Content Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide

Thursday 07th, April 2016

Have you allocated your content marketing budget for 2016?

Or to put it this way: Do you even have a content marketing budget? Most companies allocate a fraction of their general marketing budget for content purposes. This is because even if the funds are allocated, it can be hard to justify huge spending, request a budget increase or to even accurately calculate your ROI.

However things are beginning to change with large organizations realizing the potential of content marketing have started allocating marketing budgets to be spent on developing content.

Once the budget is allocated, content marketing needs to be carefully planned to get the best results. Let’s take a look at how you can draw your content marketing strategy.

Prioritize Customer Journey than Channel

Traditionally budgets have been allocated through channels- owned, earned and paid.

Assigning budgets to each channel makes the most sense and it is the simplest way break down the costs. But the need for a great customer journey right from the discovery till the sale is becoming more important. Organizations have realized this and the CMOs are finding it much more effective to allocate budgets in this manner.

So how is it broken down in absolute numbers? Take a look:



  • Discovery stage (20%)
  • Learning stage (16%)
  • Trying stage (16%)
  • Buying stage (21%)
  • Use (13%)
  • Advocate (14%)

You should also experiment with your budgeting models. Some campaigns might click and some might fail. Any smart CMO will change the gears once the outcome of any such campaign is achieved. “Marketers are testing the waters by experimenting across tactics and buyer stages. In a sense, they are initially putting bets on every horse at the start of the race, but leveraging agile approaches to reallocate resources to the leading “horses” mid-race and increasing their chance to win the day.”

Allocating by Channel

Another school of thought is to allocate budgets by a specific channel. While formulating the strategy, you may allocate budget among the following categories:

  • Written content creation
  • Graphic design for visual content
  • Video production
  • Content marketing tools and software
  • Website/blog maintenance and updates
  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing (planning as well as implantation)
  • Content promotion and distribution, including paid promotion
  • Monitoring services
  • Webinars or other online events

Of course these categories vary from company to company. Some companies might use freelancers for content creation while big firms might have an in-house team. However, almost all companies include most of these categories within the content marketing budget.

HubSpot gives some category points where you can break down your costs:

  • Software
  • Publishing tools
  • Services
  • Freelancers

Competitor Analysis

Often it is not easy on deciding on how to spend on each category. Taking a look at the competitors’ spending and how that compares to their overall marketing budget. Below are some findings that might help you.

Content Marketing Institute says, approximately 28% of B2B budgets are allocated to content marketing and 32% for B2C markets. If you need a high efficiency you can consider increasing your budget- the most effective companies at content marketing spend 42% of their total marketing budget on content marketing.

While these stats are useful, you should also keep in mind that depending on your size, your industry and your content marketing goals, these numbers can be very different.


Drawing up a plan and allocating the budget for content marketing isn’t as simple as it might seem. ‘One size fits all’ strategy doesn’t work in content marketing. Having an open mind about every trick and trying out the odds are the best ways to crack your optimum budget.

How are you calculating your content marketing budget? Share with us in the comments section.


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