If you’re thinking of using your Facebook ads budget for SEO content writing, you’re not alone. We’ve noticed our clients have ditched the ads in favour of inbound marketing.
BUT, even though Facebook ads seem expensive right now, it’s still an important decision. Because whether you pick Facebook ads or content writing, it’s still going to take you time and/or money to get these things right.
Some businesses will be more suited to Facebook ads.
Others will be more suited to content writing.
Let’s find out what’s right for you, shall we?
But how do Facebook ads compare to something like SEO content writing?
It might seem odd to compare the two. It’s actually a question that three people have asked us before investing in our content writing packages. And, essentially, what we’re exploring is the differences between inbound and outbound marketing.
Content writing is an example of inbound marketing: pulls potential customers in by creating valuable content that nurtures relationships.
Whereas Facebook ads are an example of outbound marketing: a traditional method of marketing that pushes messages out to potential customers.
I know what you are thinking! Lyndsay, you are a content writer, so of course, you are going to say it’s better than Facebook ads. Come on, you know me better than that by now! In fact, we know that there is a time and place for both, and we utilise both in our business.
However, it’s likely that depending on where you are in your business one might be more suitable than the other.
So, in this blog, we’ll explore the differences between content writing and Facebook ads, to help you decide which one is right for your business?
SEO Content writing vs Facebook Ads: how much do they cost?
Of course, as always, the cost comes into play, and will likely have an impact on which one is right for your business. But in this case, the cost is a little more complex as you need to consider:
- Upfront cost
- Cost per lead
The upfront cost is what most people usually consider. However, you also need to think about how much it costs to obtain each lead, and whether this is feasible for your business.
For example, if you pay £500 for a service, but get zero leads, that would be a very bad deal. However, if you paid £5000 and get leads and sales worth £50,000, well then that would be worth it. Right?
More upfront, but better ROI in the long term.
So, let’s look into these a little more…
How much does SEO content writing cost?
The beauty of content creation is that there are multiple ways and budgets available to tackle it.
If you have the time, skills and inclination then you can DIY your blog content. This will cost you time, but it is free to publish a blog on your website. In the early days if you have very little, or no, budget then this might be the best course.
If you need a little guidance then we run regular content challenges and provide blog templates within our ‘Make your Mark Online’ membership. This helps keep you accountable and speeds up the content writing process.
If you’ve got some budget then you can outsource to a content writer. Although this will cost you money, it will free up time to spend on other revenue-driving activities.
Plus an SEO content writer will usually have more knowledge and expertise than you. It’s not just about saving you time, but knowing how to write content that ranks on search engines and converts readers into leads.
The cost of hiring an SEO content writer varies, but on average it’s between £200-£700/blog post. The exact cost will depend on the individual writer’s skills and experience. And the more blogs you want to publish every month, the more you will pay.
Related content: Why is our SEO content and blog management service so expensive?
What is the cost per lead for content marketing?
With blogs, it’s hard to attribute an exact cost per lead, as you are not paying for every single click or visit to your page.
And unless you are using software such as Hubspot, or using a customised lead magnet on each blog then you might not be able to track exactly what leads come from each blog.
If you take the DIY route then you should calculate your £ value per blog. And if you are paying a content writer, then you can divide the £ by the number of leads for an average cost per lead.
A lead magnet on one of our blog posts generated 574 leads in 18 months. Which is a pretty amazing number.
Of course, we wrote this blog ourselves, which took time but didn’t have any financial output for us.
But, let’s pretend that we paid ourselves to research, write, publish and promote this blog (which would cost £648.50 based on one blog from our Silver package). We can then calculate a cost per lead of around £1.12.
The success of every blog will differ, and not every single blog will generate that many leads. But it’s possible to get a lot of leads, for a very low cost with blogging.
And the beauty of the content is that once it’s published it works forever even without spending any more (more on that later).
In fact, we’ve got more leads since we started writing this blog post.
How much do Facebook Ads cost?
Despite changes to Apple iOS over the last year, Facebook is still the cheapest social media advertising channel in 2022.
However, unlike content writing, Facebook Ads will always come with a financial cost, even if you do them yourself💰. That’s because you are paying money directly to Facebook for them to place relevant adverts on their user’s feeds.
But, the beauty of Facebook ads is that you can spend as much or as little as you like. You can set your daily budget (from as little as £1), and either run them continuously or set an end date if you want to stick to a set budget.
Facebook ads use a bidding system. So exactly how many potential customers you reach, and how much it costs you will depend on the competitiveness of your industry.
It’s hard to benchmark costs as there are so many variables. However, Facebook bills are based on two metrics: cost per click (CPC) and cost per mille (CPM) ie. cost per 1000 impressions. Wordstream suggests that you can expect to pay:
- $0.44 per click
- $14.40 per 1,000 impressions
However, it can be very easy to squander money using Facebook ads if you don’t know what you are doing. Facebook make it easy to boost a post here and there, and before you know it you’ve spent hundreds of pounds with very little return.
If you are going to invest in Facebook ads, then we advise hiring someone who knows what they are doing. Hiring a professional Facebook Ads consultant will range between £250 and £10,000 a month. You’ll pay them a management fee, plus a budget for Facebook for advertising.
What is the cost per lead for Facebook ads?
With Facebook ads, each lead will have an associated cost attached to it. However, you need to remember that not every person that sees or clicks on your ad will become a lead.
According to Wordstream, the average cost per lead (across all industries) is $19.68. This differs from industry to industry and can be higher or lower depending on what you are selling.
So you have to ensure that your customer’s lifetime value is higher than this. Otherwise, you risk driving revenue with Facebook ads, but not making any profit💰.
If you look at our blog post that got 574 leads, we would likely have paid around $11,296.32 (approx. £9,207.07) in ads for the same number of leads over the same 18-month period. This is much more expensive than the cost to write one blog post.
What’s the cost comparison: Facebook ads vs SEO Content Writing
SEO Content writing vs Facebook Ads: how much time does it take?
In business, time is money, and it’s something everyone is always running low on. So understanding the time you’ll spend on each will help you decide which one is right for your business.
How much time does SEO content writing take?
As we said, SEO content writing will either cost you money or time⏰.
And it’s not just the time that it takes to write the actual blog. A good blog isn’t just about writing, there are quite a lot of different elements that go into creating a successful, ranking blog that drives traffic and leads.
You’ve got to:
- Research keywords
- Write (rewrite) and edit the content
- Proofread your content
- Upload to your website
- Design the featured image
- Create in-text images
- Design and format the blog post
- Optimise the blog post (so it’s found on Google)
As you can see, writing the content is just one part. And all of that can take around 10-16 hours per blog post. Honestly, we’re tired just thinking about it😴.
That’s why a lot of people invest in our blog writing and management service, as we do ALL of this.
Of course, there is a cost for this, but if you think it’s the right option for you then you can take your Facebook ads budget and pay us (or someone else) to take care of it for you. Not only will this utilise the skills of a professional, but it will allow you to get on with the things in your business you actually enjoy. Win, win!
How much time do Facebook ads take?
It can take as little as a couple of minutes to set up a boosted post, which Facebook actively encourages (and it’s so damn tempting to push that button). But, you’ll find that most experts don’t suggest you take a shotgun approach to boost posts. Instead, they recommend you, formulate an ad strategy that is tailored to your goals.
So, while the setting up of adverts can be pretty quick, it’s worth taking some time to figure out what you actually want. And take time to design creatives and copy that help you achieve these goals.
That’s why the set-up (if done correctly) will be the most time-consuming part of running Facebook ads.
And the setup always surprises people, because if you do it the right way, it’ll likely involve writing the copy for the ads, designing graphics/creating videos to promote them, designing a landing page and writing a follow-up email sequence once someone becomes a lead.
For us—and as website designers, graphic designers and writers, we’re at an advantage here—it takes the following amount of time:
- Writing the copy for the ads (we usually write three different types of copy to experiment with how they perform): 2 hours
- Creating the landing page: 1-2 hours
- Creating graphics or videos for the ads (again, we usually create 3 different types of graphics or videos to see how each performs): 2-3 hours
- Writing and setting up the follow-up email sequence (once someone is a lead): 3-4 hours
As we’re proficient in this (and have done it over and over again), we’re going to estimate that it would take someone who has never done this before at least double this amount of time. So let’s realistically say up to 22 hours to set up Facebook ads the right way.
However, once they are set up, they are incredibly low-maintenance and require very little of your time.
Especially if you cleverly set up funnels, landing pages and email sequences which nurture potential clients through the entire process. Which certainly makes them an appealing way to drive leads and sales.
Time comparison: Facebook ads vs SEO content writer
SEO Content writing vs Facebook Ads: which one gets you leads and sales faster?
Both content writing and Facebook ads are ultimately a way of driving more revenue and profit for your building. So it’s important to understand how quickly you’ll get results from each.
How long does it take content marketing to work?
You press publish and then the leads just flood in right?
Well, not quite! Content marketing isn’t a silver bullet, it takes time to work.
However, there is a bit of a myth that it takes 3-6 months before you see any results from content marketing. The 3-6 months marker is definitely a turning point, and if you are writing quality content then you should start to see consistent leads and sales as a direct result of your content marketing at this point.
But it is possible to see markers of success much quicker than this.
We recently wrote and published a client blog that ranked on page one of Google for their BIG target keywords after just a couple of days. Ranking for key search terms can instantly drive traffic, build trust and increase leads. Proof that if you are writing about the right things and optimising for SEO then you can see results almost instantly.
This, of course, depends on your website. So if you’ve had an active website for a number of years, naturally got some backlinks to it over time and have created content on it already, it’s much more likely to rank quicker through content.
Brand new websites take longer. If you think about it, that makes sense. Because Google needs to trust you first before it presents your website in the search results.
Here’s an example of how a keyword ranking shot up for our client within 24 hours of us publishing a blog post.
Over time though, the more content that you create the more keywords and phrases you’ll rank for. So even if it takes a while for you to see the fruits of your labour, those results will amplify over time.
Even if it does take some time for leads to find you organically from content, you can instantly integrate it into your sales process. If you have an existing audience, you can send them content that answers their pre-purchase questions. Publishing content is a brilliant way to build trust with potential customers and drive sales from day one.
How long does it take Facebook Ads to work?
Once your Facebook ads have been approved (which usually takes 24 hours), they are instantly placed on the feeds of relevant people and can start showing results quickly.
Research from Hootsuite shows that Facebook ads reach up to 60.5% of users in the United Kingdom (and more in countries such as the USA and Mexico). So there is a huge potential to quickly get in front of the right audience.
However, the challenge is that if you are starting from scratch you are often targeting a cold audience. This is especially true if you are raising awareness for “new” customers, who have never encountered your brand before.
According to the marketing rule of seven potential customers need seven “touchpoints” with your company before buying. And although social media makes it easier to create these touchpoints the rule still holds true. This is why the cost per lead isn’t as simple as getting charged for one click.
So, while Facebook ads might get your business clicks and impressions almost instantly, this might not translate into immediate sales. You can take advantage of things like lookalike audiences, and retargeting, but these are usually a little more advanced and might require you to employ the skills of a professional.
For this reason, Facebook ads, like content, will likely become more successful over time. As you learn more about your potential audience, optimise the ads, and touch base with customers regularly they will learn to know, like and trust you.
So although Facebook ads are often touted as a quick win, the reality is that you will get the most success from them if you invest over the long term.
Which one gets you leads and sales faster: Facebook ads vs SEO content writer
SEO Content writing vs Facebook Ads: which one works best long-term?
We know from above that both content writing and Facebook ads are ultimately long-term strategies to help grow your business.
But what would happen if you invested in one over the other and then decided to stop after a couple of months? Obviously, it’s not something we recommend, but it’s good to know the long-term impact that these two strategies would have on your business.
How long will content marketing work for?
Yes, content marketing can take a little longer to kick in, and it’s certainly not a silver bullet for your marketing needs.
However, the payoff is that most blogs are evergreen🌲.
Once they are published they are available on your website 24/7, 365 days a year.
You might need to update or optimise them to keep them relevant if things change or if there are any major Google updates. But your budget will never run out, and they have the potential to continuously drive traffic and lead generation for as long as they are live on your website.
In fact, the accumulation of great content means that the whole is greater than the sum of all parts. Over time, the more and more content that you create can make the content work even better. …
Plus, blogs live on YOUR website💻.
Remember MySpace? Yeah, me neither!
Although it feels like Facebook might be around forever, we’ve seen the rise and fall of social media sites before. If your Facebook is hacked, blocked or if Facebook is down then you are losing potential leads.
When you publish a blog you are in control of it, and it will be live for as long as you choose on your website.
We don’t plan on it, but we know if we stopped publishing content tomorrow the accumulative effect of the content we had already published would continue to drive leads and sales for a long time. And this is what happened when we stopped publishing content for 6 months ⬇️🙌
How long do Facebook Ads work for?
In our opinion, this is one of the biggest downfalls of Facebook ads, especially in comparison to content writing.
As soon as you stop spending, your ads stop being shown💰.
It’s a paid-for media, so their placement relies on your continual spending. You’ll always have to allocate some budget to Facebook if you want to keep seeing results.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be no residual effects from the adverts. The chances are you’ll get some new followers, email subscribers and customers as a result of your adverts.
These people are now part of your audience, and you have the opportunity to communicate with them without the use of paid adverts.
But, you lose the ability to get in touch with anyone who hasn’t interacted with your business. And if your cost per lead vs profitability is too high for Facebook ads, then you can get into a vicious cycle of needing the income to continually boost revenue. It’s not a good place to be.
The return should be high enough if you are doing ads right, that the continued investment is well worth it.
This is why you really need to know what you are doing with ads, as you need to make sure you are making enough from the ads to justify the continual spending – otherwise, you’ll end up prioritising revenue over profit.
Evergreen comparison: Facebook ads vs SEO Content Writing
Combining Facebook ads and content writing: how does this work?
We actually combine Facebook ads with content. How? Well, we don’t just promote each and every blog post by setting up an ad–that probably would waste money.
What we do is take our service pages, like for our content writing service, and retarget people who visit that page with objection-led content.
It’s likely that if someone has visited that page, they might have additional questions about it. So we’re doing something a bit brave! We’re re-targetting people, sending them back to articles like why is our content writing service so expensive?
We’ll also create more articles to retarget people with too. We’ll keep you updated on here how it goes!
Content Writing vs Facebook Ads: Which one is best for you?
So, which one is best for you?
We’ve found that the key to both content writing and FB ads is winning strategy.
Writing random topics or boosting Adhoc posts probably isn’t going to have a long-term impact on your business. This sort of approach leaves businesses feeling disenfranchised, and it’s often the people you hear saying they don’t work.
You need to understand what your goals are and optimise the content or ads to achieve these goals.
But the truth is, that both content marketing and Facebook ads have the ability to drive revenue for your business if used correctly. And for many businesses, both content writing and Facebook ads will have value.
However, if you only have time or money for one which should you pick?
We think that step one is creating a really solid content foundation. Create an asset that is going to live on your website, and help you rank 24/7, 365 days a year without having to spend any more money on it.
If, and only if, you do this, you can then start using Facebook ads to amplify the impact of your organic content and drive traffic back towards your website.
This will help you avoid getting stuck in a spending cycle with Facebook, and allows you to increase your reach via search traffic and social media. Ultimately leading to more leads and sales over a long period of time.
Want someone to take control of the Content writing?
If you’d like to invest your energy into content writing without it taking up lots of time, then our SEO content writing and blog management service might help. We take control of the entire blogging process including planning, writing, optimising for SEO, designing imagery, uploading and formatting.
To find out where you should begin with your business blog, take our SEO quiz, and find out exactly how you can improve.
Owner at Jammy Digital, Digital Marketing Specialist and Writer of Young-Adult Fiction.