Marketing Guides

Production Budgeting

3. Production Budgeting

One of the best parts about content is that it's affordable.

Content marketing ranges between $6000 and $12,000 if you want to outsource copywriting, graphic creation, videography, photography, and other content formats.

But after that, maintenance is free.

That's because content only takes up space on your website, which you already own. The only way it'll cost you more is if you need to buy more data storage or servers to host the increased traffic you'll get.

Still, that's not quite specific enough to create a content marketing budget from scratch.

To do that, you'll have to ask yourself a few questions.

1. What do businesses currently spend on content marketing?

The answer to this question depends on your business model.

B2B companies spend 28% of their total marketing budget on content. Over the coming year, 51% say they'll probably increase spending.

Production Budgeting B2B Graph

Sources: Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs

B2C companies spend 32% of their total marketing budget on content. Over the coming year, 50% say they'll probably increase spending.

Production Budgeting B2C Graph

Sources: Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs

So according to these stats, you should spend between 25% and 33% of your total marketing budget on content whether you run a B2B or B2C company.

Increasing that budget comes with a few advantages:

  1. Outpacing competitors
  2. Larger website
  3. Greater SEO potential

By spending more on content marketing, you'll outpace your competitors in terms of content creation.

That'll give you a larger website, which also translates to greater SEO potential since you're targeting more keywords.

With every piece of content you create, you're adding to the potential power that your business has online. You're also giving other people reasons to link to, talk about, and visit your site.

Still, it's possible to go overboard with content marketing spending.

Increasing your content marketing budget comes with a few disadvantages as well:

  1. Less diverse marketing portfolio
  2. Less opportunity to try new strategies

Unless you increase your overall marketing budget, every dollar you spend on content is one less dollar you spend on other strategies. That leads to a less diverse marketing portfolio, kind of like putting all your eggs in one basket.

Spending more on content also leaves you with less opportunity to try new strategies. If you've used content marketing for years, but you've never tried email marketing or conversion rate optimization, you could miss out on increased revenue.

2. What's our goal for content marketing?

Your content marketing goal is just as important as your budget. It can also be just as complicated.

For a lot of businesses, they answer this question with "get more traffic."

That's technically a goal, but it has two major problems.

First, it's unquantifiable. "More" is a general term that doesn't give you a specific benchmark. By only saying "more," you could theoretically be happy with one more visitor on your site next week, regardless of what they do.

Second, it's a vanity metric. Vanity metrics are measurements of your website that look good on paper, but don't actually impact your business. In other words, more traffic is great, but is that traffic converting into customers?

Thankfully, it's easy enough to fix these flaws.

Quantifying goals

To quantify goals, you have to assign numbers to the goals you set. That gives you a concrete way to measure your success.

You can quantify goals a number of different ways. The most common is to use a percentage.

For example, you could say your content marketing goal for the year is to get 25% more downloads on your gated content.

That lets you look at last year's total number of downloads, add 25%, and set a specific number for what you want to achieve this year.

But that's not the only way to quantify goals. Some goals may be more complex than flat-out increases, which require more consideration.

For example, WebFX set a goal in 2016 of earning a domain authority of 70, according to Moz's measurement system. At the time, we hovered around 67 or 68.

After several months of planning and hard work, we achieved our goal.

Production Budgeting Goal Domain Authority

But this goal wasn't just a flat increase. Domain authority works on a logarithmic scale, meaning it's 10 times harder to grow from one number to the next. So you can go from DA 1 to 30 more easily than 90 to 91.

With that in mind, we knew we had to improve our site by about 100 times in terms of SEO ranking factors.

We approached that goal with a lot of different strategies in mind, but one of the biggest was content. We used content for keyword targeting, site expansion, linkbuilding, and a whole lot more.

But we had to set a quantifiable goal. That was the first step in knowing we succeeded.

Tracking good metrics

The metric you use for your goal is just as important as quantifying it.

As we established earlier, a lot of businesses fall into the trap of gauging success by vanity metrics like site traffic.

But they don't reflect actual improvement for your business.

Typically, these metrics are more indicative of success:

  1. Conversions
  2. Conversion rate
  3. External links

You can easily track all three of these metrics.

Conversions refers to the total number of people who become customers because of your site. Conversion rate is similar, but it compares your number of customers against your overall traffic.

Both of these metrics directly relate to your company's revenue and growth, which is essential for any company's long-term success. You can track them using Google Analytics.

Production Budgeting Goal Conversion

External links refers to the number of links you have from other websites. Typically, sites will link to yours because you have some form of reliable, authoritative, or unique content.

This metric is great for improving your site's overall SEO power. External links are arguably the most important ranking factor for search engines, so earning more links from quality sources will help you attract more customers in the future.

You can keep an eye on your external links with Ahrefs, Majestic, or Open Site Explorer.

By quantifying your objectives and picking worthwhile metrics, you're 90% of the way to creating a perfect content marketing goal.

There's just one last guideline to follow.

Making your goals SMART

The SMART system is a method of setting attainable and measurable goals.

SMART is an acronym for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Let's apply this to WebFX's goal of earning a domain authority of 70.

  • Specific: Domain authority
  • Measurable: 68 to 70
  • Achievable: Yes
  • Realistic: Yes
  • Timely: One year

By checking off each of these criteria, we created a lofty goal that we successfully met.

You can do the same. It may take some time at first, but establishing these criteria for your content goals will help you budget for your content marketing strategy as a whole.

If you want to get big results, plan big goals.

If you want incremental results, plan incrementally.

The choice is ultimately up to you, and it depends on what you think will work best for your business.

2. Content Format Planning                4. Process Drafting