Joe Pulizzi on 2016’s Content Marketing Trends

By Staff  |  July 7, 2016

The Enterprise B2B Content Marketing 2016 report from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs found that almost half (47 percent) of businesses surveyed plan to increase their content marketing budgets again in the next year.

The survey found that enterprises currently spend 25 percent of their budget on content marketing strategies and tactics, which is up 2 percent from last year.

The sixth annual nationwide content marketing survey found that enterprises that document their content marketing strategy are more likely to be successful than those who don’t. We spoke with Joe Pulizzi, CMI’s founder and content marketing guru, to get his thoughts on the report’s findings.

What does effective content marketing look like for a B2B enterprise? Can you give me an example of an organization that has used content marketing effectively?

Effective content marketing looks like an integrated media company with multiple editorial mission statements and an unyielding focus on building an audience. The only difference is the business model (selling products/services versus advertising/subscription). This is what Red Bull Media House has done so well on the consumer side.

From the B2B side, I like what Intel is doing with their iQ content brand. John Deere has been doing this for years with The Furrow magazine.

You report that many enterprise marketers are increasing their spending on content marketing to 25 percent of their budget. How should this money be spent? What proportion of this budget should be spent on content creation versus content distribution?

In the past, about 80 percent of the budget was spent on content creation and 20 percent on distribution. We are seeing more enterprise marketers switch that, putting the majority into getting the content they create in front of the right people on a consistent basis.

In the survey, 47 percent of respondents said they will increase their content marketing spend in the next year. Where should they direct this budget?

They should focus their content spend on becoming the leading informational experts in the particular markets they choose to build audiences in—focus and consistency instead of content clutter.

What are the traits of a sophisticated/mature approach to content marketing? What do successful organizations do to differentiate them from their peers?

They document their content marketing strategy. They share that plan with their team and review it on a consistent basis. They create and share an editorial mission statement for each of their audience groups. In total, they act like media companies do.

What is the importance of documenting a content marketing strategy? How crucial is it to success?

The research shows that those enterprises that document their strategy are much more successful, so it’s pretty crucial to success. A documented strategy can take many forms, visual and/or written, but it can’t be stagnant. It needs to be a living document, like any business plan.

The Top 5 Findings from the Enterprise Content Marketing Report

  1. A documented content marketing strategy influences overall effectiveness: 75 percent of the most effective enterprise content marketers have a documented strategy. By comparison, only 11 percent of the least effective have a documented strategy. Enterprise marketers who have a documented content marketing strategy get better results with many of the tactics, social media platforms and paid advertising methods they use.
  2. Enterprise marketers use an average of 16 content marketing tactics: In-person events, videos and social media content (other than blogs) are the top three most often cited successful tactics. Infographics, whitepapers and ebooks are also popular.
  3. Enterprise marketers use an average of four paid methods to promote/distribute content: Search engine marketing (SEM) surpassed traditional online banner ads as the most often used paid method. Of all of the other paid methods, the greatest increases were for promoted posts (49 percent last year versus 62 percent this year) and social ads (53 percent last year versus 62 percent this year).
  4. Enterprise marketers consistently cite sales lead quality, sales and higher conversion rates as the most important metrics to measure the effectiveness or success of their content marketing efforts, regardless of company size, effectiveness or content marketing maturity level.
  5. Enterprise marketers cite producing engaging content as their top challenge, CMI’s survey research say, followed by measuring content effectiveness and the ROI of their content marketing program.

Read next: Content Marketing vs. Advertising: What’s the Difference, Again?

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