The year is more than half over, which means that 2017 looms just around the corner. If you’re not budgeting for content marketing spend next year, you’re behind the eight ball. Now’s the time to conduct research, consult the balance sheet, and decide how and where you’ll put your content marketing spend to work.

More Businesses Use Content Marketing Than Ever Before

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A Content Marketing Institute report reveals that, in the B2B space, 88 percent of companies are using content marketing to gain market share and increase brand recognition. It’s logical to assume that B2C companies follow similar trends. If you want to keep up with your competition, however, you’ll need strong content marketing budgeting so that you’re prepared for 2017’s financials.

That same report indicates that only 30 percent of content marketers feel that they’re successful in their efforts. This could mean that they’re not putting enough energy into research and budgeting for their content marketing strategies. If you get ahead of the game, you can out-market your competitors and rise to the top of your industry.

Content Marketing Spend Is on the Rise

Another Content Marketing Institute report — this one geared toward B2C businesses — demonstrates that, between 2015 and 2016, companies increased their content marketing spend by an average of 8 percent. The most successful companies are using 38 percent or more of their advertising budgets on content marketing.

The trends don’t lie. If you know that your competitors will spend more money on content marketing, it’s essential to give your own efforts a boost. This includes funneling more money into content marketing instead of outbound marketing. As long as you produce great content, you can build a loyal customer base that enjoys consuming your content on a regular basis.

While you don’t want to overspend on content marketing, you do need a healthy balance. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for 50 years, your budget and your needs must work together to produce a return on your investment.

You Have Nine Months of Data

If you’ve used content marketing this year, you already have nine months of data to use for reference. For instance, you might notice that your blog traffic has increased by 30 percent, which indicates that you’re getting more eyes on the page and that you might want to allocate more of your content marketing budget toward producing similar content for your blog.

Follow the data to help you construct a content marketing budget that will position you for success in 2017. You might find that some of your efforts haven’t worked as well as you’d hoped, so you’ll either spend less on them or tweak your strategy for better results.

Goal Setting Helps Increase ROI

Every business has different goals, so it’s time to create your goals for 2017. What do you want to accomplish?

  • Increase traffic to your blog or landing pages
  • Expand your social media reach
  • Improve conversions from blog or social media content
  • Boost profits by X percent
  • Reduce bounce rates on your website

All of these goals help contribute to better business, but you need your own set of goals based on your historical trends. For instance, if you already have a strong social media presence, you might want to focus your content marketing spend on another avenue to expand your horizons.

If you have a goal in place, you’ll work toward it in 2017. This will likely increase your ROI because you’re devoting money and time toward a specific outcome instead of spending money on everything and hoping for good results.

You Might Need Help

Many companies don’t have the in-house staff necessary to produce great content. If your business falls into this category, you’ll need help to improve your content marketing ROI. You can hire a single writer if you’re looking for the most budget-friendly option, but a single writer might not be able to produce content in volume.

Content production companies take the weight off your shoulders. They not only ideate and create content, but they also edit and send it through a quality assurance process so that the end result meets your precise needs. They also work with you to help you reach the goals you’ve established for your business.

You’ll also benefit from the agency’s expertise and experience. Agencies have worked with hundreds or even thousands of companies to create strategic, effective content marketing plans.

Sometimes Content Marketing Fails

Even if you have a smart set of goals and an effective content generation plan in place, you might not hit the numbers you expect. There’s some trial and error in content marketing, so you’ll want to set aside some money if you need to change direction completely a few months into 2017. Preparing for the worst possible outcome will make problems easier to solve and rectify.

For instance, maybe you’ve decided to focus on social media, but you realize in March that you haven’t gained any followers or increased click-thru rates. You’ll have to re-examine your approach to social media and find a new way to reach your target audience.

Several Factors Play a Part in Content Marketing

When budgeting for content marketing, consider all expenses you might have as you market your way through 2017. Content tools, for instance, help you measure your efforts and track your progress. While some free tools remain available, a paid tracking tool might offer more details and better accuracy.

You’ll also have to pay your staff, freelancer, or agency to create content, so work that into your budget. If you plan to use social media advertising, paid search, or another form of advertising, you’ll have to include that, as well. Maybe you’ll pay for boosted Facebook posts, for instance, or get on board with an influencer.

Don’t wait until December to start building your content marketing budget for 2017. If you get it out of the way now, you’ll have a few months to tweak and review it, and you’ll feel more confident when the clock strikes midnight on January 1.

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