Not long ago, the common content marketing narrative was primarily concerned with increasing awareness. The emerging trend was centered around delivering great content along with a great product or service. Today, the narrative is no longer “Start doing content marketing,” but more “Why is everyone doing blogs?”
In 2017, more than 90% of marketers are either expanding their content marketing budgets, or at least keeping them the same, according to a recent study by The Content Marketing Institute; which surveyed more than 2,500 marketers from mostly B2C and mixed B2B-B2C businesses worldwide.
This is awesome news for content marketing evangelists (no more sermons at conferences). But the study also implies that marketers are still having a hard time measuring content marketing. According to the study, more than 16% of marketers said they can measure the ROI of content assets. Almost 40% said those assets are sourced on an ad hoc basis.
The issue is that, while content marketing has been widely accepted as a necessary part of marketing today, businesses are still treating content as just another asset, with little regard to how this particular asset functions in the digital economy.
For example, the study points out that most marketers are automating content distribution now, but the most popular content distributed this way is blog posts (almost 47%). While distribution technology doesn’t effect the quality of these posts, the fact that blogs are so popular for automated distribution is indicative of an abundance of that type of content. The study also found that much of the content that brands are distributing isn’t being properly measured for performance, and is being created on an as-needed basis.
Video courtesy of Roberto Blake
Content takes time to truly perform, and has a very different role in the customer journey than other types of marketing. Consumers read articles and watch videos before and after buying, so measuring content marketing performance by its influence on acquisitions, for example, can paint a falsely negative picture of how that content actually performed. Marketers need to ensure that their business understands the role content plays for their audience — and what metrics best quantify that — before simply scheduling that next blog post. Enlisting the help of content marketing recruiters may be a good route for marketers to take, as they will be able to help find fellow marketers who are particularly qualified to develop valuable and effective content that will bring remarkable ROI.
Phase one is complete: Everyone knows content marketing is worth the investment. Now, marketers just need to get the content part down.