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Top 10 Takeaways from the CMI’s Content Marketing Survey 2016

By Ian Blake


The Content Marketing Institute’s hotly awaited 2016 survey was published this week, offering up a goldmine of up-to-date content marketing facts and stats on what’s working, what’s not and where to take your strategy next year.

But let’s cut to the chase: here are the ten things you really need to know...you’re welcome.

1. Want to Get Effective? Get Organised

Less than a third (30%) of marketers actually think their content marketing strategies are effective – although this more than doubles among those that have been doing it for a while. If you’re new to content marketing, reliable ways to upgrade from “floundering” to “effective” include properly documenting your strategy (48%) and your editorial mission statement (49%) and holding daily or weekly content marketing meetings (41%).

2. Just Half of B2B Marketers Actually Strategize

Last year, 35% of B2B Marketers said that they had proper, documented content marketing strategy, as opposed to a verbally agreed one, or a totally ad-hoc approach. This year, that actually dropped slightly to 32% - even though lacking a plan undermines success.

3. Figure Out What Success Looks Like

The most effective content marketers are those that have the most clarity on what they’re they trying to achieve – four fifths of the best agree that they have a good idea of what success looks like to them. By comparison, 77% of the least effective marketers say that they lack clarity.

4. Lead Generation is the Biggest Goal

Lead generation (85%) now outstrips sales (84%) as the thing marketers most want to get out of their content marketing strategy in the next 12 months. That said, newbies tend to focus in on sales over lead gen – which might be why they’re less likely to get the results they wanted straight away.  

5. Regular Meetings Are Best

Keep on top of your progress. 70% of B2B Marketers who meet weekly or even daily say these meetings are valuable, compared to less than half (49%) of those that meet once a month or fortnight.

6. Have a Strong Editorial Line

As well as knowing what you want your content to achieve, you need to know how you’re going to say it. Only 28% of respondents say that they have a documented editorial mission statement, yet these marketers tend to perform better than those that don’t.

7. Output is Accelerating

Whatever misgivings they might have about their approach, B2B marketers agree on this: make more of it. 76% plan to increase the amount of content they create this year – just 2% say the opposite.

8. Visual Content Is More Popular Than Ever

The number of marketers using photos and illustrations has risen from 69% last year to 79% this year, while video remains popular, two: three-quarters of content marketers will use it in 2016.

9. LinkedIn Still Comes Out Top for Social 

Not much of a shocker, but 93% of content marketers put it out on social media platforms other than their blogs (what are the other 7% doing?). With media consumption via mobile now steaming ahead of browser, I’d say that working with content that stays in-app, rather than linking back to your website, will be the biggest challenge for 2016.

94% of B2B Marketers that use social media focus on LinkedIn and with good reason – 66% say it brings the best results. SlideShare, though, saw a small (4%) decrease in use. After LinkedIn, Twitter (87%), Facebook (84%) and YouTube (74%) are the most popular platforms.

10. SEM Is Still the Best for Paid Advertising – But Content Discovery is Gaining Ground

Two-thirds of B2B marketers use Search Engine Marketing to promote their content, while just over half have got on board with promoted posts (52%) or social ads (51%). Marketers tend to say that these are the most effective channels, too. The big outlier, though, are Content Discovery tools. Just 14% of marketers use them, but 45% say they really work – far more than those that use traditional methods like print (31%) or banner ads (29%).

Want more great insights for your content marketing campaign? Download your FREE ebook, the B2B Content Creation Masterclass.


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