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How to Create a Budget for Content Marketing

Marketing is an essential element of business success. Whether your business is small or medium in size, you must get the word out about who you are and what you do. As the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) says, “marketing typically drives revenue rather than the reverse in most successful businesses.”

But how much should you be spending on marketing endeavors and how should this budget be allocated? There are many ways to go about this, which may explain why the range that companies spend on marketing is broad and often industry dependent.

Though the actual numbers for companies marketing budgets range from a measly one to an eye-popping 40 percent, the SBA recommends spending 7 to 8 percent of your gross revenue for marketing and advertising if you're doing less than $5 million a year in sales, and your net profit margin – after all expenses – is in the 10 percent to 12 percent range.

Of course, these numbers are averages, not prescriptions for success. So, in coming up with the right amount for your business, you might want to consider the following.

4 Key Budget Questions

In this discussion, we’re only going to review the digital aspect of your marketing budget. According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends, 86% of B2C and 91% of B2B businesses are currently using content marketing, and it continues to take an increasingly large share of the overall marketing pie, with traditional marketing activities continuing to shrink.

How can you create a budget? What should you factor into your calculations? Taking the time to ask the following questions will help you hammer out some numbers.

1) What are Your Goals and Priorities?

Just throwing money at digital marketing without understanding your current business goals and priorities would be like throwing darts at a board blindfolded. How will you know the ROI if you never consider what return you’re seeking?

It is crucial that your business have a documented content marketing strategy that spells out your goals in a way that is specific, measurable, and attainable which will enable you to develop your specific content needs, such as:

  • Website updates
  • Blogging (how often)
  • Longer format publications (eBooks, case studies, white papers, etc.)
  • Social Media and other Distribution Efforts
  • Video

2) Who Will Implement Your Content Strategy?

It’s time to assign specific tasks to available, qualified staff members. Here are some of the questions you’ll want to consider:

  • Who do you have in-house that can create compelling, professionally written content?
  • Who is knowledgeable in social media usage, trends, and best practices that can manage your content distribution efforts?
  • If you plan to use video (which is proving extremely useful), who will write scripts, shoot footage, and stitch together the final product?
  • Who will be the eyes and ears concerning digital conversations about your brand and your competitors?
  • Who has the analytical skills to track and report the results of your team’s efforts?

You may have multiple team members collaborating in these efforts, or you may consolidate these functions under one job title. Whichever way you go, you’ll want to add the salaries of all team members into your budget.

3) Do You Need to Hire Outside Partners?

In a survey of CMOs, CMI discovered that 56% of the companies they represent outsource at least one content marketing activity, whether that be content creation (e.g., writers, designers, video production), content promotion/distribution (e.g., social media management), or content marketing strategy, or analytics. It's no surprise given the diverse and specialized skill sets needed for effective content marketing.

If your company doesn’t have the talent in-house to carry out your complete digital marketing plan, your most cost-effective solution may be to hire it out – in part or its entirety. The options vary from skill-specific independent freelancers to firms offering the full range of skills you need. You’ll need to consider which is the best solution for your company.

In terms of budgeting, you’ll want to take the cost of this outside partner and factor it in. Most companies will create a plan based on monthly, quarterly, or annual contracts, making this step easy and straight forward.

4)  What Technology Will You Need?

The final step in your budgeting process is to add in any technology, tools, equipment, or training needs.

  • Will you need to purchase software solutions for your creative team; a content management system (CMS); or content distribution tools?
  • Will you need to buy a camera, video production software, or audio equipment?
  • Will there be any training costs – in terms of time or time plus the cost of formal training programs?

No one wakes up and says, “oh happy day, today I get to create a budget!” But budgeting is an essential part of business success. We hope that these steps will help you get through the process with greater thoroughness and ease.

Are you Ready for Your Mulligan? 

If you find it makes sense for your business to partner with a content marketing professional, our team at Mulligan Management Group will welcome the chance to sit down with you and discuss your needs. Visit our website, email us at, or call De-de at 330-472-7673.

Mulligan Management Group  is a digital marketing agency located in Hudson, Ohio. Our team of professionals helps our clients build their internet presence and expand their authority online.

Our services range from website design and development to professional content creation, to social media strategies and implementation. We also offer to consult in all functional areas.

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