January 21, 2014

More Money, More Challenges: 70 Percent of Marketers to Increase Content Marketing Spend

Corporate budgets are expanding for content marketing, but that may not mean that businesses know how to play in the content marketing game, as evidenced by Curata, Inc.’s fourth annual benchmark study, “2014 Content Marketing Tactics Planner: Creation, Curation and Syndication.” The survey reveals that 70 percent of marketers plan to increase their content marketing investment in 2014; however, the survey suggests that ramping up a budget isn’t enough. More money to spend doesn’t necessarily mean marketers know how to do content marketing.

As Curata CMO Michael Gerard explains, “Our research indicates that, as aggressive as companies intend to be in 2014 to increase their content marketing footprint, many will fail due to a lack of content leadership and the process and technology needed to support an effective content supply chain."

While it is certainly great news that content marketing investments are rising, the study reminds us that this doesn’t mean marketers possess enough knowledge of how to implement a sound content marketing strategy themselves. In fact, there are three main reasons why businesses may be missing the mark:

  1. Over half of marketing organizations have no executive or leader in place to spearhead their content marketing efforts.
  2. Even fewer companies have developed a formal process with the right technology in place for distributing their content. 
  3. Companies may only consider content marketing to be a fleeting part of their growth process when it should really be front and center. As Gerard explains, "Content marketing should be considered a mandatory part of every company's' nurturing process and not just part of the early stages of awareness building.”

But it’s not impossible to evade these pitfalls. There are certainly ways to sharpen your strategy so that every penny of your increased content marketing budget is deservedly spent. Here are a few tips to help as you head into a new year with more money:

Onboard a Content Marketing Executive

A new breed of professionals is surfacing in today’s marketing world, and you need to be on top of this. Even if it means building a position from the ground up, give your team a leader to head up all content marketing strategies for the year. Not only will it ensure that content marketing holds a front and center spot in your company’s agenda—as opposed to being a stepping stone—but it will also strengthen your competitive edge. You’d be surprised by how many companies (including your competitors) are currently seeking out such positions; if you’re not, you’re already 10 steps behind in the game.

More Copy, Less Resources

You should be churning out copious amounts of content, but that doesn’t mean you should be as generous with your resources. Marketers lack the ability to consistently develop great content in a world full of limited resources.

Duplication, regurgitation and repetitiveness all have a way of creeping up on you when producing content. To fend these off, encourage your team members to think out-of-the-box in meetings to result in original, custom-tailored copy. Don’t be so quick to turn to Google Search or to shell out chunks of your budget toward buying industry reports; leverage TV shows, movies, holidays and the seasons to spark creativity and to get your inventive juices flowing.

Invest in the Right Technologies

You need to invest in the necessary technologies for content distribution. Some of this will be low-cost (such as creating a WordPress account) while other technologies will be a bit more costly. For example, if you don’t have a content management system (CMS) in place, you’ll need to invest as soon as possible to manage and distribute all of the content you’re going to be developing over the course of 2014. Remember that some technologies—although expensive—are well worth it.

Ramp up Original (Professional) Commentary

Another huge issue faced by marketers today is bringing a variety of unbiased, independent perspectives to readers to deepen the value of their content. This point can be related back to “more copy, less resources” in that duplication and repetitiveness become all too possible without original commentary to keep content fresh and differentiated. Don’t be afraid to reach out to industry analysts or leading figures for briefings, or even for just a couple of sentences via e-mail to boost your content. After all, Curata reports that enlightened marketers will strive to create 65 percent of their own content in 2014.

Taking these necessary steps are worth it, as the study reveals the incredible benefits of companies who did content marketing right:

  • 85 percent experienced an increase in awareness as a result of their content marketing initiatives.
  • 62 percent of indicated that content marketing led to an increase in the quality and quantity of leads in their pipeline.

You can now officially bid adieu to the fear of buyer’s remorse. You have the money to spend, and you now have a clear understanding of how to strategically spend it. Now comes the fun part—whip out your content marketing wallet knowing you’ll be a top player in the game this year.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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