Were you ever told that just because so many people were doing something, that didn’t mean you had to? Well, when it comes to content marketing, there’s real evidence that perhaps we should be doing just that.
An article late last year in the Search Engine Journal makes a case for content marketing by reviewing the ever growing statistical information backing the facts, at least when it comes to whether businesses are using content, and in some cases just how they are doing it.
Much of the information relayed in that piece comes from a variety of sources and studies, including the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and online research firms and platforms like Semrush, Statista Research, Mediafly and Venngage.
These findings focus on aspects of content marketing including usage, effectiveness, types of content being offered on a regular basis, distribution and even consumption. While statistics do not always tell the tale, it is important to study them and understand the broader context of content, and how it might help business owners reach potential customers.
Content is king
We have written about the role of content in your public relations (PR) and marketing strategies a number of times and agree in principle that is more and more becoming the best tool available for small companies trying to reach an audience.
Sharing your message in an effective way, through content – we focus on storytelling – helps companies showcase their expertise, give customers information versus simply a sales pitch and is an active way to market by pushing information out to an audience versus waiting for someone to find your website or listing in Google.
So let’s so what the stats show (this information is from by Jeff Riddall, a VIP contributor at the journal).
According to CMI, Riddall explains, 73% of business to business (B2B) marketers and 70% of business to consumer marketers use content marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy. At the same time, 91% of marketing pros surveyed by Semrush achieved success with their content marketing in 2021.
Another CMI study documented content strategies by 40% of B2B marketers, while half of all marketers say they outsource some content marketing.
When it comes to effectiveness most marketers studied say it is critical that high quality content be offered, such as posting blogs and content using into audio, video, interactive, and meta formats. The top types include videos, blogs and images.
While short articles/posts (83%) and videos (61%) are the top two content types that B2C marketers used in the last 12 months, the use of long-form articles increased to 42% from 22% last year. At the same time, short content (300-900 words) attracts 21% less traffic and 75% fewer backlinks than articles of average length (900–1200 words.) according to Semrush.
Interactive content sees 52.6% more engagement than static content, with buyers spending an average of 8.5 minutes viewing static content items and 13 minutes on interactive content items, according to Mediafly.
Get it out there
Content leaders say that it is as simple as creating some content and publishing in some fashion. A true strategy must include active content channels that target your audiences. Often these include social media platforms we all use on a regular basis.
Some data shows that B2B marketers turn to paid distribution through social media advertising pushes that contain content and others have found, according to CMI, that LinkedIn is a top-performing distribution channel.
The journal piece also talks about the importance of understanding how audiences consume content or take actions as a result of what they reach or see.
The piece notes a 2021 DemandGen study that showed that 62% of those making B2B purchase decisions relied on more “practical content” like case studies and visual content, such as webinars, to guide their buying decisions. They cited the “trustworthiness of the source” as an issue.
Interestingly enough, buyers are willing to spend no more than five minutes reviewing most content formats, according to DemandGen, while 65% of respondents to their survey said they “give more credence to peer reviews, user-generated content, and third-party publications/analysts vs. company-generated content.”
CMI noted that content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing but costs 62% less. Other studies agree and note that blogging is an effective tactic that audiences respond to.
So ultimately, what we are to make of this surge of content in recent years? For business owners there are some simple takeaways:
- Everyone’s doing it
- You can shoot from the hip, but a strategy is better
- Take your time
- Word count (in blogs at least) counts
- Distill your message
- Content means more for less
- Consider a content budget
Often, when there’s a new hot trend we have to be careful to jump in, and sometimes we then miss the chance. Content has been around long enough, and has enough staying power according to the stats, that every business owner should consider its pros and cons.
If you are looking to understand content marketing even more, the Logos Communications team is ready to answer your questions. We help many clients in this area and offer ideas that fit your particular need.