Imagine that you’re driving down the road one day and there's a puzzled-looking guy standing next to a car, bonnet open, staring at it without a clue what to do next. You pull up next to him and ask him if he needs any help.
“I don’t know what’s happening,” says the man. “It just won’t start.”
“Have you… put any petrol in the tank?” you ask.
“Well, I mean, I put a tiny bit in there a while back but now it’s just stopped again,” he says. “I don’t want to go putting more in again if I’m not even sure the first bit was really working.”
You wonder if this strange man is a bit bonkers. “Seriously mate,” you say, “You need to put some more petrol in your tank or you won’t be able to start the engine.”
“Like I say,” says the man. “I tried that a while back and it didn’t work. How on earth do you manage to keep your car driving? It must be something to do with your car. You’re probably an innately better driver than me. It’s all too much of a mystery – I think I’ll cut my losses and call a taxi.”
Okay, you get the point. Clearly, this situation is nuts.
And yet, when it comes to content marketing, you hear this kind conversation all the time.
Otherwise smart companies will simply abandon their plans at the first sign of slowing down, leaving perfectly good content to rust because they don’t understand why you’d have to put fuel in the tank.
I’m in on way suggesting that throwing money at a struggling strategy is always the answer. If you’ve got a flat tyre or your steering is all over the place, no amount of petrol is going to stop your car careering off the road. But if you haven’t even tried the most basic of solutions to fix your problem, you’re unlikely to get anywhere at all.
When it comes to making a successful content marketing strategy, momentum is everything. You need a steady content marketing funnel – and that means a steady supply of quality content.
You absolutely cannot create top content with no budget. It’s not do-able. Whether you’re budgeting actual money or whether you’re budgeting your time and internal resources (which, of course, restrict your earning potential in other areas), it amounts to the same thing: you need to be prepared to make an investment if you want to see the returns.
If you’re new to content marketing, this might be make you a little nervous. You might prefer to exert caution. That’s understandable.
But if you don’t make a sufficient commitment to your content marketing strategy, your failure is, to be frank, a foregone conclusion.
Sceptical? Consider this.
In 2015, according to the Content Marketing Institute, B2B marketers allocated an average of 28% of their total marketing budget to content marketing.
The most effective marketers, on the other hand – the ones that reported the best ROI and described their efforts as very successful – allocated 37%. Nearly two-fifths.
In other words, the companies who are willing to commit the largest proportion of their budgets are the ones seeing the highest returns.
And now, their competitors are taking note. 55% of B2B marketing respondents now say they plan to increase their content marketing spend over the next year.
That’s not just the ones who have realised their mistake and are coming to the party a little late. Marketers who were already trying out and benefitting from content marketing are upping their game, too.
If, so far, your content marketing strategy hasn’t seen the traction you were hoping for, it might be time to fill up your tank – and get in the race.
For more insights on taking your content marketing strategy to the next level, download The B2B Content Creation Masterclass.