startup marketing budget- in house vs on call?

marketing meme

Many businesses recognise the need for quality content to power their website and marketing, but may not fully appreciate everything involved in developing a robust content strategy. While writing the occasional blog or article seems straightforward enough, in reality producing content that consistently engages audiences requires thorough planning and effort. So what should a startup marketing budget get you?

Let’s discuss what “content management” even means for startups. The ultimate purpose is to provide your website visitors with engaging written material, visuals, and visuals (memes, sketchnotes etc) that are genuinely useful to them. Your content should aim to address their interests, pain points, and questions they have about your industry or products. 

Managing this well means going beyond simply writing some blogs. It requires a structured approach to developing quality content on a consistent basis that connects with your target audience, reaches them at different points in their buyer journey, and helps move them towards becoming a customer. Bottom of funnel, baby.

This may involve coordination between subject matter experts, writers, designers, and more within a startup. It means figuring out tools (are you publishing straight to your CMS? Do you have an idea bank? How are topics decided on? How far in advance?)

 Effectively planning topics, themes, formats, workflows and ensuring brand consistency across channels is key. 
I’m at risk of sounding like a ~whinging marketer~ but it has to be said. 
There’s more behind the curtain.

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from arrested Development-meme by author

start up marketing costs

Desired Blogging Frequency

How often you publish fresh content depends on your industry norms and audience engagement, but 1–2 posts per week is a solid goal for most B2B companies. Going above 2 posts per week requires significant resources to maintain quality over quantity (keeping in mind agencies, freelancers and contractors aren’t solely serving one client either).

Some guidance on doing it yourself, startup-style.

When deciding on content focus areas, be sure to research where your competitors are investing their content efforts.

Conduct an analysis of their top blog posts and downloads to reveal content gaps where you can create something novel to stand out. (Check out similarweb)

similarweb for startupmarketing budgets

You also want to examine your own GSC (Google Search Console) and social data to pare down the 20% of existing content that drives 80% of traffic and engagement, Pareto principle is likely alive and well in the majority of your channels. Double down on those proven content areas that attract your audience while continuing to experiment with new topics.

Identify 2–3 key areas to consistently showcase thought leadership rather than spreading content efforts thin across scattered topics. 

Aim for 1–2 blog posts per week focused on topics you have validated as high-interest for your audience based on a data-driven competitor, website, and social analysis. Identify a few core content pillars that support your position as a top expert in your niche. This focused content strategy requires planning and resources but drives results.

how often should marketing information be gathered is a key question to be asking yourselves, benchmarking against peers.

where does marketing take place (aka, interviewing SMEs)

Factor two-industry writing difficulty and complexity

Subject matter mastery in areas like law, finance, and technology requires translation for comprehension. Fortunately, AI now assists writers in decoding technical speaks into accessible language.

However, human creativity and effort is still needed to transform AI output into audience-centric stories that align to brand voice, tone, and accuracy standards. (Lest you end up like CNN….)

The ol “enhance humans, won’t replace humans” chestnut.

how much to spend on marketing startup?

A proverb, age-old and true across digital marketing. 

It.. depends…

Let’s look at some typical service “buckets”

how much marketing budget for startup

This includes overall planning and coordination of content activities, typically provided on an ongoing monthly subscription ranging from $2,500-$20,000+ per month depending on volume of content.(Sources-here, here).
 Services might include-

  • Content calender creation
  • Business discovery (it’s generally assumed that knowing all about your client is done on your own time)
  • Customer persona research
  • Competitor analysis
  • Hiring third party outsourced team
  • Tool selection 
  • Content project management
  • Blog post outlines/briefs
  • Overall blog review

Cost Factor 3 (And 4, and 5)

how much does a blog post cost?

The actual writing of blog posts, articles and other pieces of content. With freelancers and contractors, pricing is usually on a per-word basis. 

Fees for onboarding content agency

As mentioned above, if you’re hiring an agency or freelancer (someone not embedded within your team, they’ll have to get up to speed.) This may include set up fees, for initial research and planning to map out content for the engagement. 

what content should i create?

Running a content arm of customer acquisition is an ongoing journey, not just a set-and-forget endeavour. 

It’s important to not only churn out fresh content regularly but also to give some TLC to older posts that aren’t doing as well.

An effective content expert is your go-to for sniffing around your blogs content and finding what to enhance.

Imagine a blog post targeting the key phrase “SaaS content strategy” didn’t quite hit the mark. 

  • The keywords your blog is currently ranking for versus the ones you originally aimed for.
  • If rival blogs are outperforming yours for your chosen keyword, a bit of detective work into their content could reveal what they’re doing differently (maybe their articles are more in-depth, packed with practical tips, etc.).
  • Changes in the keyword difficulty rating (a handy metric used by content marketing tools to gauge the challenge of ranking for a specific keyword) and insights into the content that’s winning for that keyword.

Companies have a choice between developing content in-house with a dedicated team, outsourcing to freelance writers and editors, or using a hybrid approach. 

To decide on your content creation resources, start by evaluating your content needs in terms of scale and complexity. Next, consider your budget, whether it’s limited, moderate, or high. Assess the level of expertise required, from general to specialised. 
How much control and involvement you desire in the process, (which can range from high to low). Based on these assessments, make your decision. If the scale is small and the budget is limited, choose a freelancer. 

So again, it depends…

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