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Content Marketing in 2016: State of the Sector [Infographic]

Leading marketers see the effectiveness of content marketing daily, and accordingly continue to increase their investment in content to drive leads and revenue. In fact, 75% of practitioners will increase investment in content marketing over the coming year.

This infographic presents some results from Curata’s recent survey of 1,000+ marketers to hone in on what the leaders are doing from a strategy, staffing, and tactics perspective to kick ass with content. For a more in-depth presentation of the benchmark data and related guidance, download the entire eBook here: Content Marketing Staffing & Tactics Barometer.

The current phase of content marketing sees sector leaders no longer focused on pure content volume, or trying to hit the lottery with that one unicorn piece of content. These marketers are building the foundational elements of a practice that taps into the power of content to move an entire organization, versus simply a handful of people in a small corner of the marketing team.

Content marketing hype is coming to an end, indicating the beginning of its maturity across more organizations that will:

  • Expand the strategic impact of content marketing efforts
  • Fill skill-set gaps across teams
  • Better leverage existing resources
  • Get more rigorous on measuring content impact deep into the pipeline.

Content marketing infographic 2016

42% of Companies Have an Executive Responsible for Content Marketing Strategy

Expectations for growth of this senior role were high in 2015, with 49% of companies expecting to have a content marketing executive by the end of 2015. Growth has been slower than expected however. This role exists at only 42% of companies today, but is expected to increase into 2017.

Of the content marketing leaders, 53% have this role in place today, versus 32% for the laggards. Small companies with less than $10M in revenue, and large companies with $1 billion+ in revenue should see a 30% increase in staffing for the lead role in 2017.

Two thirds (68%) of these senior content marketing executives have global authority—a good sign given how important collaboration across an organization is for content creation and input, content reuse, and content distribution.

The Leaders’ Content Marketing Strategy & Tactics: Process

Leading marketers are focused on:

  • Creating a content marketing strategy (step-by-step provided in this webinar)
  • Performing regular content audits.
  • Focusing content creation on segments and accounts. (e.g., account-based marketing)
  • Reusing content. (e.g., using the Content Marketing Pyramid as a framework)
  • Creating and curating content.
  • Measuring content’s impact.

A common theme among marketing leaders is stretching the dollar. They’re asking themselves:

  • What content do I already have?
  • How can I reuse and repurpose content?
  • How can I collaborate and curate?

Analytics

Content marketing leaders are laser-focused on measuring the impact of content to justify its impact on the organization, as well as to drive continuous improvement. The leaders also get that content impacts the top, middle and bottom of the funnel if done right.

Content marketing has had the greatest impact on the top of the funnel (TOFU) so far. However, the leaders see significant impact on MOFU & BOFU as well. They look at metrics across the funnel, from leads generated and influenced at the marketing-owned stages, to sales opportunities generated and influenced.

Time to Raise the Performance Measurement Bar

Data-driven content marketing is possible and can yield significant results. For example, Curata used its own content marketing platform integrated with Marketo and SF.com to discover long form blog posts generate nine times more leads than short form blog posts, as we discussed in this blog post. Investing in marketing technology makes this process possible.

Summary:

Content marketing should impact all stages of the pipeline. The leaders get this, and as a result content marketing is entering a new phase of maturity.

  • Build your content team: both internal and external. Take a Center of Excellence approach.
  • Identify opportunities to stretch your content marketing budget such as repurposing, reusing, and curating content.
  • Raise the performance measurement bar to go beyond measuring page views and social media. Dive deep into marketing pipeline impact and sales pipeline impact (examples here).
  • Tap into the power of content marketing technology: Establish a closed-loop content supply chain, and integrate it with marketing and sales automation (the content marketing platform complements marketing salesforce automation). And above all, don’t forget to have fun with it!

Mitchell Hall

Mitchell Hall is Curata’s Content Marketing Director. Online since 1991, he has been writing for magazines and newspapers since 1997, and editing and managing websites since 2006. Mitchell has a BA in Political Science, Philosophy, and English. A generalist, his most covered topics are business and technology. Follow Mitchell on Twitter for links to unique and insightful stories: @mitchellhall

  • Renuka Datta

    Well explained importance of content marketing. Thanks for sharing this post here.

  • very nice infographic

  • Thank you for a well-structured explanations and statistics. I’ve noticed that the removal of the outdated content was mentioned in the infographic. Doing it is not recommended noways, instead, its updating not only will bring google’s attention, but also attract more readers and shares.

  • Hey Mitchell Hall, Thankful to see your post reason content marketing is very essential and content base post always better for a site .

  • Content is key factor in digital marketing. Your resources is important for online marketer. Keep your writing to make us resourceful.

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