Content marketing is getting a lot more interesting – especially if you’re a consumer. The latest B2C research from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs shows brands are focused on their audience, are concerned about delivering great experiences and are depending on a documented strategy to meet their goals. It’s good news.
B2C Content Marketing: 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America is the latest in a series of special reports into the discipline of content marketing. Eighty-six per cent of the 2,190 respondents from around the world represented a healthy cross-section of industries, functional areas and company sizes. The survey was conducted in June and July of 2017 and included not-for-profits, B2C businesses and companies with both B2B and B2C offerings. In these cases, the majority of the business was derived from B2C revenue.
An incredible 66 per cent of respondents are experiencing success that rivalled or exceeded the previous year’s efforts. By any measure, it’s hard not to look at that figure and still be sceptical about whether content marketing is effective. By comparison, only five per cent are reporting they’re less successful than a year ago.
These are encouraging results. As we see content marketing maturing and more businesses adopting content marketing activities, we’re also seeing the most companies with the most successful initiatives following similar patterns.
Start with a strategy
I’ve been bleating about the importance of a documented content marketing strategy for years, but you can’t expect to measure results if you haven’t documented your strategy. If you can’t measure, you can’t report. If you can’t report, you can’t expect to get executive buy-in or the necessary budget needed to grow a successful program.
If you’re like one of the lucky 34 per cent of marketers who don’t have to produce formal justification (ROI) for the effectiveness of your program, it would behove you to do it anyway. It’s only a matter of time before you’ll be asked to justify the expenditure and you want to be ready.
The audience is your key to success
The most successful content marketers focus on the audience, not on their brand. The content created is designed to attract and retain an audience, not broadcast information about products or services.
Focus on quality over quantity
We can all breathe a sigh of relief – quality is trumping quantity for content marketing. The best content marketers are stepping back from the grind and focussing on the fun stuff – at least the fun stuff for content creators. The focus is on creativity and quality. It ties in with attention to the audience and certainly makes coming to work more interesting for content marketers.
“Our research shows that B2C content marketers are placing a higher value on creativity and craft in content creation and production compared with one year ago,” says Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs, and author of Everybody Writes.
“Additionally, when we look just at the top-performing B2C content marketers, we see they place a higher priority on delivering content quality over content quantity and are more focused on creating content for their audience versus their brand – all important keys to content marketing success.”
Marketers are getting more time to develop content and also to see results. It’s a good sign education at the executive level has been successful. But there’s also a worrying sign. The percentage of B2C marketers who agreed their organization has realistic expectations about what content marketing can achieve decreased from 69% last year to 55% this year. It’s a sign management is still hoping they can find a silver bullet to replace the effectiveness of advertising in its heyday.
“Fewer B2C marketers than last year agreed that their organization has realistic expectations about what content marketing can achieve. One of the best ways content marketers can set appropriate expectations is to document their strategy. This will help stretched teams – even those that perform very well – focus on the priorities that matter most to their organization, and give teams that want to do more a starting point for building a business case for additional resources,” says Lisa Murton Beets, research director, Content Marketing Institute.
Get help to ensure high-quality productions
The most successful content marketers depend on social media, videos, photos and illustrations to deliver the most bang for their buck. Not all videos are equal and it takes a coordinated effort, specialised equipment and a lot of different skills to produce visual content to support your brand. Working with an agency or a service provider is a good solution if you’re working in a small team or don’t have the in-house skills to create the visual content you need.
You can read the whole report at the Content Marketing Institute.
If you’d like help getting your content marketing initiative off the ground, why not give Lush a call? We’ve been developing content marketing strategies for years and have an award-winning team of content producers specialising in writing, audio and all kinds of visual content.
Like what you’ve read? Sign up to the Lush newsletter for advice to help you market your business better, tips from our video production gurus, and a podcast or two from our favourite podcasting team, Brand Newsroom. In the meantime, you might enjoy these: