Instead of trying to figure it out for ourselves, we went to the practitioners. Marketers.
We surveyed 54 marketers from different businesses and industries, giving us a better understanding of just how important content marketing is.
The biggest conclusion?
Content Marketing is vital, but it's difficult to generate results.
So, why is content marketing important?
Let's break it down.
Rachel Hollifield from Apruve explains their biggest challenge with content marketing, their team size.
"Not having enough people on our team to generate high quality content is our biggest challenge," she says, "Content is difficult to produce, publish and distribute without the right resources".
As you can see, many marketers share the same sentiment.
According to our respondents, 35.19% of the teams surveyed have 1 - 5 marketers, making it challenging to create content internally while generating conversions.
David Doughty from Marsden Marketing shares, "the time and research it takes to create quality content is a constant challenge."
In 2014, Top Rank Blog reported that 64% of B2B marketers outsource their writing, a time consuming portion of the content creation process.
Interestingly enough, it seems like this has changed in today's landscape. 88.89% of respondents stated their team is creating content internally.
In 2016, Content Marketing Institute published their Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends Report stating, 85% of B2B marketers say lead generation is their most important content marketing goal.
Today, this statement holds true.
Jonathan Bentz from Direct Online Marketing says, "Our team's biggest challenge with content marketing is creating content that dependably supports our lead generation efforts".
As shown, it is clear that lead generation is the ultimate driver for teams investing so heavily into content marketing.
After all, Kapost and Eloqua's Report on Content Marketing ROI proves that content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising.
As challenging as content marketing (without the right tools and team) may be, 29.63% of respondents produce 5 - 8 pieces of content per month.
However, investing even further into content marketing will drive results.
Data shared by HubSpot in 2015 states, companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5 times more traffic than companies that published zero to four monthly posts.
Based on our knowledge of why teams are creating content at all, it is no surprise that the metric everyone is focused on is conversion rate.
44.44% of respondents stated their most important metric as being their conversion rate.
Content Marketing Institute breaks it down even further in their Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends Report stating, lead generation, sales, and lead nurturing are the top three organizational objectives for content marketers.
However, 37.04% of our respondents say it only attributes to 0 - 25% of the leads they generate.
So, why is content marketing important?
- 55.56% of marketing teams have been creating content for over 5 years
- 50.00% of marketing teams depend on content marketing as a lead generation strategy
- 29.63% of marketing teams create 5 - 8 pieces of content per month, or 60 - 96 pieces per year
Now that we've uncovered it's importance, what's next for Content Marketing?
Dave Rivers from Digital Groove explains, "AI will continue to play a big role, AI will become more adaptable, when AI is set up to allow some user influence, IE, marketers and agencies or business owners can choose options and have a sense of control."
"AI will become absolutely mainstream, not only marketing but everywhere," Rivers continues.
Mark Lindquist from Mailshake shares, "Google has been fairly explicit in their goal to decouple the "marketing" part of content marketing. If we're being honest, link building is marketing's attempt to manipulate Google's ranking algorithms."
"In Google's perfect world, their algorithms become so good at reading content and discerning what queries it answers that it will be able to serve up the absolute best piece of content for every query, regardless of how many backlinks it has, or how its header tags are structured." Lindquist states.
Reinforcing these predictions in 2017, PWC named AI one of the eight essential technologies in business.
Regardless of AI's impact on content marketing, what about content marketing in 2019?
Rachel Bicha from Student Universe predicts, "more short-form and increasingly more personalized content will be key".
What are your content marketing predictions? Is content marketing important to you?