It’s no secret that content marketing is incredibly effective.
It gives your business three times as many leads as paid search, and it costs 62% less. And when you consider the fact that there are over 3 billion Google searches every day and over 2 billion people use social media, it becomes clear…
You need content marketing to make it today.
However, not all businesses need it at the same scale. Consequently, the costs are different.
Different Growth Phases, Different Content Marketing Costs
Before we grab our calculators, let’s set the criteria.
We’ll be looking at four different business sizes in terms of employees:
- Startup or one-man company (3 employees at most)
- Small business (up to 100 employees)
- Mid-market company (100 and more employees)
The criteria we’ll be looking at when estimating costs are:
- Content marketing processes
- Salaries (in US terms) and fees
The costs are different, but so are the needs.
If you own a small business, you may not be able to handle the traffic that comes from a large-scale content strategy an enterprise would use.
Similarly, if you run an enterprise, you can’t use a startup content strategy. You wouldn’t get the results you need and make the most of your budget.
Because of that, we’ll first define the degree to which business owners and existing employees handle the new content marketing efforts themselves, and what they choose to focus on.
How Much Does Startup Content Marketing Cost?
If you have a startup, the budget can get a little tricky. We know that there’s never enough room in it.
Since 84% of consumers want innovative marketing, your main cost-reducing asset at this phase will be innovation.
This means you can use a lot of guerrilla content marketing methods such as:
- Trolling a competitor (but actually showing how your product compares)
- Staging a social media blackout (well, orange-out) like Fyre Festival
- Generating word of mouth through cryptic advertising
But don’t forget about traditional content marketing types that also come bearing costs:
- Blogging for education and brand awareness
- Video creation for product demos and brand awareness
- Images and other content
- PR (guest posting, paid promo articles)
Keep in mind that you’ll definitely need articles and videos.
And if you really want to get SEO benefits, you’ll need at least 10 articles per month to get the ball rolling.
According to a HubSpot benchmark study, the small companies that publish 11 or more blog posts per month drive about 2X as much traffic as companies publishing 2 - 5 monthly posts.
Content creation costs for startups
It’s impossible to write all those articles on your own, especially if you’re also managing ten other things at the same time (and that’s usually the case with startups).
So let’s say you decide to hire a freelance writer.
Usually, you’ll pay from $0.10 - $1 per word for an experienced writer.
If you want at least 10 articles every month, with each being 400 words, that would amount to $400 at the rate of $0.10.
If you want to cut costs at this stage, you should sign up for ContentFly (wink-wink).
You’ll get 4000 words of content for a flat fee of $250 per month.
Since we offer high volumes of content, our professional writers are willing to write for about $0.06/word.
This way, we provide cost-effective content writing while keeping the quality up to standard.
Next up: video.
At this stage, you may not need a professional video creator.
Lumen5 has a limited freemium plan, but both tools’ pricing starts at $49/month.
Do you need a content strategist?
At this stage, you don’t need to pay a full-time content marketer so that’s a load off your plate, too.
However, if you’re going to be doing a lot of things on your own, you’ll need a course or two.
Finally, you’ll need to promote your content, too.
SEO will do the most of the work for free to drive traffic in the long run, but you may need an injection of paid traffic.
You could work with influencers, which would cost you $1,000 per campaign per influencer (if they have over 100k followers) on Instagram. You’ll need at least 2 or 3.
YouTube is twice as that, with Snapchat being the best option if your target audience is in there. Snapchat influencers charge $500.
If you want to use paid ads (and your friends) instead, know that the average CPM (cost per thousand impressions) on Facebook will be about $7. If your audience is big enough, you’ll reach at least ten thousand people, meaning you’ll spend $70.
You can also try Google ads where the average CPM is $2.80. If you get 10k impressions, that’ll be $28.
Estimated Costs for Startup Content Marketing
- Blog writing: $250/month
- Video creation: $49/month
- Ads: $100
The bare-bones content marketing costs estimate that relies on what you need the most at the moment (low-cost traffic and more customers from search engines because of your blog content) and a lot of help from your friends would be $399/month.
This calculation presumes you’ve decided to use ContentFly and saved $150 you can spend on advertising or more content.
Small Business Content Marketing Costs
As a small business owner, chances are you’re going to want to do a lot of things on your own.
That’s definitely a bonus, as full-scale marketing agency costs can quickly climb up to as much as $5,000/month.
Your main cost-cutting asset at this stage is going to be your size and personality.
The more you can inject it into your content marketing strategy, the better.
According to a Gallup study, 70% of consumers prefer small businesses because:
- They feel they’re supporting the economy
- They know the owners are personally invested and feel accountable to customers
- Small businesses create jobs for the community
- They’re trustworthy and ingenious
You can use all of that to reduce your content marketing costs!
So let’s say you’ll focus on:
- Written content (blogs)
- Video content
- Newsletter content
- SEO, paid ads, existing customers and local influencers for content promotion
How much does content creation cost?
If you want to use blogging to get SEO results, you’ll need to post articles at least 1-2 per week.
Usually, you’d pay around $1000 for that volume and quality, as writers typically charge $0.1 - $1/word.
With ContentFly, you can get all of that for $250 per month.
Our writers are pre-vetted professionals who work at the rate of $0.06/word. They cover a variety of industries so you’ll be getting experts in your niche to create the content your audience will love.
In addition to that, all the articles are optimized for search engines and submitting a content request takes only 30 seconds!
And yes, they do create email content that’s going to give you a 4400% ROI.
What about SEO?
You’ll also need a SEO and content audit tool if you want to get the right keywords and monitor your progress.
If you also want your tool to include content audit features (instead of paying $500 for an audit from a content strategist), you can use SEMrush that starts at $99/month.
Email content marketing costs
Speaking of email, you can set up a newsletter easily with MailChimp.
MailChimp has a free plan but if you want to send unlimited emails to more than 2,000 contacts, you’ll need a Pro subscription starting from $199/month.
Video content marketing costs
If you want to make a video here and there (or turn your blog posts into videos), you can use Lumen5.
You’ll need a $49/month plan and you’ll be good to go!
Ideally, you’ll use your existing customers to promote your content by asking them to sign up for your newsletter. You can always entice them with a discount.
If you get the referral ball rolling, you won’t need to spend more than a few hundred dollars on ads.
Google ads will set you back for $28 if you want to reach ten thousand people.
You can also cut your costs by working with local micro-influencers who typically charge less than $150 for a branded post.
Estimated Costs for Small Business Content Marketing
When we add it all up, here’s what you can expect your small business content marketing costs to be:
- Content writing: $250/month with ContentFly
- SEO and content tool: $200
- Newsletter: $199
- Video: $49
- Content promotion: $500
In total, that would be around $1200 per month.
However, your content will be doing the most of the heavy lifting so if you don’t decide to work with influencers, you can get steady traffic from search engines with a great writer.
This way, you’ll be saving as much as $500 per month on content promotion.
Mid-Market Company Content Marketing Costs
If you run a mid-market company, your content strategy is going to be more extensive.
In general, companies at this growth stage need:
- Content creators
- Content managers
- A few tools to help
How much does writing cost?
Before we grab our calculators, know that you’ll need at least 11 blog posts per month, and they have to be written by a professional content writer.
If you decide to employ one, you can expect them to cost you $3,500 per month on average.
If that seems like a lot of money, you could also hire independent contractors.
That’s a mess of its own as you’ll need to manually vet freelancers who typically charge from $0.10 to $1 per word. However, the rates can vary wildly across different platforms.
Since you’ll need in depth content, 11 blog posts with each being 1,000 words at the rate of $0.10 will amount to $1.100.
Our writers are experts but our rate is significantly lower as we leverage the economies of scale.
This way, we can charge $0.07/word, ultimately reducing your costs for 11 blog posts to $770.
Should you hire a content marketer?
You need someone to coordinate your content marketing.
And since you’ve saved money by not overpaying content writers, you can focus on finding the perfect person to oversee your content marketing efforts.
On average, content marketing managers earn around $5,400 per month.
It’s not a lot, considering that they keep everything in check and make sure you’re getting a good return on investment from content marketing.
Other content creators
If you need a video content creator, you can hire them on a per-project basis as an independent contractor.
You can expect to pay them anywhere between $35-100+ per hour, depending on the how complex your video is.
If your videos take at least 10 hours monthly, and you want the crème de la crème video producers to create them, you can expect to pay $1000/month.
What’s in your toolbox?
At the very least, you’ll need email marketing and SEO software.
If you use SendGrid, you can expect to pay around $90/month for up to 20,000 contacts.
When it comes to SEO software, you want to make sure your content efforts are paying off.
In that case, it’s best to use tools like Ahrefs for keyword research and monitoring. You’ll pay $399/month for the plan which allows all of your team members to seamlessly work together.
Estimated Content Marketing Costs
While the costs rise with everything else you decide to add to your content mix (influencer cooperation, paid ads, etc), the estimate of your content marketing costs is around $7,500 per month.
This is with ContentFly writing included, as it’s the most cost-effective option on the market.
And when you can get quality content for less, it’s much easier to spend your budget on promoting it.