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How to Create a Content Marketing Budget

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Need to create a content marketing budget?
Fortunately, creating a content marketing budget is not rocket science, and it’s not black magic. There is a well-defined process you can follow to arrive at a sturdy budget that will not only satisfy your boss, but also help you ensure that the content you’ll produce in the coming quarter will be of value both to your internal customers and your company at large.
Let’s dive right into the 9 steps of creating a content marketing budget…

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How to Create a Content Marketing Budget

  1. 1. How to Create a Content Marketing Budget
  2. 2. Introduction Need to create a content marketing budget? Fortunately, creating a content marketing budget is not rocket science, and it’s not black magic. There is a well-defined process you can follow to arrive at a sturdy budget that will not only satisfy your boss, but also help you ensure that the content you’ll produce in the coming quarter will be of value both to your internal customers and your company at large. Let’s dive right into the 7 steps of creating a content marketing budget…
  3. 3. 1. Start with historical data You should have some historical data regarding the production, distribution, and promotion of your content. Within this data, you’ll be looking to answer these key questions: - What types of content did you produce? - How often did you produce this type of content? - Was the need for this content type recurring (e.g., blog posts)? - How much did it cost?
  4. 4. If you have this data on hand, you can use it as a baseline to forecast how much content you’ll be working on in the new quarter. If you don’t have this data on hand, you’re going to be using a lot of guesswork and estimates, which could come back to bite you as the quarter gets rolling and you start spending real budgets at real prices.
  5. 5. Important Note! If you’re not tracking all of the content you work on—how long each piece takes, how much it costs—you want to start this practice as soon as possible. This data is power for content managers, and if you don’t have it, that’s one more chink in your armor.
  6. 6. Another Important Note! Keep an eye on content that you produce but isn’t ultimately paid for by your team. More on this later…
  7. 7. 2. Do a demand survey Your internal customers are going to have different needs, schemes, and campaigns for the new quarter. If you’re going to create a reliable budget, you need to know what your customers are going to need from you.
  8. 8. Start with identifying your usual customers, people you can count on coming to you during the quarter to request content. Then schedule time to sit down with each customer to determine their content needs for the new quarter.
  9. 9. Now, armed with the most up-to-date information on what your internal customers need from you, you are ideally situated to…
  10. 10. 3. Create a content calendar All your homework has led to this point. Based on historical data and your conversations with your key internal customers, it’s time to build your content calendar. This is a good way to visualize exactly how much of each type of content you’re going to have to produce.
  11. 11. During this step, take your cost estimates from Step 1 (Ex: how much did it cost to produce one 100-word article last year?) and apply those figures to your new content calendar. If you lack a more robust content management platform, you can use a simple spreadsheet to do this.
  12. 12. Yet another important note! Make sure you don’t budget money for work that others are already paying for. This will bloat your budget and invite lots of raised eyebrows when it comes time to try and get your budget approved. It will also just create more confusion for you down the road.
  13. 13. 3. Create a content calendar If you’re done it right, you should have a surprisingly detailed view into what and how much you’ll be producing, and how much it will cost at the piece-by-piece level. It’s also a handy tool for when you’re haggling with team members about what will stay in and what will get cut.
  14. 14. Keep in mind, this is just a first draft, almost a wish list. Before everything is buttoned down and approved, you should expect that your content calendar will change dramatically.
  15. 15. 4. Identify your solutions You won’t be spending just on the content you produce, but on the solutions that will help you produce, promote, and track the success of your content. Your budget should reflect whatever you’ll be spending on these solutions.
  16. 16. Some of the tools you might already be using—or are considering using—include: - Content curation - SEO - Content management - Task management - Social management
  17. 17. Still another important note! Not all of the solutions you use will fall under your budget. They might paid for by another team, even though you benefit from them. So make sure you understand which solutions belong to whom up front.
  18. 18. 5. Create a preliminary budget With content calendar and solution costs in hand, you’re ready to put down some numbers. Have all your costs broken out by content type and by customer, which will make it so much easier to…
  19. 19. 6. Wheel and deal You’ll show it to your boss and boss’ boss, and they will inevitably say you’re going to get less than the amount you asked for in your preliminary budget. It’s pretty much a universal law.
  20. 20. It’s time to work with your customers to trim down the volume they’d anticipated. It’s time to get them to pay for some content out of their own budgets. It’s time to determine how strategically valuable their demands are. If they can’t prove their projects’ value, you might need to cut their projects or push them out to a future quarter.
  21. 21. 7. Budget for the unexpected Even after all this due diligence, you’ll still have mystery projects lurking in your content calendar. Although these items are more nebulous at the moment, if you’re serious about them, your budget should also take them into account.
  22. 22. 8. Secure approval Steps 5, 6, and 7 are actually a cycle that you go through over and over again until you finally at this magic moment. Your customers are satisfied. Your numbers are agreeable to your boss. He or she gives the thumbs-up. You breathe a sigh of relief.
  23. 23. 9. Track everything This is where we come full circle. Track every piece of content you produce, how long it took, how often you produced that content type, and how much it cost. This is a must- have not just for sound budgeting, but also for keeping your team from looking like a bunch of underachievers.
  24. 24. Just one more important note! If you’re not already doing this, don’t expect your team to love it right off the bat. It takes lots of practice and breaking of old habits.
  25. 25. Ultimately, team members won’t embrace this practice until they see how great it makes your team look and how much stress it actually takes off your shoulders. But the more accurate you can be in your accounting for your content output, the better off you’ll be in coming quarters, every time you sit down to create your next quarterly budget.
  26. 26. Devour Chaos, Drive Marketing Productivity has a new protector. Workfront provides just enough structure to bring order to marketing teams’ workflows and give them more time for their real work. To learn how Workfront marketing work management can benefit your team, watch the demo today.

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