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How Much Does Content Marketing Cost? A Pricing Breakdown

How Much Does Content Marketing Cost? A Full Pricing Breakdown

How much does content marketing cost?

The answer to this question isn't as definitive as you might like. When considering content marketing pricing, it's essential to understand the various factors that influence the total cost.

According to Marketing Insider Group, companies spend anywhere from $2,500 to $75,000 a month on content marketing services, depending on the scope of the strategy, the volume of content created, and other variables.

And if the high end of that spectrum caused your eyes to bug out of your head for a second, you might soon be asking: "Why is this so expensive? Can't we just hire freelancers to do this? Isn't there an AI plug-in that can do this for me?"

A content marketing strategy is about so much more than the words that end up on the screen. Content marketing is an umbrella term that really comes down to intent. From the actual writing of content to maximizing its reach on social to making sure the site's technology is sound, this process starts way before writing and doesn't stop until long after the final word is written. And it's all about executing on a strategy focused on an end goal rather than an approach centered around one-off pieces of content.

Can companies do all this through freelancers and software? Maybe. But it won't be the cost-saving approach many envision, and the byproduct might not garner the strategic results decision makers are hoping for. To do content marketing with freelancers well, you'd have to hire multiple and spend time making sure all their work aligns strategically with your goals β€” if you gloss over that piece of the puzzle, you'll get a bunch of one-off work that isn't likely to impact your bottom line like you hoped.

The True Cost of Content Marketing Services

Content marketing can provide tangible ROI. But success is never quick, and when outsourced to multiple vendors, software providers, and freelancers, those moving parts work separately from one another with no guarantee that they'll sync up or even stay within your budget.

Take a look at these potential content creation costs (as of this writing in August 2023) if you were to rely solely on freelancers (keeping in mind that at least one full-time team member would need to manage these freelancer relationships):

  • Content strategy: A key factor in how much to charge for content marketing. Remember how we mentioned intent before? Content strategy is the blueprint for it, spelling out the who, what, where, when, why, and how of your content marketing efforts. This is where messaging, audience, and success metrics all come together to inform the overall workflow. Crafting the right content strategy takes time, but getting it right bodes well for your strategy's success.

    Freelancer cost: Approximately $60-$200 an hour, with a $100 hourly midpoint.

    Download Your Interactive Content Strategy Checklist

  • Content writing: Content writers have to account for corporate branding components (e.g., preferred tone, in-house style, etc.), word count, and other elements. And depending on the depth of a piece or the topic, some modicum of research may be needed to pull a piece of content together, which can factor heavily into bottom-line spend.

    Freelancer cost: Approximately $15-$140 an hour, with a $75 hourly midpoint.

  • Copy editing: Ideally, a content writer would make sure the copy is so fresh and so clean upon submission, but an extra pair of eyes is usually necessary to catch errors and to make sure the content is cohesive and easy to understand. Think of copy editors as dedicated quality control that accounts for sentence structure, grammar, assignment guidelines, and other details that might slip through the cracks.

    Freelancer cost: Approximately $20-$150 an hour, with an $85 hourly midpoint.

  • Press pitching/PR: Public relations ensure your insights are seen in the right lights and by the right segments of your target audience. Consistent digital PR wins are a byproduct of strong relationships with media contacts and publications, ones that can be built by strong in-house teams or a dedicated partner.

    Freelancer cost: Approximately $15-$150 an hour, with an $80 hourly midpoint.

    Download Your Guide to Modern PR
  • CRM management: From HubSpot to WordPress, the right content management system helps brands establish consistent publishing cadences and take ownership of the way their owned content β€” and their brand β€” is portrayed to the world. Unfortunately, leaving oversight of those systems to a freelancer means sometimes not using the tool to its fullest potential.

    Freelancer cost: Approximately $25-$200 an hour, with a $110 hourly midpoint.

  • Social media management: Social media management is a lot like press pitching in that its true value stems from consistency and visibility. An experienced freelancer can schedule your social media posts by hand or plug them into a system like HubSpot, Buffer, or Oktopost to schedule them at a regular cadence β€” but leaving your social posts to freelancers instead of baking them into an overall content strategy can sometimes result in that messaging being misaligned with the intent of your overarching content marketing strategy.

    Freelancer cost: Approximately $5-$100 an hour, with a $50 hourly midpoint.

  • Content audits: A content audit gives your team the confidence that you're creating the right kinds of content and filling the gaps that your competition might not be. Getting that scope of an entire site or overall industry is best to be handled by an in-house team or a vendor with the time and tools necessary to unearth those insights.

    Freelancer cost: Approximately $45-$150 an hour, with a $95 hourly midpoint.

  • Technical website audits: A content marketing strategy leans heavily on the tech that supports it. Broken links, slow-loading sites, and other technical challenges can stall any momentum your content might stir. This can be a prolonged discovery process, so it's often best left to an in-house digital marketing team or a vendor rather than a freelancer.

    Freelancer cost: Approximately $10-$100 an hour, with a $55 hourly midpoint.

  • Keyword research: Finding the right phrases to pepper content with is never static. This tactic will need an employee or partner who is constantly doing research and is able to implement a process for incorporating those keywords into your content strategy.

    Freelancer cost: Approximately $10-$150 an hour, with an $80 hourly midpoint.

  • Search engine optimization: Taking those keywords and optimizing content for search engine success can require expertise in both content creation and SEO best practices. These findings are best found by a team and supplied to writers beforehand so they can work their magic to incorporate keywords naturally.

    Freelancer cost: Approximately $10-$150 an hour, with an $80 hourly midpoint.

  • Link building/acquisition: Link building is a never-ending process in which brands strive to build authority and be seen as an industry expert. Earning backlinks to high-quality on-site content strengthens domain authority and your reputation as an expert. A dedicated content team in conjunction with writers and in-house experts can fuel link-building efforts.

    Freelancer cost: Approximately $10-$220 an hour, with a $115 hourly midpoint.

  • Historical optimization of content: Updating older content might not be seen as a traditional content creation cost, but it's a practice that helps brands work smarter, not harder β€” and maybe see more immediate SEO success. An SEO expert should be able to identify opportunities to update copy and deploy a quick turnaround.

    Freelancer cost: Approximately $10-$100 an hour, with a $55 hourly midpoint.

  • Graphic design: Design makes content pop and catches your target audience's eye. Good designers are nimble enough to connect the visual with the verbal, and depending on your needs, you could work with an in-house team member, freelancer, or agency partner.

    Freelancer cost: Approximately $10-$150 an hour, with an $80 midpoint.

  • Email drip campaigns and newsletters: Outreach typically ties back to base-level content marketing strategy and regularly assessing the engaged and disengaged parts of your audience. The right email marketing professionals can break those steps down and then build drip campaigns that leverage the right assets for the right audience.

    Freelancer cost: Approximately $10-$120 an hour, with a $65 hourly midpoint.

 

The best content marketing strategies balance quality needs with bottom-line targets. For smaller companies, an in-house content team could be too big an investment at the moment. But while supplementing those needs with a slew of one-off freelance assignment might be a short-term cost savings, it could be shortchanging your content by putting it in the hands of a less experienced person who isn't in the know about your overall strategy or larger company goals.

If you want bottom-line results β€” and if you want to use the latest content marketing tactics β€” an agency can give you an advantage. Good agencies hire experts, stay on top of trends, can be more nimble, and are equipped to take a strategic approach that aligns with your goals. A strong digital marketing agency can give you a 360-degree content marketing approach. Based on our experience in the industry, the average hourly cost for such an agency is usually around $200-$250 an hour, depending on the scope of the strategy and the market location. Meanwhile, paying midrange freelancers for all of the above deliverables could cost around $1,125 an hour.

On average, a content marketing agency would cost $200-$250 an hour, while freelancers to execute on a complete content marketing strategy would be $1,125 an hour

Really, though, content creation cost boils down to what you're willing to put into it. Just make sure you're making an informed, strategic decision that will help you accomplish your business goals.

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About Lauren Tellman

I'm a content-obsessed word person with a passion for finding the coziest coffee shop in town. By day, I'm the content marketing manager at Intero Digital's Content & PR Division. In my downtime, you can find me hanging out with my husband and son, reading a book, sipping a latte, drawing, hand lettering, or watching "The Office" for the zillionth time.

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