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STATE OF THE CONTENT MARKETING MARKET
In an effort to understand how content marketing and innovations in marketing technology are affecting digital agencies and PR firms across the United States, Tempesta Media created the first-ever State of the Agency Content Marketing and Technology report. Born out of several months of research involving more than a hundred organizations across the country, this study was designed to bridge the gap between content marketing and marketing technology from the perspective of digital agencies and PR firms.
The purpose of this report is simple: to provide quantitative metrics of the impact made by the combination of content marketing and rapidly evolving marketing technology on marketers throughout the country. For small to medium enterprises and growing companies, the report offers a clear picture of which strategy is working, and which strategy is not. The general finding was that agencies and PR firms are using content marketing to grow revenue. Some of our most noteworthy findings are outlined here.
Content marketing is used by a majority of agencies
Our researchers found that 76 percent of digital agencies and PR firms surveyed offer some kind of content marketing service, while another 5 percent are actively looking for a solution to integrate it into their services, such as a third-party agency, or are developing an internal department dedicated to content marketing.
Based on our research, which was participated in by more than 100 digital agencies and PR firm executives, we found that a company that invests heavily in robust, scalable content marketing services is more likely to achieve growing revenue than declining revenue. We found that at least 90 percent of organizations with revenue increases offered content marketing services, a marked difference compared to the 50 percent of companies with declining revenues that offer them.
Growing companies are more likely to offer content marketing
When comparing companies in terms of revenue, we found a bell curve in the presence of content marketing among digital agencies. According to our sample size of 107 agencies, we found:
- The majority of small companies with revenues under $5 million offer content marketing
- All companies with revenues over $5 million but below $25 million offer content marketing
- This percentage drops with companies with revenues over $25 million
What does the drop-off above the $25 million mark indicate? Well, it may suggest that a larger agency or brand is slower to adapt to the growing prevalence of content marketing than a small business. Conversely, smaller firms with revenues below $5 million may not have the resources to offer content marketing, which explains why not all of them do.
A majority of companies know their clients want content marketing
Fortunately, the vast majority of agencies understand the views held by their clients concerning content marketing. Around 90 percent of our respondents believe content marketing is either extremely important, very important, or important on their customers’ list of priorities. Opinions on the importance of content marketing increase by agency size. The higher an agency’s revenue, the more likely they were to view content marketing as important to their clients.
Digital agencies and PR firms increase their odds of success by offering content marketing as part of their platforms. Our results show that companies that fail to embrace content marketing and marketing technology are more likely to put their organizations at risk, both in terms of revenues and competitive advantage. However, the manner by which marketers offer content marketing must also go beyond ticking off boxes on a list of capabilities. Growing companies must develop or embrace unique content marketing solutions that make them stand out and meet the needs of their clients.
INNOVATIVE CONTENT CREATION
A content creator or content provider who is new to the concept of creating digital content that does not explicitly promote a product or brand may have the misperception that content marketing consists of a single tactic: the publishing of articles via a company blog. The opposite is true. Here are three of the fastest-growing ways to help clients reach consumers with effective content that promotes a brand.
Video content is king
Video can be expensive to produce, but the payoff can be invaluable. A single how-to video that goes viral on social media can enhance brand recall among consumers. Moreover, it can strengthen a brand’s message and boost a site’s SEO. But for those who remain unconvinced regarding the future potential impact of video content, check out these numbers that Hubspot collected from 500 businesses, nearly 250,000 videos and over 600 million video streams.
- Video is projected to claim more than 80 percent of all web traffic by 2019.
- Adding a video to marketing emails can boost click-through rates by 200-300 percent.
- Embedding videos in landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80 percent.
- 90 percent of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions.
- 64 percent of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.
- 59 percent of company decision makers would rather watch a video than read an article or blog post.
The type and subject of video created is largely dependent on the stage of the funnel the target consumer is in. For instance, if the audience is at the top of the funnel, an appropriate video might be educational and simply focused on the brand itself. For middle-of-the-funnel customers, a video that clearly explains the service offering will help them quickly determine if it is right for them. There are also a few types of videos that work universally to nurture leads and are generally inexpensive to produce. These include how-to videos, which demonstrate a skill; vlogs, which tell a story in the life of the company; interviews, which sit down with a company employee; and live-streaming, which show off current events at the company.
Don’t build it; buy it
Online ads are dying. Ad blocker rate usage, especially for mobile content, is at a historical high and continuing to rise. Those who do not use ad blockers have learned to ignore the ads. But there is a type of advertising that surpassed “print advertising” in Google Trends in late 2016: “influencer marketing.” Influencer marketing uses key leaders in a market to widely distribute a specific message via their social network. Influencers are able to keep their content directly relevant to those they reach out to. They can easily cut through all the other clutter their targets receive and are more easily trusted than most – if not all – other forms of advertising.
Creating an influencer campaign for a client takes just five steps. First, plan the campaign. Determine the budget available for each influencer engaged, and how long the campaign should run for. Second, create the material. Decide on the message that should be distributed, and create material in the appropriate format. Third, find influencers. Programs like Tempesta Media’s MicroInfluencer make this step simple. Fourth, distribute the created content to the influencers. Finally, measure the effectiveness that the campaign has on distributing the message. As a bonus, take the most effective content and re-promote it through other marketing channels.
Be a guide
Rather than being a hero to the audience, high-quality content plays the part of a guide. Nothing accomplishes that better than, well, a guide. A guide is longer than a blog post, but shorter than a book. Its purpose is not to be the next best-selling book; rather, it is to present polished, helpful content in an attractive, mid-length format in exchange for information – usually an email address – from the customer. Excellent guides require three components: a good idea, a good digital content provider, and a good designer.
Several tactics work well for coming up with a solid idea for a guide. Four of the easiest to use are:
- Ask social media followers. Customers know better than anyone else what they need help with.
- Track which website pages an audience is visiting the most. There may be room to expand on one of the posts or to combine multiple posts into a guide.
- See what other brands are doing. If a competitor has already written a guide in a specific space, there may still be room to write a better guide or write one that is tangentially related.
- Use search engine tools. Sites like Google Trends can yield insight into what people are searching for so that the digital content will be current and relevant.
WILL CONTENT CREATION WORK FOR ME?
Content creation is an investment of both time and money, and it can be hard to measure effectiveness. A business may spend hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars enlisting a content marketer to creating high-quality content before it starts to see any returns. Before taking the time to outline a content strategy, most companies want to know two things: Does content marketing actually work, and will it work for us?
In short, the answer is a resounding “yes!” The difference content marketing can make for a business is astounding: The average conversion rate of sites that use content marketing is 2.9 percent, while the average of sites without a content strategy is a paltry 0.5 percent. But that is insufficient; it will not work if it costs more or if people prefer other forms of marketing. However, according to Demand Metric:
- Content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing.
- Content marketing generates approximately 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing.
- 70 percent of all people prefer to learn about a brand through articles over advertisements.
- 72 percent of customers believe they form a relationship with brands as a result of custom content.
In addition to increasing your conversion rate, content marketing also increases the number of inbound links to your website, boosts your SEO and raises your brand awareness. Finally, content marketing yields those benefits for nearly every organization, from a large e-commerce company to a small business. With such categorical benefits, it seems the correct question is no longer “will content marketing work for my clients?” Rather, it is “can my clients afford not to have an excellent content strategy in place?”
But only if…
However, there are a few caveats. The best content marketer in the world creating the best content possible will do nothing for SEO or brand awareness if a few key elements are not in place. First, there must be a comprehensive content strategy; spray and pray does not work for content marketing. Second, there must be a long-term commitment; neither inbound customers nor social profiles will explode overnight.
Most importantly, experts must be in control so that only high-quality content that will engage potential customers and retain existing ones is generated. In a recent study performed by the Content Marketing Institute, 42 percent of B2B businesses considered their content marketing efforts effective, up from 36 percent the year prior. Where did this increase in content marketing effectiveness come from? Of those businesses, 73 percent responded that they had added a dedicated professional overseeing their content marketing strategy. To reap the vast benefits of content marketing by enlisting a professional, contact Tempesta Media today.