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. This is an area in which many organizations struggle. For example, just 11% of marketing/content teams plan content campaigns based on organizational objectives and prioritize by those that fill strategic gaps, according to a 2020 Upland Kapost study

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.”

73% of B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy. And nearly a third (29%) of respondents said their organizations were
extremely or very successful with content marketing in the last 12 months. Content Marketing Institute

As an alternative to the hard-to-measure merit of traditional advertising and one-way communications (the U.S. ad industry has lost “approximately 50% to 60% of the signal fidelity from third-party identifiers” because of changes to Apple and Firefox’s browser, according to IAB), 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.

While US B2B digital ad spending is a very small share of the overall digital ad market, that share saw a jump in 2020 that will not diminish over time, demonstrating digital’s growing importance for B2Bs. – Insider Intelligence

This shift in reliance on digital media for B2B marketing will result in higher percentages of marketing budgets allocated for content marketing—so much so that the content marketing market share is expected to increase by $487.24 billion from 2021 to 2026.

70% of companies are increasing content marketing investment, with 43% increasing staff levels. — Curata

Breaking content marketing down between B2B and B2C, Content Marketing Institute reveals in their B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends for 2022 that 43% of respondents said their 2021 content marketing budget increased over 2020 levels, and that 66% expected their 2022 content marketing budget to increase over their 2021 budget.

As for B2C, a MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute study reports that 61% of marketers expected an increase from the previous year in their content marketing spending and 29% planned to keep their content marketing spending the same. 

35% of B2B marketers struggled to produce enough content to reach and engage with audiences. — Finite

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: 74% of B2B marketers say the value their content provided was the top factor in their success

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. Content Marketing Institute shows 82% of B2C content marketers use social media, while 80% of B2B content marketers do so. Their efforts are not going unnoticed. 90% of Instagram followers follow a brand and want to connect. –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. Consider just how much content is out there: millions of blogs get published every day. And there is no slow down in sight.  

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. For example, bloggers report that interviews and roundups have become less popular, the popularity of video in blogs has doubled in the last decade, and most bloggers write posts between 500-1500 words according to Orbit Media.

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

In our latest study, the number of content marketer roles are up 112% from 2017; there is also an uptick in content strategist and content designer roles reported. 52% of organizations report leadership roles like
content manager or director, up 8% from 2017. — Content Science,
Content Operations Study

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 partners with the world’s leading organizations to close the content gap in digital business. We bring together the complete capabilities you need to transform or scale your content approach. Through proprietary data, smart strategy, expert consulting, creative production, and one-of-a-kind products like ContentWRX and Content Science Academy, we turn insight into impact. Don’t simply compete on content. Win.

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