Content marketing is a huge building block that will boost your online marketing campaign tremendously. But how much is content marketing really worth? What ROI can you expect from your marketing dollars spent on content?

For business owners, establishing the value of content before making financial business decisions is vital. There’s no use forking large amounts of money over into something if it isn’t going to bring in new customers.

As a general rule, the more bootstrapped your business is, the more careful you’re going to be about investing in content marketing. Some businesses have full-time employees to handle online marketing and content creation, but not all companies have the resources to appoint an in-house marketing team.

What is Content Marketing?

Let’s begin by taking a step back and answering a simple question: what is content marketing all about?

Content marketing is any form of online marketing where a business produces some kind of content to reach its audience. This can include blog posts, social media content, videos and even podcasts.

However, many business owners only think about blog posts and social media when they start planning their content strategy – and both of these are great for beginners. Both blogging and social media require less financial investment and offer a promising ROI if done right.

Content Marketing Goals

According to different research groups, most businesses seem to spend about 25%-30% of their marketing budget on content marketing. Businesses that spend a larger part of their budget on content marketing (more than 40%) report better results. That’s a hefty chuck of your budget, so you should at least know where that money is going to.

The content you publish is meant to increase your visibility and help you connect with new customers through marketing yourself on the internet. Here are some things you should keep in mind when it comes to content creation:

  • Your content should help you connect with the right audience. The audience you should be aiming to attract, are your target customers.
  • The content you create should help you show up in searches, both Google searches and ones done locally on social media sites.
  • You should aim to get the most out of each piece of content, so it’s wise to have a plan in place for how you’ll promote and distribute your content.

Not all content is meant to convert visitors to your business website into customers instantly. Content can help you build a relationship with your audience over time, so that – whenever they’re ready to buy – your business will be the first one that comes to mind. This means that good content can help you to both improve your search visibility and build trust with your audience of potential customers.

Creating Your Content Strategy

A content strategy is like your action plan for how you’ll use content to attract new customers. As with anything in life, you need a plan if you want to succeed at content marketing. Keeping up with content creation and planning out content that attracts your target audience is what you should be thinking about here.

Here are some things you should plan for when it comes to your content strategy:

  • You need to publish fresh content regularly to stay relevant, so plan out your publishing schedule ahead of time. How often will you post to different social media channels?
  • Who will be responsible for maintaining your content marketing strategy? As mentioned in the beginning of this post, some companies have full-time employees to do this, but if you’re on a very small budget you can try to do it yourself. Hiring a agency or online marketing company is a great alternative for business owners who are too busy, but can’t quite afford a marketing team just yet.
  • What audience are you trying to reach? Knowing your audience is one of the most important parts of planning your content. After all, if you don’t know who you’re trying to reach, you’ll probably never get reach them.

Planning out content that will be effective at reaching your market segment will be challenging. Because while you’re trying to reach your target audience, you need to consider that the online world works.

On the internet, it’s all about reaching people through using tactics that will make it easier for search engines to find you. So for your content to be visible, it should also be optimized to help Google read it. This is where things like keywords come into play. Using keywords that will make your content stand out in relevant searches is how you can attract new, relevant traffic to your business website.

Your keywords should be planned by getting an idea of what your audience are searching for. While it can seem tempting to target general keywords that get more searches, that won’t help if the people using those keywords in searches aren’t your target audience.

So How Much Should You Spend?

At the end of the day, exactly how much you spend on content marketing will depend on your specific situation. If you can’t afford to spend anything, you’ll have to put in a lot of time, as developing a solid content marketing strategy requires a lot of knowledge on the subject. But that’s not likely to get you any results soon, so it’s not the recommended route for serious businesses.

To start off, you could devote a small portion of your marketing budget (15%-20%) to hire a company that does professional content marketing. If the results are satisfactory during the first few months, investing more should improve them, and so you can grow your budget and allocate a larger portion to content marketing later on. Remember to give it a few months before you throw in the towel, as content marketing efforts don’t always pay off as much at first.

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