With 2017 just around the corner, it is natural to be filled with high hopes for growth, change, and success. No matter what type of business or industry you’re in, one common goal year after year is to improve upon the previous one. For some companies it means to increase profits, create better products, improve customer service, generate more qualified leads, and so on. However, all of these goals have one thing in common. In order to be successful, you need to have a plan as to how you’re going to get there.
A significant aspect of planning includes creating a budget to support the efforts that will lead you towards that desired level of success. With so many strategies available and differing opinions on what will provide the greatest ROI (return on investment), it can be difficult to know where to allocate your budget. You need to take the time to figure out how much money you have and establish your goals. From there you can put a plan in place as to where you should spend your money in order to make the most significant impact with your 2017 marketing budget.
Content Often Gets the Boot
Unfortunately, many businesses choose to err on the side of caution. Since content marketing strategies are constantly changing and it can sometimes be difficult to analyze its ROI, it is often one of the first aspects of a marketing strategy to get kicked to the sidelines.
When it comes to devising a content marketing strategy, however, it’s important to remain consistent. If you put a lot of time, effort, and money into producing high quality content last year, you can’t just take it out of your budget this year and hope to get similar results. Decreasing or eliminating your content budget altogether, or simply not considering it in your 2017 marketing plan is undoubtedly a huge mistake. According to Curata, “75% of marketers are increasing investment in content marketing.”
When budgeting for the new year, it’s important to take a look back and see what was working and what wasn’t, and make the necessary changes for improvement. Sometimes, however, companies look back at the results of their content marketing efforts, and if they don’t see the results they’re looking for, they quit altogether. But what if you’re just not doing it right, or you’re not doing enough of it?
Planning for the Long-Term
Successful content marketing really does require forward thinking. If you are only thinking of the immediate or near future benefits of investing in a quality content strategy, then it can be difficult to see the benefits. However, like anything worthwhile, the time, effort, and costs put into developing an exceptional content marketing plan are sure to prove their worth tenfold over time.
If you aren’t taking content marketing seriously in your 2017 marketing budget, you’re missing out a huge opportunity to grow your brand. Whether you’re a startup or a seasoned business, today’s consumers and business customers want content. They want information from you before they can trust you. According to the DemandGen Report - 2016 Content Preferences Survey, “95% of B2B buyers are willing to consider vendor-related content as trustworthy.”
It’s important to note that one piece of content isn’t going to do the trick. According to the same report, “47% of B2B buyers consume 3-5 pieces of content prior to engaging with a salesperson." If you aren’t providing high quality, authoritative and engaging content regularly, your chances of converting that prospect diminishes.
Start Small, GROW BIG
You don’t have to start with an irresponsibly large budget for content, but you have to have one, and it should be realistic based on your goals. As you start to see more concrete results over time, you can increase your budget as you see fit. Just be sure to carve out at least a little bit of money to get started with.
For companies with smaller budgets, there are plenty of ways to do content marketing for relatively cheap. Some of the best content is created by simply sharing everyday stories via blogs, news feeds, instructional videos, social sharing, etc. It’s a way to get the entire company involved. This type of information can be obtained and shared by various people within your company. It doesn’t just have to come from management. Creating content that you can recycle can go a long way. You can easily take 2-3 blog articles on a specific topic and turn it into an ebook or webinar.
The Case for Content in 2017
According to the Content Marketing Institute, “When content marketing adopters and non-adopters are compared, the adopters have conversion rates that are nearly six times higher than their competitors.”
By taking the time to create engaging content for your target audience, you’ll find they actually want to read it, download it, listen to it and interact with it. As time goes on and you begin to build a following, you can take it one step further and provide users with personalized content to help increase brand recognition, user engagement, and conversion rates.