2018 was quite a year for content marketing! As is true with technology, content marketing has evolved at a rapid pace. The United States witnessed major social media platforms get in hot water with the federal government over privacy issues and US election tampering. The general public has grown warier of the media.
And that’s why there is such a huge opportunity for brands to build trust with their audience through helpful and educational content, even in “boring” industries. This focus on customer-focused content creation is being felt by marketers in companies of all types and across all industries. And it’s certainly something we are seeing with our client’s focus on consistent content creation.
Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs released their 2019 Content Marketing report for consumer-focused marketers. Together, they surveyed over 1,000 B2C marketers, asking them specifically about content marketing and limited it to companies and organizations who have been active with their campaigns for over a year or more.
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michael brenner and liz bedor
- Your content needs to help you connect better to your customers and build loyalty.
- Marketers are investing more and more in creating better content.
- A documented strategy, storytelling, and use of more visuals are things that can make your content successful.
The Goal of Content Marketing
While B2B organizations have caught onto what content marketing can do for a company and implemented the tactics, B2C has been a little slower on the uptake. However, according to this report, they are catching up with 81% of those surveyed reporting their organization is focused on creating content that builds loyalty with existing customers.
Marketing Budgets Are on the Rise
One of the most promising revelations in the B2C report was related to budget allocation. Marketing budgets are on the rise with 57% of survey responders reporting they expect to see a budget increase in 2019. 29% anticipate an increase of 9% or higher.
Perhaps even more telling is the total percentage of responders who anticipate a decrease in spending with less 14%. With the increase in marketing budgets, 56% of companies and organizations intend to use their extra funds to focus on content creation. It was the top area to see an increase in budget while about 35% intend to invest in hiring staff, paid content distribution and technology.
What Makes Content Marketing Successful?
In 2018, content marketers learned that that the best indicator for successful content marketing requires a commitment to the process. With that, it was found that as campaigns mature, they are more likely to be effective.
The report revealed the need for a strategy documentation. Only one out of three B2C marketers surveyed have a documented content strategy. Those who do noted that it aligns the team around common goals/mission, improves team focus, and creates accountability.
Survey responders disclosed that 52% always or frequently use storytelling as a part of their strategy.
Over 60% prioritize putting audience’s informational needs over promotional messaging and delivering the right content to target audiences on the right platforms.
It was a good year for written and visual content. 64% report increasing their usage of written digital content such as blogs, articles, and ebooks. Nearly two thirds of survey respondents reported an increase in audio and visual content with 63% reporting an increase in images, infographics, charts and GIFs.
To distribute content, 68% of marketers used paid methods. Within that group, nearly three out of four reported they use paid social media tactics. While an effective content marketing campaign helps build loyalty with existing customers, paid social is also used to attract new clientele.
Furthermore, CMI and MarketingProfs asked respondents how 2018’s events impacted their usage of social media. S69% reported an increase of their social media usage, while listing Instagram stories as their most used new tactic. Only 4% reported a decrease in social media usage.
Content Marketers Speak
Here are a few survey participants who discussed what they learned in 2018:
“Creating long videos and then slicing them up into short segments has performed well. It’s a matter of trying to find a way to reach consumers that’s convenient.”
– Glen LaFollette, Senior Manager of Brand Strategy, JLL Corporate Marketing.
“Long form has been away but it’s coming back.”
– Carlijn Postma, Founder, The Post
“We have been successful using short form videos on social media. Instagram stories has been killer. Social media enables us to see how people react and adjust our strategies for the rest of the day, rest of the week, rest of the year.”
– Evan Parker, VP of Content, Nascar.
“The best way to create successful content marketing campaigns is to engage with the target audiences.”
– Courtney Cox, Digital Marketing Manager, Children’s Health
What’s Your Focus For Content Marketing In 2019?
I want to thank CMI and MarketingProfs for another great survey. Each year, we see quantifiable proof of the need to focus on documenting your content marketing strategy. And the increasing focus on creating consistent, customer-focused content. Separate from this survey, we are also seeing a ton of evidence from our own clients that activating employees as storytellers and for content sharing is a huge trend in 2019.
If you are looking for help in any of these areas in 2019, please let us know today!