How to calculate content creation costs at your organisation

How to calculate content creation costs at your organisation

3 minute read

How to calculate content creation costs at your organisation

3 minute read

How to calculate content creation costs at your organisation

Becky Taylor

Product Marketing Manager, GatherContent

There's just no escaping that, in this day and age, content (and high-quality content at that) is criticalto the success of an organisation. In fact, 81% of marketers say their organisation now views ‘content’ as a business strategy.

So, why are we still struggling to have efficient processes around content creation?

63% of B2B marketers attribute low success with their content to content creation challengesB2B Content Marketing 2021 Report

After a number of virtual trips to conferences and events over the past two years, it was no surprise to us to hear that one of the most cited challenges for our content peers was understanding the cost of content, and how businesses can make savings — without compromising on quality.

"Never before has ensuring your audience obtains true value from your brand meant so much."
Kelly Hendrickson
Social Media Marketing Manager, Hubspot

How do you work out the cost of content creation?

To calculate how much content creation costs your organization, you will need to quantify the following factors:

How much content needs to be created?

Consider the number of content types (webpages, blog posts, case studies, etc.) and the volume of each content type for either a specific project or during a typical time period such as a month.

How long does it take to create each type of content?

Consider how many hours go into each stage of production, across all people involved, from briefing stage through to publishing stage.

What is the financial cost of the hours required?

Use the average hourly staff rate, or, if using contractors or freelancers, the average salary for a content writer in the United Kingdom is £48,750 per year (or £25 per hour).

When you have worked out these figures, use the following formula to understand the cost:

financial cost of the hours required formula
Good to Know: Take a look at our Content Cost Calculator template to help you quantify how much content costs your organisation —  based on your current content operations set-up.

We’ve discovered first-hand, whilst running our own events, that using traditional content operations (such as Word docs or Google docs for writing and spreadsheets for status tracking) to create content, averaged out at massive 30.1 hours per web page!

Perhaps this isn’t so hard to believe when we consider the sheer number of stages and people that a single item of content typically goes through in order to reach the ‘publish’ point:

A diagram depicting a typical content process.
The typical content process for creating content found in most organisations today.

With processes involving this many stages, it means that the size of your content effort should not be underestimated.

The growth of content strategy has no doubt bolstered the accepted understanding that businesses need to provide authentic, valuable content to their audiences. As the discipline of content strategy matures, now comes the need for turning strategy into a reality. This is where Content Operations (ContentOps) comes in.

💡 See also: Calculating the cost of creating high-quality content where Lagom Strategy’s Founder, Liam King talks about the challenges of content creation and how he works out the costs when working with clients.

How to make content creation an efficient business process

A typical response to calculating the cost of content creation is pure shock at the time and cost it can involve; often followed quickly by the question: “How can we can cut this down?!”.

A good place to start is to try and understand the points of friction that may be ‘bloating’ your existing process.

For example, do you experience these frustrations when creating content in your organisation?

  • Content gets produced in different systems, so there’s always a question of if the version you have is up to date
  • Traditional content editors like Word are unstructured, so content is often provided in unsuitable length and needs to be edited before it can be used
  • There is extra admin for those members of the content team who have to manually track each content item’s status (which can also interrupt actual work being delivered)
  • You have to keep jumping between multiple tools in order to get content produced. This could mean spreadsheets, word docs, email, IM, Trello/Asana/Basecamp…
  • You have to manually chase for content to be delivered, and throughout most, if not all stages of the content production process
  • The process itself breeds relentless communications: email chains, ‘quick catch-up’ meetings, and phone calls with content stakeholders
"Content is one of the most mature disciplines, yet with the least mature operational controls."
Rahel Anne Bailie
Content strategy expert

On top of the ‘frustration’ element, the points of friction above will undoubtedly be adding time to the overall content creation process. But, when you introduce a ContentOps philosophy to an organisation, you can really modernise the way you create content, and thereby increase levels of efficiency:

A table that shows the before and after of installing a ContentOps program.
The above sets out the typical 'before' and 'after' states associated with installing a ContentOps program.

Employing a ContentOps philosophy can allow your organisation to scale its operations, whilst keeping high-quality content in a continuous delivery pipeline.

"Many companies I come across think of content operations as scrambling once or twice each month to get a blog post together, if they think about content operations at all.

It is time for every organization to think differently about their content work."
Colleen Jones
Author and Founder of Content Science

💡 See also: Content Creation: The Essential Guide, where we unpack a number of topics, including how to develop a plan for creating content and how to design your content creation process using ContentOps.

Using a reliable, all-encompassing tool to manage content creation

Does such a tool exist?

Of course!

ContentOps is the next stage after you have already defined your content strategy and before you deliver any content to your audience.

It’s the ‘people’, ‘processes’ and ‘technology’ that are required to create content across an organisation:

A Venn diagram showing the three pillars of ContentOps.
If an organisation publishes content, they will have a person (or people), a process, and use some sort of technology. These are the three elements that make up the three pillars of ContentOps.

A Content Operations Platform, like GatherContent, is the technology that facilitates efficient content creation.

Good to Know: In fact, our customers estimate that, on average, they save 30% of hours previously spent managing content operations, because they've implemented effective ContentOps using GatherContent.

How do we do it?

There's just no escaping that, in this day and age, content (and high-quality content at that) is criticalto the success of an organisation. In fact, 81% of marketers say their organisation now views ‘content’ as a business strategy.

So, why are we still struggling to have efficient processes around content creation?

63% of B2B marketers attribute low success with their content to content creation challengesB2B Content Marketing 2021 Report

After a number of virtual trips to conferences and events over the past two years, it was no surprise to us to hear that one of the most cited challenges for our content peers was understanding the cost of content, and how businesses can make savings — without compromising on quality.

"Never before has ensuring your audience obtains true value from your brand meant so much."
Kelly Hendrickson
Social Media Marketing Manager, Hubspot

How do you work out the cost of content creation?

To calculate how much content creation costs your organization, you will need to quantify the following factors:

How much content needs to be created?

Consider the number of content types (webpages, blog posts, case studies, etc.) and the volume of each content type for either a specific project or during a typical time period such as a month.

How long does it take to create each type of content?

Consider how many hours go into each stage of production, across all people involved, from briefing stage through to publishing stage.

What is the financial cost of the hours required?

Use the average hourly staff rate, or, if using contractors or freelancers, the average salary for a content writer in the United Kingdom is £48,750 per year (or £25 per hour).

When you have worked out these figures, use the following formula to understand the cost:

financial cost of the hours required formula
Good to Know: Take a look at our Content Cost Calculator template to help you quantify how much content costs your organisation —  based on your current content operations set-up.

We’ve discovered first-hand, whilst running our own events, that using traditional content operations (such as Word docs or Google docs for writing and spreadsheets for status tracking) to create content, averaged out at massive 30.1 hours per web page!

Perhaps this isn’t so hard to believe when we consider the sheer number of stages and people that a single item of content typically goes through in order to reach the ‘publish’ point:

A diagram depicting a typical content process.
The typical content process for creating content found in most organisations today.

With processes involving this many stages, it means that the size of your content effort should not be underestimated.

The growth of content strategy has no doubt bolstered the accepted understanding that businesses need to provide authentic, valuable content to their audiences. As the discipline of content strategy matures, now comes the need for turning strategy into a reality. This is where Content Operations (ContentOps) comes in.

💡 See also: Calculating the cost of creating high-quality content where Lagom Strategy’s Founder, Liam King talks about the challenges of content creation and how he works out the costs when working with clients.

How to make content creation an efficient business process

A typical response to calculating the cost of content creation is pure shock at the time and cost it can involve; often followed quickly by the question: “How can we can cut this down?!”.

A good place to start is to try and understand the points of friction that may be ‘bloating’ your existing process.

For example, do you experience these frustrations when creating content in your organisation?

  • Content gets produced in different systems, so there’s always a question of if the version you have is up to date
  • Traditional content editors like Word are unstructured, so content is often provided in unsuitable length and needs to be edited before it can be used
  • There is extra admin for those members of the content team who have to manually track each content item’s status (which can also interrupt actual work being delivered)
  • You have to keep jumping between multiple tools in order to get content produced. This could mean spreadsheets, word docs, email, IM, Trello/Asana/Basecamp…
  • You have to manually chase for content to be delivered, and throughout most, if not all stages of the content production process
  • The process itself breeds relentless communications: email chains, ‘quick catch-up’ meetings, and phone calls with content stakeholders
"Content is one of the most mature disciplines, yet with the least mature operational controls."
Rahel Anne Bailie
Content strategy expert

On top of the ‘frustration’ element, the points of friction above will undoubtedly be adding time to the overall content creation process. But, when you introduce a ContentOps philosophy to an organisation, you can really modernise the way you create content, and thereby increase levels of efficiency:

A table that shows the before and after of installing a ContentOps program.
The above sets out the typical 'before' and 'after' states associated with installing a ContentOps program.

Employing a ContentOps philosophy can allow your organisation to scale its operations, whilst keeping high-quality content in a continuous delivery pipeline.

"Many companies I come across think of content operations as scrambling once or twice each month to get a blog post together, if they think about content operations at all.

It is time for every organization to think differently about their content work."
Colleen Jones
Author and Founder of Content Science

💡 See also: Content Creation: The Essential Guide, where we unpack a number of topics, including how to develop a plan for creating content and how to design your content creation process using ContentOps.

Using a reliable, all-encompassing tool to manage content creation

Does such a tool exist?

Of course!

ContentOps is the next stage after you have already defined your content strategy and before you deliver any content to your audience.

It’s the ‘people’, ‘processes’ and ‘technology’ that are required to create content across an organisation:

A Venn diagram showing the three pillars of ContentOps.
If an organisation publishes content, they will have a person (or people), a process, and use some sort of technology. These are the three elements that make up the three pillars of ContentOps.

A Content Operations Platform, like GatherContent, is the technology that facilitates efficient content creation.

Good to Know: In fact, our customers estimate that, on average, they save 30% of hours previously spent managing content operations, because they've implemented effective ContentOps using GatherContent.

How do we do it?

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About the author

Becky Taylor

Becky is a Product Marketing Manager at GatherContent. She has 10+ years working in marketing executing affiliate, content, display, mobile, search and social campaigns for high profile clients across various sectors including Travel, Entertainment and Oil & Energy.

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