Originally published February 7, 2017. Updated Oct. 14, 2020.
At Influence & Co., we talk to business and marketing leaders all the time about what it takes to do content marketing successfully, and a frequent concern we hear sounds a bit like this:
“Yes, my business needs content marketing, but I don’t know whether it’s something I should build internally or outsource.”
And that concern is valid. Plenty of pros and cons come into play when you decide whether to outsource content marketing, hire internally, or practice some combination of the two.
As you're considering your options, there are some essential questions you have to answer: Who do you need to hire? What technology do you need to invest in? Let’s break down some essential costs to help clarify how much money it takes to set up an in-house content marketing team for success.
Content marketing isn’t a one-woman show. It takes several skill sets to ensure a content marketing strategy drives results. Depending on the goals of your content strategy, your expert team might include people with specialties in SEO, web development, conversion rate optimization, public relations, and inside sales, as well as resources like content management platforms, marketing automation systems, and more.
Below is a list of the core members of a content marketing team, followed by the types of software this team would find valuable, along with the average cost for each team member and item:
*These salaries are national averages. Individual salaries vary depending on experience, geographic location, and that particular area's cost of living.
As skilled and experienced as each of these key players may be, they can’t do everything themselves. Your content marketing team members need the right tools and resources to help them maximize their time and energy — and your investment.
With so many team members working on projects together, keeping everyone on the same page is especially critical. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools out there to help you monitor project progress, collaborate on content, streamline your communication, track analytics, and even manage your editorial calendar.
The Influence & Co. marketing team uses HubSpot to manage our marketing automation. This powerhouse system allows us to track our website analytics, maintain our company blog, and automate content distribution via email and social media, as well as easily capture and deliver leads to our sales team and track them from their first interaction with our team all the way to a signed contract.
This tool is essential for increasing our team’s productivity and tracking the ROI of our efforts. While we love working with HubSpot, it isn’t the only solution out there. Other marketing automation systems include Pardot, Marketo, and Eloqua.
Having a process in place that allows you to deliver leads generated through your content efforts to your sales team is critical. Some marketing automation systems such as HubSpot have this feature built in, but you might find that more a robust CRM system like Salesforce, Keap, or Benchmark ONE works better for your goals and needs.
Getting the content marketing results you’re looking for is pretty difficult without a network of engaged followers and brand advocates to distribute your content to. Building that network takes time and a lot of trust, but you can accelerate your efforts by investing in paid content amplification.
In fact, according to research from Contently CEO Shane Snow:
If we said it cost $1 to acquire a social follower, it would take almost six years for organic Facebook clicks to pay off the cost of acquiring your followers versus just buying the clicks through paid updates.
Through a combination of organic distribution on social media and highly targeted paid distribution on the organic efforts that are already working, you can broadcast your content to your audience — and build and nurture your network along the way.
To see long-term content marketing ROI, your content must be optimized for search. Tools like Searchmetrics, Moz, and Ahrefs can help you track your current keyword rankings, understand your competitors’ content, and optimize your own site for search.
For your in-house team to see content marketing success, you’ll need to invest in each of these key team members and the tools they need to do their jobs well. While the actual cost of each item might vary depending on your location, industry, goals, and needs, you still have to ask yourself whether your company has the financial resources to build this in-house team. If not, it might make more sense to partner with an outsourced team of experts to help you hit the ground running and drive real results for your company.
I'm a content-obsessed word person with a passion for finding the coziest coffee shop in town. By day, I'm the director of content at Influence & Co. In my downtime, you can find me reading a book, sipping a latte, drawing, hand lettering, or watching "The Office" for the zillionth time.