Do Agencies Practice the Content Marketing They Preach? [New Research]

Do Agencies Practice the Content Marketing They Preach? [New Research]

Agencies are mature in their use of content marketing In fact, 49% of those surveyed report that their agency is in the sophisticated/mature phase of content marketing. Most consider their content marketing successful Agency respondents report high levels of content marketing success: 32% say their agency’s approach to content marketing is extremely/very successful, while another 46% say it’s moderately successful. After working in agencies for a decade, I know the environment makes for great stories to share. Team: Let your audience know who they would be working with. In fact, 50% of agency respondents say they increased their use of in-person events over the last 12 months. Find a need in your industry to create something valuable. (Creating brand awareness and building credibility/trust are the top two goals they have achieved.) Where will agencies go next? While this research explored how agencies use content marketing to promote their businesses, in 2019 we’ll also be studying the types of services agencies offer their clients. Agencies provide account management, creative services, production, traffic, media planning and buying, PR, digital media, and more.

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Agencies are many content teams’ best friends. Some supplement the work of internal teams. Others handle all aspects of the content creation, distribution, and promotion.

Many create memorable, award-winning content for their brand clients.

But do agencies practice the content marketing practices they preach? How effective are they at using content marketing to attract and retain their own audiences and move them to profitable action?

Our latest research report, Agency Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends, answers these and other questions about how agencies use content marketing to promote their services.

In October 2018, we released the B2B results from our ninth annual Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs survey. A total of 1,947 recipients from around the globe – representing a range of industries, functional areas, and company sizes – replied in June and July 2018.

Of those who participated in the survey, 320 indicated they work for a for-profit agency and are directly involved with or oversee content marketing to market their agency’s services. Here’s what those respondents told us.

Agencies are mature in their use of content marketing

In fact, 49% of those surveyed report that their agency is in the sophisticated/mature phase of content marketing. The sophisticated phase is defined as “providing accurate measurement to the business, scaling across the organization” and the mature phase as “finding success yet challenged with integration across the organization.” Only 21% say they’re in the young/first steps phase and 29% are in the adolescent phase.

Almost every brand uses a mix of advertising, traditional marketing, and content marketing today. It’s nice to see agencies progressing in their use of content marketing in their marketing mix.

Most consider their content marketing successful

Agency respondents report high levels of content marketing success: 32% say their agency’s approach to content marketing is extremely/very successful, while another 46% say it’s moderately successful.

Our research team looked closely at those who say their content marketing is extremely/very successful. They are more likely to have a documented content marketing strategy than those who report less success – that’s a consistent finding across our research.

Why is documentation critical? It fosters accountability. It aligns teams around a common mission or goal. Defining the agency’s mission or niche is essential to differentiate it in a world with so many agencies, from the big powerhouses to the smallest boutiques. To paraphrase CMI founder Joe Pulizzi, if your agency is trying to appeal to everybody, it’s for nobody.

At CMI (and for many of the clients we’ve consulted with over the years), a documented content marketing strategy provides clarity on our target audience. As our strategy evolved so has our target audience.

Most agencies use storytelling to bring their message to life

Among agency respondents, 69% always/frequently use storytelling in their content. (Only 10% say they never use storytelling.) It makes sense – whether it’s paid advertising or content…

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