How much does content marketing cost?
The answer to this question isn't as definitive as you might like.
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 — 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.
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):
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 — and if you want to use the latest content marketing tactics — 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.
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.
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.