As a community, content marketers have experienced some significant ups and downs over the years. For every step forward we take toward content success, it sometimes seems like we take a couple backwards.
But perhaps, this will be the year that changes.
Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs just released their annual report– The 2018 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends .
We’ve come to rely on this report to be a definitive content marketing guide of sorts that provides a finger on the pulse of our industry and shows how we align (or don’t) with our content marketing peers.
In order to move forward, we have to know where we are today, including what is working and what is not. Below are what I consider to be some of the top learnings from the report.
Showing a Commitment to Content Marketing
As we know, content success does not happen overnight. It takes resources, dedication and patience. Commitment to content must be ingrained into company values and culture if it is going to work. So what is the outlook for 2018?
Based on these results it’s evident that only a small number of organizations are falling behind in their support of content marketing initiatives.
Characterizing Success of Content Marketing
But does commitment always equal success? In order for content marketing to be successful, it must be meeting the objectives as outlined by your organization. While 27% of B2B respondents are finding minimal or no success with their content marketing, many are!
The vast majority of respondents say that creating high quality content that is more efficient has been a leading factor to their success. Following closely behind is either developing or adjusting their content strategy.
Why a Content Marketing Strategy Isn’t Being Developed
It’s no surprise that marketers who develop a documented content strategy report higher levels of success. So what is keeping teams from developing a comprehensive content strategy?
Feeling like they don’t have enough time is still a concern for many marketers while a small percentage (11%) simply feel like a strategy is not important.
Content Creation & Distribution Process
Content marketing process often determines success. And, efficiency can sometimes make or break a brand’s approach to content marketing.
For the most part, it appears that content marketers have found a process (or series of processes) that helps them efficiently and effectively get content marketing created.
Content Helping Reach Business Objectives
As customer preferences continue to evolve, the content experience will only become more important. That also means understanding what content types resonate best with your audience.
Interestingly, social media, case studies and videos are the top types of content being created but are not necessarily the most effective.
Effective Formats for Distributing Content
For many content marketers amplification planning for content is an afterthought. They spend a significant amount of time creating the content, but aren’t as focused on how it will be distributed.
Email is both the top used and most successful tactic for distributing content according to the respondents of this survey.
Measuring the ROI of Content Marketing
What does content marketing success really look like? It varies largely by organization but an increase in leads or sales or a decreased cost of customer acquisition is a top objective for many brands.
For those not measuring content ROI, they cited the top two reasons as formal justification not being a requirement or that they needed an easier way to measure ROI.
Want the Full Report?
The good news is that more and more B2B brands are finding success with content marketing initiatives. The bad news however is that measurement and ROI still seem to be a struggle for many.
The key findings above are only a sample of what’s included so be sure to review the whole report below for other lessons in B2B content marketing.