28% – What should my budget be for content marketing?

As we slog through the planning and budget season, I am sure that many of you are trying to figure out how much of your marketing budgets should be spent on content marketing. The answer is 28%…well that is what the average is according to the Content Marketing Institute.

Are you average, above average or below average?

The most effective content marketers are investing 42% of their marketing budget in their strategy. They have developed a plan and management is committed to the tactic. According to the Content Marketing Institute, teams that are successful are also delivering quality content consistently. This is proving tough to do and requires significant investment. In fact, the institute’s study they found content marketers’ three biggest challenges were:

  • Producing engaging content
  • Producing content consistently
  • Measuring content effectiveness

Producing content is not that hard, it is the ability to create content that engages with your readers that is proving difficult. You could spend very little on creating content but would you be delivering insight that makes your prospects smarter or just annoying them and wasting their time? If you are not willing to invest in quality content that strengthens your brand you may be better off just putting the money toward traditional advertising.

Developing a plan is important but sticking to it can be much more of a challenge when pressing issues push content development to the back burner. Dedicating resources to ensure that schedules are met and content development remains a priority is also important.

Measuring content effectiveness can also be difficult. Vendors need to make sure they are measuring the right things. Engagement metrics such as time on page or scroll depth are better indications of whether your content is getting through and influencing your prospects and customers.

Nothing worthwhile is easy so where can you find resources to put into your content marketing strategy?

In order to be really successful with content marketing, you need to think differently about your marketing spend. Content is a long-term investment that will take time to really pay off. Unlike traditional advertising, investments in content compound and continue to provide returns long after the first dollars are put to work. It is almost like investing in your retirement account, the earlier you begin the better of you will be in the long run but making the investment now can be hard.

Shifting resources from immediate gratification and quick payoff investments for longer term higher ROI tactics is one way to help boost your content marketing budget. As money is shifted from short-term to long term investments they must be monitored closely to ensure that your strategy is working. Set and measure short term goals and appropriate metrics that are quantifying engagement and conversions, not just clickthroughs. If budgets are tight yet you see the value of content at least make sure that you are providing quality content or you risk no only wasting you money but investing in driving your customers away.

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