How Much Should You Pay for Content Marketing?
Marketers love data, and it seems more than anything, we love data about ourselves.
So it’s pretty easy to find statistics about how companies are approaching content marketing, from the percentage of their budget devoted to content creation (30% on average) to the type of content they find most effective (in-person events, although the most successful companies report blogs as the most effective).
Source: B2B Content Marketing 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends–North America
But if you’re a researcher like me, at a certain point, you want the Internet to put the soft data aside and talk turkey with you.
The Cost of Content
So I went on the hunt for research that would give me hard numbers: How much does a content marketing program usually cost? How do those costs break down? (And of course, is any of it going to freelancers?)
I found a report from Kapost and Eloqua that gave me just what I was looking for. It appears to be a few years old (it’s hard to determine a date, however it cites a “recent report” from 2011), so it’s likely that many companies are spending a little bit more this year. But this report can give you a ballpark range of costs and ROI associated with running a successful content marketing program, as well as some softer data you might find useful.
Here are the brass tacks:
– Mid-sized companies can expect to pay about $11,957/month for content marketing.
– Large companies can expect to pay about $32,720/month.
For a mid-sized company, these figures assume:
– an in-house managing editor (at $80,000/year), plus
– two blog posts per week from freelancers (at $150/each), and
– one piece of premium content (white paper, ebook, infographic, etc.) per month (at $2,500).
For a large company, the figures assume:
– an in-house managing editor (at $100,000/year) and a chief content officer (at $200,000/year), plus
– two blog posts per week from freelancers (at $200/each), and
– one piece of premium content (white paper, ebook, infographic, etc.) per month (at $3,500).
You’ll notice these costs seem to relate only to the creation of content. It’s unclear whether it takes into account any fees associated with distributing and amplifying that content.
What Is the ROI for Content Marketing?
Clearly, a consistent content program is a hefty expense, but the report goes on to show how it pays off over time.
– Content marketing programs ramp up quickly. In the first five months, the cost per lead drops 80%.
– Within 24 months, the cost per lead for content marketing is much less than that of paid search (31% less for mid-sized companies and 41% less for large companies). That breaks down as follows:
Mid-sized company cost per lead: $109
Large company cost per lead: $108
Mid-sized company cost per lead: $75
Large company cost per lead: $64
Of course, most overall marketing strategies incorporate both content marketing and paid search, so this information shouldn’t dissuade you from leveraging every tool at your disposal.
Insourcing vs. Outsourcing Content
If you’re like many companies (33% of small companies and 72% of large ones, according to the B2B Content Marketing 2014 ebook), you’ll choose to keep part of your content creation in-house and outsource other parts.
Unsurprisingly, the most commonly outsourced functions are writing and design. Guess I got the good news I was looking for after all.
You can view the full Content Marketing ROI report here:
Content Marketing ROI, by Kapost and Eloqua