(This is Part I of a two-part blog on the increasing value of content marketing for brand campaigns. If you like this blog, please share it. Thanks!)
Apparently, it’s in big demand among companies in the B2B space that our high tech PR agency specializes in. And even if these organizations already have content in their pipelines, they want to generate more of it.
That works for us, given the high volume of content marketing that we produce for clients. And it’s nice to see this trend validated by a comprehensive report put out by the highly respected Content Marketing Institute, titled B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends-North America. I’d encourage executive leaders – no matter what industry they serve – to download it to review the results in-depth. But, hey, this is a blog after all. So I’m happy to give you the following, compelling takeaways in a tight, tidy manner:
Bigger Budgets. B2B marketers are spending 33 percent of their budgets on content marketing, up impressively from 26 percent last year. And 54 percent plan to increase their content-marketing spend next year.
Big plans. The biggest organizational goals for content marketing efforts include brand awareness (as sought by 79 percent of B2B marketers); customer acquisition (74 percent); lead generation (71 percent); customer retention/loyalty (64 percent); and Thought Leadership (64 percent).
Multiple message points. Companies are using multiple strategies to get their message out – with most companies employing on average 12 unique “tactics.” Among the most popular are corporate website articles (which 83 percent of B2B marketers use); e-newsletters (78 percent); blogs (77 percent); case studies (71 percent); articles on other websites such as industry-press publications (70 percent); and white papers (61 percent). The ‘king of the hill’ here is social media, which is part of the content plan for 87 percent of B2B marketers.
Significant hurdles. The most common challenges associated with content marketing include producing enough of it (as cited by 64 percent of survey respondents); creating content that engages (52 percent); and generating a variety of it (45 percent).
The “engagement” factor drives to the very essence of the conversations we’re having with clients: They’re far too smart to seek to toss “lots of content and then lots more of it” out there, without giving considerable thought to the quality of the work. (Believe us: There’s a glut of really bad marketing content out there that serves little to no purpose for a brand.)
Our clients are proud of the IT accomplishments they’ve achieved and the innovation that they’ll continue to produce. So they’ll pursue content that’s unique and compelling. They realize that an effective piece does not overtly promote their products and services; it allows them to speak as Thought Leaders who enhance the industry insights of the intended audience. Then, they want to convey this level of expertise in the many formats referenced above – blogs, case studies, white papers, etc. Of course, we help them get there.
The Content Marketing Institute report has inspired an interesting side discussion as well: How does a company know whether to keep staffing content initiatives in-house, and when should it transition to an outsourcing model? Many organizations struggle because they simply don’t have the internal resources and/or expertise to pull all of this off. That’s when it’s time to hire outside help.
In part II of this blog, I’ll shed perspectives about what to look for in a content marketing firm. Meanwhile, if you’re interested in discussing how we can take your content marketing to the next level, please contact us.
Dennis McCafferty is Director of Content for W2 Communications.