You know all those blogs you write and stuff you create that is content?
People are reading it but, do you know how many? Do you know why? Who are you aiming for…?
There are many challenges in creating content but, it is an activity that many businesses are now spending a little more time, effort, money and thought on creating. With social media channels now even more prevalent in our lives – and the lives of our consumers – local, online businesses have even more outlets through which they can distribute their content.
Content is everywhere…
And it seems that more and more people are creating content and so, how is it faring? A recent survey, conducted annually by marketing and IT company Spiceworks, found that there were some significant changes in the ‘why?’ of content creation.
And, as always, we have trudged through the data and statistics and pulled out the ones that show how we are really using content in the larger field or marketing…
WHY content is created
Back in the day, content was created because… well… everyone else was doing it. Sort of. And we all followed suit. If you were not creating and publishing content, you were not making an attempt to bag your fair share of consumers.
However, it seems that times are changing; ‘customer acquisition’ through content marketing is no longer hogging top spot.
We have long talked about content being the door to your business and company, through which consumers and fans will step. And so, of those surveyed 59% were using content as lead generation, whilst keeping a keen eye on becoming leaders in their field (43%) and 40% of those questioned using it as part of their raising brand awareness. Customer acquisition had dropped to 28%…
A content strategy is where you have pre-planned blogs and other content: who is writing, where it is being posted and how it is being distributed. This survey found that those companies who did have a documented content strategy on average had content that performed better than those businesses without one.
Having said that, only 30% of the companies surveyed actually had a content strategy documented – in other words, written down – but overall, three quarters of those surveyed said they did have some kind of plan (verbal, written on a napkin, that kind of thing…)
The lesson – thinking about your content strategy and writing it down produces results and thus, spending some time getting it down of paper, sticking with it and reviewing it can reap rewards.
What kind of content?
Content is a BIG word, that covers all kind of information, produced in a variety of formats and thus this survey produced a series of results that show what companies are producing and sharing…
- Blogs – 65%
- Social media posts and statuses – 64%
- Case studies – 64%
- White papers – 55% (unlikely to be used by consumers, but important to other businesses…)
There were all kinds of other content formats named but some of the fastest growing content marketing formats – video, podcasts and the like – were fairly low down on the list. When you remember that this survey also questioned companies about how they content market to other businesses, it seems that there is a divide growing between business-to-consumer marketing and business-to-business.
Content Marketing Challenges
But, as with many aspects of business, there were many challenges that businesses said they faced in terms of content marketing, with the biggest hurdle being lack of time.
And it seems that this time hurdle is now a serious enough challenge for content creation to, at last, be figuring in the marketing budgets of companies; creating and sharing content is something we have always known is important but, this fact alone has not always been enough to act on it. The time has come that businesses can no longer be failing to act!
The lesson – businesses need to be paying considerable attention to the possibility of portioning part of their budget to outsourcing content creation if they do not have the skills and/or time to do so ‘in-house’.
And we all know that, in business, nothing really stands still for long… and content creation and sharing is one aspect that is not static. Ever evolving, it is now time for the micro business to the huge global corporations to take a fresh look at not only what it is producing, but who is doing it and why…
Of those businesses surveyed, 54% put content marketing in with the marketing division of their business or company. Of these marketing people, half of them created all the information, blog, analytical reports etc. themselves; a staggering 92% of information and content creation was developed in-house.
In terms of budgets however, the survey raised an interesting conflict; if a business relied on content marketing as its favoured form of marketing, the production of material in-house raised concerns about how the value of the content (the return of investment, or the ROI – what you get back from the effort you put in) was being measured… and in most cases, it wasn’t. In other words, some very well paid were producing content that maybe wasn’t quit hitting the spot. Are you spending hours poring over blogs and articles? Is it paying off?
The survey asked companies how and what they intended on producing in the future in terms of content creation and marketing…
77% of those surveyed said that content creation within their company was going to increase, with a third of these companies saying they expected this increase to be ‘significant’. NO ONE said they were going decrease their content marketing efforts.
What is this survey REALLY telling us?
- Content marketing to customers is essential.
- Content marketing from business to business is essential.
The format only varies slightly and many businesses put a lot of time and effort into creating content, but not many are able to pinpoint its value in terms of return of investment.
Despite the online world becoming an even more crowded place, content marketing is far from old-hat or close to dying out, simply because it is still effective.
It builds authority and trust, as well as promoting brand awareness and recognition. Top quality content will be distributed more and more through a variety of social media channels.