COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the marketing landscape. Specifically, one of the most significant shifts we’ve seen is around budgeting. An overwhelming number of brands decided to dedicate a more considerable percentage of their budget to content marketing efforts. In fact, 68% of marketers predicted their content marketing budget would increase in 2021, and a report by the ANA and The Content Council projected a 42% spending hike by 2022.

This isn’t surprising. Between the increased reliance on content to stay connected with customers and the growing competition for people’s attention, companies need to invest in content marketing to survive. But many teams are now left wondering: What’s the best way to use this increased budget? While there’s no “correct” answer to this question, we’ll share a few ideas to help you get the most bang for your buck.

1. Expand Your Team

If you’re planning to produce more content, you need a larger team to support those efforts. A survey by Semrush found that most organizations operate with small content marketing teams of one to three people. However, a 10% decrease in the number of organizations outsourcing their content marketing needs suggests that businesses increasingly prefer to create their content in-house.

If you’re in a similar situation, now is the perfect time to start growing your team! Remember: Content marketing teams require a variety of roles to work cohesively. Here are a few examples of positions you may want to consider allocating a portion of your budget to:

  • Content writer or strategist
  • Copywriter
  • SEO specialist
  • Video animator
  • Designer
  • Social media manager

2. Invest in a Content Intelligence Platform

One of the trends we anticipate in a post-COVID world is that proving ROI will be more important than ever. Why? Since more budget is being allocated to content marketing efforts, there will be more pressure to prove the value of this increased investment. Unfortunately, 59% of marketers feel there’s a lack of actionable insights derived from current methods for tracking content marketing ROI, such as web analytics platforms.

To demonstrate the value of your content, you need a Content Intelligence platform that can help connect your content directly to your high-priority business outcomes—whether that’s increasing ROI, building your audience, or enhancing the brand. More and more companies are recognizing the importance of this type of measurement, which explains why we’re seeing a rise in Content Intelligence in the martech world.

3. Uplevel Your Marketing Toolbox

In addition to investing in a Content Intelligence platform, you may want to find other ways to uplevel your marketing toolbox. Tools like Semrush or Moz can help you take your SEO strategy to the next level. Or, if you’re expanding your writing team, a tool like Grammarly can make sure everyone is producing consistent, high-quality work.

But you don’t have to confine yourself to content-specific tools. For instance, if you’re planning to hire a designer or social media manager on your team, then you may need to invest in platforms like Canva or Sprout Social to support those roles. You should feel empowered to explore a variety of tools to see which ones are the best fit for your team and goals.

4. Experiment With Your Content

An increased budget presents the perfect opportunity to take calculated, creative risks with your content. Here are a few ways you can experiment with your storytelling efforts:

  • Content type and format. Now is the time to branch out and experiment with different types of content. If you only produce short-form content, try expanding to ebooks and guides. Or, if video is a format you want to explore, use this as an opportunity to get that project off the ground.
  • Distribution channels. The same goes for distribution channels. If you’ve solely relied on organic social media in the past, maybe now is the time to try out paid social or even advertisements for your content. Or, if you’re already investing in organic and paid efforts on Facebook, expand to Instagram or any other channel that makes sense for your brand.
  • Topics. If you’ve been eager to explore other topics, use your extra budget to test new messaging with your target audience. Or, if you have a secondary audience that you haven’t been able to reach as efficiently as your primary audience, dedicate a few months to understanding what makes them tick.

Not all of these tactics will work out. But as long as you measure the results and take a strategic approach to your experimentation, you may discover a new content type, distribution channel, or topic that resonates with your audience and amplifies the impact of your content.

There’s an endless number of possibilities when it comes to utilizing your increased content marketing budget this year. With a thoughtful approach to your strategy and execution, you can significantly impact your business and demonstrate the power of content marketing to the rest of your organization.

If you enjoyed reading this, here's another article on brands that are doing content right. And if you're curious to learn how Knotch can help you prove the ROI of your content efforts, you can request a demo.