Content marketing is at the cornerstone of what we do at Content Science Review, so it was high time we updated one of our most popular fact sheets that focused on – you guessed it – content marketing. Below, a collection of facts, statistics, and bits of knowledge to elevate your content strategy.

Colleen Jones, author of The Content Advantage and Clout, defined the difference between content marketing and content strategy as:

Content strategy is essential for a wide range of purposes—media products, technical support, customer service, sales, and marketing, to name a few. Content marketing focuses on strategy and implementation for—you guessed it—marketing. — Has Content Marketing Hijacked Content Strategy?

Content marketing forms one part of an overall content strategy where an organization actively uses content to provide information of value to an audience on a continuous basis. And content marketing’s goal? To influence people to take action—without sounding salesy—in order to drive specific, desired kinds of customer behavior.

Content marketing is any marketing technique whereby media and published information (content) are used to influence buyer behavior and stimulate action leading to commercial relationships. Optimally executed content marketing delivers useful, relevant information assets that buyers consider a beneficial service rather than an interruption or a “pitch.” — IDC

That means content marketing differs from traditional marketing, public relations, and communications practices. Creating content marketing similar to sales presentations or traditional marketing collateral won’t work. Instead, think of content marketing more like publishing. The reality is, all brands are now publishers. And as more brands recognize the potential of content marketing, they are devoting more budget, time, and resources to this rapidly evolving area of marketing. As Harvard Business Review points out, “Marketers do need to think more like publishers, but they also need to act more like publishers if they are ever going to be able to hold an audience’s attention. If you can’t create a compelling experience, it doesn’t really matter what your content strategy is: it will fail.”

91% of B2B marketers are using content marketing. Of those who didn’t use content marketing, 54% said they planned to start doing so in 2018. Additionally, 82% of B2C marketers used content marketing. Content Marketing Institute

What’s more, 36% of B2B organizations say they are very committed to content marketing, and 20% say they are very committed. –Content Marketing Institute

As an alternative to the hard-to-measure merit of traditional advertising and one-way communications, content marketing is a much more effective means of marketing. It creates more relevant content and better two-way customer relationships all throughout the customer lifecycle in a non-threatening, non-salesy way.

Nearly 9 out of 10 B2B companies in the U.S. will use digital content marketing this year. –eMarketer

As a result, higher percentages of marketing budgets will continue to be allocated for content marketing—especially considering that Contently and other industry experts predict content marketing will generate $300 billion by 2019.

75% of companies are increasing content marketing investment, with 43% increasing staff levels. — Curata

Breaking content marketing down between B2B and B2C, Content Marketing Institute states that B2B content marketers allocate 29% of their marketing budget, on average, to content marketing—up slightly from last year. The most effective allocate 42%, and the most sophisticated/mature allocate 46%,” reveals B2B Content Marketing 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends–North America.

As for B2C, a MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute study reports that 26% is the average proportion of total marketing budget that is spent on content marketing, while 42% of marketers plan to increase their content marketing spending over the next 12 months, and 39% plan to keep their content marketing spending around the same level over the next 12 months.

Those same studies also show that 2% of B2B marketers in North America say their organization’s overall approach to content marketing has been much more or somewhat more successful than a year ago. While 24% of B2C marketers report their content marketing strategy is much more effective compared to one year ago. Forty-six percent say it’s somewhat more effective, and 19% say it’s about the same.

There lies the conundrum—and the opportunity. More money devoted to content marketing doesn’t necessarily mean organizations fully understand or successfully implement content marketing initiatives. They know they need it, they throw money at it, but they often don’t fundamentally grasp the strategy, talent, resources, and tactics it takes to execute it.

87% of B2B marketers say they struggle to develop compelling content. — Forrester

This is actually good news for your organization and should ring loud and clear as an opportunity. If you take the time to articulate your content marketing business goals and strategy, study successful content marketing execution, and understand how to evaluate your success, you will become part of the fruitful minority of organizations that execute properly. It’s also wise to consider this stat: 78% of B2B marketers say content creation was the main factor contributing to content marketing success over the past year.

It’s never been a more exciting time to be a marketing professional. We are the ones who will define the future business models, not just for marketing, but for our entire organizations. Building loyal and trusted audiences through the delivery of truly valuable information is the key to making this happen. — Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute

Division of content is another important point to consider. Content marketers, on average, aim for 61% created content, 27% curated, and 12% syndicated, according to Curata.

Social media is also emerging as a major player in the content marketing game. 96% of B2C content marketers use social media, while 94% of B2B content marketers do so. –Content Marketing Institute Their efforts are not going unnoticed. 80% of Instagram followers follow a business account. –Instagram

While you might hear a lot of hype about content marketing, always remember it is a timeless principle. It existed in the 1800s, the 1900s, and now the 2000s. John Deere did something brilliant yet simple in 1895—they informed and educated farmers in a compelling way with useful, relevant content. And that content helped John Deere become a credible, trusted, and reliable brand.

Too often, content marketing fails because organizations like to talk about themselves and their products. Or, organizations focus on new technologies, tools, platforms, and channels like shiny toys, or worse, SEO snake oil. Instead, if you understand the timeless principles of content marketing, you will thrive no matter what technology, tools, and trends crash around you like rapids in a river.

When some organizations become enthusiastic about content marketing, they believe it means upping the amount of content creation and blasting it everywhere. Marketing agencies and SEO teams often encourage this attitude, but more content does not equal better content marketing.

Paradoxically, it’s actually easier to give people too much content—but that content volume backfires when your audiences ignore it. That’s because people respond better to more focused and targeted content.

Most readers spend only 37 seconds reading an article online. NewsCred Insights

That’s why it’s important to present your readers with targeted, bite-sized bits of content. You need to understand your audience thoroughly and know exactly what they want.

Taking that point further, Gartner predicts that this year, marketers will stop using content consumption as a gauge of where a reader is in the buyer’s journey, rather than many different factors affect the B2B buying cycle. (Plus, your site doesn’t exist a vacuum!).

The importance of optimizing your customer experience and user journeys cannot be overstated. In fact, integrated customer journeys give you a massive competitive advantage, sometimes doubling sales year of year, Kapost found.

Yet it’s not a given.

48% of users report frustration and annoyance when a site is poorly optimized for mobile. Yet 84% of companies plan to increase their focus on customer experience metrics, while 73% of those not conducting customer experience testing plan to do so in the next year. –Impact

The top 6 content marketing challenges: 1. Limited budget (including staff). 2. Creating enough content on a regular basis. 3. Finding the best sources to create amazing content. 4. Measuring the impact of content. 5. Organizational culture. 6. Promoting content. — Curata

So what makes a content marketer?

Conventional wisdom states that traditional marketers, public relations specialists, and communications specialists are natural content marketers. But content marketing skill sets often more closely match those of traditional publishing, (i.e. those who work for newspapers, magazines, trade publications, and other media companies). These groups have worked as content marketers for many years without necessarily using that term.

In building your content teams, consider journalists, editors, publishers, and other people with media-related experience who already boast many of the skills you need.

87% of survey respondents rated the factor “a team leader who provides vision, direction, and inspiration” as very important or critical to team success. — Content Science, What Makes Content Teams Thrive?

In addition to finding trained content marketing professionals, it takes sound leadership for content marketing teams to thrive. The top five capabilities needed in content leaders are: vision, collaborate with others, synthesize information, motivate the team, and cross-functional expertise. With strong leadership in place, your content marketing team is one step closer to building long-term success.

With the right leadership, goals, foundation, best practices, talent, and evaluation process, content marketing can become a critical weapon in your organization’s arsenal. The good news? There is still time to leap ahead of your competition while they flail at execution.

The Author

Content Science is a growing content strategy and intelligence company and the publisher of Content Science Review. We empower digital enterprises for the content era by taking their content approach to the next level. Customers of our professional services and one-of-a-kind products (such as ContentWRX and Content Science Academy) include the Fortune 50, the world’s largest nonprofits, and the most trusted government agencies.

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