3 Big Hits from the Content Marketing Institute’s Annual Report

The Content Marketing Institute recently released its annual report that examines the surveys of more than 5,000 North American marketers for insights and trends – B2C Content Marketing 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America. As always, the report is chock full of valuable content marketing information that can help us become even better at our craft. While you should definitely read the entire report yourself, we boiled it down to three of the biggest finds.

1: Measuring effectiveness is increasingly important but remains difficult.

As with any smart business, marketers want to be able to measure their content marketing’s ROI. But this continues to be difficult in the industry. Only 23% of B2C marketers said they were successful in gauging the ROI of their content marketing and 51% said that measuring effectiveness is a challenge (up substantially from 36% last year).

It may seem obvious, but the importance cannot be emphasized enough: Pace’s success in measuring our programs effectiveness is a big, big deal. It puts us in rarefied air among content marketing agencies. The measurement of effectiveness (or lack thereof) was the top takeaway in the executive summary, so even if it’s not a groundbreaking find, its importance remains substantial in content marketing for 2015.

2: A sound strategy is easier said than done.

The survey showed that while many content marketers are happy to talk about strategy, not nearly enough have created a document to put that strategy into writing. Seventy-seven percent of B2C content marketers responding to the survey said they had a strategy. But only 27% said it was documented, compared to 50% who said it was not documented.

The proof is in the pudding—the CMI report found that those with a documented strategy were more effective in all aspects of content marketing than those without. Yet another instance of Pace’s strengths aligning with industry success. A vague, verbal-only strategy tends to be a less effective strategy that is not set in stone. Write it out and make it concrete.

3: Quantity is increasing. Quality must keep up.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents to the CMI content marketing survey said they were planning to create more content over the next 12 months than the previous year. In a vacuum, that’s certainly a good sign for the industry. But the stat bears deeper consideration, as quality must stay in step with quantity.

Producing low quality content can have a neutral impact on consumers at best. When it’s truly of poor quality, it can drive consumers away. It’s important to keep content fresh. Content marketers who rated themselves as most effective are those most likely to publish new content daily. However, pushing bad content at a high rate is just shooting yourself in the foot. Keep it fresh, keep it timely, keep it relevant. And keep the quality, too.

What’s Your Take

There’s a ton of great stuff in the 40-page report so go check it out for yourself and share your insights with us. What content marketing trends do you think will be a large focus in 2015? What did you learn from the B2C Content Marketing 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report for North America?

By Zack Hill

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