, infographics, and even simple web copy all takes time and effort (and costs you money). If no one is reading or seeing these things, where is the return on your investment?
An agency has to be making sure content is at the very least search engine friendly.
They need to understand what your audience is searching for and what topics are gaining traction so that they can create content to suit.
It’s important you get your content in front of the right people, at the right time.
An agency will work with you to identify which distribution channels you’re currently using to promote your content, and will also explore what your competitors are doing.
There might be something here which you have overlooked and could be taking advantage of.
They will also revert back to your buyer personas to analyse which mediums your ideal customer is most likely to engage with.
Every type of customer is different and the platforms they use will be different.
That’s why it’s important to have a thorough understanding of who your desired customers are, as you need to exist in every space that they do.
I’ve covered this in earlier posts, but content should never just be left. Stale content is doing nothing valuable for your business. Again there’s that all important word – valuable.
An agency should start by looking at which pieces of content are continuously driving traffic to your website, even if they were published years ago. It’s important everything within the content piece is accurate and up to date, otherwise readers will leave unsatisfied.
That’s why it’s important to repurpose your content and maximise its usability.
By updating internal links, images, and statistics, you’re giving Google fresh content which it loves. Your breathing new life into a post which might have taken hours or even days to complete.
It shouldn’t go to waste by being left to collect dust.
How do you know what content is working if you can’t measure it?
An agency should offer content reporting as part of their services so that they can adjust the content strategy to suit.
There’s no point spending money on something which is falling flat as all of your content efforts should be driving people to your website. By understanding the data behind different campaigns, you can revisit your content strategy and focus more time on the areas that are performing well.
They should also present the information to you in a clear and concise format so that you can make informed decisions that benefit your business. There’s no point having an agency which bogs you down with a whole set of numbers without explaining what they actually mean.
When it comes to hiring an agency for your content marketing, all of their services and the way they do things will vary.
It’s about finding the right agency for you, and partnering with a company who understands what you’re trying to achieve.
What Types of Content Marketing Services Do Canny Offer You?
At Canny, we’re committed to producing great content for our clients. We truly understand the value of content marketing as this is the entire backbone of our business. That’s how we got to where we are today, by providing our site visitors with high quality, meaningful content.
So rest assured, we know what it takes to make this a success.
We can help, advise, and even fully manage your content marketing to execute a fully realised marketing campaign on your behalf. It depends on your business and what is in your best interest.
Obviously, we understand this level of service isn’t in everyone’s budget, but it is the best way of making sure your content is successful. Our team are industry experts and can really drive your content marketing forward to achieve your goals.
We don’t just write a blog for the sake of it, or publish an ebook because it’s what everyone else is doing.
We align it with your objectives and make sure it is driving the right people to your website.
When you partner with Canny, we offer you content research, content strategy, content creation, content marketing, content reporting, and SEO for your site to make sure we’ve covered all bases.
This complete solution ensures you get the most out of your content, and understand the value it brings to your business.
Different Content Marketing Costs
Now it’s time to get down to business.
It’s time to answer the question you’ve all been waiting for.
But, unfortunately, it’s not going to be a raw figure.
The cost of content marketing really does depend on a number of factors. It’s a combination of the size of your company, the level of support you require, and how much time and man hours an agency is going to devote to your project.
You can find anything by searching on the web these days, including different content marketing packages and what they cost.
But, as the saying goes, ‘you get what you pay for’. This couldn’t be more true when it comes to content marketing.
You can find some super cheap packages which might be appealing if you’re a start-up, or you can move to the other end of the spectrum and find some premium services.
Let’s take a look and really weigh up your options, from an expert’s perspective.
Cheap content marketing services
Like anything in life, you can save a few pennies and choose to have cheap content.
When sifting through the internet I found a whole range of content marketing services each with a different price tag.
But what are you actually getting for your money?
And is there a reason why some services are so cheap?
For this comparison I’ll use the terms company A for the more budget friendly option and company B for the premium offering.
So this content marketing package comes in at a price of £170 per month. Maybe this seems like an attractive option and falls nicely in line with your budget.
But where is your £170 going?
Honestly, you’re really not getting much. This option is definitely not good value for money, and sounds a whole lot better than what it is.
For your hard earned cash, you’ll receive:
- An initial consultation – Sorry but, you’ve paying for this? A consultation should be part and parcel of working with an agency and should not be costing you a penny. In fact without this initial chat how do you even know you want to work with the agency in the first place? It makes no sense to have to pay for this upfront when you haven’t even spoken to them at this point…
- Research into your business and competition – Before partnering with you, your chosen agency should already know about your business and have a rough idea of who your competitors are. They should have looked at your website, your social media, and have enough information to understand what products and services you sell.
- Editorial calendar – This literally takes half an hour. An editorial calendar basically sets your publishing beat and outlines how much content you’re getting and when it will be published. This can be achieved through a conversation on email or Zoom. Hardly time consuming work.
- Keyword research – This is the only thing that deserves your money within this package. Keyword research does take time to get it right, but I would question how much time they were actually spending on this process for the amount you’re paying…
- 1x 500 word blog post – What? 1 blog post? And only 500 words long? This is not going to do anything for your business. You need to be writing long form posts of approximately 2000 words to make an impact with your content marketing. What’s even more insulting is that they’re angling images, mark-up, and internal links as an added benefit. Surely this is just standard best practice?
What seems good in terms of pricing, is compromising on value.
Sure, you can pay the £170 and get your 500 words live on your blog, but is it actually going to attract your customers and bring them to your website? If not, then regardless of whether you’ve spent £170 or £70 it’s money wasted.
Would it not make more sense to put this money towards a more effective content marketing service? One that understands what it takes to make a real difference with your content?
Premium content marketing services
Now let’s move over to a more premium price point.
This company will charge you £2000 per month for what they call their ‘Pro’ package.
By choosing this option, you’ll get:
- 4 social media posts a week – This includes a monthly meeting, a social media content calendar, copy, imagery, design, and publishing of content to your chosen platforms. The agency also provides monthly reporting statistics.
- 1x 2000 word blog post per month- Now this sounds more like it! The agency will research and write your blog post and promote through social media platforms to maximise its reach. They will find and include keywords which are related to your audience and will drive traffic to your website. Blogging is the number one way to attract organic traffic to your site, and 2000 words is enough to start ranking in Google.
- 2x animated gifs per month – These gifs can be incorporated into your blogs, newsletters, and social media content to help attract the attention of your target audience.
- 1x video per month – Video is huge and a great way of engaging people! The agency will work with your team to create original video content and will optimise all videos for high ranking search engine results.
Now although this option will cost you more than option A, it provides you with so many more resources. From long form blog posts (which we love!), to video content, to social media distribution this creates a multichannel marketing campaign.
You can get your content seen by as many people as possible and be confident that it’s money well spent.
If it’s bringing relevant leads to your website whether it’s from your blog, Facebook, or Youtube, then it’s worthwhile.
You have to look beyond the standalone cost and consider this an investment for the future of your business. Your return on investment with a package like package A is going to be close to 0%, whereas your ROI on something akin to package B will be far, far, far more valuable.
A well executed content marketing strategy can pay for itself dozens of times over, especially when leveraging evergreen content.
Why is Content Marketing Hard to Quantify?
Content marketing is hard to quantify because it’s based on how much value you will gain from it.
Try and think about it this way.
If you’re charged a set rate for an agency to complete a blog post in 6 hours, but they complete it in 4, would you expect to be repaid those two extra hours?
You’re probably thinking, well yes obviously, why should I pay for 6 hours worth of work when it’s only taken them 4 hours to complete?
But then, isn’t your time the most valuable thing in your business?
If an agency can complete your content quicker, doesn’t that make them worth more? They’re clearly very skilled and good at what they do as they’ve managed to spend less time on a piece of work rather than dragging it out unnecessarily just to fill a set timeframe.
Why should they be penalised, and lose money, for being good at their job?
If you think about it from this point of view, the agency should actually be charging you more as they have saved you your most valuable thing – time.
You simply can’t have it both ways. If you want content which is good and quick, then be prepared to pay a premium rate. If you want content which is quick, but compromises on quality, then you’re able to find a much cheaper deal.
You need to consider what is most important to your business. Is it time or is it money?
Ultimately, your answer to this question will determine how much budget you’re prepared to allocate your content marketing.
What If I Don’t Have the Budget for Content Marketing?
We understand that not every business has the budget to invest in a professional content marketing service.
Although, we do strongly advise using a team of experts if you can. The upfront costs will be worth it when you start generating results.
But let’s get back to what you can do if this simply isn’t in your price range right now.
Thankfully, content marketing doesn’t have to be expensive and there are things that you can do on your own.
Create a blog
Your blog is arguably the most important part of your content marketing strategy.
In this space, you have complete control over what you can post and can explore any topic which is relevant to your audience. By using a CMS system such as WordPress, you can start your own blog free of charge.
Music to your ears if you’re just starting out!
Also, the beauty of WordPress is that it is so easy to use. You can literally set up your blog in 10 minutes with very little technical knowledge. This saves you from having to hire someone to get you up and running!
Write long form content
Now you’ve got your blog sorted, it’s time to start writing your content.
Google loves long form content as it provides your reader with more information. This increases their dwell time, which means they are spending more time on your website. You should aim for 2000 words when writing your blog posts as this provides enough space to really inform and educate your readers about different topics.
To keep costs at a minimum, you can either write your own content or ask someone else in your team who might be willing. This is totally free of charge but it will eat up your time. This needs to be factored into your overall planning, as you need to consider how much time you can afford to spend on content writing.
If someone else in your team is doing it, other areas of their work might suffer. Whilst saving money is all well and good, your time is very valuable too!
Obviously as time goes on, and the business grows, you could consider hiring a freelancer or, even better, hiring a creative agency. This way your time is your own and you can concentrate on running your business.
Go back to your big boss
If your senior executives aren’t convinced about the value of content marketing then prove its worth to them. Gather key statistics about the effectiveness of this marketing strategy so that they can’t ignore it.
Your big bosses will take notice of data and numbers as this provides them with hard evidence of this strategy working. You’re not just giving them fluff or your own opinion, but instead providing indisputable data from other companies who are seeing results.
Below are just a few stats which demonstrate the effectiveness of content marketing. Include these in your next marketing report and make people listen.
- 72% of markets say content marketing has increased their engagement – Content Marketing Institute
- 84% of marketers using infographics find them effective – Forbes
- Marketers who use video get 66% more leads per year – Aberdeen Group
How Much Does Content Marketing Cost?
After reading this blog post, I hope you understand the importance of content marketing and what it can do for your business.
In terms of a definitive price tag, this service is always going to be difficult to quantify.
How much money you choose to spend on content marketing depends on what level of quality you want. And as we’ve covered throughout the post, quality content is the most important part of your marketing efforts.
People rely on high quality, valuable information before they even consider investing in your offering. As such, is it not worth making sure the money you spend is going to achieve the best results? Whether it’s £100 or £1000 this is still hard earned cash and should not just be thrown at something because it seems cheap.
If you need help with your content marketing or want a friendly discussion about how this tactic can generate lots of traffic for your business, then reach out to a member of the Canny team. We’re industry experts with firsthand experience of making content marketing work.