Any couple will tell you a happy marriage takes total commitment. An Olympian will tell you she didn't get the gold without complete dedication. And a good parent will tell you raising a happy, healthy child takes devotion.

For any of your efforts to be successful, total commitment is a must. Content marketing is no different. In fact, Content Marketing Institute found that 91 percent of organizations were most successful when they were "extremely" committed to their content marketing strategies.

Unfortunately, that's not always a reality. I've spoken with countless leaders who don't see how content marketing is worth the investment. Digging a little deeper into their reasoning usually reveals a common problem: a lack of commitment. No wonder they don't see the value; they're not even giving it a chance.

The bottom line? Like any other function or department in your company, you can't just sorta-kinda do something and expect results. You have to commit, and committed teams share these three qualities:

  • C-suite buy-in: You need the support of the members of your executive team. Their knowledge and participation will be key for creation and distribution, and your C-suite will set the tone for the rest of the team's participation.

You have to be ready to address the C-suite's objections, raised eyebrows, and airs of skepticism. You may be told to "leave marketing to the marketing team" or that content marketing is a passing fad. So tell them the stats: The CMI survey found that 89 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing. The proof is in the pudding, and numbers don't lie.

  • Budget allocation: You may have the C-suite's blessing, but if it's not willing to dish out the dough to make it happen, that blessing doesn't mean much. CMI reported that 29 percent of the average total marketing budget is spent on content, so shoot for the average, and make sure your team will back it.
  • A solid content marketing team: You can't saddle your marketing director with churning out a few pieces of content each week (in addition to her other responsibilities) and call that a team. An effective content marketing team requires at least a few key players with different specialties to help create, polish, and publish your content and distribute it to the right audiences.

By taking a piecemeal approach and avoiding commitment, you leave yourself exposed to inconsistencies and inefficiencies that can cost you more than committing in the first place.

"The inefficiencies are the result of anything from user errors in manual processes to ineffective communication with vendors, and enterprises are losing between 10 and 20 percent in margins because of their failure to find and eliminate inefficiencies in their processes," said Sam Werner, CMO of Celonis, a process mining company that uses big data technology to show weaknesses in business operations and make processes more transparent and cost-effective.

And while it's all well and good to hype up the need for going "all in," I'm sure you're still wondering, "What do I get out of it?" I'm glad you asked.

1. You'll see better long-term ROI. Nine out of 10 organizations that were highly committed to their content marketing efforts saw major success. That major success translates to long-term ROI from content.

In fact, former Kraft senior media director Julie Fleischer said the food processing company's content marketing ROI was four times higher than its most targeted advertising. Clearly, Kraft didn't half-ass its content marketing efforts. It's that simple: Get more return on your investment by giving content marketing your all.

2. Other areas of your business will benefit. Content marketing doesn't just benefit marketing; it can affect every area of your company, from sales enablement to investor relations and education to recruiting top talent to nurturing current clients. You can even use it to continue your employees' professional development by educating them about your industry.

If it needs to be said, these are all solid goals for a company to set and to reach. Content can help achieve them -- as long as you're willing to commit.

3. It will build influence and strengthen your army of brand advocates. By telling your brand story in your content, you're letting others know what your business stands for and establishing your influence. Everyone who interacts with your brand has the opportunity to become an advocate; good content just gives him another reason to be one. You can use content to build a community of amplifiers, or an "army," if you will. Your army can use your content to advocate for your brand and recruit others to join, too.

While the adage "go big or go home" has probably been overused, its point hasn't been overstated: Why do anything at less than 100 percent? If you're going to have a content marketing strategy, make sure you're committed to it. Otherwise, what's the point?

Published on: Nov 6, 2016