11 Jul 2015

How Much Does Real Content Marketing Cost?


So you’re looking to get a better idea of how much real content marketing will cost your organization and in doing so you’re trying to budget accordingly. Since we know the importance of content marketing in today’s market and have made the transition from a SEO to content marketing agency, we wanted to give you insight into what this type of marketing will cost your business at every level of a campaign. Crafting a content marketing campaign requires a number of processes that must occur continuously and dynamically in order to maximize the potential of your content reaching its intended audience in an effective manner.

What follows below is the process Vertical Measures outlines when developing campaigns for ourselves as well as on behalf of our cliens. And as a reminder, cost is very relevant to the scope, size, timing, and complexity of each situation, so use this only as a guideline to understand where you might fall within the spectrum.

How much does content research cost?

The most important thing to keep in mind is: what are your campaign goals? By understanding your goals first and foremost, you can better understand the scope and cost of a potential campaign. There are many content marketing goals that could possibly apply to your business: build brand awareness, grow traffic to your website, increase leads, or boost online sales. Tailoring your campaign to meet and exceed your goals will be what ultimately drives the metrics you track and the baseline to measure results against.

Oftentimes, this includes a complete research and strategy audit. A content marketing audit may include a look at:

Content Research & Strategy

  • Inventory of existing site content
  • Content and resource planning
  • Social media efforts
  • Competitor performance
  • Website optimization
  • Analytics tracking
  • And more…

Depending on the size and scope of your company’s goals, a site audit could cost anywhere between $5,000-$25,000.

How much does a content strategy cost?

Once you have nailed down the goals you would like the content marketing campaign to achieve, the next step in the process is to begin developing a content marketing strategy. Proper planning can mean the difference between success and failure. Many different components are involved in a content marketing strategy which include but are not limited to items such as: an inventory of your existing content, analysis of your target audience, setting of goals and target landmarks, and the creation of a custom content plan for your business.

One of the most essential pieces in this process is the content marketing calendar. With it you can schedule article topics or blog posts in advance so you have plenty of time to research, create, and promote your content to the relevant prospects. Even when you start to begin running out of ideas, falling back on your content calendar allows you to create new content or repurpose existing content into other unique content pieces. Creating an editorial content calendar will allow you to pre-plan the topics that resonate with your audience into a strict schedule that keeps the pace of content creation efficient.

Content Marketing Editorial Calendar Template

A strategy will incorporate all of the research listed above, as well as a detailed plan for moving forward. As the strategy of a campaign is a critical component in the process, and the size and scope of businesses requiring a strategy vary greatly, you will find that pricing for this type of work will vary greatly as well. Content strategies can be priced any where from $5,000 for a very basic strategy to $50,000 or more for a comprehensive strategy that might be appropriate for the Fortune 500.

How much does content development cost?

How-much-does-content-marketing-cost-quoteHere’s where the rubber meets the road and your research, analysis, and strategy planning come together to create the most engaging content your target audience will enjoy reading and sharing, and often more importantly, create content that people find useful.

Content can be created from a variety of digital mediums to enforce and get your point across, some examples of the content types to be created are:

  • Infographics
  • Free guides
  • Case studies
  • Videos
  • Curated content
  • Resource pages
  • Articles
  • Interactive content

Once you have decided on a topic and content format to use, the next step in the process is to create a rough draft, wireframe, or outline for the intended content piece. The creation of content can run the gamut depending on complexity, research, employee incentives, etc., but generally falls into the price range of $500 – $3,000 for solid content pieces including space for revisions, research, custom graphics, etc. Don’t forget that this price is giving you a piece of internet real estate that will keep performing for you years and years down the road. That’s the beauty of content marketing, it’s not a flashbang opportunity like traditional advertising; it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

How much does content optimization cost?

What is great content if no one knows about it, right? The optimization and promotion of your targeted content can be the fuel on the fire for a great infographic or curated list. Properly optimizing your content ensures that search engines and your intended target audience find the content via many different online channels, thereby increasing your brand authority and awareness or helping you to achieve any other goals you set down in your strategy.

Doing the research and choosing the titles of a specific piece of content will be important to getting the content viewed by as many people as possible. Optimizing page titles, creating SEO friendly URL’s, remembering image ALT tags, and integrating header tags are important for the on-page aspects of the site and written content. Multivariate testing can allow you to find the highest converting page layout and site copy to increase sales or leads in your online business. The cost to implement optimization of your existing or new site content can range from provider to provider with many charging an hourly rate (around $75-$200) to implement and execute the required changes. This step can also be a natural piece of the puzzle that is integrated into a wider reaching content marketing campaign with every content piece being optimized from the ground level up.

How much does a content promotion cost?

Now that your content is optimized to the best of its ability, the next vital component is getting the content in front of the right audience. In the early days of the internet, the only ways to prmote and distribute your content were in the form of message boards or forums, and maybe some old-school press releases. In this day and age, you have a quicker and more efficient alternative to getting attention for your content in the forms of social media darlings like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Slideshare and many more.

Having your social media accounts setup and properly handled can be instrumental in building a trusting and engaged audience that comments, retweets, repins and reshares the content with their network. Including your company branding and color scheme in the customization of the various platforms will instill trust and confidence in your brand across the web.

With such a wide array of options to get your content distributed, pricing can vary depending on the vendor and campaign goals. The prices for distribution can range from $75-150/hour  to create, optimize and manage social media accounts.  Or you might need to set aside an advertising budget of $100-$1,000 to see if you can get some decent traction and ultimately a measurable ROI for a specific piece of content.

How much for content marketing education and workshops?

Content Marketing Workshops and Training

Snapshots from a recent content marketing training workshop we put on in Phoenix, AZ.

Since content marketing can be such a culture shift for many companies, it’s often vital to make sure your team is trained in the art of content marketing internally. Learning the right way to research, strategize, create, optimize and promote your content can enable you to provide the most compelling, thought provoking content as it related to your industry. Who else to make the best content for a market than a company that is entrenched in the day to day operations of an industry…i.e. YOU! The questions and nuances of the vertical can only be conveyed by someone who lives and breathes the business every single day. Reprogramming the way an organization thinks about and creates content can be a true change for the better. We’ve seen how effective internal content marketing training and workshops can be, so this can be the next step toward using content marketing in way that can increase your sales revenue or leads to your business.

By creating a truly personalized curriculum based around your company and industry, content marketing training can be tailored to your needs and goals and can help to craft the right strategy for your content marketing efforts. Whether choosing an onsite workshop at your company location to more affordable webinars, the options available to your company are flexible to achieve the results you deserve in the brave new world of content marketing. The costs associated with a training in content marketing can be from as little as an hourly consulting rate, to short presentations, half day, or full-day workshops, all ranging from $800-$6,000. Onsite workshops and presentation give you a personalized training session at your business location and can provide a ROI that will pay for itself well into the future.


So as you can see, the cost of content marketing can broadly range from $5,000-$100,000+ depending on your business size, goals, marketing budget, and resources. Use this article to guide your understanding of the elements that go into the development of your program.

There is no better time to leverage your first mover advantage to become the authoritative thought leader in your industry before many of your competitors can catch up. Creating quality content that helps and informs your target audience can be easier and more affordable than traditional methods of advertising. By following the above steps in the content marketing process and understanding the costs involved, you can ease into this new form of growing your business online and tap into the numerous advantages that content marketing can bring you.


  • Michael Adams Jul 02, 2013

    Interesting how the planning is so much money, but the execution of a handful of content pieces is a tenth of the cost. Of course, you wan to create a lot fo content, though.

    And the training – you can find a lot of content marketing resources online these days! And they’re free!

  • Brian Parker Dec 05, 2013

    Just wanted to say that I thought this was a tremendously helpful (and well-written) article. For those who are just learning about content strategy (and how to price it) this one is worth the read. This is particularly helpful for clients who aren’t sure what the costs/benefits might be for the effort!

    Thank you for sharing, Lloyd.