In 2021, 49 percent of marketers surveyed for Semrush’s State of Content Ops & Outsourcing Report said they outsource their writing. This makes sense when you consider that Orbit Media found it can take just one experienced writer at least 6 hours to produce a single 2,000-word piece of content — great content takes time. Because of this, B2B content managers have to either scale their in-house teams to meet increasing writing demands, or they have to identify quality vendors to fill their content gaps.
But how will you know if a B2B content vendor is right for your company? What’s the cost of B2B writing? What vendor options do you have? What will you need to budget to get the content you need for your content marketing campaigns? We answer these questions below and give you a few example content budgets that you can draw inspiration from when creating your own.
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Is there value in using vendors to scale your B2B content marketing?
92 percent of content marketers say that their business sees content as an asset. But, when it comes to budgets, the average B2B business spends only 26 percent of its overall marketing budget on content. So, where is the disconnect? Why do some businesses spend so little on content that is purportedly valuable to them?
One possible answer to these questions is that it can be incredibly challenging for some B2B brands to scale, in-house, to meet their content marketing demands. By outsourcing content creation, companies can free up their internal resources to work on other important parts of their marketing strategies. In addition, it might be cheaper to hire a vendor than to scale your staff. So, what vendor options does a CMO or marketing manager have at their disposal? How does a B2B marketing manager go about getting that outsourced content? We’ll touch on both of these questions next.
Types of B2B content vendors
B2B content marketing vendors can be broken down into three main categories:
1. Quote-based vendors
These are vendors that require you to become a sales lead with their business. They don’t typically publish their pricing online (there are exceptions to this that we will talk about in just a moment) and you usually have to speak with them to get an individualized quote. Types of quote-based vendors include digital marketing agencies, high-end freelancers, and thought leaders.
Pros: Very individualized service; offer a wider variety of marketing duties; can sometimes negotiate the terms of a contract
Cons: High costs; long contracts/commitments; less direct contact with writers
2. Gig sites
These are aggregate platforms where writers of all skill levels and areas of expertise can create an account and offer their services directly to their clients for a rate that they set. Some examples include Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr.
Pros: Lower costs; ad-hoc content requests; usually no contract necessary; direct contact with the writer
Cons: Different writers will offer different content quality and consistency; subscription costs; writers service multiple clients
Marketplaces offer on-demand content to clients. Examples include Semrush Marketplace, Verblio, and Writer.
Pros: Lower costs; vetted writers; fixed rates
Cons: Some marketplaces require a subscription so ad-hoc requests might not be a good fit in those circumstances; might not have supporting content that your business needs (e.g. a video script or social media post)
How content vendors set their prices
This is perhaps the most difficult type of vendor to give pricing avenges for. Digital agencies and high-end freelancers very rarely publicly publish their rates. One exception is the aggregate site, Clutch. Clutch publishes the average hourly rates and average minimum costs for over 15,000 firms. Regardless of whether or not an agency publishes its rates, you can safely assume that working with an agency or high-end freelancer will come at a higher rate — it’s personalized work at a personalized price.
In order to get a better sense of what an agency or individual charges, you’ll typically need to reach out to them via their website to get a personalized quote. Some charge by the hour, some by the month, and some by the project.
Freelance gig sites
Freelance gig sites are platforms where clients can request content directly from writers. Prices vary greatly because the contractor sets their individual rate. It can be very helpful to look at the writer’s profile and reviews to get a better sense of their experience and expertise.
However, the client often is the sole person vetting the quality of this content. Gig sites do not typically control the pricing or consistency of participating contractors’ work.
Marketplaces are a relatively new concept in the world of digital content marketing. While they share some similarities to gig sites (like Fiverr or Upwork), content marketplaces (like Semrush Marketplace, Verblio, and iWriter) are different in a few respects.
Marketplaces are one-stop-digital-shops. They give clients a chance to order on-demand content marketing materials. These marketplaces typically vet their writers so that clients can trust they are getting contractors with experience. In addition, marketplaces usually have fixed pricing on their content and some might even charge a subscription fee.
What B2B content costs
Content writing pricing will vary depending on factors like the length of the piece and the client’s industry. In addition, content prices also vary by which on-demand platform you choose. As illustrated above, there are pros and cons to working with each kind of vendor.
Let’s take a look at what kind of prices you can (roughly) expect from different vendors, based on the type of content you’re requesting. As stated above, pricing for digital agencies and high-end freelancers aren’t necessarily always made public — you typically have to get an individualized quote. So, we won’t spend too much time on their content prices. We will focus primarily on two types of vendors: gig sites and marketplaces.
Quote-based content prices
Because these vendors can set their prices and change them depending on the client and other factors, these are just ballpark estimates of what you might spend:
We took a look at Clutch’s website and identified the following pricing tiers and the minimum cost of working with several agencies:
- The average hourly rate is $100 to $199/hr.
- Some very reputable and experienced agencies charge above $199/hr.
- Agencies can set a minimum project amount and/or charge a retainer fee — we saw minimum prices ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 — which means in theory you’d need to make a larger upfront commitment and pay more as the project progresses.
- Many high-end freelancers will typically charge between $1,000 to $2,000 for a long-form blog (2,000-words), depending on the writer, niche/industry, and relationship with the client.
Gig site content prices
For the following averages, we selected 10 writers from the “Top Quality” sections of Fiverr and Upwork. So, you might personally be able to find cheaper rates on these sites, depending on where you look.
Articles and blogs
Assuming you need a 2,000-word blog or article for your campaign, here are some average price ranges:
- Fiverr: $220-$1800
- Upwork: $50-$120
If you need 500 words of website copy, here are some average price ranges:
- Fiverr: $100-$400
- Upwork: $50-$150
Email copy and newsletters
If you need 400 words of email copy or a 400-word newsletter, here are some average price ranges:
- Fiverr: $100-$300
- Upwork: $50-$100
Ebooks and white papers
If you’re looking for a 5,000-word ebook, here are the averages across the various on-demand content platforms:
- Fiverr: $95-$2,000
- Upwork: $125-$500
If you’re looking for video scripts (which are more specialized and harder to get accurate averages for), here are some average ranges:
- Fiverr: $100-$900
- Upwork: $30-$8,000 (range is dependent on word count)
Marketplace content pricing
Articles and blogs
Assuming you need a 2,000-word blog or article for your campaign, here are some average prices:
- Semrush Marketplace: $117
- Verblio: $395
- iWriter: $145
If you need 500 words of website copy, here are some averages you might pay on various marketplace and gig websites:
- Semrush Marketplace: $90
- Verblio: $70 (for 600 words)
- iWriter: $39
Email copy and newsletters
If you need 400 words of email copy or a 400-word newsletter, here are some average prices:
- Semrush Marketplace: $40
- Verblio: $70
- iWriter: $29
Ebooks and whitepapers
If you’re in the market for an ebook or white paper around 5,000 words, here are the averages across the various on-demand content platforms:
- Semrush Marketplace: $504
- Verblio: $600
- iWriter: $363
Video scripts + infographic text
These two types of content are more specialized so averages will vary greatly. Here are some rough estimates:
- Semrush Marketplace: $189
- Verblio: $75
- iWriter: does not list their prices; the “Standard Service” package costs $46.50 for 6,000 words
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Campaign budgeting examples
It might feel a little daunting to prepare a content marketing budget, especially if you need to source multiple pieces of content for one project. Below, we’ve created a few example scenarios and mapped out what the cost of these hypothetical campaigns would be (depending on which vendor you go through). These are just examples to draw inspiration from and it’s always necessary to verify pricing yourself (pricing can change quickly in the world of content!).
Example 1: Gig site
Let’s say you’re running a content marketing campaign to introduce a new tool on your B2B platform. You decide you’ll go through Fiverr and you know you’ll need:
- 5 articles (2,000 words each)
At the low end, you might find a contractor on Fiverr who will charge $1,100 dollars for your project. At the high end of Fiverr, you might find a contractor who will charge $9,000 for your project.
Example 2: High-end freelancer
Let’s say you’re running a content marketing campaign to introduce a new tool on your B2B platform. You decide you’ll go through high-end freelancer, Writer X and you know you’ll need:
- 5 articles (2,000 words each)
Writer X charges an average of $1,400 dollars per 2,000-word article. So, in theory, you might pay Writer X $7,000 for this project.
Example 3: Marketplace
Your department has just been tasked with a huge content marketing campaign that will introduce prospective customers to a whole new service you’ll be offering next quarter. You decide to work with Semrush Marketplace. You know you’ll need:
- A landing page (500 words of copy)
- 2 e-mails (300 words each)
- 1 blog (1,500 words)
- An ebook (4,000 words)
To get all of this content you might expect to spend a total of $642 with Semrush Marketplace.
The examples above illustrate one thing clearly: the cost of B2B content varies depending on which kind of vendor you choose to outsource your work to. Typically, a higher cost means a higher quality of work. But, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. There are plenty of skilled vendors who offer their services at affordable prices. So, here are a few key takeaways to remember when deciding on a content vendor:
- Quote-based vendors will only typically reveal their pricing after you contact them directly.
- Gig sites do not necessarily vet their writers so the quality of the content will vary.
- Marketplaces allow customers to request on-demand content.
- Marketplaces typically vet their contractors.
- If you are running a content marketing campaign with multiple pieces of content you might consider going with a vendor that does more contract-based work.
- There is no one-size-fits-all approach to B2B content marketing; take a look at your specific budgetary considerations and plan accordingly.