How to Achieve Greater Content Marketing Success

As organizations begin their planning for 2016, many marketers are considering how to make their content marketing programs more effective. The Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs have once again released the annual B2B Content Marketing Report as a helpful guide for busy marketers. The 2016 edition is the sixth annual report that covers industry benchmarks, budgets and trends for North America based on a sample size of more than 1,500 B2B marketers.

The report offers the following recommendations for serious content marketers.

  • Create a documented content marketing strategy. More than 50 percent of the most effective marketers have gone to the trouble of developing a strategic document to guide their content marketing program. (Note: effectiveness is defined as a marketer that rates their content marketing programs with a 4 or 5 when asked how well the program achieves overall objectives). Only 32 percent of overall respondents have a written strategy, down from 35 percent last year.
  • Develop a documented editorial mission statement. Almost 50 percent of the most effective marketers have a written mission statement.
  • Generate organizational consensus on what success looks like. Almost 80 percent of the most effective marketers have organizational clarity on what constitutes program success.
  • Schedule daily or weekly content marketing meetings. About 44 percent of marketers meet daily or weekly to discuss their content program, and 61 percent of the most effective marketers meet at least weekly.

As these stats indicate, planning and communication are key to content marketing success. These tips should be taken to heart as content marketing effectiveness is on the decline. In this year’s report, only 30 percent of marketers say their organization is effective at content marketing, down from 38 percent last year.

In addition, the responding B2B marketers shared information about the status of their content programs and the changes they hope to make in 2016.

  • Volume: 76 percent of marketers say they will produce even more content in 2016.
  • Tactics: The average marketers uses 13 tactics — with social media and case studies leading the pack. The use of illustrations and photos had the biggest jump in this year’s report, up from 69 percent to 76 percent
  • Effectiveness: Marketers ranked in-person events as the most effective tactic for the sixth year in a row. The effectiveness rank for infographics jumped the most this year, from 50 percent to 58 percent. On the paid side of things, respondents ranked search engine marketing as the most popular and most effective tactic. Though only 14 percent of marketers used content discovery tools, this tactic was ranked as one of the most effective paid advertising methods.
  • Budget: The average content marketer allocates 28 percent of their total budget to content marketing, not including staff. However, there is a big range in content marketing spending. The most effective B2B marketers allocated 42 percent of their budget to content, and the least effective content marketers allocated only 15 percent.
  • Priorities: This year, marketers were asked about their top priorities for B2B content creation. At the top of the list, marketers want to create more engaging content (72%), better understand what content is effective and what isn’t (65%) and find more/better ways to repurpose content (57%).

Though there are aspects of this report that remain unchanged from last year, this year’s report clearly illustrates the importance of planning and documenting exactly what you’re trying to achieve as a key ingredient to program success. Here’s to a well-documented 2016!