Planning your content marketing budget, line by line

You may know that you have a certain number of dollars in your content marketing budget, but do you know the best way to split that spend?

When you clicked on this blog post, you were probably thinking, “Woah, thanks Hodges, this is going to be the answer to all my internal struggles!” Well, not exactly. This is more of a, “WHAT’S IN THE BOX?” or a Pulp Fiction gold-illuminated briefcase kind of deal.

We’ve laid out three content marketing budget break downs based on what your goals may be. The main line items we include are paid advertising (including social media, search, display and traditional print), content creation (this includes all costs related to gathering and generating content, like hiring sub-contractors, travel expenses) and asset development (this includes production costs, like printing materials, hiring subcontractors, purchasing images and audio).


33% for paid advertising, 33% for content creation, 33% for asset development

An awareness push is all about generating the right kind of content, then pushing it out to your target audience. You may need to budget more resources for creating assets like print collateral, videos and other designed materials to help push out your message. And for that unaccounted for 1%, well, put it in your favorite bucket.


40% for paid advertising, 30% for content creation, 30% for asset development and miscellaneous expenses

Content development efforts should focus on moving people from the awareness stage to the consideration phase, usually through higher value material (like whitepapers). As you start to generate leads for folks who may consider your company or service above others, you’ll likely need to start investing in additional paid tactics to help nurture them along (e.g. remarketing, influencer marketing).


50% for paid advertising, 30% for content creation, 20% for asset development and miscellaneous expenses

When it comes to conversions through paid channels, this is when the price per action starts to rise and you’ll want to allocate more dollars in your budget accordingly. You’ll still need the content pieces to help drive that ultimate action (whether it’s making a sale or getting an application), but you may need fewer assets to market to this audience since they’re warm leads.

Casey Prentice

A self-proclaimed organizational junkie and data geek who confesses to a secret desire to be a professional organizer, Casey enjoys account management, writing, editing and digital content strategy. Her agency work has helped clients like Virginia’s Community Colleges, VCUarts and Swedish Match.

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