Does Content Marketing Scale Like Advertising?

I make no bones about my position in the content marketing vs. advertising argument. Content is simply better.

In terms of ROI. In terms of overall value. In terms of branding.

You simply get more from content and inbound tactics than you do from a straight ad. The problem of course is that ads take effect right away and you see results right away, while content can take days, weeks, or even months to see its full effect.

So while you can run a successful ad campaign and then scale up your spend when you find the ROI sweet spot, content is a bit tougher.

How do you scale something with such an intangible return, or can you at all?

Content Doesn’t Need to Scale

There are precious few things that have value and retain that value over time. Content is one of those things. Properly designed and implemented inbound content campaigns will allow you to build a brand that persists far longer than an ad ever could.

Consider what happens if you spend $1,000 per month on ads for 1 year. You spend $12,000 on ads over the course of that year. If your ROI is 26%, you make a $3,000+ profit from those ads.

On the other hand, what happens if you create $1,000 worth of content every month for one year?

You might get $15,000 in sales, or you might get $5,000. It’s hard to know for certain. But after the first year, if you suddenly have $0 budgeted for marketing, the ROI on your ads will be a flat $0 whereas your content will continue to drive in prospects and potential sales.

And yet for some reason, the average mid-sized business spends as much as five times more on ads as they do on content and inbound campaigns.

They want to see that immediate return.

Content on the other hand can take time, but when it works (and it will work), it continues to work for a longer period of time.

Why Scaling Isn’t Necessary

That’s why content marketing doesn’t need to scale. If you spend $1,000 on content per month, the aggregate effect will be more sales over time and as you add more content, you’ll continue to see results from the stuff you did in month one. Instead of getting a steady 26% ROI, you’ll eventually start to see an exponential return as your content permeates the market and you get a larger following of readers and potential clients.

Ads don’t do that. If you spend $1,000 you make $260. If you spend $2,000 you make $520. That’s it. The ROI isn’t going to change when you spend more money, the profit will. So you have to wait until the economies of scale catch up to boost your profits.

With content marketing, you can play catch up with your campaigns because that is how they will grow.

It’s a small difference, but it’s one of the many reasons why content marketing is such a great investment.

Should it utilize 100% of your budget? No, probably not. You still need to make sales today. But it should be more than the 15-20% that most companies budget for it. You’ll see much better results because of the shift.


  • Micah Abraham

    Micah Abraham is the owner and lead content writer at Great Leap Studios ( and High Volt Digital (
    Micah has over 15 years of content writing and digital marketing experience, and has owned and operated Great Leap Studios since 2013 and High Volt since 2022.
    He has a degree in Psychology from the University of Washington, and has researched and written content on a wide range of topics in the medical and health fields, home services, tech, and beyond.
    Micah lives with his family in California.

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