I love statistics, I love to see the numbers and be able to prove that what I am about to do will be effective, and also to be able to measure that effectiveness later. I have had the privilege of working with some very talented research and analytical people over the years, and like being able to act on the basis of understanding in-depth statistical information.
In the last of my 18-based blogs for 2018, and following on from looking at trends, Twitter tips, inspiration and blog promotion, I have been taking a look at what action you might take to boost your content marketing on the back of some of the latest available statistics. Being able to interrogate the latest research for opportunities tailored to your business is a skill well worth developing.
Internet population information to boost your content marketing
I’ll start with some amazing stats about size. I have been working with the internet since 1995, and the amount of growth and the pace of change have been breathtaking and awesome in its truest sense. The changes have been phenomenal and never fail to make me wonder at what is playing out before us now and where we are headed.
As of January 2018 there were 3.82 billion internet users in the world, with an average internet penetration rate of 51.7%.
Google processes 6,586,013,574 searches a day worldwide, and over 2 million blog posts are published – every single day.
In 2019, it is estimated that there will be 2.77 billion social media users around the world. 81% of marketers found that increased traffic came from as little as 6 hours per week invested in social media marketing.
What this all means is a huge amount of opportunity, if you know what you are wanting to do and where to start. One of my favourite representations is of what happens in an internet minute, we are truly living in remarkable times.
The most interesting statistics about content strategy still stand from 2015, from the Content Marketing Institute’s annual survey.
In 2015, only 28% of B2B marketers recorded having a documented editorial mission statement, and only 32% of those questioned had a documented content marketing strategy.
By the 2017 survey, although 91% of companies were using content marketing, there was still only 46% of companies who had a documented strategy, and this was much more likely to be true in smaller companies.
64% of companies were looking for help in building a scalable content strategy, although 91% of companies did see content as a valuable asset, they weren’t able to make the best use of it and this was a key area where they need support.
Making changes to an existing team, to workflows and to how you scale a publishing effort to publish your content in all the right channels and in the right ways, can all make an incredible and measurable difference to the bottom line.
When I arrived to work at one large telecoms company they had been decried in the national press for having an extremely poor and dysfunctional website. On closer inspection there were 500 logged errors on the site and no one person was responsible for fixing them. By making key people accountable and changing the focus of responsibilities in a number of teams, I was able to streamline the content operations until we were actively tracking and fixing a rapidly reducing number of errors.
Whatever the scale of your business, by mapping the gaps in your organisation against the systems and processes you need to introduce, it is possible quite quickly to make dramatic improvements.
Marketers with a content strategy report better results, and are more likely to invest further in content marketing – because approaching the discipline in a strategic, informed and organised way actually yields results.
In terms of ease and scalability of content creation, it’s back to that 2017 CMI survey, where 69% of respondents said they had “some systems in place, but there is a lot of manual work.” Only 13% of small organizations said they “have developed a completely systematic approach to producing, managing, and distributing content,” followed by enterprise (12%), micro (7%), and midsize (6%).
Only 18% of the companies questioned believed they had the right technology in place to manage their content marketing, and another 45% had the tools but not the ability to get the most of the tools they had.
There is a huge opportunity here for a more systematic approach to content planning and creation, and while larger organisations may look to automation and investing in tools to support this, there is still a lot of opportunity to set up robust systems using low cost tools that will significantly reduce the amount of time and effort it takes to plan and create the content that will boost your content marketing efforts.
Demand Gen’s 2017 report on content preferences reflect the increasing sophistication of B2B buyers as the market becomes increasingly saturated and we are all flooded with content.
Of these buyers, 47% relied on content to support their research on buying decisions, but they want content specifically tailored to their needs. They don’t have time to waste, so content that is direct, to the point and that will support their purchase decisions will be the most appropriate.
76% of B2B readers want to see more data and research to back up the content, 74% want to less obviously sales-y content, with just over 60% each wanting to see benchmarking content and more industry thought leadership, and 71% would like to see lower barriers to entry with regards to the amount of information you need to give to get access.
Case studies and White papers, and any other sort of proof content you can devise, remain critical, with 78% of B2B buyers citing case studies as essential to making purchasing decisions.
According to Orbit’s blog post research, effective blog posts are getting longer, with the average length being 1142 words long – 41% more words that the average length three years ago.
Although companies are investing more time as well as creating greater length posts, only 55% are investing in updating older posts to keep them relevant.
Adding to and updating content to keep it relevant and to increase its traffic is a great opportunity and can be an effective planned activity in conjunction with a regular site audit.
Paid promotion is winning, according to that Orbit report, with a 5x increase in paid traffic on 2014. The effective use of influencer marketing is also growing, with 1 in 4 bloggers collaborating with influencers.
The easier a social media tactic is, the less likely it is to show outstanding results – sharing to Facebook is easy, but not as effective as tactics where more effort is required to get it right, such as writing for SEO or using email.
30% of the bloggers in the Orbit survey reported seeing strong results from their blog, which is an increase in awareness and results on the previous year.
LinkedIn remains the top platform for sharing business content, but email is still the number 1 most effective way to reach those B2B buyers. Twitter trailed behind in the Demand Gen survey, followed by Facebook, with only 37% of B2B buyers admitting to be influenced by content from that platform. Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat were all very low in consideration for B2B.
Next steps to boost your content marketing
I hope you have enjoyed reading these statistics as much as I enjoyed pulling them together for you – clearly they are just the tip of the iceberg, and are very generic, and could become much more meaningful for a particular challenge with a particular business.
If you would like to know more about how to research for opportunities and understand how to make the most of your content strategy, planning, creation and marketing, I would love to talk to you about how I can help support your business online through the best use of content.
Please call us on 01491 614404, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an initial discussion.