What Publishers Can Learn from Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 Survey

The State of Content Marketing – Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 Survey

If you’re not sure what Content Marketing is, stop everything and read this article! If you use content marketing, read on for the state of the union to pick up some ideas on how to increase your effectiveness.

Content marketing entails distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain an audience — and, ultimately, converting that audience into customers. For example, Nike writes about fitness to amass email subscribers, then Nike aims to sell this group sneakers.

Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute, in collaboration with MarketingProfs and Brightcove, recently released their annual report on business to business content marketing.

Here is my take on the implications for media companies, digital publishers, and other people who sell their content.

First, we have a huge advantage – we create content for a living! CMI’s research showed that the number one factor leading to successful content marketing is high quality content creation. Commerce companies have to either build new departments to create content, or outsource content development. Content is not their core competency. FYI, the second and third factors associated with success are having a strategy and making content marketing an organizational priority.

Second, the research reveals some clues that make me even more nervous about the future of print advertising. Executives who use content marketing do not view print advertising effective relative to the spend. According to the survey, print advertising is the third most popular way of promoting content (58% of respondents replied affirmatively); however, with only 24% of participants endorsing its effectiveness, it was one of the least effective methods of content promotion. As a point of comparison, search engine marketing was the second most popular paid vehicle (with 67% of respondents using it) and it was also ranked the most effective (54% of respondents replied affirmatively). Native ads seem to be emerging as a more prevalent and effective vehicle (41% use, 35% say they’re effective).

Third, I think content marketers need to re-think how they measure success, at least in our industry. Here are the most popular ways respondents measure success of content marketing efforts:

  • Website traffic
  • Sales lead quality
  • Social media sharing

Should we monitor website traffic? Yes, absolutely. Should it be the most important metric? Not necessarily! OK, yes, traffic drives ad revenue if you have an ad-supported business model. But those business models are challenged, and we need to think about ways to monetize content with our readers. In these new business models (digital memberships, e-learning, e-commerce, etc.), not all traffic is created equal. We need to be driving qualified and relevant traffic. We need to find our super-fans, not our fair-weather ones.

Finally, ask yourself, are you spending enough on content marketing? On average 29% of overall marketing budget was on content marketing, and more than a third of companies believe content marketing will assume an even larger share of their budget in the future.

I encourage you to check out the full survey and make some changes to your own marketing efforts.

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