The secret to content marketing success: document a strategy and adhere to it.
Two critical factors differentiate great content marketers from the rest: having a documented content marketing strategy, and following it very closely, according to the findings of the fifth annual content marketing study by MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute.
Just 35% of content marketers have a documented content marketing strategy, although 48% say they have one but it's not documented, the B2B Content Marketing: 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends—North America study found.
Content marketers who have a documented strategy are eight times more likely (60% vs. 7%) to rate themselves as being effective content marketers vs. those who have no strategy, written or otherwise.
The No. 1 initiative that B2B marketers are working on now is "creating engaging content," the survey also found. That has been a persistent challenge, regularly cited by respondents in the past five years.
"This is a challenge that isn't going away," said Ann Handley, chief content officer of MarketingProfs and author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content. "With so much content being produced these days, companies really need to be focused on creating engaging, relevant content for their audience instead of just pushing their sales messages."
The study, sponsored by Brightcove, includes findings from 1,820 North American business-to-business (B2B) marketers from among 5,000+ marketers surveyed across 109 countries and 25 industries.
"This research is incredibly important so that savvy marketers can benchmark their content marketing strategy, processes, and budgets against their peer group," said Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute and author of Epic Content Marketing.
Other key findings from the report:
- 70% of B2B marketers are creating more content than they did one year ago, even those who say they are least effective (58% of them say they are creating more content) and those without any type of strategy (56% of them say so).
- Measurement is a key area where B2B marketers are struggling: Only 21% say they are successful at tracking ROI; however, having a documented strategy helps (35% of those with a strategy say they are successful).
- Once again, infographics was the tactic that had the greatest increase in usage (from 51% last year to 62% this year).
- 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content, making it the social media platform used most often (they also say it's the most effective social media platform).
- 58% of B2B marketers use search engine marketing, making it the paid method used most often to promote/distribute content (they also say it's the most effective paid method).
- More B2B marketers say they are challenged with finding trained content marketing professionals this year (32%) than last year (10%).
For detailed findings, see the full report:
About the study: B2B Content Marketing: 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends—North America reports findings gathered from the fifth annual content marketing survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, and sponsored by Brightcove. It includes findings from 1,820 North American business-to-business (B2B) marketers from among 5,000+ marketers surveyed across 109 countries and 25 industries.