New Research Reveals Habits of Top Content Marketers

New Research Reveals Habits of Top Content Marketers

I’m thrilled that, like last year, nearly 65% of B2B marketers surveyed report more success with their overall content marketing compared with one year ago. As we’ve found each year, these marketers are more likely to: Have a documented content marketing strategy Describe their organization’s content marketing maturity level as sophisticated or mature Have a high level of commitment to content marketing Agree that their organization is realistic about what content marketing can achieve Agree that leadership gives them ample time to produce content marketing results Deliver content consistently always or frequently In the 2018 results, however, some additional characteristics appear in the picture of the more successful marketers. How to use this insight: Distinguishing between leads and subscribers is important for B2B organizations that want to differentiate. You can also mine leads for subscribers, just as you might mine subscribers for leads. Eighty-eight percent of top performers value creativity and craft in content creation and production, compared with 74% of all respondents. How to use this insight: You and your team only have so much time to work. Once your content marketing strategy is documented, get hyper-focused and work only on things that support your strategy. This time, we switched it up to focus on a single question – how well does the organization align its metrics to its content marketing goals. Only 19% of marketers rate their organization as “excellent” or “very good” at aligning metrics to their content marketing goals (compared with 54% of the top performers and 2% of the least successful) – another big disparity between the most and least effective. Image source: 10 Most Common Content Marketing Questions: Real-World Insights for Enterprise Marketers, a CMI e-book More insights There are several more new questions on the 2018 survey – as well as a restructuring of the way we ask about the content types, distribution formats, and social media.

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It’s my favorite time of the year – time to report on the findings of the annual content marketing survey. Now in our eighth year partnering with MarketingProfs on this research, I never stop getting excited about sharing the new insights with you.

B2B Content Marketing 2018: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America sponsored by Brightcove, indicates that B2B marketers continue to see content marketing success as they explore ways to work more creatively and build their audiences.

I’m thrilled that, like last year, nearly 65% of B2B marketers surveyed report more success with their overall content marketing compared with one year ago. How can marketers keep that momentum? How will you take your content marketing to the next level?

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To provide some answers, we looked at how the “most successful” of the survey respondents do things differently than the overall marketer population. What kinds of things set these self-described “extremely” or “very successful” content marketers apart? As we’ve found each year, these marketers are more likely to:

  • Have a documented content marketing strategy
  • Describe their organization’s content marketing maturity level as sophisticated or mature
  • Have a high level of commitment to content marketing
  • Agree that their organization is realistic about what content marketing can achieve
  • Agree that leadership gives them ample time to produce content marketing results
  • Deliver content consistently always or frequently

In the 2018 results, however, some additional characteristics appear in the picture of the more successful marketers. Consider how you can use these insights to make your content marketing programs more successful.

Build audiences

Across the board – at all levels of content marketing success – the research shows more marketers concentrate on building audiences. Among all respondents, 80% say they are focused on this (versus 92% of the top performers), representing an 18% year-over-year increase.

This is terrific news to see more marketers doing what CMI has been urging them to do for years. Why is audience-building important? Because your audience can be one of your organization’s most valuable assets. Content marketing gives you a way to build a subscribed audience, which is what differentiates content marketing from other forms of marketing. The intent of content marketing is to offer valuable information so people want to hear from you … so they sign up to receive your content.

How to use this insight: Distinguishing between leads and subscribers is important for B2B organizations that want to differentiate.

A lead is someone who discloses information in exchange for a piece of content or something else of value. This doesn’t necessarily mean they want to have an ongoing conversation with your business. In fact, the lead may not have an active interest in your products or services at all.

A subscriber is someone who signs up to receive regular communication from a company because the subscriber believes you have something valuable to offer him or her— and you’ll continue to provide this value beyond the initial engagement. In other words, the subscriber signs up in anticipation of the value expected to be received.

Think about building an audience through subscription, then mining that subscription list for leads (as the audience engages in your pieces of content). But don’t ignore the possibility of the reverse situation. As Kim Moutsos, CMI’s vice president of editorial,…

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