If you're ready to start growing your traffic using content marketing, you need to consider how much it's going to cost you.
Content marketing pricing can be complicated, and you'll see a range of figures thrown around.
In this article, I'll try to cut through the noise and give you a clear, concise picture of how much you can expect to spend and what sort of results you're going to see.
Let's jump in.
Before you start with content marketing, you have to know something.
It's a long-term play and should be looked as at as an investment.
An evergreen blog post or report is an asset that's going to appreciate in value for your company as it moves up in the search results and brings traffic to your site.
If you put in the effort to do great work now, you'll reap the rewards in 2-6 months once your content starts gaining real traction in Google.
If you're strapped for time, you don't even need to always promote your content to get results.
The image below shows the weekly traffic gains to an article we published without promoting, as an experiment.
It's been about three months since it was published, and now ranks highly on Page 1 for a niche but competitive term (all without any promotion!).
It is possible to get results sooner, for example, your blog posts might go viral on Reddit or Hacker News, or they get picked up by Google Discover.
If you're not ready to wait for results, then you may be better off using a marketing strategy that gets you near-instant ROI like Facebook or Google Ads.
The key difference is that your Facebook Ads will turn off when you stop paying. Your blog posts will stick around and keep attracting relevant audiences to your website.
That's what's so powerful about content marketing.
Founders and CEOs shouldn't blog.
Your time is precious, and if you haven't had a previous role as a content marketer or running your own blog, you end up wasting time.
You should consider hiring a content marketer to help manage your content operations.
A good content marketer will have a range of valuable skills.
However, it's hard to find someone with all of these skills.
And those who have them don't work for free.
In LA, you can expect to pay $66,261 for someone to manage your content production in-house.
In London, the average salary for a Content Marketing Manager is £36,408 per year.
And most of the time, you'll still need to pay freelance writers to work with you on writing.
Safe to say, it's not an entry-level role that you can pay pennies for.
If you already have an in-house marketing or content marketing manager, one way to scale up is to work directly with freelance writers.
Your marketing team can handle the keyword research, create content briefs, then assign them to a writer.
The upside of this is that your team has control over your content schedule, and you can pick and choose writers you know can write great content.
The downside is that there's significant management overhead.
If you're looking to create content at scale, your marketing manager may struggle to balance their time and priorities (assuming they already have other projects to manage).
In other words... they're going to be very busy.
They'll need to:
There are a lot of steps involved, and it can get time-consuming.
It's easy for content to get "stuck" if you don't have a well-oiled system to manage your content flow in place.
There's also the aspect of pricing.
If you're looking for a good freelance content writer who is a subject matter expert, expect to pay anywhere from $0.16 - $0.50 per word, or $50-$100/hour.
Of course, you might get lucky and find a writer who charges less, but chances are they'll be just starting out and will soon increase their prices.
You can also find cheaper writers on Upwork, but you'll quickly realize that the extra time needed to proofread and edit the content means it works out more efficient to pay the higher rates in the first place.
So, we've covered the human element of your content marketing investment.
But, when estimating the price of content marketing, you also need to consider the tools you'll be using.
You can use Google Docs to do all of your writing, and use Google Sheets to build a basic content calendar. There are premium tools to help with content calendars, but we don't think you need anything too complicated (at Contentbulb we use Notion, which is $8/user/month).
However, if you want to do detailed keyword and SEO research, you're going to need software to help you.
These will help you identify relevant topic ideas, see keyword volume, difficulty, and much more.
As your content is going live to the world, you'll want to make sure it's up to par.
We'd recommend using a tool like Grammarly for proofreading and spellchecks, which comes in at $29.99/month.
We wrote a whole blog post on our favourite content marketing software, so check that out for some of our other recommendations.
If you don't want to hire an in-house marketing team or manage workflow with freelancers, consider working with a marketing agency.
The upside is that if you go with a good agency, they'll make life easy for you.
The work will be of high quality, and you'll receive high-quality customer service.
However, they're expensive.
It's no secret that many marketing agencies charge a lot of money.
Expect to pay $5,000-10,000 per month on retainer, and there may be additional set up costs.
They'll use many of the same tools you use, and will likely be outsourcing your content writing to their own network of freelance writers to create your content.
If you have the cash to afford an agency, there's no real downside as it means your plate will be empty so you can focus on other tasks and projects.
If you don't have the bandwidth to handle everything in-house but can't quite afford traditional agency fees, consider working with a content marketing service like Contentbulb.
We can help you with everything from your content strategy, to writing, to uploading content to your CMS.
Our prices are affordable, and we work with a network of writers to ensure we have subject-matter experts at hand, whatever your content needs are.
Only need 2500 words a month?
We have a plan that suits you.
Need 10,000 words per month?
Content marketing is an investment.
It is going to cost time and energy to do well, but if you do it right, the results can be huge.
If you're struggling to see the value, look at content as an asset. It increases in value over time as your blog posts attract more and more relevant visitors to your site, who you can then bring into your marketing funnel.
There are a range of factors to consider when pricing up your content marketing operation.
Will you handle it in-house?
Work with freelance writers?
Hire an agency?
Alternatively, use a service like Contentbulb to get your content marketing off the ground quickly and for an affordable cost. You get the benefits of agency-level service and high-quality content, without the high-price tag.
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