Setting a Content Marketing Budget Using the Frictionless Approach

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By Tomislav

Key Takeaways

Cost-Efficiency: Content marketing is more affordable than traditional methods, but it still requires smart budgeting.
Frictionless Strategy: Adopt a flexible and cautious budget that won’t jeopardize business operations, suitable for all business sizes, focusing on gradual results and the possibility to adjust strategies over time.
Expense Management: Balance the use of free and paid tools, and consider costs for content creation, whether in-house or outsourced, while remaining adaptable to scale budget based on success.
Continuous Evaluation: Regularly assess content performance, reallocating budget to enhance successful pieces and prioritizing strategies like acquiring backlinks for improved rankings.

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How Much Does Content Marketing Cost?

Every discussion about content marketing and finances includes the claim that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing.

I’ve cited this statistic myself.

It originates from a Content Marketing Institute blog article, known for its credibility.

Yet, this figure needs context to be meaningful.

Consider this: a Ferrari, while cheaper than a G5 jet, is still unaffordable for many.

Similarly, content marketing is less expensive than traditional marketing, but it’s not free.

The advantage of content marketing lies in its flexibility.

It can be tailored to your budget. More investment often leads to better content and results, but any effort is beneficial.

So, how much should you invest?

There’s no universal answer.

When budgeting for content marketing, remember:

  1. Content marketing doesn’t yield immediate results.
  2. It’s challenging to calculate the ROI, especially in the first year.

Investing your entire marketing budget in content marketing is risky and could jeopardize your business.

Such a radical strategy shift could also confuse your marketing team.

However, the “frictionless approach” can help mitigate these risks.

‘Frictionless Approach’ to Content Marketing Budgeting

The frictionless approach involves setting a budget for content marketing that does not endanger your business operations.

This is crucial because content marketing results take time, and you’ll need to maintain your existing lead and sales strategies.

There’s no guarantee of success with content marketing; it all depends on how well it’s executed.

Even with a substantial budget, poorly crafted and unoptimized content won’t yield results.

Eventually, questions about ROI will arise.

The frictionless approach ensures that, even if content marketing doesn’t bring immediate ROI, your business remains stable, giving you room to analyze and adjust your strategy.

If you adhere to SEO best practices and create content that is relevant, comprehensive, and consumer-centric, results should follow.

In the meantime, the frictionless approach allows content creators to work with less pressure.

Does Business Size Matter When Implementing This Budgeting Strategy?

No, business size does not impact the effectiveness of this budgeting strategy.

This frictionless approach is suitable for businesses of all sizes, from solopreneurs to large corporations.

In fact, larger businesses may find it even more beneficial.

Success depends largely on the level of resistance to content marketing among decision-makers.

Increasingly, businesses are recognizing content marketing’s power, but the transition can be challenging due to factors like:

  • Content production and distribution incur costs.
  • Hiring content creators such as writers, editors, and videographers is costly.
  • Outsourcing content production isn’t cheap either.
  • Paid tools, though helpful, come at a price.
  • Marketing agencies can offer great help, but at a high cost.
  • Doing everything independently is free but time-consuming and requires skill development.

Ultimately, you will need to invest either time, money, or both.

The frictionless approach helps minimize conflict by allowing for a flexible budget without regrets.

It’s not an excuse to waste funds, but rather to spend wisely while accommodating mistakes.

Peace of mind, knowing your business is secure, is invaluable.

Budgets are flexible; if content marketing shows positive results, increasing the budget to scale up is always an option.

Expenditures FAQ

Content marketing involves various expenditures, each worth understanding.

Here’s a brief overview to guide further investigation:

How much does a new domain cost?

Buying your own domain from a registry service is recommended.

Own your domain separately from your web hosting provider.

While many hosting companies offer domain purchases, buying separately is safer.

Domain costs typically range from $10 to $20 annually.

How much does web hosting cost?

I personally use and recommend WPX hosting.

They’re not the cheapest, but offer excellent value for their price range.

WPX’s annual hosting plan is about $21 per month.

For tighter budgets, consider A2 Hosting, which offers initial discounts but higher subsequent rates.

What free tools do you recommend?

For keyword research and topic ideas, AnswerThePublic is a great free tool.

Keyword Sheeter is also useful for free keyword research.

Besides these, Google’s SERPs provide a wealth of free information.

Are Paid Tools Worth It?

That largely depends on the specific use case and budget.

Solutions like KWFinder (starting from $29/month) and Ahrefs (starting from $99/month) are both great solutions catering for different audiences.

KWFinder caters to beginners and solopreneurs on a budget and Ahrefs shifted more towards advanced users with higher budgets.

Both serve their respective audiences well.

A hack is to use the free trial period of a decent paid tool and complete all your initial keyword research then.

What Graphic Design Tools Do You Recommend?

For bootstrappers, the free version of Canva is fantastic.

Also, Pexels and Pixabay offer great royalty-free stock photos.

If spending is an option, Canva Pro at $14.99 per month offers excellent value.

For larger budgets, Shutterstock provides great stock photos but is pricier, starting at $49 per month for 10 images.

Is Hiring an Agency Worth It?

Definitely, if you can afford it.

Consider hiring an agency for content production and distribution only if your budget is $10,000 or more.

Where to Find Freelance Writers?

ProBlogger’s writer job board is an excellent place to connect with freelancers.

Upwork is also good for finding quality freelance writers.

Costs range from 3-6 cents per word for entry-level, 7-12 cents for intermediate, and 13-20 cents for experienced writers.

A strategy is to find a talented “newbie” who charges only entry-level rates.

Expect some trial and error before finding a good fit.

Where to Find Freelance Graphic Designers?

Fiverr is a great source for graphic design, video editing, narration, etc.

Freelancers can be found for as little as $5 per gig, but set realistic expectations for this price.

Are Article Writing Services Worth It?

My general view: you get what you pay for.

The cheapest services often require extensive editing, while premium services deliver better content.

For those willing to try, Textbroker’s 4-star tier is a good value at 3.2 cents per word.

Keep Analyzing the Results and Adjusting Your Spending

Remember: A budget should never be static, especially in areas with potential for investment.

It’s crucial to regularly analyze results, even if they take time to manifest.

In content marketing, when you find a successful piece, it’s smart to invest further in it.

For instance, if an article is ranking at the lower end of Google’s first page or top of the second, consider enhancing it to climb to the top of the SERPs.

In such cases, I’d recommend reallocating funds intended for new content to improve this almost-successful article.

Particularly, if the article’s keyword is vital for your business, double down on it and invest in acquiring legitimate backlinks.

Backlinks are key for ranking higher. Often, they’re what your content needs to advance in the rankings.

The leap from, say, rank 7 to rank 1 on Google is significant and well worth the investment.

Once you’ve secured dominance in that query, redirect your budget towards usual activities like creating new content.