5 Steps to Creating a Content Marketing Budget

Posted by Ryan Malone on Apr 13, 2013 7:56:00 AM

According to an Ad Age survey presented by Marketing Charts, content marketing comprises an average of 12% of overall marketing budgets. A full 10% of marketers spend more than 30% on content marketing, and 9% spend 19-30%. This means that approximately one in five marketers with a budget of $100,000 would spend up to or more than $30,000 per year on content marketing. Also worth noting is that 55% of those surveyed indicated that they would be increasing their content marketing budget for 2013.

The results of the survey are below:

content marketing budget

This many marketers can't be wrong about content marketing. If you're not using this important tactic as part of your marketing strategy, you're potentially missing a major opportunity to reach more new customers.

Why is content marketing so popular?

Consumers find products and services in a variety of ways, but one of the most popular is through Internet searching. The more content you have on your website, blog, and social media pages, the more likely it is that a lead will find you. However, when it comes to content marketing, quality is just as important as quantity. Consumers respond best to content that provides value. Whether it is advice or entertainment, quality content that is regularly updated will attract and retain more leads than simple sales pitches. The best content marketing campaigns build trust, educate the consumer, help you develop a loyal community, and increase sales conversions.

Important factors for creating a content marketing budget

There are many different types of content marketing, including:

  • Blog posts
  • White papers
  • E-books
  • Social media campaigns
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Buyers' guides

The types of content that you should use will depend largely on your target audience, but it's important to use multiple approaches. For example, if you offer professional accounting services, you might create an informative white paper that describes recent tax updates, and a series of blog posts that answer the most common questions about changes to the tax code. On the other hand, if you sell flower arranging kits, a more effective approach might be to write a graphic-rich e-book and create a series of how-to videos.

Either way, the importance of ongoing content updates cannot be understated. After a lead reads your white paper or e-book, you need to create fresh new content that will keep them coming back for more. Factor this into your content marketing budget so you have enough funds to keep it going all year long. Remember, online content provides ongoing benefits beyond the initial attention it receives. A white paper will draw in new leads long after you have seen a return on the investment, and regular blog posts have a cumulative effect of improving search engine rankings.

How do you create a content marketing budget?

If you are introducing content marketing or placing more emphasis on this important component of an effective marketing strategy, you'll need to create a budget. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Decide what percentage of your overall marketing budget will go to content marketing. If you follow the current trend, this will probably be 20-30%.
  2. Decide which types of content marketing you want to do. Remember, it's important to have ongoing content development in addition to the occasional e-book or white paper.
  3. Allocate your resources. Factor in the personnel time and costs (either in-house or outsourced) required for writing, editing, video production, graphics, distribution, and content promotion.
  4. Estimate monthly expenses. Create an annual editorial calendar so you can predict how much you will need each month. For example, if you plan to launch a new product or service in May, you might bolster your content marketing efforts around that time.
  5. Stick to it. A budget is useless if you don't actually use it. Track actual expenses so you can modify the budget as necessary. Don't forget to track successes and failures so you know where to focus your content marketing efforts in the next year.

It's clear that an effective content marketing strategy requires ongoing effort. Unfortunately, not all businesses have the talent or resources to do it on their own. This is why so many small businesses choose to outsource content development to a company that has the expertise and staff to generate quality content. 

How do you use content marketing for your business? What percent of your overall marketing budget is used for content creation and promotion?

About the Author: Ryan Malone is the founder and CEO of SmartBug Media, a strategic inbound marketing agency and Hubspot Gold Partner based on Southern California. Go Lakers.  

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Topics: content, social media marketing, business blogging, inbound marketing, content marketing, marketing planning, inbound marketing agency, smartbug media, ryan malone, how to generate leads, buyer persona, content creation

4 Questions to Create Buyer Personas: A Client Story

Posted by Brianne Carlon on Feb 11, 2013 7:29:00 AM

Developing buyer personas can be time consuming and challenging. While there are expensive options, such as focus groups, sometimes all you need to do is talk to your customers. Recent customers know what your target audience is looking for and the pain points they are experiencing. So start interviewing!

After you have interviewed several recent customers, you are ready to get started creating your buyer persona. Here's a Kuno Creative example: 

4 Questions for Understanding Your Customers and Your Product

Who is your ideal buyer? Yes, the first step is that easy. Talk about who your buyer is — as you would describe a friend, and take notes. This does not mean write down demographics and move on. It means understanding what your buyer cares about, what a day in his life is like, how he likes to communicate, what his hobbies are and what drives him to make decisions. Sit down with your team and talk about the details that affect your consumers’ lives.

At Kuno Creative, we have a client called Kendal at Oberlin, a retirement community located in Oberlin, Ohio, for independent adults. After interviewing several current residents, here’s how I would define a likely candidate: John and his wife, Theresa, are retired but are not slowing down. They enjoy traveling, social engagements and physical activities that help them remain fit, and they don’t want to stop learning—ever. Their fear is feeling old, lonely and useless.  John and Theresa are not ignorant of technology—their grandkids got them an iPad for Christmas last year—but they prefer to communicate via phone or in person. Finally, John and Theresa do not want to deal with owning a home anymore: landscaping, paying utilities, cooking and cleaning are just not priorities these days. However, they do not want to give up their independence or living in Ohio where their family also resides.

There are a lot of factors in that one conversation, a lot of which help you understand what drives your buyers’ decision-making process. Your next step should include boiling down your buyers’ problem.

What is their need? John and Theresa want to sell their home and find a retirement community that is filled with life, instead of a nursing home for “old people.” They are not sure this option even exists.

When you get to the root of your persona’s problem, you can really target your marketing in an effective way. Do not skip this step.

How do we solve that problem? This is the step where you figure out why consumers should care about your product or service and what would intrigue them to check you out.

For example, our client provides a vibrant living community located in a college town for active older adults who are seeking independent living and also planning for future health care needs. Now Kendal at Oberlin needs to convince John and Theresa they are a perfect fit.

What is your unique value proposition? In this case, we are a retirement and long-term care community that encourages independence, lifelong learning and a social life without the hassle of owning a home.

What makes your business stand out? What makes your product or service different from your competitors? How does it solve your potential customers’ problems? Once you figure this out, you know how to start marketing.

Write out your persona using complete details. Give the persona a name (such as John or Theresa) and include a picture to really help your team picture this persona as a real person.

Remember, each persona is different and will have a different buying cycle. In our current example, John and Theresa do not want to leave Ohio because that is where their family is located. Their buying experience will be different from Jacki’s, a single retired college professor who wants to move to a retirement community but does not want to give up that college-town vibe, so she is willing to move farther to obtain those goals.

What are your tips for developing buyer personas?


brianne carlonWith a degree in journalism, Brianne has more than six years of professional writing and content marketing experience. Through web and editorial writing, she reaches target audiences for Fortune 1000 companies, as well as small businesses. She uses her content marketing powers to help Kuno and its clients build their brands. You can connect with her on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+


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Topics: content marketing, kuno creative, buyer persona, brianne carlon

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