When it comes to your content marketing budget, you need to know how to spend it wisely.
Whatever channels you’re plugging money into, you need to be seeing some sort of return otherwise it’s money wasted.
And no marketing team has a budget to burn.
It can be tricky to know how to spend your budget, or more importantly, where to spend your content marketing budget as there are new tactics emerging all of the time.
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There are also so many options when it comes to content marketing, that you can be left scratching your head when it comes to allocating the right amount of money in each area.
- Should you be spending more money on PPC?
- Should you hire another content writer and write more blogs?
- Should you invest more money in email software and push email marketing?
The list is endless.
From paid ads, to blogs, to email marketing, there’s a whole range of ways your content marketing budget could be spent. But identifying the way it should be spent, is a whole different matter.
In this post, we’re going to tell you how to optimise your content marketing budget so that you can enjoy maximum return on investment (ROI).
What Is Content Marketing ROI
Content marketing ROI (or return on investment) is a number which shows you how successful a particular campaign has been.
This number shows you how much money you made (or lost) because of a content marketing campaign, which informs your future decision making.
For example, if you spent £5000 on PPC which resulted in £60,000 revenue, then you would continue investing money in this tactic as it has proven it’s worth.
Similarly if you spent £50,000 on email marketing but only it generated £15,000 worth of revenue, then you would rethink this strategy.
That’s because it’s costing you more money than you’re making, so it’s not a sensible use of your budget.
Any content marketing campaign needs to prove it’s worth, otherwise you need to ditch or altogether or revisit your strategy.
Measuring your content marketing ROI is absolutely essential for a business of any size, as it allows you to better assess your budget. You should never keep investing money into something that is bringing value to your business.
We recommend keeping a close eye on campaigns, and measuring their effectiveness on a monthly basis. This allows you to see how campaigns are performing before you spend too much money over a longer period of time.
Check out our post on creating a marketing dashboard which is a great way to keep an eye on how everything is performing.
How to Measure Your Content Marketing ROI
The best way to measure your content marketing ROI is to use the below formula.
This is an easy way to work out how much money you’re making against how much money you’re spending on a particular campaign.
So, using the above example of PPC, you would calculate your content marketing ROI like this:
Marketing ROI (%) = [(£60,000 – £5000) / £60,000] x 100
Content Marketing ROI = 91.1%
What Does a Content Marketing Budget Include
Before we move onto how you can improve your content marketing ROI, I thought it would be helpful to outline what a content marketing budget usually includes.
Of course this will differ for every company, but it’s helpful to get a general idea so you know what costs you need to account for.
A typical content marketing budget includes:
- Software – This might include social media management software (such as Hootsuite or Buffer), email marketing software (such as Active Campaign or MailChimp), a blog platform (such as WordPress), keyword research tools (such as Ahrefs), and much more.
- Creative agency or freelancers – You may need to outsource some of your content creation by hiring a creative agency or a freelance content writer to assist you with different projects.
- In-house employees – If you have an in-house marketing team who are responsible for content creation then you need to factor in how much you pay them.
- Advertising – Paid advertising costs such as PPC campaigns need to be included in your content marketing budget.
- Time – Whilst this is highly important, the cost of your time is often overlooked. Yet if your team is spending lots of hours creating a campaign then it must bring value.
It’s important to consider all of these things when allocating your content marketing budget so you know how much you have left to play with.
If you’re shedding out lots of money on email marketing software but you’re not seeing any return on your email campaigns, then you need to reconsider this tactic.
It’s pointless continuing to pour money into something that isn’t generating any results.
Similarly, if you’re paying 5 content writers but not seeing any results from your written content, then this also needs revisiting.
It’s about understanding where the money is going and analysing whether it is being spent in the best way possible.
Who Manages the Content Marketing Budget?
Who manages the marketing budget will depend on the size of the company.
For instance, in larger companies you will typically have a marketing director who will divide up the overall marketing expenses among different teams at a higher level.
Once the budget has been set, it is then up to the content marketing manager to control how the budget is going to be used in the best way.
They will usually look at previous marketing reports to see how well campaigns performed over the previous quarter as this gives them a good indication of where to inject more money.
That’s why creating reports is so important as it allows you to make decisions based on real metrics and data.
Instead of taking a punt and possibly spending hundreds or thousands of pounds on something that doesn’t work, a marketing report acts as the driving force.
If you need help creating your own marketing report, simply download our free Marketing Report Template and input your own information.
The hard work is already done for you!
How to Improve Your Content Marketing ROI
There are lots of ways to improve your content marketing ROI to make sure you’re getting the most out of your budget.
The great thing about content is that there are numerous ways to maximise its usability, so that once it’s created, it continues to bring value year-on-year.
That said, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can improve your content marketing ROI, starting with how to create evergreen content…
Create evergreen content
Evergreen content means content that does not go out of date.
The easiest way to explain this is to look at types of content that would go out of date.
A blog about how business changed during the COVID pandemic.
The best TV adverts from 2021.
If we added 2023 into this blog title, it would become ‘How to Optimise Your Content Marketing Budget for Maximum ROI in 2023.’
All of these things date the content which means it soon becomes irrelevant. For example with the last blog title, it suggests that the things you learn in the blog are only relevant to the year 2023, and that after that point, the content needs updating.
However, by creating evergreen content, it means people will continue to view your website and read your content for years to come.
You could create a blog on the ‘best marketing books’ one year, and it will continue to generate a high volume of traffic for years to come.
This also makes content marketing sustainable, as you can plug time and effort into creating it once and still enjoy the results for years after.
Improve your website
Your website needs to provide users with the very best experience.
From the moment they land on your website, right through to making a purchase, their user journey should be seamless.
If one of your product pages is taking an age to load, or one of your blog posts is crammed with lots of messy text, they’re not going to stick around.
Your website has the potential to make a prospect convert into a customer, or to make them bounce back to Google instead.
Even if your content marketing is fantastic and you have the best blogs in the world, no one is going to read them if your website is naff.
Why? Because they won’t even get to that point.
They’ll be so bored of waiting for your website to load, or trying to find where your blogs are located (a clear site structure is another thing a good website should have), that they’ll simply look elsewhere.
They’ll look on your competitors website instead.
Use clear CTAs
Using clear CTA’s (or calls to action as they’re also known) is absolutely essential if you want people to ‘do’ something after reading your content.
After all, that’s the entire point.
When a customer has finished reading a piece of content they must feel motivated to do something.
Whether that’s signing up for your newsletter, signing up for a free trial of your product, or making a purchase, the aim of your content is to make them take action.
However, this is never going to happen if you don’t have a clear, well-positioned CTA that drives them to do so.
Stuff like ‘click here’ or ‘learn more’ are examples of a bad CTA.
They’re too ambiguous, and don’t tell the user anything.
Instead you want to use clear, descriptive CTAs such as ‘sign up here for your free trial’ or ‘get your free coffee here.’
Both of these things tell the user exactly what they’re getting by clicking on this link.
As a result, it drives action and encourages people to take the next step.
Use catchy titles
How many times have you skipped past a blog just because it had a naff title?
Or scrolled past an email because the subject line didn’t grab you?
I bet it’s a few!
When it comes to content marketing, you need to hook readers in – and fast.
They haven’t got time to try and work out what your blog is about or how your email is relevant for their needs.
You need to tell them in the very first instance so that they feel encouraged to read more.
For example, if you’re writing about the logo design, the below blog title is very poor:
‘How to get started with logo design’.
It just feels drab and boring. I certainly don’t feel excited about reading it and probably wouldn’t bother to click on the blog purely because of the title.
Instead, something along the lines of:
‘Your Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Logo Design (with examples!)’ is much more catchy and makes the reader want to find out more.
Aside from being a step-by-step guide (which you know is easy to follow) it comes with examples too which is even more interesting from a reader’s perspective.
So, think carefully about your headlines and don’t just bang something together for the sake of it.
You spend so long creating content that you want to maximise its usability.
Instead of just writing a blog and leaving it to gather dust on your website, consider the different ways you can repurpose the content and turn it into different forms.
For example, from one well-written blog post, you can create:
- Social media posts
- TikTok videos
- Email newsletter snippets
- Sections of an ebook
- A new downloadable template
- Case studies
- Slide deck
So, from that one blog post, you’ve now got 11 different pieces of content which will appeal to a variety of audiences.
That’s another great thing about repurposed content as you’re diversifying the way you deliver information.
Not every type of customer is the same, as whilst some of them will enjoy reading your blog, others will prefer listening to podcasts or scrolling through social media.
By turning your blog post into these formats, you’re catering for a much wider audience which increases your reach, and in turn, increases the likelihood of you acquiring customers.
It also means the time you’ve spent researching and creating your blog post is well spent as you’re getting as much usability out of it as possible.
Automate what you can
Another great way to optimise your content marketing budget is to automate as much as you possibly can.
This will save you hours of time each week which in turn, frees up your team members who can focus on other things that have a greater impact on your bottom line.
For example, instead of having to jump onto social media at the exact time you want to post, you can use a scheduling platform such as Hootsuite which manages it for you.
This means you can spend an hour or two on a monday morning scheduling your social content for the week ahead, then after that point, you’re free to concentrate on other things.
Similarly email marketing software can be used to schedule email campaigns quickly and easily, freeing up your time to work on other tasks.
There are hundreds of automation tools available, it’s about working out which ones are most needed for your business.
It’s important to remember (and as corny as this sounds) but time is money.
The longer you and your team spend on manual tasks, the less time you have to focus on things that could really move the business forward.
Hire a professional agency
If you really want to optimise your content marketing budget for maximum ROI, then you need to hire a professional agency.
Not only is this a more cost-effective option than hiring someone in house on a full-time basis, but these people do content marketing day in, day out.
It’s their bread and butter.
This level of expertise (and experience) means you can be confident that the content they produce is high quality and will perform.
It also means the entire content creation process will be managed for you – which isn’t easy.
From competitor analysis, to keyword research, to devising a successful content strategy, there’s a lot for you to consider when going it alone.
Instead of trying to work through this process and adding even more stress to your day-to-day role, hire a professional agency and let them take care of your content for you.
When it comes to your ROI, an agency will be able to prove the value of content marketing by providing an in-depth content report.
At Canny, we create a content report for clients every 3-6 months as this allows us to show them how their content is performing any positive movements.
This gives clients peace of mind that their content marketing budget is generating maximum ROI as they can see the results for themselves.
Double down on what works
Whether you’re going it alone with your content marketing or using a professional agency, monitoring your content is key.
This should take the form of a content report (as mentioned above) which allows you to see how your content is performing over a given time frame.
If you’re managing this in-house, then make sure you download our free reporting template which allows you to easily collate key metrics in one place.
From this point you can see exactly what campaigns are working and those that aren’t.
These insights are invaluable as it allows you to ditch the things that don’t work and double down on those that do.
As we’ve said a few times in this blog (sorry to be a broken record!), you shouldn’t be spending money on something that isn’t generating value.
In the same sense, you should absolutely be investing more money into those areas that do generate value as they’re bringing something to your business.
Whether that’s increased brand awareness, more leads, or more sales, double down on the things that work and cull those that don’t.
How to Optimise Your Content Marketing Budget for Maximum ROI
Optimising your content marketing budget for maximum ROI is essential, as every business needs to be making a profit.
After all, it’s how you survive and keep on growing.
If you’re only breaking even, then there’s no extra cash left over to take your business to the next level.
And no business wants to be stagnant.
The same applies to your content marketing budget, as any channel you’re investing money into needs to be returning some sort of value.
This ‘value’ is dependent on the business, but usually it relates to increased brand awareness, more leads, or more sales so that the business can continue to progress.
The problem for many companies is that they spend a ton of money on things that don’t really work. Yet they continue to plug more money into these areas regardless of the fact they don’t generate anything in return.
This approach can’t continue as you’re simply burning through money. The best option is to partner with a professional agency and let them manage the content on your behalf. From research, to content creation, to content reporting, you can be confident you’re getting maximum ROI.
At Canny, we’ve partnered with lots of clients to create fantastic content that drives quality leads. Just take a look at iVent as the perfect example. To find out more about how we can help you, simply get in touch!