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Brad Shorr

How Much Money Should I Invest in Content Marketing for 2015?

Brad Shorr
How Much Money Should I Invest in Content Marketing for 2015?

If the question you’re asking is: "How much money should I invest in content marketing for 2015?" — you’ll never get the right answer.

The correct question is, "How much money should I invest in lead generation, e-commerce revenue generation, brand awareness and/or brand loyalty in 2015?"

For most companies, these are the main objectives of Internet marketing campaigns. The main Internet marketing programs to support these objectives are SEO, PPC, email marketing and social media marketing.

Content is used to support all of these programs.

  • SEO requires content, now more than ever. Offsite publishing is the best way to acquire high-quality links, and onsite content is a productive way to generate traffic and conversions.
  • PPC requires content. You wouldn’t have much of a PPC campaign without solidly composed ads and solidly composed landing pages — both of which are being systematically tested week after week, month after month.
  • Email marketing requires content — the more creative, useful and engaging, the better.
  • Social media marketing requires content: original blog posts, original social media posts, and more and more, visual content such as infographics, video and high-quality, imaginative photos.

Strategy First

With all of this in mind, how does a company separate “content marketing” into a separate marketing function? In my estimation, attempting to do so is pointless. Instead, start by asking:

  • How much is a new client worth? This tells you how much you want to invest in building lead generation and/or e-commerce revenue generation.
  • How much is exposing our brand to 1,000 new, relevant prospects worth? This tells you how much you want to invest in building brand awareness.
  • How much is turning an occasional client into a long-term client worth? This tells you how much you want to invest in building brand loyalty.

Once you’ve got your head around these questions, move on and ask:

How well do SEO, PPC, email marketing and social media marketing contribute to growth in lead generation, e-commerce revenue generation, brand awareness and/or brand loyalty? When you understand this, you can then set realistic budgets for those Internet marketing programs.

Content Marketing Second

Only at this point does thinking about “content marketing” make sense. How much SEO, PPC, email marketing and/or social media marketing you intend to do in 2015 determines how much and what type of content you need to execute those campaigns.

For instance, if your 2015 Internet marketing campaign relies heavily on SEO, you need a small army of versatile business copywriters and visual content creators to produce, say, 20 pieces of original content per month. In addition, you need copy editors, outreach specialists and analysts to round out the content dimension of your SEO campaign.

If, on the other hand, your 2015 Internet marketing campaign relies heavily on PPC, you need writers who are specially trained in conversion optimization, split testing methodologies, and direct marketing copywriting style. But you don’t need as extensive an editing function as an SEO campaign demands or any outreach function.

Granted, I’m talking in broad strokes here, but the underlying principle is valid. Content marketing is a fad, a buzzword, a trend, a healthy development in marketing — whatever you want to call it. What content marketing is not is a department. Content is tightly connected to many marketing activities. However, without a marketing campaign context, content has little value to an organization.

So, in 2015, let your competitors debate endlessly about what content marketing is or isn’t, about whether it’s a magic bullet or a money pit, and about how to integrate content marketing into their already overly complex marketing departments.

While they are so engaged, you can focus on creating and executing campaigns that meet solid business objectives, bring in traffic and convert prospects into customers. Spend what you need to spend on content to make your marketing programs click, and not a penny more.

Brad Shorr is the B2B Marketing Director of Straight North, an Internet marketing firm with headquarters near Chicago. Brad writes frequently on B2B marketing topics with articles that have appeared Moz and Fox Small Business.

Comments

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Steve Masters
Steve Masters
This is a good article with great advice but I clicked on the headline expecting it to answer the question posed in the headline and it didn't.

That's a broken promise, IMO. What is the actual answer to "how much money"?
Brad Shorr
Steve Masters
Hi Steve, "Spend what you need to spend on content to make your marketing programs click, and not a penny more." What I meant by that closing statement is, your content spend is driven by the nature and extent of your Internet marketing campaigns. I don't believe there is a cut-and-dried, one-size-fits-all answer. I sincerely apologize if the title was misleading; I don't like that kind of approach myself because it is often a shortcut link bait tactic. That was not the intent here. Given the title/topic, I felt the best answer was a (perhaps overlong) discussion of how I feel a company should create a marketing strategy and budget. Anyway, thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I'm sorry the post didn't meet your expectations, but I hope you got something positive out of it.
Steve Masters
Steve Masters
Brad Shorr
Thanks Brad. I appreciate that that's what you were doing in the article, and the article itself is fine. I thought it worth commenting, though, that I clicked on the headline because I assumed it would lead me to a page showing me information about how much people pay for content, some market stats, comparisons etc.
Robby Wilson
Robby Wilson
Great Article Brad! It often amazes me that many of my clients will invest ridiculous sums of money on traditional advertising (TV, Print, Radio etc.) but the thought of any increase in digital spend is met with fierce resistance. Successful SEO is more of a synergy of many processes into a cohesive whole than it is any one aspect in particular, and therein lies the problem for many people.
Brad Shorr
Robby Wilson
Thanks, Robby! Why do you think digital spend is fiercely resisted? Is it because they don't understand digital, or because they don't see the value?
Robby Wilson
Robby Wilson
Brad Shorr
Hey Brad, it is an amalgamation of several variables in my experience. Traditional advertising has had over 100 years to drive their point across to companies, which can be a challenge to overcome. There is also the ignorance factor, which is similarly a multifaceted problem. Granted that many firms are fairly clueless about SEO concepts. However, all of us in this industry need to do a better job of expressing ourselves to clients in a manner which is digestible and makes sense with their existing business processes. If we continue to convey our concepts mainly amongst one another, then I find it no great mystery as to why many companies remain wary of our services.
Monica Gandhi
Monica Gandhi
Brad Shorr
I guess it is mostly because they don't see the value.. and in some cases the lack of understanding interrupts as well..
Brad Shorr
Robby Wilson
Robby, this is very similar to what we see. When we do website projects, we constantly advise clients to talk about their value to their customers, not about the technical details of their business. It's funny how many marketing companies (ourselves included at times) don't follow their own advice and talk way too technically to clients about SEO. All this accomplishes is confusing clients and making them skeptical.
Brad Shorr
Monica Gandhi
Probably the lack of understanding makes it impossible to see the value. SEO probably seems like a mystery to the typical business leader.
Robby Wilson
Robby Wilson
Brad Shorr
Yup, we grow so accustomed to our own vernacular and technical shorthand that we often forget how ambiguous this comes across to the outsider.
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