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Content marketing costs don’t have to break the bank or bust your brand’s budget. In fact, many content marketing costs are lower than what marketers expect them to be. While multi-national mega-brands might have the wherewithal to spend millions on content, the average small business just doesn’t have the kind of cash.

Knowing what to expect when it comes to the cost of content marketing can help your brand put together a strategy that will let you make the most of your investment.

Content Marketing Budgets

Marketers are allocating more and more money to their brands’ content marketing budgets. The 2017 State of the Creator Economy (SOCE) study found that more than half of all US companies that use content marketing have a stand-alone budget for it. Of those companies, nearly 30 percent have budgets of more than $500,000.

The Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends Report – North America report found that B2B marketers dedicated about 29 percent of their overall marketing budget to content marketing. Nearly 40 percent had plans to increase the amount they spent on content marketing over the next year. Just 2 percent of companies planned on spending less on content marketing.

Understanding the costs of specific content marketing components can help your brand see where that money is going.

Content Marketing Costs: Creation

Marketers who have limited experience with content marketing often worry that the cost of creating content is just too expensive for their company. The reality is that marketers often expect to pay way more than creators charge for various content assets.

The 2017 SOCE revealed that marketers often expect to pay up to five times more than the requested price for various types of content. Take a look at the typical expected price for content creation, versus the requested price:

  • Video: Expected price: $1,208. Actual price: $631.
  • White paper: Expected price: $1,123. Actual price: $959.
  • List/advice article: Expected price: $454. Actual price: $254.
  • Infographic: Expected price: $608. Actual price: $185.
  • Listicles: Expected price: $295. Actual price: $214.

Content Marketing Costs: Promotion

Promoting content, whether through social media, search, or other methods, is another expense associated with content marketing. While it is possible to find free ways to promote content, the 2017 Benchmarks report revealed that many marketers use a variety of paid forms.

Those included search marketing and promoted posts on social. Some also used traditional banner ads and native advertising, or sponsored content, as part of their content promotion efforts.

Costs for promoting your content varies based on the platforms and techniques you use. The average costs for social media platforms, according to Salesforces’ Advertising Index Q1 2016 report, were:

  • Facebook: $5.75 CPM (cost per thousand impressions), global average
  • Instagram: $4.44 CPM, global average
  • Twitter: $6.93 CPM, global average
  • LinkedIn $29.37 CPM, global average (for sponsored status update)

Although those costs can seem a bit high, most social media advertising systems let you set a daily budget limit. For example, if your brand can only spend $5 per day promoting posts on Facebook, you will never have to pay more than $5 per day over the course of your promotional campaign.

Content Marketing Costs: Staff

Since the majority of content marketing creation and promotion is handled in house, according to the 2017 SOCE, it’s important to include the cost of a content marketing staff when figuring out content marketing costs.

Although the average salary varies based on location and job title, the typical salary for content marketing staff is between $60,000 and $74,000 annually.

Content Marketing on a Budget

If your brand doesn’t have $500,000 to spend on content marketing, and can barely afford the $60,000 salary of one content strategist, don’t worry: Content marketing isn’t out of your reach.

You have options for maximizing the return on investment you get from content marketing without shelling out tens of thousands of dollars. Working with freelance content creators and using content creator marketplaces to find them is one option.

You can also take a low-budget approach to content promotion and amplification. Set a budget for advertising or promoting posts on Facebook that you can afford. Five or ten dollars per day will do. If you know who you want to target with your posts and how to reach them, you’ll be able to make sure your content gets in front of them, even without spending lots of cash.