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A Simple Formula for Budgeting Content Promotion


The expert consensus is that marketers need to set aside budget to promote their content marketing.  But how much should you spend and where? And how do you budget between creating new content versus promoting content you’ve already developed?

In this post I’ll offer a simple formula to answer these questions. 


Owned and Earned Media Content Promotion:

Let say you spend $10,000 to create a piece of content.  Of course you will distribute it to your own email list, social media and web site.  Let’s say that gets you 1,000 views.  So far, your cost per view is $10 ($10,000/1,000 views).  This is your baseline cost per view against which you will measure your content distribution budget (see point A).

Budgeting for content management and distribution

How to determine how much to spend on a content distribution campaign



(Click to see a larger preview)

Cost Per Click Advertising

You can extend the reach of that content by promoting on Google, LinkedIn and Twitter.  Let’s say they charge $5 per click on average and that they are delivering high quality relevant viewers.  But they only have so much inventory at that price. 

If you wanted to get more views, your CPC would go up, so you spend $5,000 and get another 1,000 views.  Now your content has 2,000 views and you’ve spent $15,000 in total.  That’s $7.50 per view for the entire campaign, which point B shows in the chart above.  You have amortized your cost of content creation over more views, so you are doing better than your $10 per view through your own channels. 

Content Distribution with Publications 

Next, you look into some B2B publications to extend your content further.  Thanks to their targeted audience, they can deliver another 1,000 views for $2,000, or a CPC of $2.  By using those sources, your average CPC is now $5.67 (see point C).

Of course, none of these sources has infinite inventory for your content.  If they did, you would only have to create one piece of content and promote it for the rest of time.  Instead, I suggest that you promote your content until the cost of the next view approximates the cost of creating the next piece and promoting it on your owned media. 

Rule of Thumb: Distribution Costs should < Creation Costs

So in this example, when you get to the point where your next click from your lowest cost source costs $10, you should launch the next piece of content (see D). There are a lot more nuances than this simple example illustrates, so I’m not really advocating a formula quite this simplistic.  However, putting this kind of thinking into your budget might mean that your distribution costs are going to start exceeding your content creation costs.


One relief is that you may have to actually start creating less content, but spend more on distributing it.  Many B2B publications offer services for creating and amplifying content.

So what do you think?  Am I crazy to suggest that you should spend so much on amplifying your content?


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