How much does a content strategy cost? This is a common question many business owners have when looking to get into the realm of content marketing and everything it encompasses. In the past I’ve written about how the content marketing ecosystem is rapidly evolving and also how much content marketing costs. This post will be about the most important part in the process since strategy is the road map for all content marketing efforts. You will be able to fall back on this plan when you thought you ran out of ideas for brainstorming, creating, and distributing the content that will engage your audience and produce results long after the content has been published.
Why A Content Strategy Is Important
There is an old quote from Winston Churchill which states: “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” That sentiment is the perfect parallel to creating a strategy for content marketing. Without a strategy, your content may fall flat without integrating goals backed by research, and creating a plan for you to stick to. Creating a content marketing strategy allows you to forecast the actions you will take far into the future and will guide all content creation, promotion, and distribution you choose to do. Most importantly, a strategy keeps you honest. Before we can even talk numbers, you must understand all that is included in devising a content marketing strategy.
Content Marketing Goals
Without a goal, what are you trying to achieve? Goals can be a combination of things – the need to create wider brand recognition in addition to social engagement, or just more leads to the website (which hopefully then turn into sales). Content strategy can never be one size fits all, nor should it be. Cost must be first assessed through an analysis of what you want to achieve with the strategy you create.
With the increased amount of content entering the marketplace and the shortening of attention span by many online users, the need to create a memorable brand has never been stronger. A content strategy that focuses on building up a brand will include a deeper analysis of the target audience and the types of content that resonate strongly with that niche. Brand awareness can also include a goal of more responsive and effective customer service, so that your brand can gain a strong competitive advantage in your industry.
One of the best ways to increase revenue and lower costs is through increasing the number of people that convert to a lead from the existing traffic that your site currently has in place. Maybe with this goal, an email newsletter is fitting, delivering valuable content to your audience and buyers that can position your brand or business at the foremost thought of your customers. Or it might be optimizing a lead form on your free guide download to make sure you get the most out of your well-performing content. And of course, in an ideal world, lead conversions (for whatever conversion standard you have in place – filling out a form, downloading a free guide) eventually has the goal of becoming not just a lead, but a sale.
Increasing the amount of sales that come from your content marketing efforts is one of the most important goals for almost every company in existence. The content strategy employed for increased sales will need to be focused more around existing business and upselling or cross promoting complimentary services or products. Starting an inventory of existing content and other digital assets can be useful for repurposing or refreshing content into new content formats.
By creating an internal audit of your existing content you are able to create an inventory of valuable digital assets and repurpose the existing content you have into new formats like free guides, infographics, videos, and resources pages. But the beauty of today’s technology is that you can create new, unique, and engaging content pieces and the only limitation is your imagination. A content audit shows you what you’ve done well, and what holes need to be plugged. Maybe you’ve got great written blog content, but your visuals are sorely lacking. By looking at where you are currently, you can better understand which road to take to reach your goals.
By leveraging your findings from the content audit and goals research, you will then be able to formulate a comprehensive content plan that should be sketched out on an editorial calendar far in advanced of your publishing. Stick to that plan and calendar like your business depended on it! With it, you have a planned roadmap of content topics and formats in order to consistently produce useful content over the long term that is relevant to the time it is being published.
Target Audience Analysis
Take the time out to research who your target audience is and what types of digital content they enjoy digesting and sharing online. Does your audience like long form written content, short or detailed how-to videos, or are they too busy during the week and a carefully curated post of the industry news for the week would be the most valuable content for them? Knowing where you audience hangs out online can be useful in targeting them in the most efficient manner. For example, perhaps they are on Pinterest and Twitter, but the content needed in order to be successful are too totally different mediums and distribution channels. Tailoring your content strategy around these important but quite often overlooked details can mean the difference between a “just-ok” campaign and a campaign that is a home run. Taking the time to research, study, and know your target audience better than they know themselves can be the ultimate key to providing value that goes far beyond an individual blog post or infographic.
Having an editorial calendar full of content opportunities and ideas can truly motivate your team when the well runs dry. Combining your marketing goals, content inventory, a strategic plan and the data on your market will allow you to unearth a ton of material that– in conjunction with the myriad of content formats– you may end up with at least a year of solid content production.
These are the largest aspects of a content strategy, but there could be much more depending on the scale of the project: social audit, backlink analysis, competitive analysis, etc. Ultimately the cost for a comprehensive content strategy with a well-established agency could cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 based on budget, the overall goals and scale of the content campaign, and the company and industry involved. Understanding what your ultimate end goals are for the campaign, the needs of the target audience, and a planning to stay consistent in producing content will propel your business up the rankings, and increase sales by positioning yourself as an authoritative voice and providing the value your target audience is seeking. The cost of not implementing a strategy before jumping into content creation can end up being much more than getting clear and intentional from the start.
We wouldn’t write all this about content strategy if we didn’t know our stuff! We produce strategies for multiple clients, big and small. Want to learn more if this is a right fit more you? Contact us now.