Recent research about content marketing showed that it was either a high or medium priority for 90 percent of study participants. While more than 65 percent used newsletters, almost 80 percent curated content but faced attribution and permission issues. Nearly 45 percent stated that lead generation was their highest goal. About half of the respondents said they had a strategy in place, and 30 percent of those individuals had strategies in place for more than one year. Nearly 20 percent had just introduced a strategy within the past year.
Researchers found that marketers were becoming more familiar with content marketing practices. In recent years, only 65 percent of respondents said they felt comfortable with the practice, but the most recent report shows that nearly 80 percent now feel comfortable. More than 10 percent of respondents felt they knew enough to be classified as experts. Respondents said that email blasts, corporate sites, newsletters and social media were the most effective tools. Social media took the lead at over 50 percent, and the other vehicles followed between 40 percent and 45 percent.
For those who had strategies in place, almost 45 percent said it was hard to find relevant content. Slightly more than 25 percent of respondents said they had separate channels for different content marketing vehicles, and about 30 percent had special editorial guidelines for their various audience groups. Experts expressed their concern that not all companies were optimizing the content distributed to specific audiences. For example, the audience using social media may not be the same as the audience receiving newsletters.
Of the total number of respondents who used newsletters, about half said they distributed them monthly. More than 25 percent distributed quarterly, and almost 15 percent issued newsletters more than once per month. Slightly more than 10 percent of respondents outsource content development, and about 45 percent developed it internally. The remaining respondents used a combination of both methods. Nearly 80 percent of participants curated industry-specific content, but they faced the following issues:
– Copyrighted content permissions
– Incorrect references
– Image permissions
– Trademark names
Researchers found that while content marketing is important to companies, the amount of money they budgeted for this purpose did not always reflect its indicated importance level. One of the most important goals participants cited was lead generation. However, this was a somewhat new development. The previous year’s survey showed slightly more than 15 percent of respondents felt lead generation was the main goal, but that number jumped to nearly 45 percent during the following 12 months. Customer engagement and awareness each followed closely behind at nearly 20 percent.
It is interesting to note that primary goals vary by industry. For example, automakers cited awareness as their top goal but had more difficulty in finding relevant content than other industries. Due to strict industry regulations, financial companies and banks had tighter control over their topical planning and content creation. In addition to this, all respondents in this category said their content was internally developed and not outsourced. Marketers using direct selling had the highest budgets for content marketing. This research has certainly shown that content marketing is always gaining importance in a competitive world. To keep up or get ahead of the competition, it is important to know how to communicate effectively with each targeted group.