It’s happening, people: It’s officially budgeting season.
Yep. Stress, chaos, the whole nine yards — but it doesn’t have to be that way. Starting early on your 2020 content marketing budget could save you and your team a great deal of worry. You don’t necessarily have to start paying for content right now, but you should at least start thinking about it.
Content marketing is a long-term game, and you can only win if you’re adequately prepared. Too often I see marketers hold off on budgeting for content and scrambling later in the year to generate new leads or raise brand awareness: things that content could have helped them with.
So save yourself the panic and get a head start. Between budget approvals and content creation, it could take some time to get the ball rolling — and that’s OK. With content marketing, you (typically) won’t see immediate fruits from your labor. But you know what they say: “Good things take time.”
Well, your time is now. Follow these steps while prepping your 2020 budget so you can reap the benefits from your content in the new year.
Consulting your content strategy is the first (and arguably most important) step toward finalizing your budget. What goals are you wanting to achieve? What kinds of content can be used to meet these goals? How much content is needed? These are all questions that you should answer before you begin crunching numbers.
If you’re looking to enhance your online presence, your goal should be to increase SEO. But if you’re trying to boost sales, lead generation is a better objective. To help you decide which content goals best fit your needs, you're going to need to take a look at what your company's overall goals are as well. Once you pinpoint those objectives, you can determine a strategy that aligns with them.
On our side, this process typically unfolds through numerous discovery calls, strategy proposals, and legal approvals. This can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on the content and how many people are involved, so it’s crucial you get started sooner rather than later.
Want to find out if you're creating the right content for your goals? Take our free interactive to evaluate your current efforts.
Once you’ve allocated your budget, it’s time to determine who will be producing your content. Being a content marketing agency, at Influence & Co., we do everything in-house. Based on our experience with our own content strategy, we recommend having at least these four positions on your content team: a content strategist, an editor/writer, a distribution specialist, and a project manager to ensure things are moving along.
It's great if you already have people who can fulfill these roles, but it's important to note that moving people around or adding extra tasks to their existing workloads in order to keep your content marketing in-house isn't always the best option. Be sure to consider the full cost of doing everything internally before you pick your team; depending on your budget, outsourcing content creation might be better for your strategy.
Handing over the reins can be intimidating, I know, but it’s something to think about. Seeking help from outside partners could take some pressure off your team so that you can shift your focus to other priorities. By outsourcing, you’re allowing people who specialize in content to bring in new ideas and approaches. Just keep in mind: Whether you decide to hire internally, externally, or a blend of both, ensuring that you find the right partners is crucial for your content’s success.
This step isn’t always necessary, but I highly recommend it. If you’re outsourcing, your partners should help you take care of this. However, if you choose to do everything in-house, you’ll definitely have to allocate a portion of your budget to ensuring you have the right content tools to help you achieve your goals.
At Influence & Co., we use tools like a marketing automation platform and our proprietary project management system, ICo Core, to help streamline everything we do. Researching which technologies can help you create, organize, and distribute your content will benefit you over time, trust me.
Looking for more tools to help enable your content? Check out our to track and store ideas for your content.
A big part of our job is helping marketers think through what their content goals really are and where their money is going now. Oftentimes, the ones holding the purse strings claim they have too many other things taking up their budget to pay for content, so they’re reluctant to invest. What they fail to realize is that content can help other departments too, saving them more money in the long run.
If done correctly, content marketing can positively impact almost every area of your company, so it’s important to identify which departments can benefit from it. If HR or sales needs help creating employer branding or sales enablement content, it might make sense to share the cost of content creation with those departments.
By splitting the cost with other departments and creating content that they can also use, you minimize the need to spend more money on additional tactics. Not only do multiple departments get to benefit from your content, but you get to do it at a cheaper price. Ultimately, investing in content is a win-win for your entire business.
Budgeting can be overwhelming, but it’s not as scary as it seems. Start preparing now so you can hit the ground running in 2020.
I'm a VP at Influence & Co. I love the St. Louis Cardinals, Mr. Pibb, and Reese's. My favorite things to do are spend time with my family, play outside, and wrestle with my Great Dane.