How Much Does Content Marketing Cost?

Content marketing is undeniably one of the most effective ways to grow your business online. But how much should you expect to pay for content marketing? As with many things in life, it depends. 

While the answer isn’t clear-cut, this article will provide some clarity and estimates on content marketing pricing so you can better understand what to expect when planning and executing your content marketing campaign.

Content marketing pricing 

You can expect to pay between $1,000 – $50,000 per month for content marketing. It is technically possible to pay less than $1,000, but for tangible results and high-quality work, you’ll want to spend at least $1,000. How much between $1,000 – $50,000 (or more) depends on your goals and how quickly you want to achieve them, your budget, and more. 

Strategy and research 

Content strategy is not cheap, as a good strategy will take time to carefully plan. You’ll be paying for multiple steps of the content strategy development process, and the price estimation will take into account how many of the following features are to be included. 

  • Inventory and audit of your current content 
  • Customer research and analysis of your target audience
  • Setting goals and targets
  • Creation of a custom content plan 

Depending on the size of your business, the industry it’s in, and how extensive the content audit is, the pricing can range from under $1,000 for a very basic strategy, to $25,000 for a comprehensive strategy. These prices are relevant for small to medium sized businesses. 

If you’re a large enterprise in need of a complete content overhaul, don’t be surprised if the content strategy reaches up to $50,000. 

Creation

Content creation tends to be the most expensive part of content marketing as it takes the most time and effort to complete. This will also depend on the type of content you choose, and whether you opt for a freelancer or a content agency. These include:

  • Articles
  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Ebooks
  • Case Studies
  • Social media content 
  • Video or visual content 

Content marketing agencies generally have multiple content creators working for them, with dedicated content managers and other support staff. Because of this, the costs are usually higher, but you can also get high volumes of content within a shorter time. Generally, agencies charge per word for written content and a fixed rate for all content types. A 1,000 blog article can range in pricing from $50 – $800 or more. 

Freelancers work independently, and due to this, their fees may be slightly cheaper. However, you’ll also want to consider platforms you’ll be communicating on. Fiverr and Upwork will charge some commission, so the freelancer might choose to increase the pricing. For a blog post, most freelancers will charge from $0.05-1 per word, with many 1,000 word articles being priced for around $100. They can also charge hourly rates, which range from $30 for beginners to $100 for more experienced freelancers. 

If you want custom graphics, revisions, or any additional specialized collateral, this will come at an extra cost. 

Optimization

Content optimization ensures that the content being created has the best chance of succeeding. Making sure your content is visible on the internet means your audience will be able to organically find the content being produced. Search engine ‘robots’ rank highly optimized content over the rest, meaning you’ll also be able to outperform your competitors. 

SEO services for content focus on various processes to establish your content’s visibility on search engines, including:

  • Keyword research
  • Competitor analysis
  • On-page SEO (metadata, internal linking, etc.)

All of this can help increase your brand authority, allowing you to rank higher and therefore increase your discoverability. Ensuring your content is optimized for search engines is vital to help your content climb to the top of Google. An SEO expert will be able to undergo further testing and research to make sure the content is performing well. 

SEO companies, and SEO experts for hire (consultants and freelancers), provide SEO services. For a medium-sized business, the pricing can range from $100-$200 an hour for SEO agencies, $50-$100 an hour for SEO consultants, and $30-$50 an hour for freelancers. If you’re a smaller company. The monthly retainer is also around $500-$5,000, but it can climb as high as $20,000 or more, depending on the scope of the project.  

Promotion and distribution

After your content has been optimized for search engines, it’s now time to get the content in front of the right audience. There are multiple ways to achieve this:

  • Social media platforms
  • Email marketing 
  • Paid ads
  • Guest posts
  • Referral programs 

Effectively promoting content requires adequate planning. You’ll want to build an engaged audience that is within your target niche and who will like, comment, and share your content. When content promotion is done right, this can drastically increase your business engagement and reach to boost your brand awareness. 

While pricing can vary depending on the platforms you utilize, how much content you’re producing, and your campaign goals, expect to set aside a decent advertising budget. You can start off with $500-$1,000 to measure a ROI on specific pieces of content, and then escalate it more, depending on your goals. It’s common for larger companies with high-performing content to have an advertising budget upwards of $10,000 to $100,000 (and much more in some cases). 

Promoting content across social media channels will require a dedicated social media manager or content coordinator. A freelance social media manager can cost anywhere from $20-$100 an hour depending on their experience. 

How is content marketing priced? 

As with many other services, content marketing can be priced hourly or as fixed rates for projects. If you’re working with an in-house content marketer, you’ll pay hourly or salary. If you’re hiring a freelancer, you’ll pay hourly or fixed rates, and if you’re working with a content marketing agency, you’ll most likely be paying fixed rates for projects.

In some cases you’ll be paying everything upfront, in other cases, it might be 50:50 or after completion. This just depends on the individual or group you’re working with, the scope of the project, and other details. 

Some types of content marketing may be more common at a fixed rate (e.g. a 1,000-word blog article at $200), while a content marketing consultant providing advice and recommendations may work with hourly rates like $90 per hour.

What factors affect how much you spend on content marketing?

There are multiple factors that affect content marketing pricing, including:

  • Your budget
  • The “type” of content marketing you want
  • Your industry market
  • How fast you want to get results
  • The state of your current content marketing

Let’s go through each of them.

Your budget

At the end of the day if you have a maximum of $5,000 to spend per month, then that’s what you have to spend. But how much of your overall budget do you want to spend on content marketing, as opposed to SEO or PPC? This will depend on your philosophy and how developed other marketing channels in your business are.

The “type” of content marketing

“Content marketing” is a broad term. There are many types of content you can create, including articles, white papers, videos, infographics, and much more. Certain content types are more time-intensive and require more people, so it’ll cost more.  

Also, it’s important to consider what stage of content marketing you’re focusing on. Are you budgeting for content planning and strategy, content creation, and content seeding separately, or all of the above combined in a campaign? Content strategy may be cheaper as it’s more one-off, while content creation is more expensive as it requires regular upkeep.

The market you’re in

Certain markets are easier to break through than others. If you’re creating content around appliance repair (e.g. “how-to” articles about how to fix certain types of refrigerators and dryers), this will generally yield faster results compared to a competitive field like marketing a SaaS in the tech space. 

The more competitive the market, the more resources you’re going to have to spend in content marketing to effectively penetrate it and gain attention. But again, this can depend on your business and what you have to offer. If you are in a very competitive market but have a unique selling proposition, it may be easier to get visibility quicker. If you’re broadly competing against “big players”, then it’ll be harder, and more expensive.

How fast you want to get results

The faster you want to get results, the more you’ll need to invest over a shorter period of time. A common primary distribution channel for content is a blog. If you’ve mapped out keywords, you might have around 1,200 topics to cover to gain full authority in your industry. If you post 120 articles per month for 12 months — given the content quality remains the same — you’re going to gain traction in search engines faster than publishing the same volume of content over a 36 month period.

The state of your current content marketing

If you already have a mature content marketing “base” for your website, then an investment of $1,000 may provide a quicker return on your investment rather than investing $1,000 into content marketing on a new website. 

Do you already have a developed blog section with established topical authority in your industry, while ranking for multiple high-value and relevant keywords? If so, your $1,000 invested into content is likely going to rank, get more traffic, and increase sales faster. Do you have a nonexistent or relatively new blog section? You may have to initially invest more upfront in order to get the same returns. 

There are other factors that can determine how much you’re going to need to spend on content marketing to get results. Generally, more money invested equals more results — but this doesn’t mean spending excessive amounts to achieve your goals. 

Every aspect of content marketing you spend money on should be based on firm data and logic, so that you can rationalize the decisions you make. If you’re still new to everything, it’s recommended to start slow before working your way up. However, don’t start too slow as you’ll want to quickly get information based on your results, so you can plan future goals and strategies. 

Next steps

Once you know the scope of what you need to get done for your content marketing campaign and the approximate monthly budget you have to work with, then you can start to consider who you want to work with. There are countless options out there, including content marketing agencies, content marketing consultants, and freelancers. There is no right or wrong way to approach content marketing, and it’s ultimately determined by your individual business needs. 

The bottom line 

Content marketing pricing can vary greatly depending on many factors. While there’s no set pricing for the different stages of content marketing, pricing is often easy to find. Content marketing agencies, consultants, and freelancers will often have pricing available on their website, and you can also get in touch with them to get a personalized quote.

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