Marketing budgets average 10.7% of company revenue. If you're a small business, 10.7% might not be enough to cover digital advertising, mobile marketing, digital commerce and your website. 10.7% might be just a few thousand dollars compared to the millions corporate giants are able to spend. So how do you, as the CEO of a small business, find time and money to create content that rivals legacy competitors? How do you find and help passionate customers? How much time and money will this cost you? How much will it cost you if you avoid content marketing and just cross your fingers that customers will find you?
We reached out to the experts to help us understand the real costs of creating good content that will be worth all the effort. Here's what you'll find in this article:
- How much time you need to spend creating valuable blog content.
- How much money you need to spend on content creation.
- Breakdowns and data to help you streamline the content-creating process, and keep the revenue coming.
Expert Tips: How to Create Valuable Blog Content On a Budget
How Much Time to Invest In Content
"You can save yourself a lot of time and money by putting in a bit more work up front."
We agree with Crestodina. The time investment is definitely like a mullet: business up front, party in the back. The more time invested in strategy and researching your ideal customer, the more likely you'll be celebrating growing web traffic and conversions later. You'll have to bite the bullet in the beginning. Give yourself 2-3 weeks to figure out exactly what kind of content would be the most useful and valuable for your potential customers.
Crestodina recommends you ask yourself 2 of "the big strategy questions:"
He goes on to advise that "once you've got the basics of your plan laid out and documented, you should have:
- A Basic Publishing Calendar (what topics? what formats? what frequency?)
- A Basic Plan for Promotion (what social networks? what influencers? what blogs to submit to?)
"Even if your activity is very low, even if it's one post per month, it will be very targeted. You're ready to succeed. Start your engines and start measuring results!"
Crestodina and other content marketing experts argue that consistency trumps frequency. If you can only blog once a month, make sure you're blogging once a month at about the same time. If you can post weekly, post on the same day every week.
We found that it took us a couple of weeks to answer the 2 Big Strategic Questions to find out who our target customer is and where he/she hangs out online, and sometimes we spend a little time here and there to take our customer's pulse. Are they still hanging out where they were last quarter? Who's still engaged? Where are we losing people?
So, your initial time investment could take you 2-3 weeks to really feel comfortable about making sure you're not wasting your time when you begin cranking out content.
Here's an outline of estimated time you'll spend on content creation and promotion based on how frequently you post:
Crestodina understands that business owners are crunched for time dealing with clients and employees. But he advises owners to be smart with their time. In his article, Why Blogs Fail, he points out that you're already answering customer questions and sending out dozens of emails a day--why not simply transform these interactions into blog posts or email campaigns? Get smart and save time by combining your efforts.
2. How Much Money To Invest In Content Creation
If you're creating the content yourself, then the time costs are what you're most concerned with. How much money is it costing you if you're blogging 2 hours per week rather than making sales calls?
Costs of Hiring a Freelance Writer
One option is to hire a freelance writer to write all of your blog posts while you try to manage promotion with social media and email campaigns. If you decide to hire a freelance writer, here are the average rates you'll be paying according to freelancwriting.com:
- E-Books: $15-$25 per page
- In-Depth Articles: $600-$2000
- Articles For Web Content: $10-$50 per hour (based on word count and other aspects of the job such as keywords, etc)
Keep in mind that most freelance writers make anywhere from $30-$75 per hour.
Costs of Hiring an In-House Content Team
This option will, of course, cost you quite a bit more, but hiring someone in-house will allow them to really understand your company's mission and purpose. The content they create will go deeper, and they'll be able to engage with potential and current customers on a day-to-day basis.
Hiring someone part-time, about 20 hours per week, could get you 2 basic blog posts per week along with a minimal amount of promotion. Another option is to hire someone with little or no experience who you can train within your company culture, and start them at a basic hourly rate.
Salary for full-time content employees varies greatly depending on location, education, experience and reputation. Here are some common content team job titles for you to search for on Salary.com or Glassdoor.com:
- Content Manager
- Content Creator
- Marketing Assistant
- Digital Marketer
- Digital Web Strategist
- Marketing Manager
- Social Media Marketing Strategist
- Web Strategist
If you're low on cash, the good news is is that time investment can be worth more than your monetary investment. This is why small businesses can rival big corporations in their inbound marketing strategies. You know your product better than anyone else. You know your customers better than anyone else. And you know how you can help. So write about it, Tweet it, email and talk with people. Spend time with people online--because that's where most of us spend our time.
What else can you do to continue to reach more customers and grow your business?