Marketing team meeting to set their company’s content marketing budget.
August 1, 2023

How to Decide Your Content Marketing Budget

by Michael Brenner

Content marketing has become an integral part of every successful marketing strategy in today’s highly competitive, highly digital B2B marketing landscape. It allows businesses to engage with their target audience, build brand awareness, and drive high-quality leads—all while establishing their B2B brand as a leader in their field.

But in order to plan and execute a well-planned and effective strategy, you need a detailed content marketing budget behind it.

Determining the right content marketing budget for your business requires careful consideration of various factors, including business goals, target audience, available resources, and desired outcomes. In this article, we’ll explore a step-by-step approach to help you decide your content marketing budget effectively.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Creating the right content marketing budget requires setting detailed goals, knowing your target audience, and understanding your current available resources.
  • It’s important to budget effectively for both content creation and effective distribution.
  • Outsourcing your content marketing can save on overhead costs and allow you to execute a stronger, more scalable strategy.
  • Content marketing budgets should be flexible to align with changing trends and business demands.

8 Steps for Setting Your Content Marketing Budget

Set Clear Goals

Before allocating a budget, it is crucial to define your content marketing goals. Are you aiming to increase brand visibility? Generate leads? Boost website traffic? Enhance customer engagement? 

No matter what your goals are, be sure to define them in detail using a proven framework such as SMART goals.

Graphic detailing the SMART goals framework: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

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Remember that each objective requires a different type and level of investment. By setting clear goals, you can align your content marketing budget with your desired outcomes and track the effectiveness of your efforts.

Analyze Your Target Audience

Understanding your target B2B audience is vital for your content marketing budget. Conduct thorough research to identify the platforms and channels your audience frequents. Develop ideal customer profiles (ICP) and buyer personas to describe your target business buyers and the decision makers within those organizations.

This information will help you determine the type of content you need to create and distribute, and the associated costs. For instance, if your audience is primarily active on social media platforms, investing in high-quality visual content and social media advertising may be necessary.

Evaluate Available Resources

Take stock of your existing resources that can support content marketing initiatives. Consider the skills and expertise required to develop various types of content, such as blog posts, videos, infographics, or podcasts.

Evaluating available resources will help you determine the budget required for content creation and distribution. Assess whether you have an in-house team capable of producing content, or if you need to outsource content creation to freelancers or agencies. 

While outsourcing will require a financial investment, it is typically much more affordable than hiring in-house staff and resources when you don’t already have them in place. By hiring an agency, you can save on overhead costs and more easily scale down your efforts as demanded by your current business needs.

Plus, hiring a content agency comes with benefits like solid SEO strategies, bandwidth to create and publish content frequently, expertise creating many content types, plan development and execution, and frequent performance reporting. These benefits and others are why 84% of B2B organizations now outsource content creation, and many others outsource things like content distribution, editorial planning, and strategy development.

Bar chart showing the content marketing activities that B2B organizations outsource, including 84% for content creation.

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Research Industry Benchmarks

To make an informed decision about your content marketing budget, it’s essential to research industry benchmarks. Look into how other businesses in your industry allocate their budgets and the results they achieve. While it’s important not to solely rely on these benchmarks, they can provide valuable insights and a starting point for budget allocation. 

Remember that every business is unique, so adapt industry benchmarks as a starting point, then align with your goals and suit your specific circumstances.

Outline Content Creation Costs

Whether you hire in-house or outsource, creating high-quality content that resonates with your target audience requires investment. Consider what the cost will be to hire content creators, copywriters, graphic designers, and videographers—and anyone else you need on your team to execute your planned strategy.

Account for the time and effort involved in research, ideation, writing, editing, and promotion of the content. Additionally, factor in the costs of tools, software, and platforms required for content creation and distribution, such as content management systems (CMS) or social media scheduling tools.

Plan for Content Distribution

Developing exceptional content is only half the battle—you must also allocate a budget for content distribution. Depending on your target audience and goals, you may need to invest in paid promotion, social media advertising, influencer collaborations, or SEO services.

A strong plan for distribution determines the reach your content will have, the presence you’ll be able to build online, and the reputation you can establish in your industry.

Track and Measure Performance

Allocate a portion of your content marketing budget for tracking and measuring key content marketing metrics.

The benefits of running a data-driven content marketing strategy are powerful and three-fold—it helps you reach customers more effectively, increase the efficiency of your strategy, and boost its overall performance.

Diagram showing the three benefits of a data-driven content marketing strategy: reach customers more effectively, increase efficiency, and improve overall performance.

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Investing in analytics tools and software will enable you to effectively monitor the performance of your content across various channels. By analyzing metrics such as website traffic, engagement rates, conversions, and customer feedback, you can optimize your content strategy and continually allocate your budget more effectively in the future.

Plan for Flexibility

While it is important to set a detailed budget, it is equally crucial to allow room for flexibility. The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and new opportunities or needs may arise that require adjustments to your content marketing budget. Keep a portion of your budget flexible to experiment with emerging trends, new platforms, or unexpected marketing opportunities.

Final Takeaways

Deciding on your content marketing budget is a strategic process that requires careful planning and consideration. By following the steps we covered in this article, you can allocate your budget effectively and maximize the impact of your content marketing efforts.

Set clear goals that align with your business objectives and determine the level of investment required to achieve them. Analyze your target audience to understand their preferences and the platforms they engage with the most.

Evaluate your available resources, whether in-house or outsourced, to understand the cost of content creation and distribution.

Research industry benchmarks to gain insights into how other businesses allocate their content marketing budgets. However, remember that every business is unique, and you should adapt these benchmarks to suit your specific circumstances. Consider the cost of content creation and allocate a budget for content distribution as well.

Tracking and measuring performance should also be a part of your budget allocation to ensure you can analyze the effectiveness of your content and make data-driven decisions.

Finally, plan for flexibility in your budget to accommodate emerging trends and unexpected opportunities that may arise. The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and being agile in your approach can help you stay ahead of the curve.

By taking a thoughtful and strategic approach to your content marketing budget, you’ll be able to optimize your resources, reach your target audience effectively, and achieve your desired marketing outcomes. Remember, a well-planned and well-executed content marketing strategy can be a powerful tool in driving business growth and success.

Michael Brenner is a keynote speaker, author and CEO of Marketing Insider Group. Michael has written hundreds of articles on sites such as Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Guardian and he speaks at dozens of leadership conferences each year covering topics such as marketing, leadership, technology and business strategy.