Every year, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) surveys B2B marketers to learn about their content marketing practices and trends. The recently released 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends takes a close look at the results. There’s a lot of data packed into its slides, but the biggest takeaways can be boiled down to four key points.
1. An effective strategy is a written strategy
Eighty-three percent of B2B marketers said they had a content marketing strategy, but only 35 percent had documented that strategy. What’s more, 60 percent of those with their strategy documented considered their content marketing effective; of those with a verbal strategy, only 32 percent could say that.
The data are clear: If you want your strategy to have impact, write it down. This gives your team something to refer back to and use as a checkpoint as it is executed over time.
2. B2B companies are creating more content than ever
A notable 70 percent of B2B marketers stated they are increasing their content output in 2015. This was consistent across all companies regardless what the marketer reported about the effectiveness of their existing content marketing efforts.
What does this mean for you? Don’t panic, the solution is not to crank out an equal amount of content just to keep pace. Instead, make sure the content you do put out is competitive by making it high quality and laser-focused on being interesting and useful to your target reader.
3. Distribution is queen
Content is king, but even the best content isn’t worth much if it doesn’t reach the right readers. It takes an investment to create great content—so why wouldn’t you put the time and budget into getting it in front of your target audience, too?
This mentality is reflected in the responses of this year’s survey participants. B2B companies are using an average of six free and three paid distribution methods for their content, and 28 percent of overall marketing budgets are going toward content marketing support.
4. Data = power
Across companies of all sizes, an average of 28 percent of overall marketing budget went toward content marketing. And if you’re company is putting in dollars, you want to know your results. Yet only 21 percent of B2B marketers believed they were effective in tracking the ROI of their content.
Where’s your investment going? The best way to know is to follow the data, so identify the metrics of value in that strategy document you’re writing, and be sure to check them regularly.
Across the board, content marketing continues to gain momentum as a B2B marketing trend. This year’s survey results reflect that more and more marketers are getting on board, but there’s still a lot of fluctuation in execution and results. Even so, content marketing can be a powerful tool to connect with your target audience. Apply these four insights from the CMI2015 results, and you are well on your way to effective and strategic execution.