What New Research Tells Us About Content Marketing

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In the fast-paced and dynamic world of digital marketing, it’s hard to keep up with all the trends and changes. And, to get more specific, the ways successful marketers are using various forms of content to optimize their message are advancing at a fast and furious rate. To get the full benefit of any analysis of content marketing, it’s got to be current. Like, yesterday current. So, here’s a roundup of the latest research regarding how effective content marketing can be for you today.

Crunching Numbers

Nothing gives you more data to digest than a good old-fashioned research report. The Content Marketing Institute, one of the industry leaders, just released their massive 2018 research report, and there’s a lot of numbers to crunch. Let’s look at a few of the most telling numbers and what they mean for the future of content marketing.

“96% of the most successful content marketers agree that their organizations have built credibility and trust with their audience.” This speaks the very essence of why content is effective. It’s not quick or easy, but by providing educational and informative content to relevant audiences on a consistent basis, you establish yourself as a thought leader. This equals trust and confidence which can’t be bought or installed, yet trust and confidence are what every marketer dreams of getting from their audience.

“Nearly all of the most successful B2B content marketers (90%) prioritizes their audience’s informational needs over their sales/promotional message, compared to 56% of the least successful.” Following on the trust message from the first set of data, this is an important fact to keep in mind. Consumers and buyers are canny, and blatant outbound messaging that serves only to tout one’s own product is typically sniffed out and rejected. Stick with the content that helps and informs the reader.

And there is a crucial bit of data here, also: 81% of all respondents say that a well-documented content marketing strategy both “aligns team around common mission/goals” and “makes it easier to determine what types of content to develop”. This clearly shows that deliberate support from the top down can unify both your team and your strategies, and conscious documentation and analysis will always pay dividends.

What the Experts Are Saying

Next, we’ll jump into an interview done by MarTech with Randy Frisch of Uberflip, one of the world’s utmost expert on all things content marketing, and hear some of his theories on the future of the industry. There are a lot of eye-opening ideas and progressive thinking here, and we’ll highlight a few of them here:

Frisch puts emphasis on the content experience, rather than the marketing aspect, and highlights three core components of this experience.

  1. The environment in which we serve our content
  2. The structure in which we organize it
  3. The way we compel people to engage through elements like personalization

Frisch elaborates on this by reminding us that creating content is really just storytelling, and telling the right story to the right people is crucial: “Make sure the stories you tell speak to the items that people talk about when you’re not around.”  In other words, make sure the content can stand alone as an engaging and informative piece, and not necessarily as part of your brand.

He goes on to talk about how great content is discovered, emphasizing the importance of SEO-rich content and how voice-activated assistants will only give you the very top choice on any given search engine (which is an interesting topic on its own). But, as Frisch notes, “But once you’ve captured someone, then what? That’s the big question. Most of us are obsessed with the first click. But to me, true content discovery happens once you’re found.” In short, he’s saying that you have one chance to grab the reader once they get to your content, so it better be instantly engaging.

Finally, Frisch explains that the greatest future challenge is to personalize content for the target audience without invading their privacy. He explains, “After a year of marketers scrambling to become GDPR-compliant, there’s going to be an ongoing threat to our ability to personalize unless we find ways to show that we can be trusted to turn that data into a relevant experience.” He’s absolutely correct; privacy and having one’s personal data sold and exploited is a hot-button issue these days, so finding a balance between ever-evolving technology that can pinpoint the target consumer while respecting their privacy is essential.

And The Award Goes To…

We’ll wrap this up by recognizing a perennial marketing powerhouse. Marketing Dive issues awards to the top marketing movers and shakers every year, and the “Disruptor of the Year” award went to Burger King. Their quirky multi-pronged approach to connecting with elusive and savvy digital consumers is truly impressive. Through innovative apps that steer you towards the nearest Burger King (activated when you’re in close proximity to a McDonald’s), to tackling current issues like net neutrality with humorous and informative commercials, and fun interactive events like serving Whoppers with holes in them for National Donut Day, their marketing scheme utilizes the “hactervize” model and keeps their brand in conversations that are infinitely shareable. By keeping a sharp eye on sites like Reddit and Imgur, they were able to produce instantly relevant content and boost their sales far higher than the experts predicted. Staying current and nimble shows other content marketers how striking while the iron is hot is yet another way to stay ahead of the game.

What We Can Conclude

These are just a few examples of all the tasty bits of content marketing news out there. As this post shows, you can get different insights from case studies, interviews, and research reports…they all offer their own valuable lessons, so always read as many forms of marketing advice that you can find. Setting up Google Alerts for specific topics you need to stay on top of is an ideal way to get started, and discovering curated marketing websites and checking in on them often is another great way to stay updated and in-the-know. No matter how you choose to stay informed, you don’t want to miss anything important. You can bet the competition won’t.

Have you seen any good research on content marketing lately? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!