Though content marketing is now a near-universal practice, success is uneven, as many organizations are still finding their footing.
According to the Twitter for Business blog, 91% percent of B2B marketers are doing content marketing. “However, teams are lean, indicating that many companies are still in the early stages of content marketing. 53% of respondents have small or one-person content teams serving their entire organizations.”
Consequently, just 36% say their organizations are “very committed” to content marketing, and the majority (53%) of content marketers rate their content marketing as only “moderately successful.”
Developing and executing a documented content marketing strategy is one critical success factor, as noted below. There are several useful methods for creating a strategy, including thinking like a reporter or using the ACKTT content strategy framework.
Whatever approach or model you use, here are five essential elements to consider in developing your content marketing strategy based on two dozen findings from recent research.
Communicate the Value of Content Marketing
1. Why do content marketing? 43% of companies say they want increased sales/revenue; 35% say it’s for better search rankings and increased visibility. Yet nearly half (48%) of companies spend less than $15,000 on content marketing annually. (Biz Epic)
2. 47% of buyers check 3-5 pieces of content before connecting with salespeople. And these 3-5 pieces of content should cover all stages of the sales funnel. (Riverbed Marketing)
3. 44% of the fastest-growing B2B companies offer downloadable content, like ebooks or whitepapers. 28% gate that content. (Drift)
4. 80 percent of consumers prefer custom, original content over canned solutions. B2B Marketers who spent at least 39 percent of their budgets on custom content in 2017 saw the most success. (Inc.)
5. According to Gartner, businesses focused on personalized marketing in 2018 could outsell their competitors by 20 percent. (Inc.)
Document Your Strategy
6. On average, B2B marketers allocate 28 percent of their total marketing budget to content marketing. (CMSWire)
7. 85% of “leaders” in content marketing have a documented strategy, vs. 50% of all B2B companies. (Marketing Insider Group)
8. Leaders are almost twice as likely (92% vs 55%) as others to rely on content to reinforce that clients have made the right decision to purchase their products or services. (Marketing Insider Group)
9. 58% of agency employees think their clients know nothing about content marketing. Just 5% think their clients are very knowledgeable. (Biz Epic)
10. Yet—89% of B2B marketers claim they are now implementing a content marketing strategy. Hmm. (Tomorrow People)
11. 58% of marketers say “original written content” is their most important type of content, over visuals and videos. (Cox Blue)
Optimize Landing Pages for Conversion
13. Want more leads? Build more landing pages. Companies see a 55% increase in leads when increasing their number of landing pages from 10 to 15. Businesses with over 40 landing pages generated a whopping 12 times more leads than those with 1-5 landing pages. (HubSpot)
14. Long landing pages can generate up to 220% more leads than landing pages with above-the-fold CTAs – but can also backfire. Be sure to test! (WordStream)
15. The average number of form fields on a B2B landing page is 11 — but reducing the number of form fields from 11 to four can produce a 120% increase in conversions. And the optimal number of form fields to maximize conversions is three. (WordStream)
16. Only 16% of landing pages don’t have navigation bars — but removing the navigation menu can double the conversion rate. (WordStream)
17. A/B testing is the most popular form of CRO; 56% of marketers use this method. 44% of companies use split testing software. (WordStream)
Include Audio and Video Content
18. Visual content matters. 71 percent of key decision makers prefer short case studies spanning three to four pages with plenty of visuals breaking up the content. And blogs that break up their content with images see 650 times the engagement of those that don’t according to Adobe. (Inc.)
19. So does audio content (at least for reaching young professionals): nearly half (44%) of cast listeners are aged 18-34. (Tomorrow People)
20. Visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. (CMSWire)
21. More than 90% of marketers say they use visual content in at least 50% of all articles they publish. (Venngage)
22. 45% of marketers say that infographics and other original graphics produce the highest engagement. (Venngage)
23. 61% of marketers call visual content “absolutely necessary” to their marketing strategy. (Venngage)
Watch Your Back
24. By the end of 2018, 20 percent of all business content will be authored by machines. (Mobile Business Insights)
Among the key takeaways for marketers from the stats and recommendations above:
- Document your strategy. Possibly no other single element will have as much impact on your odds of success. The strategy provides a roadmap, keeping you on track so all of your content serves both audience needs and your objective.
- Budget and staff to support that strategy (or supplement your team with external resources). The best strategy in the world won’t help without the talent, tools, and time to implement it.
- Personalize your content (at least at the persona level). The more your content resonates with your prospective buyers—using their language, reflecting an understanding of their most vexing problems—the more effective it will be. If your business model relies on making large sales to a relatively small number of identifiable prospects, incorporate account-based marketing (ABM) practices.
- Maximize impact with CRO. Content marketing is about persuading readers to take action. Incorporating conversion-rate optimization (CRO) practices into your processes is vital in that regard: design and test every element on your ebook, whitepaper, checklist, and other landing pages to achieve the best results.
- Use multiple content types. People learn differently, and the same individual may prefer different types of content at different times (e.g. text on their desktop, mobile video at the coffee shop, podcasts while driving). Present consistent brand messages and key ideas across different formats to maximize distribution.
Finally, don’t worry too much about machines writing business content. A comprehensive look at recent studies indicates it’s unlikely a robot will take your marketing job any time soon.
This was the ninth post of the Spectacular Springtime of (Digital Marketing) Stats series on Webbiquity and elsewhere.