G’day folks! Alex here from Meta Trends, your friendly neighbourhood WordPress wizard. As we all know, having a solid online presence is crucial for any business looking to succeed in today’s digital marketplace. And one of the best ways to build your online authority is through content marketing.

Some small and medium business (SMB) owners might feel overwhelmed trying to sort out budgets, goals, tactics, etc., for your content marketing. Well, no worries, mates! I’ve compiled this little guide to help take some guesswork from planning and budgeting for an effective content marketing campaign.

Why Should SMBs Invest in Content Marketing?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, let’s quickly go over why content marketing is so important:

  • It helps you attract more qualified traffic to your site.
  • It establishes you as an authority in your industry.
  • It nurtures relationships and builds trust with potential customers.
  • It keeps you top of mind so buyers think of you first when they’re ready to make a purchase.

In other words, content marketing fuels many critical digital marketing activities like SEO and Content Marketing that ultimately drive sales.

And here’s a mind-blowing stat for you:

Businesses that blog have 97% more website links than businesses that don’t.

As you can imagine, more quality links pointing back to your site signals search engines like Google to rank your content higher in search results, which means more eyeballs on your business!

Why Should SMBs Invest in Content Marketing

Okay, I think I’ve convinced you about the power of content marketing. Now, let’s discuss creating a budget plan that helps you get the most bang for your buck!

Setting Your Content Marketing Goals

Before hammering out numbers, you need crystal clarity on what you’re trying to achieve. This means defining your objectives and KPIs (key performance indicators).

Some examples of content marketing goals include:

  • Increase website traffic by 25% in 6 months
  • Generate 50 new leads every month
  • Grow social media following to 5k fans

See how those goals are specific, measurable, and have a timeline. That’s precisely what you need to articulate for your content marketing program.

Choose 1-3 primary goals that align with your overall business targets. These will steer your budget planning process.

Once you’ve defined your goals, identify metrics to track progress. For instance, you can use Google Analytics to monitor website traffic, conversion rates, time on site, etc. and tune your approach accordingly.

Researching Your Audience

The next step is getting to know your audience inside out. After all, your content has to resonate with their needs, interests and pain points.

Spend time researching audience demographics, preferred channels and types of content. Social listening tools like Mention and Semrush provide invaluable insights.

You can also directly ask customers by:

  • Distributing online surveys
  • Tracking social conversations
  • Encouraging reviews

Use the data collected to build detailed buyer personas that capture your ideal customers’ worldview. This helps customise content creation.

Creating an Editorial Calendar

Doing a Content Audit

Before planning new content, audit what content you already have:

  • Blog articles
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • eBooks
  • Success stories

Analyse each content piece for:

  • Relevance to the target audience
  • Search rankings
  • Engagement metrics like shares and links

This helps identify content gaps and top-performing topics to guide your content calendar.

Speaking of content calendar…

Creating an Editorial Calendar

A content marketing calendar maps out everything your team will create and promote over a defined period.

It typically includes:

  • Content types include blog posts, infographics, videos, etc.
  • Target keywords and links to research
  • Content topics
  • Promotion channels
  • Publishing dates
  • Author assignments

Maintaining this bird’s eye view ensures a steady pipeline of content in the works.

Pro tip: Use free templates like CoSchedule’s Editorial Calendar to organise your plans. Customise based on your production capacity, resources and pipelines.

Figuring Out Costs

Now, for the most part, SMB owners dread calculating budgets! I’ll break down typical content marketing costs into four major buckets:

1. Content Creation

This includes expenses for producing different content formats like articles, videos, infographics, etc.

Costs vary widely based on complexity, production quality, multimedia needs, etc.

For example, an engaging brand video can cost upwards of $10k, whereas you can get high-quality blog articles for as little as $100-200 apiece.

Evaluate if you have the expertise in-house or if it’s more viable to outsource production to a freelancer or agency. Quality original content is an investment that pays dividends when done right.

2. Content Curation

Repurposing existing internal content or curating external content can be an efficient, low-cost part of your strategy.

Some ideas:

  • Compile snippets from popular blogs into roundup posts
  • Re-share evergreen content
  • Repackage eBooks as a video course
  • Curate visual assets for social posts

This lightens the content creation burden substantially.

3. Technology Expenses

Your tech stack – the software, apps and tools that help manage and optimise various processes – carries a cost, too.

These range from content workflow systems to graphic design to analytics. Audit what solutions you already use vs new ones worth investing in.

Overall costs can vary from a few hundred dollars to thousands monthly. Shop around for deals on bundled or discounted pricing.

4. Content Distribution

You’ve created high-quality, engaging content…but it won’t drive results just sitting in your CMS!

Distribution across channels like email, social media & paid ads is critical for amplification. Factor these costs in your plan.

For email, tools like MailChimp offer free tiers for under 2k subscribers. For social promotion, calculate resource time rather than hard costs.

Paid social or PPC campaigns help expand reach. The typical cost per click is $1-2, so set limits based on targets.

Putting Together Your Content Marketing Budget

Putting Together Your Budget

Add up all the above estimates into a single content marketing budget.

I recommend having three plans:

1. Minimum budget

To cover bare basics. Keep quality high by limiting quantity.

2. Ideal budget

Sufficient for producing consistently great content and adequate promotion.

3. Maximum budget

An aggressive plan allows experimentation with new formats, distribution channels, etc.

Build 10-20% buffers for contingencies since costs can vary.

Aim for an ideal budget to start. Monitor analytics dashboards frequently and scale up or down per actual ROI.

Executing Like a Champ

There you have it, folks – a step-by-step guide to planning and budgeting for content marketing success!

Follow these tips to take control of your online marketing, drive tangible results and set your SMB up for sustainable growth.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to do so in the comments section below. I’m always happy to chat about this stuff!

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