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What to consider in your content marketing budget this year

The most successful B2B content marketing performers in Australia allocated 36% of the total marketing budget to content marketing. The latest Content Marketing Institute (CMI) report also states 47% of the marketers surveyed expect to increase their content marketing budget for the next 12 months.

But how do you budget for content marketing and come out on top? Let’s look at the key factors.  

Activities

The most obvious area is where you want to spend your money, or the allocation to various content marketing activities. 

It’s always useful to look at content marketing trends to get a rough idea for your budget. The graph below from the 2016 State of Inbound Report shows marketers’ top priorities within inbound marketing.

Source: HubSpot

Generally, you can break down content marketing activities into the following categories:

Content creation

With the emphasis on blog and high quality content, this activity can require a significant budget to cover all the associated sub-tasks such as ideation, research, scripting etc. 

Content optimisation

This can include things like SEO and link building. 

Content distribution

This can include syndication onto various platforms (e.g. Medium, LinkedIn) and outreach. 

Content promotion

Paid ads on social media, SEM and influencer marketing fall under this category. 

Using tools

Martech has been gaining more prominence over the years. The proliferation of tools for tasks such as analytics, scheduling, design, means marketers need to take extra time to evaluate

Source: CMI 

Human resources 

Generally, there are three ways to accomplish the activities above. 

  • In-house: do everything internally either with a dedicated team/person or on an ad-hoc basis
  • Agency: outsource everything to the experts with little oversight 
  • Collaboration: combination of the two approaches above

The graph below sums up the pros and cons of each approach neatly.

Source: Vertical Measures

Which one is right for you? Consider factors such as your expertise in content marketing, availability of internal support, knowledge of/relationship with trustworthy agencies and so on. 

 

Getting buy-in 

Sometimes, it can be a catch-22 situation for marketers trying to get funds for content marketing. To get money, they have to prove ROI; but to get the kind of ROI executives want, money is needed upfront. 

This is especially harder for organisations whose marketing operations are not yet at scale. The CMI has produced a handy documentary to help marketers get executive buy-in. So, either show it to your boss or extract ideas from it for your pitch.

Source: CMI

Another way to find funds is to divert money from ineffective marketing strategies or channels. This would of course require a marketing audit beforehand. 

Pro tip: You can get your foot in the door by asking for a small piece of a larger, already established budget, e.g. for advertising.

Make it not about you

It’s a good idea to not just throw in content marketing jargons and objectives, but show executives how it improves other areas of the business. 

  • Sales: tie content strategy to specific sales goals 
  • Brand & user experience: 82% of customers feel more positive about a company after reading branded content
  • HR: Content helps “attract top talent by showcasing a company’s culture and core values while also weeding out low-quality applicants”
  • Employee/client advocacy: these people are more likely to read your content and when they share it, referrals can help grow your prospect list.