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Budgeting for Content Strategy and Creation

Justin Watkins

August 2015

It’s budget planning season, and more and more companies are dedicating real dollars to content strategy and creation. But let’s be honest. Math is hard. Budgeting is hard. So how do you determine how much of your budget should be allocated to content?

Before you pick a random number, take a look at these five factors:

#1 – What is content?

“Content” has many forms: writing, photography, video, design, social media, kitten gifs. Do you know what kind of content you really need? Do you know what you should and (be honest) probably shouldn’t create in-house?

#2 – Who benefits from content?

Which of your internal teams benefit from the creation and deployment of content? The marketing department is the most obvious one – they’re always hungry for content creation.. But what about your business development and sales teams?
Do your prospects read your newsletter? What can you send them that’s relevant? Are your presentations convincing? Other departments may be struggling with messaging for recruiting, training, or other B2B relationships. All problems creative content can solve.

#3 – What tactics are losing effectiveness?

76% of marketers invested more in content in 2015. This means something else has to give. Consider all of your tactics working effectively. Printed materials or banner ads are often the first to go – which your customers may thank you for. Remember: today, it’s less about disrupting your audience to talk at them and more about talking with them. Use tactics that support a conversation and craft a message your audience can access when they want it.

#4 – What do customers want?

Do they want another radio spot? Or answers to their questions presented in an easy to understand, interesting format? To get there you really need to understand their intentions, context, and preferred channels.

#5 – Is there a strategy?

Finally, each of these factors become much, much easier to navigate with a strong content strategy. Laying a strong groundwork will see you through the the year and give you a foundation to check your content cycle against. Your strategy should define topics, methods, customer segments, timing, actions desired, creation plans and a framework for justifying the investment.

At NATIVE, we take content budgets a step further and slice it up by customer segment based on revenue contribution, growth plans, and effectiveness. We frequently ask other businesses how they allocate for content. The answer we get most often is 15-20% of the marketing and sales budget going to content.

Fun fact: B2B marketers that rated their marketing strategies as effective allocated 37% of their budget to content whereas those that rated their efforts as ineffective allocated 16%.

So… What’s your content percent in 2016?

Have more questions than answers? We’d be glad to help. Shoot us an email at