Education

What’s all the buzz about content marketing?

Have you ever come across a free tool like a video tutorial, Infographic, a PDF handbook, blog post, or newsletter and really appreciated the content? Whether you knew it or not, you were interacting with content marketing.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is one way for businesses to showcase their knowledge, expertise, or professionalism to potential clients by providing value – for free – in the form of content.

It’s an effort to provide educational information within the area of a businesses expertise; however, it is not about the products the company sells. The goal with this type of marketing is to win over potential customers without marketing products or services directly to them. Rather, when a business can successfully provide value, the customer is more likely to develop trust in the company and their expertise. Soon, those customers will look to that business for more valuable content, and will hopefully be intrigued to look into the services the company offers. 

Should I be Doing Content Marketing?

According to a survey from The Manifest of over 500 businesses, 53% invest in content marketing as part of their marketing strategy. When asked what types of content marketing they use the most, video content was the overall winner with 76%, blog posts and original data were second and third respectively. They also detail examples of how businesses, like LendEDU, have been able to drive more traffic to their site and get the attention of large publications like The Wall Street Journal and others due to their content marketing. 

How Much Does Content Marketing cost?

This may seem like a great option and you may be wondering how you can incorporate content marketing into your company’s marketing strategy. If you already have an in-house marketing team you may need to evaluate workload to determine if someone can add this to their plate. Content marketing is no afterthought or small task. It takes planning, research, strategy, and a lot of time to develop and curate content. In most cases, the role of content writer/strategist is a full-time role. If you aren’t ready to hire another team member, it may be time to look into hiring a marketing or content agency to provide these services for you. 

Let’s look at a breakdown of what it may cost to hire an agency for content. Keep in mind that these figures are approximate. Depending on the successful track record of an agency or freelancer, their prices may be higher or lower. 

  • 30-second video $1,500+
  • Blog post $100-$800 (depending on the length of content and author this can range from $0.10/word to $1/word)
  • White Paper $.50 a word
  • White paper design $1,500 – $2,500
  • Photography $30 an image
  • Social media management $2,000 per channel
  • Web Audit $5,000

Why is Content Marketing so Expensive?

You may be experiencing some sticker shock right about now, but rest assured, content marketing can have a fantastic ROI if executed properly and consistently. The amount of work that goes into a content marketing strategy (from ideation to execution) may surprise you. It takes money to make money, and this is even more evident when it comes to content creation. Content marketing is an ever-evolving cycle that takes repetition and constant revision. Let’s check out the content creation lifecycle. 

6 Reasons Why Content Marketing Costs Money

1. Quality Research & the development of your buyer persona

It all starts with researching who your customers are, what influences their decisions, what their lives look like, and why your brand will matter to them. Research is the most important aspect of developing your buyer persona(s) because this will also guide your topics. Need a place to start? Check out this quick buyer persona exercise from Hubspot

2. Ideation

Now that you know the ideal customers you will be looking to attract and what makes them tick, you can begin the ideation process. What problems are they trying to solve? Are they solving problems for themselves (B2C) or for their business (B2B)? What are they influenced by? Will these topics catch their eye? What design aesthetic are they most persuaded by? These are all questions that may guide the topics you will develop into your content calendar.

3. Strategy & Planning

Now that you have topics you will develop into your content calendar, it’s time to strategize and plan exactly what types of content you’ll use. Will these topics fit into a campaign with multiple fascets or be a one-off piece on the blog? Can you develop it into a video, white paper, blog post, infographic, downloadable ebook, or a free template? Will it be hosted on a landing page with a funnel intake form, or will it be shared on a social media channel? There are many different routes to take which may all have varying outcomes. This is where marketing expertise really comes in handy. Having a highly-skilled team can mean the difference in spinning your wheels or dolla dolla bills.

4. Execution

Now that you understand your buyer, the topics you’ll be developing, and exactly how you’ll be producing the content, it’s time to get to work. Developing content takes time and creativity. Storytelling is one of the most important aspects of captivating content. Giving your creatives enough time to execute is crucial, and like with most things, if you rush the process it will show. Give your skilled creative team the reins to develop beautiful, well-researched, value-filled content so you get the payoff you’re looking for. And remember: optimizing content for SEO is very important.

5. Connect with your audience

How is your audience receiving your new content? Remember, it takes time to build an audience, and it won’t always be an overnight success story. Testing your call to actions, understanding where your audience gets their information, and interacting with their comments and feedback are all necessary steps in optimizing your strategy for the long-term. Does your audience gravitate toward a certain group of topics and ignore others? If you notice a pattern, adjust your strategy to ensure you are staying aligned with your buyer personas. Again, this sort of work takes time and attention. Does your in-house team have the availability to manage customer interaction on a daily basis?

6. Measure the success of your campaigns

The proof is in the pudding. Utilizing your data to measure the success of your campaigns will give you proof of what’s working and what requires a pivot. Maybe certain platforms are under-performing or not getting good click-through rates. Could this be due to a lack of appropriate keywords or maybe you don’t have a developed following? Having qualified professionals who understand how to dissect the data is important. If you don’t have a dedicated person on your time with these skillsets, it may be time to look into utilizing an agency to keep your programs running smoothly and efficiently. 

Now that you have a good idea about the impact of, costs associated with, and the level of effort that goes into developing content, it’s time to determine if you’re ready to invest in your in-house team or an outside agency. Choose wisely to ensure you get the return on investment you’re looking for. 

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Bri Smith

Bri Smith is the host of The Grass Class, a podcast and vlog that dives into the culture and business of cannabis. As a Los Angeles transplant from the land of lakes, cheese, and The Packers, she brings Midwest nice to the West coast advertising and marketing industries. She likes talking to dogs in weird voices and long blunts on the beach.