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Eighty-eight percent of B2B marketers are currently using content marketing, according to the Content Marketing Institute. There’s no question that we all understand the value of content marketing, but not many of us truly understand what that value is worth; what the content marketing cost actually is.

Content marketing is no small investment; it can easily cost thousands of dollars every month. And if you’re already on a tight marketing budget, you may be wondering if it’s even worth pursuing.

Fortunately, you don’t need to shell out six figures every year to run a successful content marketing program. With the rise of freelancers, you can easily lower that cost. And that brings us back to the first question: what exactly is that cost?

Here’s everything you need to know about how much content marketing really costs:

Identifying Your Content Needs

It’s one thing to realize that you need to invest in content marketing. It’s another thing entirely to pinpoint the exact tactics and deliverables you’re looking for. Before you start searching for full-time or part-time content marketing help, understand what you want.

Here are some questions to get you thinking:

  • What kind of content are you looking for and how much of it?
  • Who will manage the content marketing program? Do you need to hire someone who will drive the program and create content, or do you just need freelance writers?
  • Do you need to hire a graphic designer?
  • Do you need someone who can manage and promote content on social media channels?
  • Do you want to invest in paid advertising to amplify your content?

Different Elements of Content Marketing

After you identify your content needs, you can fill in the gaps. You may realize you already have strong writers on your team, and you just need to find someone who can help promote that content. Or, you may have a strong content strategy already in place, and need some writers to execute.

Here are the different elements of content marketing:

  • Content creation: Creating original content is the foundation of content marketing. You could create blog posts, e-books, webinars, reports, case studies, infographics, videos, or interactive content.
  • Content strategy: Sometimes, a content writer and content strategist are the same person. But there may be times when you want a dedicated writer to create content and another person to drive the strategy. A content strategist researches, organizes and measures the content marketing program. She may do user analysis, content audits, competitor analyses, create the editorial strategy, and manage the development of content.
  • Graphic design: A designer can take your content to the next level. Rather than sourcing stock photos like everyone else, you could create custom images for each post or, better yet, shareable infographics.
  • Social media: Once the content is created by a writer and/or strategist, you need to get it in front of the right people. Social media is one of the best ways to promote and amplify your content, and you may want to look for a dedicated social media manager to run the program.
  • Paid media: In addition to social media, you may want to run pay-per click ads, sponsored content, native advertising, or paid advertising on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Content Marketing Cost and Options

Here are the three most popular ways to implement content marketing and their costs:

  • Full-time hire: One or more internal, full-time hires is an expensive route to take, but may be the most efficient and scalable for the long term. A full-time content marketer, strategist, or writer can own the program and wear multiple hats. So, instead of hiring different freelancers to do different things, the right full-time person could write, strategize, and promote content. According to PayScale, the median salary for a content marketing manager is $61,634. The median salary for a content strategist is $60,426 and content writer is $40,951.  
  • Agency: A content marketing agency offers a breadth of experience and services. When you hire an agency, you can usually leverage their design, video, strategy, and content creation offerings. An agency can definitely take everything and run with it independently, making your life easier. However, because you’re outsourcing it, it can be harder to manage. According to Honigman Media, the low-end of agency costs are $1,250-$2,500 each month and the high-end costs are $10,000 each month.
  • Freelance: The beauty of hiring freelancers is that you can work with really specialized people. For example, could hire a great writer, graphic designer, video producer, and strategist (it would be pretty tough to find all those skills in one person). The downside of freelancers is that you need someone internally to manage them. You would pay these freelancers a monthly retainer or hourly rate. Freelance hourly rates can range from $50-$300 an hour (click here for my tips on how to find and work with the best freelancers).

What You Should Do Next

If you know you need content marketing help, first do a content audit. Go through all your blog post, social media, landing pages, and e-books and create a spreadsheet of all your content assets. Track how well these things performed, which topics your audience prefers, and identify gaps in your current content marketing. A content audit will help you understand where you really need help and make it easier for whomever you end up bringing on.

 

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