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October 7, 2015

How to Find Your Content Marketing Budget (Or Get Clients to Find Theirs)

When it comes to content marketing, establishing a budget can be difficult. With so many demands on the purse strings of a company, it’s tough to find extra cash to fund an ample content marketing budget.

Fortunately, establishing a content marketing budget is often as simple as being careful to look in the right places.

Why is Your Content Marketing Budget So Important?

Content marketing is the oft-underestimated “little” brother of digital advertising: but it’s no great secret any more that content marketing is by far the better investment.

Companies that invest in content marketing are much more likely to see a boost in organic traffic and, on average, see a 133 percent increase in return visitors. Additionally, website conversion rates for content marketing adopters are more than six times higher than non-adopters.

With statistics like these, it’s easy to understand exactly why it’s so important for companies to establish a defined content marketing strategy and budget.

Five Big, Major, Undeniable Reasons to Invest in Content Marketing

  1. Forty-one percent of content marketers confirm content marketing has a positive Return on Investment
  2. Eighty-two percent of prospects find relevant industry content most valuable.
  3. Buyers are more likely to share blog posts than they are any other form of content.
  4. Useful content posted consistently will succeed in driving organic traffic.
  5. Nine out of 10 B2B marketers in North America use content marketing.

You Really Can: How To Produce a Content Marketing Budget From Thin Air

Many companies convince themselves that they don’t have money to spend on content marketing but, in fact, that’s not true. More often than not, a company has a large digital advertising budget that is simply poorly allocated and being spent on marketing tactics that don’t work. Although it may seem to these companies like they are short on funds, the issue isn’t where the money is coming from but how it is being used.

These companies can typically benefit a great deal from making an honest appraisal of their current digital advertising expenses, realizing that, in general, advertising doesn’t garner nearly as much attention as high-quality, evergreen content and then reallocating their budgets accordingly.

Take Stock of Your Digital Assets and Borrow From Advertising

The first step in finding a content marketing budget is to take a good look at your digital assets and consider borrowing funds from those that are underperforming. In today’s content-heavy world, it’s a known fact that customers respond to content marketing much more readily than advertising and we know that money spent on digital banner ads will not perform as well as money spent on content marketing.

With that in mind, it’s wise to take a look at your assets and consider re-allocating some poorly spent advertising funds into a new life as a content marketing budget.

And here’s seven major reasons you should borrow from advertising and take that money somewhere else (like content marketing).

According to HubSpot, the following dismal statistics apply to digital advertising:

  1. The average banner ad has a 0.1 percent clickthrough rate (CTR) while the standard 468×60 banner has a 0.04 percent CTR.
  2. You are more likely to complete training to become a NAVY SEAL than to click a banner ad.
  3. Most people are confronted with more than 1,700 banner ads each month and remember none of them.
  4. You are more likely to give birth to twin babies than you are to take it upon yourself to click a banner ad.
  5. More than 50 percent of click on mobile ads are on accident.
  6. It is more likely that you would survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad.
  7. You are more likely to summit Mount Everest than click a banner ad.

Audit Your Current Content Program

In order to develop a solid content marketing budget, it’s important to know how much your company currently spends on content costs. To figure this out, take a good long look at the content your company currently produces and take some time to calculate the average costs of your current content marketing operation.

Don’t forget to factor in the cost of paying freelancers and salaries as well as the cost of developing and maintaining technologies, etc. Do some simple math and figure out how many pieces of content your organization is producing and how much each one costs.

The next step is to figure out how much of that precious content goes unused. Many content marketing firms estimate that at least 60-70 percent of content goes unused, which results in a 100 percent waste of time, energy and ideas. Using that 60-70 percent as a benchmark, you can then calculate your company’s content production costs and subtract from that the cost of unused content.

Brace yourself, though, the results may shock you.

Once you’ve figured out your finances, you can develop a content marketing plan that seeks to put your unused content to use by repurposing it, repackaging it, preventing it in different formats or altering it for further use. Simple tricks like tweaking headlines and keywords, re-writing the CTA or updating old data so it’s current to today’s readers can go a long way toward giving old, unused content a new breath of life.

Consider a Partnership Opportunity

If you look around at the corporate environment today, there’s a pretty good chance that you will find a host of other companies with large (and underperforming) digital budgets. One great way to give yourself a boost into the world of large content marketing budgets is to approach these companies with a partnership deal.

Typically, big companies spend a great deal of money on digital advertising that doesn’t work. Their advertising campaign landing pages see a nearly 100 percent bounce rate and the small amount of traffic that does wind up at those pages is often paid to go there.

Seek those companies out and consider approaching them with a deal: you create high-quality content for their sites and help them drive organic traffic to their site in exchange for a small share of their advertising budget. Generally, these types of deals are a win-win for everyone involved and are highly likely to result in a good partnership.

How to Convince Clients to Find Their Content Marketing Budgets

The main thing that marketers and clients have in common is a desire for inbound traffic, great rankings, high visibility and plenty of visitors and by now we know that the only way to get there and stay there is through great content.

If you are currently working with a client that doesn’t have a defined content marketing budget, it’s time to do some convincing.

Fortunately, there are ample statistics that discuss the importance of content marketing and, when the client learns that year-over-year growth in revenue for companies that utilize content marketing is upwards of six times higher than it is for companies that do not, your client may well be convinced that content marketing is the way to go. Pay-per-click advertisements don’t work and clients are much better off investing their funds in a great content marketing strategy.

What Type of Content Works? Six Benchmarks of Content Success

Companies that invest in high quality, evergreen content can truly do no wrong and, when you look at the statistics, it’s obvious that great content is only gaining momentum and value.

  1. Quality is the No. 1 Ranking Factor for All Content: Although content also needs to be authoritative and relevant to rank well in search engine results, content that is well written, intelligent and incorporates keywords properly is incredibly likely to perform well and draw unique traffic.
  2. Useful Content That is Posted Regularly Will Work: Readers want to gain something from your content marketing strategy and if you give them valuable, interesting content on a regular schedule, they’re going to keep coming back. Additionally, useful content garners regular shares and great SEO rankings.
  3. Great Headlines Make for Great Content: On average, five times as many people read the headlines of an article as read the actual body. For this reason, content that boasts a great headline is more likely to garner reads, shares and clicks than content that features boring, dry headlines.
  4. Content Auditing Makes for High-Quality Posts: When a company employs careful content auditing, poor content and outdated links are less likely to become a problem.
  5. Content is Still King: Most marketers state that content curation is a large piece of their content marketing strategy.
  6. Creativity Makes Content Unforgettable: Content that is exciting, engaging and valuable will garner more shares and engagement than dry content that doesn’t utilize storytelling techniques.

The Case for Content

Put simply: content performs better than advertising and companies and clients alike would be wise to jump on the bandwagon. If you’re going to invest money into a digital advertising budget, it’s much more helpful to re-allocate a fair deal of that money into curating interesting, original content instead.


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Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.

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