It was always going to happen. After a stellar rise, content marketing might finally be slowing down as the latest fad in communications.
Aberdeen Group reports that 83 percent of marketers were adopting content marketing in 2015 and 2016. In 2017 that adoption rate had dropped to 70 percent.
I expect this number to continue to slide as marketers discover that, like most business disciplines, content marketing is no panacea or silver bullet or whatever other metaphor you want to employ. It’s complex, multi-faceted and requires effort to prove its return on investment.
As a content marketer, I feel traitorous saying this. I most definitely can affirm that content marketing is sex on wheels. But it’s just like everything in business: it requires management.
The good news is that the best marketers are also effective users of content marketing. How so? Aberdeen continually surveys companies and management teams across multiple industries. Using this database it divides companies into four marketing groups, from Best-in-Class to Laggards. It turns out that Best-in-Class are big and growing investors in content marketing.
And they are excellent managers. Best-in-Class marketers tie their content to brand strategy, make sure that leads are funneled into the sales process and that content is frequently updated and of a high quality. They also measure results and learn from their mistakes. And they have figured out what is the right content for each stage of the sales funnel.
Here’s a snippet from the report showing how Best-in-Class businesses use content to generate awareness – they have a different mix for each subsequent step in the path to purchase. Looking at this list, I find it interesting that blogs continue to perform so well. A well-timed opinion or helpful ‘how to’ remains a powerful tool in the marketer’s tool kit.
Content marketing is growing up. After a fast rate of adoption, it is finding its place in the marketing and communications mix. But how effective it is relies on how well it’s managed.
So how’s your content strategy going?
- Vincent Heeringa is executive director at Anthem. [email protected]