For the past six years, the Content Marketing Institute has been putting together annual reports that highlight key trends in the field of content marketing. It’s a great way to get a good look at what the general consensus is on the future, but it also serves as post-mortem of sorts for a year-in-review.
The 32-page report is jam-packed with statistics, comparisons and charts galore, but if you’re a business-to-business marketer, it’s the equivalent of a how-to guide. If you’re just getting started out in the world of content marketing, the reports serve as a way to understand how to best structure your blooming strategy. If you’re an expert, it’s always good to see what your peers are doing — plus, some of the findings in the report might make you rethink the way your current strategy works!
We sifted through the report to pick out some of the most interesting finds for you, and put them together in the infographic below. Take a look and check out our 3 tips afterwards to stay on top of 2016’s trends!
3 Ways to Prepare for 2016:
PLAN, PLAN, PLAN
The most surprising finding in the report is the fact that so many content marketers think their companies aren’t doing an effective job. Seriously — only 30% said they would consider their content marketing strategies effective. Considering that on average, most of these same companies said they spent nearly one third of their entire marketing budget on content marketing, that’s not a ringing endorsement for the return on investment.
So how do you fix that? Well, that’s where the report comes in handy. This year, we saw the percentage of organizations with documented content marketing strategies drop 3 points. Not a huge drop, but that now means less than one third of all B2B marketers surveyed said that they recorded their strategies.
On the other hand, more than half of the most successful and effective B2B marketers said that they did in fact document their strategies. B2B marketers who document their strategy and follow according to its plan get better results from their social media platforms, content campaigns and paid promotions than those that don’t. In essence: start planning!
If you’re still feeling like your strategy is stagnating, consider outsourcing your content marketing. Rather than waste your time and energy doing something that feels like a waste of time and energy – have someone else take care of it for you.
PRINT REALLY IS DEAD
We touched on this in the infographic, but it’s worth pointing out again: traditional forms of paid promotion aren’t necessarily the safest bet anymore. Look at the two charts side-by-side.
While Search Engine Marketing (SEM) continues to be the strongest bet for a payoff from an investment, the real surprise is the way that traditional banner ads and print promotions flip flop. Think about it this way: if you were investing your promotional advertisement budget in the top 3 choices (SEM, print, banners), you’re actually getting significantly less of a ROI than you would if you spent the money on content discovery tools or native advertising.
We’re not saying cancel all your print and banner ads, but take a look at incorporating the other two options into your strategy for 2016. It’ll pay off in the end!
ENGAGING CONTENT IS EVERYTHING
This shouldn’t come as a surprise — but for the 6th year in a row, B2B marketers have stated that their number one priority is creating engaging content for their consumers. That’s because as we’ve pointed out time and time again — quality is king! Ensuring that everything you post is another opportunity to connect and engage with your audience is a surefire way to drive traffic and build brand loyalty.
While you’re spending the next few weeks mulling over these findings and deciding how they work in the framework of your own organization’s strategy, remember that the point (and priority) of content marketing is to build relationships with consumers.
Reviewing your content strategy for the next year is the perfect time to look at how you’re coming up with that content in the first place. Download our eBook for tips on how to leave a powerful lasting impression online.