Strategic Content Planning: Budget Insights for Business Success

content planning budget

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With a new year comes thoughts of growth. In today’s digital world, that means a workable content marketing strategy. Content marketing involves creating online search-engine optimized (SEO) material. The objective is to improve your brand’s internet presence and build interest in your target audience.

Content marketing only works if it meets two critical standards. First, it must be relevant. It must have value to the people most likely to use your product or service.

Second, your content marketing efforts must be consistent. This is where many brands fail.

At the beginning of the year, companies tend to have grandiose content marketing plans, but the blog posts and online ads start to taper off sometime around April. It could be that you used up your budget already, or it was more time-consuming than expected. Maybe you are not seeing the return you wanted from your efforts.

As with most things in business, it’s all in the planning. That starts with developing a working budget for your content marketing. This article will walk you through the basics and offer tips on developing your content marketing budget for the new year to maximize your investment.

    Understanding Content Planning: Navigating the Landscape

    The first question that you might have is, “Why bother?” According to business influencer and entrepreneur Seth Godin, content marketing is all there is left.

    Marketing only works if your target audience sees it. Consider some statistics about internet use:

    • 4.95 billion people use social media.
    • The average internet user spends almost two and a half hours on social media platforms each day.
    • Approximately 80 percent of the population shop online.
    • In 2022, e-commerce sales were over one trillion dollars.

    Put simply, if you are not marketing your brand online, you miss out on opportunities to promote your business. There is little doubt content marketing is a necessity and worth the effort if you do it right.

    The Crucial Duo: Crafting Content Strategy and Calendar

    How to create a content plan is likely the next question that crosses your mind. A content marketing strategy lays everything out in consumable steps, such as:

    • Setting goals for content marketing.
    • Establishing the target audience and understanding their needs.
    • Determining the key performance metrics.
    • Reviewing existing content and refreshing or reusing if applicable.
    • Developing content topics and assets that will answer questions for your target audience.
    • Determining what content marketing channels to use.
    • Creating a content calendar.

    The content calendar maps out your marketing plan over a specific time. It might cover a week, month, quarter, or year. Your content calendar is more of a guidepost than a rule. Use it to guide the direction of your content marketing, but make changes when necessary.

    Shaping Content Marketing: Financial Foundations and Budgets

    Once your content marketing plan and calendar are available, the next step is to work out a budget. You might have a rough idea of what you can spend on content marketing, but save the budget until you have a plan. That way, you can be more realistic about what funding you need to go forward.

    How much should you allocate to your content marketing budget?

    It’s a great but complicated question. There are a number of factors that influence how many funds you need, such as:

    • Business size
    • Current content assets
    • Goals
    • Available tools
    • In-house vs. outsourcing

    Tack on what you can afford to spend to that list. Content marketing is essential if you want to grow your business, but keep it realistic. Also, consider what other kind of marketing you might need. For instance, do you need print displays for a conference? How about print ads?

    Digital marketing should top your budgeting list but not necessarily overtake it. You might work in an industry where print media is just as vital as digital.

    A practical benchmark for your overall marketing budget is 8.7 percent of the business’s revenue. This is according to a survey conducted by the American Marketing Association. Depending on your strategy and needs, plan to devote anywhere from 10 to 80 percent of that to content marketing.

    Guide to creating a content marketing budget

    Break down your budget development into steps.

    Business goals

    The first step is to review your business goals. What do you hope to get from the budget? Increased market share or more actionable leads? Is the goal to raise brand awareness?

    Make sure your goals are specific. Avoid vague objectives like “Increase revenue.” That is too broad. Instead, set a target such as a 20 percent revenue increase.

    Establish measurable goals, as well. You need a way to know if your marketing strategy is working.

    Also, consider how your business goals translate into content goals. If your objective is to bring in 20 percent more leads, then a blog that provides valuable information to your target can help you meet that goal.

    Figure out what you can get for free

    The beautiful thing about content marketing is that some of it won’t cost you anything. Social media posts cost nothing but time. The same is true for email marketing. Adding your business name to local and industry directories will boost your SEO and brand presence and is usually free or available at a meager cost.

    There are metrics and data analysis tools that you can use at little or no cost, as well. Google Analytics is a primary example. Do some research and see what you can make use of that won’t impact your budget.

    What external resources do you have in place?

    Unless this is your first rodeo, you probably have some marketing assets in place. For example, if you have a working website, you already know what that costs. Consider what else you might put into it. For instance, does it need a makeover?

    You can also audit your website pages for free to make sure each page maintains effective SEO practices. Review what is in place and do upgrades as needed.

    Consider what multimedia assets you already have, too. Do you have a logo for your brand? Can you repurpose videos, images, or audio content? Are there older blog posts that you can reimagine to make them more current?

    In-house vs. outsourcing

    What work can someone within the company do, and what will you pay someone to manage it? Factor in things like freelance writers and content strategists.

    State of Marketing Report 2024

    That may seem like an expense you don’t need, but quality is king in the content marketing universe. If you can’t do it well yourself, hiring someone who can do it well is worth the investment. It will pay in organic searches alone.

    What are you willing to pay for?

    Finally, break down the strategies that will cost you. Pay-per-click advertising is an example. You’ll pay for them, but they can boost your brand recognition.

    What about social media advertising? Do you need someone to create a logo or design the copy?

    Consider if hiring a digital marketing agency is in your best interest. Even sitting down with an agency can give you an idea of what you might pay for your overall marketing.

    Efficient Resource Management: Strategic Allocations in Content Planning

    If you break down your needs by category, you can assign a score or value to each and build your budget allocations from there. Categories might include:

    • Content planning
    • Content production
    • Content optimization and distribution
    • Technology expenses such as SaaS, cloud services, and hosting

    This allows you to allocate your resources better and maintain your budget.

    Analytics in Content Planning: Harnessing Data-Driven Insights

    Once you have content marketing in place, analyze the data to see what works and what doesn’t. If the objective for a social media ad was to drive traffic to the website, monitor the website data and see what changes.

    It may be necessary to tweak campaigns and even scrap ideas that don’t work. Data analysis will tell you if your content aligns with your business goals. If you are not getting the return on investment (ROI) you want, data-driven insights might tell you what is wrong.

    Make adjustments and then go back to the data. You can keep tweaking until you get the results you need.

    Pro-Tips for Content Marketing Budget Planning

    Every business has its own approach to creating a content marketing budget. There are some things the experts do, though, that can help guide you as you formulate yours for this year.

    1. Don’t put the cart before the horse.

    Define your goals and create your strategy first. This allows you to clarify what you hope to achieve and create your budget responsibly.

    If you do it the other way around, you will likely come up short on your budget and have to sacrifice some of your goals. Strategizing also forces you to research your target audience. You will better understand their pain points and what distribution channels are most likely to work.

    2. See the forest beyond the trees.

    Look at past years to see what worked for you and how much it cost. What could you do better? What content marketing trends are changing? What was your initial investment, and did you stick to your marketing budget?

    You should do a complete analysis of the previous year’s budget before creating a new one. Don’t replicate it exactly, though. That won’t grow your business. Plan to improve on it.

    If this is your first content marketing budget, keep detailed notes so you can use it next year. Write down why something didn’t work to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

    3. The content marketing budget should not be last on the list.

    Don’t allocate whatever is leftover after you do all other budgets for marketing. Make marketing, especially digital, a priority.

    This is how you can dominate the market. It is how you expand to other areas. It is what allows you to develop leads. Give your content marketing budget the respect it deserves.

    4. Make it organic.

    If you don’t have much of a budget for content marketing this year, then go organic. Organic content marketing means going with little to no paid promotion.

    Start using what you already have in place. Look at what blog posts got the most views, for example. Can you repurpose that content or topic? How about creating an infographic or video around that post?

    Do an audit of your website and research your keywords. Are they still relevant? What keywords is the competition using? Put some effort into keyword research to make sure you are on track.

    Make use of social media. It is a free resource that businesses often underutilize.

    A successful social media strategy involves lots of posting. Ideally, you post something that will appeal to your target several times a day. You can also set up Facebook groups to increase your social media presence.

    Monitor your posts on social media, too. What topics get the most shares? Can you develop blogs around that subject matter?

    5. Put what you would have paid for ads into hiring content experts.

    It can’t be stressed enough – quality matters in content marketing. You are wasting that investment if you post poorly worded blogs or make punctuation errors in your copy. A professional writer and editor can polish your content and make it shine bright enough that search engines won’t ignore it.

    A professional content strategist can help you develop SEO-rich topics that will grab your audience’s attention. They will do keyword research that will drive your brand’s web pages to the top of organic searches, too.

    Writer Access can help you scale your content production to get the most for every dollar. Don’t take our word for it. Try it out for yourself. Writer Access offers a 14-day trial that allows you to see the difference having professionals on your team makes.


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    Find top content freelancers on WriterAccess.

    Human Crafted Content

    Find top content freelancers on WriterAccess.

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