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With Content Marketing, You Get What You Pay For

August 31, 2010  
At least once a day, writes Joe Pulizzi at the Junta 42 blog, he receives an email asking how much content marketing (print and online) should cost. The short answer: It depends.

"Look at it this way," he says. "I can pay $12 dollars to play eighteen holes of golf at a Sandusky, Ohio, golf course." The course is poorly maintained, drinkable water is scarce and you'll have to walk since the golf carts are notoriously unreliable. "I can also pay three-hundred dollars at Pinehurst in North Carolina," he continues, where the course is immaculate, knowledgeable caddies abound and you might see a celebrity.

Which course he chooses to play will depend on his goal. "There are times for each situation (just like content)," he says. "If I just want to swing the club, the $12 course is perfect. Exactly what I needed. If I want an experience, or want to share an experience with someone else, I may take the rare occasion to play Pinehurst."

In other words, a situation might call for "cheap" content, or it might call for "premium" content. "Just like playing golf where they both have 18 fairways and greens," says Pulizzi, "500 words is 500 words. What happens with those 500 words is where the price difference comes in."

So if you hire someone to write 500-word blog posts for $15 or $25 a pop, you're going to get $15 or $25 blog posts—written quickly, with minimal research or editorial oversight. A solidly researched piece that has gone through a traditional vetting process will cost more.

The Po!nt: As you budget for your content marketing, remember that you're going get what you pay for.

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  • by Ally Tue Aug 31, 2010 via web

    So very true. As we say over and over again in our office: CONTENT SELLS. That means knowing when you need the "premium" content that takes hours to pour over, and know when all you need is some content. But we'd like to think that everything we put out is premium :)

  • by Bob Leonard Tue Aug 31, 2010 via web


    It's no surprise that I agree with you. I'd like to add something re the "pay by the word" scenario, though. This has always bugged me. As you know, professional writers and editors work hard to polish prose, removing every unnecessary word. The final product is a gem... eminently easy to read and understand. Compensation for word count is counter to that effort. As Mark Twain once said to a friend, "I wrote you a long letter because I didn't have time to write a short one."

  • by Ami Tue Aug 31, 2010 via web

    People have been on about the quality of the content is what counts. It's why outsourcing content creation can be so tricky. Getting the right person, for the right price, who wont go on and sell your articles a handful of times. I just tend to create my own content. Easier all round

  • by Zara Tue Aug 31, 2010 via web

    Ghostwriting blog posts is just not a good idea. It defeats transparency and the notion of creating dialogue with current and potential customers. If you want good, engaging blog content then I'm with Ami on the side of creating it yourself.

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