Welcome to the wild world of content marketing. With 58% of B2B marketers admitting they'll increase their content budgets this year, there's going to be quite the influx of content. It's critical to be creative and unique; but it's crucial to be strategic.

According to this research by Content Marketing Institute, 93% of B2B marketers are using content marketing. And rightfully so. Quality content drives targeted and inspired traffic to your brand.

But, here are the telling stats uncovered by the research:

• Only 42% of B2B content marketers feel like they are actually being effective
• Yet, 58% of B2B marketers are planning to increase their content marketing budgets in the next 12 months.

That’s an interesting conundrum. It seems that the only thing marketers are sure of is that content marketing is a necessary play. But, is the answer really throwing more money at something that is currently ineffective?

The Internet is filled with failed content. It’s best to think of these failures as the price of admission into the content world. We can gain some valuable insights from our former attempts, and realize some very important factors that will ensure our content marketing efforts (and budgets) are validated.

1) Stop thinking about platforms. Start thinking about strategy.

The problem with most content on-line today is that it’s not connected to anything. It’s a product on a shelf, un-inspired and definitively un-motivating. It’s a blog post here, a social graphic there, and something else somewhere else. Truly great content marketing (read: effective) starts and ends with a documented content strategy. A strategy leverages content to create meaningful actions by documenting:

• Why content is being produced
• What content will be produced
• When content will be developed
• Where content will be shipped
• How content will continue to draw traffic

If you aren’t thinking through these questions, you’re wasting your time producing short shelf-life products. Strategy gives us the necessary methodology and plan to produce content with legs – content with real evergreen value and evolving metrics.

2) Shipping is only the beginning.

It’s fun to produce content because you are doing work that is inspiring, creative and helpful. But, if you do all that work building out your products, and do little to create sustained awareness around them, you’ve robbed your content of its’ potential. Here are a few of the questions we ask when thinking through promotional strategies for our content:

Are there influencers that will promote this content for us? Does our content have value for them?
• Does it make sense to pay in order to help targeted audiences find our content?
• Would our social audience be interested in this content? Is it valuable enough for them to share with their friends?
• Is this content relevant to our email lists? Should we shoot them a message?
• What headlines will inspire our audience to click through to our content? How frequently should we remind them that our content is “out there”?

In my experience, the majority of content campaigns fail because creators haven’t thought through promotional deliverables. They are essentially launching products out into space, and hoping for something to stick. Hint: That doesn’t work.

3) Every great idea boils down to one simple question: Can we execute?

This is the trick with a content strategy. The ideas are easy, the organization is simple to chart out…but the real secret sauce lies in the ability to execute. Do you have the time, resources, vision, and capability to pull off your content strategies? Thinking like a publisher means that you must be able to winnow down all your crazy ideas to the right ideas, and employ a system that holds you accountable to production.

In my opinion, this is just the beginning. Content marketing will only become a more flooded and competitive market in the years ahead.

With 58% of B2B marketers admitting they'll increase their content budgets this year, there's going to be quite the influx of content. It's critical to be creative and unique; but it's crucial to be strategic. Define and document your strategy, promote your content relentlessly, and know what you can execute.

That's how you'll tame this new, wild world of content (inspiring your audience and your bottom line in the process).