content marketing prices

Content Marketing Prices: What to Expect When Hiring an Agency

Keith Desphy
Keith Desphy13 Mar 2024 • 6 MIN READ

Content marketing is the most cost-effective way to improve organic traffic. It is a direct way of presenting value to your audience. If you want to scale, the content should, too. The problem is the competition is doing the same. A lone content marketer can’t keep up with the content velocity to stay competitive. 

The good news? Content marketing agencies are here to help. But how can you ensure that an agency will deliver results? What can you expect? And how much should you pay for content marketing?

How Much Should You Pay a Content Marketing Agency?

Content marketing agency prices vary depending on their client’s needs. Do you need backlink building/guest post content, topical map creation, or DFY/managed content? 

There are several variables to consider. Agency prices change over time. But, data from Statista suggest most businesses spend between $5,000 and $10,000 on content marketing.

Now the question becomes: “How much are you willing to spend?” More importantly, what content marketing should you spend the budget on?

Here are the most popular content marketing services most agencies offer: 

Link Building/Guest Posting

Backlinks help build authority for your website and published content. More relevant backlinks equal higher domain authority, arguably SERPs’ most crucial ranking factor. 

Agencies can offer ala carte services for backlink building, such as writing guest posts, niche edits, or an entirely managed link-building campaign. 

Before hiring an agency for link building, ensure they secure backlinks from DR45+ sites that are contextually relevant to your business, have high traffic, and aren’t from multi-niche sites.

content marketing prices 2

***Prices are subject to change***

SEO Content Production

Content marketing is essential to keep up with the competition, especially if you’re in B2B SaaS. Agencies can optimize every piece of content for search engine rankings.

Hire agencies that analyze your business, identify priority keywords, and present a robust content strategy, ensuring quality content that resonates with your audience and ranks. 

For SEO content production, customization is key. That’s why pricing varies depending on how competitive the niche is, content volume, and content velocity. 

***Prices are subject to change***

Managed SEO Content Marketing

Content production is at the heart of every SEO campaign. However, there’s more to SEO than publishing content. Luckily, most agencies offer done-for-you (DFY) or managed SEO. 

Managed SEO covers content planning, production, and optimization. It could also cover technical optimizations or off-page SEO services like backlink building and outreach. 

Think of managed SEO services from an agency as getting an extension to your team. You could hire an in-house SEO; however, you’d need a team behind you to move the needle. 

SEO prices

***Prices are subject to change***

How to Choose the Right Content Marketing Agency

There will always be a surplus of content marketing agencies itching to show their sales deck. 

So, how can you differentiate the good from the bad? What metrics should you look into? And what red flags should you look out for? Here’s a quick checklist to consider:

Key Performance Indicators and Portfolios

Trying to find a marketing agency is like stepping into a digital minefield. Just promises with no tangible results. Always check an agency’s portfolios first. 

Any agency worth its salt would proudly present its portfolios. It should include case studies, KPIs, their onboarding approach, and reviews/testimonials. 

If they have case studies, look into their metrics. Do clients show positive results? Are the clients even real? Details like this should be transparent. 

Transparency and Communication

Outsourcing content marketing to an agency comes with risk, especially within the first few weeks. Before committing to an agency, ensure that they’re transparent with their work. 

If you ask for access to something, will they provide it? Are your questions being answered vaguely? How often can they send a detailed report with complete metrics and data? 

Transparency is always paired with streamlined communication. How quickly can an agency get back to you if you have questions? The best ones will always have constant communication. 

Tools and Platforms

In most cases, it’s less about the tools and more about how you use them. For example, some SEO agencies use Ahrefs for backlink building, while others use Semrush. 

Almost all agencies won’t charge extra for the tools they use. So, if you get a quote and they charge you for all the tools and platforms they use, that’s a big red flag. 

Content Marketing Agency Red Flags

One of the biggest red flags you can easily spot is agencies offering a one-size-fits-all solution. Every company is unique. Agencies should provide a tailored offer. 

Another thing to look out for are agencies offering “packages” that squeeze in XYZ service that’s entirely unrelated to your needs and charge extra for them.  

A big red flag for agencies offering backlinks is how they get them. Agencies offering dozens of backlinks with fast turnaround times at dirt-cheap prices might use black-hat SEO. 

Links are likely to come from link farms. These sites often have multiple niches, no clear focus, and poor content quality. Getting links from these sites can have detrimental effects on your backlink profile

Agencies like Spacebar Collective practice white hat SEO, offering ethical link-building and content optimization practices. Strategies like these take time but are more sustainable and effective in the long run. 

Results and Performance

At the end of the day, the only metric that matters is the results. Does what you’re paying result in positive growth for your business? Is the agency hitting the goals you’ve set? 

However, keep in mind that results vary depending on the type of content marketing. If SEO objectives are tackled with the proper strategies, results could kick in within 3-6 months. 

Still, there should be improvements in indexing speed, backlink acquisition, or keyword ranking. 

Setting Expectations for Content Marketing Agencies

Agencies aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution to your content marketing needs. You must set realistic expectations first. 

  • Pricing and Payment Options: We’ve touched on pricing expectations earlier. However, pricing can still vary depending on the scope. Despite this, agencies should still be upfront about their pricing. They must also be clear on their preferred payment methods. Popular options include ACH Transfer, physical checks, Paypal, and Wise. Payment options should be convenient for both parties. 
  • Tailored Content Strategy: Create a style guide with your team and present it to your content marketing agency prospects. Early communications should be focused on creating a tailored content strategy around your style guide that outlines your goals, target audience, tone, and KPIs. Agencies should provide you with an outline of their content strategy as part of their deliverables. 
  • Deliverables: Agencies should present you with a clearly defined list of deliverables. For most agencies, deliverables include research, content strategy outline, and content creation. Agencies should clearly define the turnover for these deliverables. Depending on the volume, blog turnover ranges between 1 and 4 weeks.
  • Reporting: There should be complete transparency regarding reports. Content marketing agencies should be able to provide all the necessary analytics from your KPIs.That could be data from Google Analytics or SEM tools like Ahrefs or Semrush for SEO content. Other forms of marketing have their analytics tools. Reporting should be done monthly and contain a high-level overview that doesn’t include too many technical jargon. 
  • Timezone Differences: Hiring an agency means working with a remote team, which sometimes means the agency is in a different time zone. There will be times when you need them to do a task, and they’re not available. Both you and the agency should discuss working hours.

Are you ready to get started with content marketing? Connect with our team.