In the past couple of weeks, two big surveys have been released: 1) The annual blogger survey from Orbit Media; and 2) The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs B2B content marketing survey.
Both surveys focus on the content we produce, why we do it, how long we spend on it, and the results we get.
There also are best practices from which you can learn—and some case studies to give you specific how-tos.
I recommend you check out both when you have a few minutes (or half an hour) to sit and digest it all.
In the meantime, and to make it easier on you, we’ve compiled stats, tips, tools, and best practices from both.
As you plan for your 2020 content marketing needs, this is a great place to start.
Content Marketers are Great at Top-of-the-Funnel Content
The content marketing survey shows most of us are using content effectively at the top-of-the-funnel to achieve goals such as brand awareness and audience education.
The three most-cited content marketing goals achieved in the last 12 months were:
- Creating brand awareness (86%)
- Educating audience(s) (79%)
- Building credibility/trust (75%)
Likewise, the Orbit survey shows 80% have results from their blogging efforts, but those results have a wide range of goals—from rankings to revenue, likes to leads.
I think we can all agree rankings and likes aren’t results—though we should track them to determine what’s working and what’s not.
But results, things such as building subscribed audiences, generating sales, and building loyalty are harder to come by, particularly from one’s content marketing efforts.
The top content marketing performers are more likely to achieve those goals (to the tune of 21 to 23 percentage points higher), as compared to all surveyed marketers.
If you’re not a top-performing content marketer, you’re missing out on opportunities deeper in the funnel.
You’re missing out on using your efforts to help the organization reach its goals.
But We’re Missing Content that Has a ROI
The CMI/MarketingProfs survey also dives into detail on the other issues that are important, such as:
- Highest performing content by types and goals
- Concepts around content creation, from the sales funnel to fact-checking
- Organic and paid content distribution channels, including social media platforms
- Content marketing organizational structures, from teams to budget
- Content marketing outsourcing
- Metrics, KPI, and ROI
Likewise, the Orbit survey asked bloggers about their biggest blogging challenges, such as:
- Getting traffic and attracting visitors (47%)
- Finding time to create and promote content (52%)
- Creating quality content consistently (35%)
- Creating enough content consistently (32%)
- Coming up with relevant topics (18%)
There are a couple of similar themes in both surveys:
- Creating high-performing content that achieves organizational goals;
- Producing content around relevant topics; and
(I’m telling you. If I could figure out how to duplicate time, I would be a gazillionnaire.)
The Big Conundrum
So we have a conundrum: we don’t have time to produce content that will result in achieving goals, but we can’t afford not to.
What is a content marketer to do?
I have spent the last two years talking about why you don’t need to add more content marketing to be successful.
We have a webinar that talks about this—(and why it also makes content marketers sad)—and my presentation at Content Marketing World this year was on the topic.
While it may feel like I’m raining on your parade if you do content marketing for a living, that’s not the case at all.
If anything, it allows you to be far more focused in your efforts and truly build a strategic program that delivers the things the surveys show we’re missing—sales and brand loyalty.
A few years ago, I remember Andy Crestodina saying:
Create the very best content on the internet for your topic.
That has always stuck with me because it’s true. If you spend your time creating the very best content on the internet for your topic, you can reuse it in zillions of different ways.
Create ONE Fantabulous Piece of Content
For instance, let’s say you have a webinar on why you don’t need more content marketing and what to do instead.
You can then take that webinar and break it into smaller pieces—soundbites and quotes for social media, an eBook from the transcription, blog posts on each point made during the webinar, and audio clips for a podcast.
Suddenly you have a ton of content for different spots on the internet, but you created only one thing to achieve it.
And now you can add calls-to-action in all of those pieces of content that help you achieve real goals:
- The social media posts lead to the webinar
- The webinar leads to a call or a demo or an estimate
- The call or demo or estimate leads to a new customer
- The new customer leads to onboarding content
- The onboarding content leads to brand loyalty
Now you see you’ve affected sales AND brand loyalty.
Create the best piece of content on the internet for your topic and then repurpose the heck out of it.
You’ll find you have sanity and your organization has better results.
(And it’ll look like you’ve duplicated time while you’re really sitting back and watching Netflix.)
What Content Marketing In 2020 Looks Like
The job of the content marketer is not an easy one.
We have to build awareness, educate our audiences, and build trust at the top of the funnel.
In the middle, we have to help our audiences evaluate our brand and build affinity for our organization.
And at the bottom, we have to build subscribed audiences, generate sales, and build loyalty.
All while providing optimal experiences that amaze and delight our audiences.
It’s not an easy task.
But if you start with creating the very best content on the internet for your topic, you will amaze and delight your audiences.
If you then repurpose the heck out of that content at the top, middle, and bottom of the funnels, you will reach all of the aforementioned goals.
Next year, when CMI, MarketingProfs, and Orbit release their survey findings, you, too, can be one of the top-performing content marketers.