Revealed! The 2019 CMI Content Marketing Benchmarks are in!

The statistics are in! The latest research from The Content Marketing Institute has revealed some interesting findings when it comes to the current state of content marketing.

Based on respondents who have been practicing content marketing for at least one year, benchmarks have been established to identify the biggest successes and challenges facing B2B content marketers.  

Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Advisor at the Content Marketing Institute, has given Brandalism exclusive insight into the B2B Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America report, as well as interesting key findings from this research.

“One of the things we’re most excited about is that this year we are capturing the habits and results from those that are truly invested in Content Marketing. We limited the respondents to those that have been practicing Content Marketing for at least one year. We see some fascinating new insights from this year’s research; perhaps none as pronounced as the importance of a documented content marketing strategy.” – Robert Rose 

So, let’s dive in.

Content Strategy should be clear and documented

We’re seeing that taking strategy seriously has long-term benefits to business. The survey revealed that the two biggest benefits of a documented content marketing strategy was that it aligns teams to a common goal/mission  (81%) and it makes it easier to determine which types of content to develop (81%).

“Companies that actually take a step back, and develop a content strategy are just simply succeeding at a higher rate than those that just jump right to execution.” – Robert Rose

What can content marketers improve?

Understanding audience and undergoing thorough persona work is a key component of content strategy. However, while marketers all see the benefits of this only 42% are actually talking with customers to understand their needs.

A quick win for content marketers looking to understand their audience better is to select a core group of customers to survey, gathering information from the horse’s mouth rather than relying on potentially outdated online research.

A surprising finding revealed that only 23% of content marketers are using community building and audience participation to attract new audiences. If the main goal of content marketers is engaging audiences, shouldn’t we be doing more to build communities?

What are the top performing content marketers doing well? 

Of the marketers surveyed, 96% of the most successful content marketers (“the top performers”) agree that their organisation have built credibility and trust with their audience.

Furthermore, 90% of the most successful B2B content marketers will prioritise the audience’s information needs over their sales or promotional messages. This is compared to 56% of the least successful – proving there is a direct correlation between the success of content marketing and prioritising the audience needs.

The biggest issues affecting B2B content marketers 

From the marketers surveyed, the biggest issues facing content marketers in the B2B space are:

  • Changes to SEO and Search algorithms (61%).
  • Changes to social media algorithms (45%).
  • Content marketing used solely as a revenue center (41%).
  • Data and privacy regulations (34%)
  • Staffing and HR (33%).

The largest difference between the most and least successful marketers in changes to social media is found in addressing data privacy and regulations; artificial intelligence (AI); and preparing for voice search.  

Content Marketing Measurement

All content marketers know that we should be measuring the success of our efforts, but are we actually doing it? 72% of the most successful B2B Content Marketers measure content marketing return on investment (ROI). On the other hand, 65% of the least successful do not measure their ROI.

A surprising finding revealed that only 25% of B2B content marketers are extremely or very proficient at using the metrics their team has selected to convey results. These same marketers are most likely to be those who measure the ROI of their content marketing.

Content marketing is moving forward

With businesses increasingly turning to content marketing solutions, 56% of B2B Content Marketers increased spending on content creation over the last 12 months.

Although many content marketers face the same challenges, it is clear that content marketing is moving forward. Of those surveyed, 70% of B2B content marketers believe their organisation’s content marketing is much (17%) or somewhat (53%) more successful than a year before.

We’ll take this as win!

 

Applying influencer marketing principles to your business

Influencer marketing is a game changer for brands trying to make their mark on the world and effectively engage consumers. Influencer marketing is when a brand or product is promoted by a key content creator – a person or a brand with an abundance of followers on a social media platform and has the power to influence consumer behaviours as a result.

Another way to think of it is a bit like a celebrity endorsement. However, some of the most popular social media influencers are just normal, everyday people. Their posts are organic and relatable, which is what creates trust between the influencer and their followers.

Here are a few things your business can to do position themselves as influencers:

Be authentic

Authenticity is what makes influencers so successful and powerful. You don’t want to blend in with just any old brand with similar products or services, you want to stand out!

Sharing behind-the-scenes content is a great way to do this, giving your brand a ‘human’ touch and highlighting the work done by the people who help the brand stand so strong. To put it simply, people relate better to other people than they do to companies – so showcase your team’s heroes!

HubSpot creates great authentic content, and knows the way to everyone’s hearts ….dogs!

They also share quotes from their employees in their Instagram posts, giving the business a way to better engage with their audience.

Consistent content

If you started watching a TV show and it stopped airing for a few weeks, but then aired another episode, would you still keep watching? Probably not.

Sharing consistent content is key because it’s how people develop and maintain a connection with your business and keep up-to-date with your brands’ activities. While consistency is important, you need to make sure you don’t trade quality for quantity! Like a TV show, viewers can easily change channels if the episodes are boring.

Influencers tell a constantly evolving story – audiences often wonder what they’re going to do next, where they’re going to be, and even what they’re going to wear.

Become a leader

Thought leadership is one way of becoming a leader. It’s pretty much what the name implies; use your innovative thoughts and ideas to establish your business as the ‘go-to’ in the industry, differentiating your business from others.

CEO and founder of Skaled, Jake Dunlap, describes thought leaders as people who possess an innate ability to contribute to today’s conversations while also speculating what will happen tomorrow.

Thought leaders recognise trends before others and implement them within their business, which is what helps them lead. Use the intel that comes out of your industry to educate your audience, whether that be through a blog on your business’ website or through other forms of social media content, such as podcasts, Q&A’s and infographics.

General Electric excels at sharing authentic content and positioning themselves as a thought leader in the aviation, power, and renewables space. They capture their employees working on projects, describe their roles and the projects in great detail, inviting the audience to head to their Instagram Story for a behind-the-scenes look at what’s going on.

They also have an incredible microsite, The Pulse, dedicated to health, science and tech news, which has positioned them as thought leaders among the industries they operate in. Articles range from cancer studies, to updates in emergency service technology, to how technology empowers human connections.

 

Authenticity, consistency, and leadership are the stepping stones to ensure your company stands out as an influencer, so take the leap!

Want to learn more? Read on!

 

Hero image by @taramilktea

4 Key Content Metrics You Need to Know!

One of the key pillars of content marketing, blogs are essential for creating a ‘hub’ where your audience can engage with and digest useful, educational and informative information.

But as many content marketers know, it’s rare that your audience will read a blog then click through to convert on your site – the customer journey is often longer and less linear than that! So how do you prove return-on-investment on your blog content?

The answer? Google Analytics.

Google Analytics provides a wealth of key information about what’s going on in the backend of your website, including where the traffic is coming from and what people are doing once they land on your site. Here, we unpack a few of the key metrics that can be used to report on the success of your on-site blogs.

Pageviews

Definition:
A pageview (or pageview hit, page tracking hit) is an instance of a page being loaded (or reloaded) in a browser. Pageviews is a metric defined as the total number of pages viewed.

Pageviews is a great metric for determining how many times a piece of content has been viewed. Compare the number of Pageviews between multiple pieces of content to see which pieces performed, and which ones fell flat. You’ll be able to get a better idea of best-performing topics and headlines. You can even compare this metric with Unique Pageviews to determine the percentage that the page was reloaded. This will give you an indicative understanding of how popular the content was based on how many times it was reloaded.

Are you measuring how many times your content has been viewed?

Average Time on Page

Definition:
Average time on page is the average amount of time all users spend on a single page.

This metric is useful because it indicates whether your audience is reading your content, glancing at it, or perhaps skimming the first sentence and saying goodbye. Increase your average time spent on page by keeping written content succinct, integrating dot point lists, breakout quotes and engaging imagery. 

TIP: Google uses the time of the next page view to determine the time spent looking at the current page. When users visit the last page, there is no next page recorded, so the Time on Page is unknown and the Session Duration ends the user opened the last page.

Bounce Rate

Definition:
Bounce rate is single-page sessions divided by all sessions, or the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page.

Bounce Rate is a great indication of whether people are coming to your blog then taking an action, or coming to your blog and exiting. If your bounce rate is high, try embedding clearer calls to action in your blogs or offering something useful for the audience, such a tool or downloadable asset. This will make it easier for them to take another action and a reason to stay on site.


How does Google Analytics actually collect data?

Sources of Traffic

Definition:
Every referral to a website has an origin, or source. Some sources include Social Media channels like Facebook and Instagram, or discovery platforms such as Outbrain. “Direct”  refers to users to typed your website URL directly into their browser.

Where is your traffic coming from? Knowing the key sources of traffic to your blog is essential for understanding how to best amplify your content and discovering opportunities for growth. For example, if Instagram is the biggest driver of traffic to your blog, it may be worth doing more Instagram Stories that allow users to ‘Swipe Up’ to read your blogs.

NOTE: Sources of traffic should be evaluated in conjunction with Bounce Rate. If Instagram is driving the most traffic to your blog, but this traffic has the highest bounce rate, it may be wise to invest in a channel that drives slightly less but more engaged traffic.

Read Next: 6 Easy Ways to Come Up with Great Content

Tracy Fitzgerald Named One of Australia’s Most Influential Women in Native Advertising!

Our MD Tracy Fitzgerald has been named one of the top 100 Most Significant Women in Native Advertising in Australia for 2018! Read below to find out more about women who are raising the bar for native advertising.

This blog was produced by The Native Advertising Institute.

“It excites me that the industry include so many savvy and influential women.”

One of the perks of being ‘the Co-Captainess’ of the Native Advertising Institute (NAI) is that I get to (e)meet and connect with so many amazing native advertising professionals from all over the world. Not only is the discipline on the rise, but so is the pool of talented professionals that we can look to for inspiration and guidance. This genuinely excites me. A lot.

It also excites me that the industry include so many savvy and influential women.

That excitement, combined with my general love for networking, has now resulted in a somewhat extensive list of 100 women who are raising the bar for native advertising.

Since today is International Women’s Day, it seems very appropriate to share this list of ‘badass’ women out into the digital stratosphere.

“You may find names on the list that you already know, but I bet that you’ll also stumble upon new exceptional women that you ought to know and/or learn from.”

I believe that the list could be as valuable and inspirational to you as it has been to me, whether you are looking to extend your native advertising network, find relevant people to follow on social media, or you are curating speakers for conferences with native advertising on the agenda

The ladies included on the list are all true, beacons of light. Some are accomplished and seasoned marketers, and some are rising stars. What they all have in common though is, that they collectively make the global native advertising industry sparkle.

You may find names on the list that you already know, but I bet that you’ll also stumble upon new exceptional women that you ought to know and/or learn from.

I hope you’ll see this list for what it is: a first draft of a most relevant industry list, with plenty of room to acknowledge more amazing female native advertising professionals for their work. If you would like to shine light on a top native advertising professional that also happens to be female, please reach out, drop a comment or tag that person.

Important Note: The list is sorted alphabetically (thanks to the a-z function in excel) and is NOT listed in any particular order that suggests rankings or seniority.

From the new to the known, these 100 women are all true pioneers.

Here’s 8 Tips For Taking Beautiful Instagram Pics

Are you addicted to your Instagram feed? Do you diarise your day through Instagram stories, or create polls to help you decide what to get for lunch? With over 800 million users overall, Instagram is a key platform for not only creating and showcasing beautiful content, but for also connecting with an engaged audience. Whether you are looking to increase visibility in your market space, drive sales or connect with a community of like-minded individuals, watch this video for 8 tips that will spark fresh ideas and help improve the quality of your content!

 

16 Signs You’re a Content Strategist

As a content strategist, you’re a marketer, editor, content producer, writer, creative and analyst all bundled up into one neat package. And you’re nailing it. You think…

Continue reading “16 Signs You’re a Content Strategist”

6 Easy Ways to Come up with Great Content

Once your brand has started posting content on social media, it can start to become difficult coming up with new content themes and ideas.

In theory, your options are limitless, but realistically, this lack of restrictions can be tough on creative thinking.

Luckily, we are on the case!

Here are six great ways to come up with your next content post.

1. Let popular content inspire you

Social media are like one giant pond. There’s plenty of room for big fish and small fish to co-exist.
But when it comes time for you to come up with your next content idea, who better to look to than the big fish?

Keep an eye out for popular content, especially if it’s related to your brand’s industry or field, and let it inspire your next content post. Better still, find ways to leverage off the popularity of popular themes or recent events.

2. Stay on top of the news

When it comes to your brand’s industry, it’s also important for you to stay as informed as you possibly can.

This will allow you to not only share news as it breaks, but also create opinion pieces and reaction content. There’s a reason reaction videos and reviews are so big on YouTube, and that’s because people are interested to hear opinions about their interests.

So if you’re running a bakery and you’ve got the inside scoop on eclairs being the next big thing, then make sure you’re creating content that’s all about those delicious French pastries.

3. Don’t be afraid to keep it simple

When it comes to content, especially on social media, you don’t always need to create in-depth articles. Some of the best content is simply a great idea exemplified by an image or social post that could be produced in under 5 minutes.

Memes, photos and infographics are all a staple of platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and they can be a much simpler and easier way of creating content if your next idea isn’t a huge one.

Not only does this simplicity make it easier on you, it also means you have so many more places to be inspired from.

Whether it’s a photo of your chef imitating salt bae or your plumbing service jokingly fixing pipes using Italian hand-gestures, there’s plenty of ways to incorporate this year’s silliest memes into any brand.

4. Lists are you friend

Buzzfeed is one of the most popular destinations on the Internet, and at the core of their content strategy is one thing: lots and lots of lists.

Why? Because they work.

After all, you’re reading one right now!

When we see a “5 Reasons Pizza is Good for Your Soul” article, we feel compelled to click, even if we’re in the middle of doing our taxes. It’s snackable content that is quick and easy to consume (like pizza).

And though science has yet to figure out why, the simple fact is that it works. So when you’re planning your brand’s content strategy, be sure to include a few good lists.

5. Map out your content

Figuring out your content for the week, month or year can be overwhelming at times. A content calendar is an easy way to break your content marketing out into smaller, easy-to-manage pieces.

Map out the role of each content marketing or social media channel, then figure out monthly themes and content topics for each channel. From there, you can plan content for each week.

6. Use your analytics

These days, it’s all about the data.  Once you’ve got a good base of content online, the most important thing you can do is check out your analytics.

Was there a post that got you some new followers? Or do your memes get shared far more than your other posts?

By finding out what type of content your audience best responds to, you’re giving yourself a clear roadmap for the future of your content.

If they prefer lists, then take time to plan out more lists, and if images worked really well during a sale, make sure to keep using them during sales.

After a while, you won’t be struggling to come up with ideas – your analytics will give you a great idea of what should come next.

And that makes them, truly, the best way to come up with your next content post.

Unlocking the Power of User Generated Content

As brands continue to flex their social and content marketing muscles, we’ve started to see user generated content become a big part of the game, and with good reason.
User generated content campaigns have been shown to regularly see higher ROIs, 300% higher click-through rates and 50% lower costs-per-click and acquisition. That’s because our brains are hard-wired to listen to word-of-mouth marketing, so a recommendation from a friend means that potential consumers are much more likely to listen at the very competitive top of the funnel.
With so many advantages to running a campaign based on this type of content, just how should you go about creating it?

Do it right

Like with any other kind of marketing, user generated content can come in all shapes and sizes. Some heavy-hitting companies have focussed on altogether different themes by finding the one that was most compatible with their brand.
Take Lululemon’s #thesweatlife or Go Pro’s Photo of the Day, for example. Though these brands have a product focus on sportswear and cameras, respectively, their campaigns focussed on the lifestyle that those products enabled. Lululemon encouraged users wearing their gear at the gym to post photos of themselves working out, while Go Pro spotlights an adventurous customer photo every day.
This serves a double purpose: not only does it create a regular content stream for those brands to share on their social media platforms, it also helps in making a living online catalogue of the products and the experiences they can bring.
Of course, not every brand focuses on lifestyle. Some user-generated content campaigns are aspirational, like Nat Geo’s #wanderlust and Tourism Queensland’s Best Job in the World. These campaigns asked users to submit contest entries for a travel-based prize through photo and video submissions.
This generated a huge influx of highly shareable content, as well as raising awareness for both brands. We’re only human, after all. Everyone wants to win the big prize.
But where big prizes can inspire a high volume of submissions, so can campaigns based on love. It doesn’t even have to be love of your product, as Purina, a pet care brand proved with its #dogthanking campaign.
To take part in it, all users had to do was submit a cute photo of their dog with a short message about why they’re thankful to have it be a part of their lives. As an added bonus, Purina donated $1 to a canine charity foundation for every submission.
This obviously drew in quite a lot of content, but brands with more ‘loveable’ products can also focus on themselves, like Pizza Hut’s Proposal campaign or Chobani’s Yoghurt Love Stories.
High-profile brands have also focussed on personalisation, like Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke, live interaction, like Old Spice’s The Man Your Man Could Smell Like, and user art, like Starbucks’s White Cup Campaign.

How to Leverage UGC for Results

Now you know the types of user generated content campaigns out there, it’s time to apply them for your business.
This almost goes without saying, but UGC is the perfect type of content for social media, especially when it comes to photo and video content. For the most part, people prefer their social platform feeds to feel ‘ad-free’. This means that ideally, branded ads for social should blend in with their regular newsfeed content, and user-generated content can certainly achieve this.
Another immense benefit is that a single image from a user shared on a platform like Instagram can be repurposed across all others, adding to its initial value. Where appropriate, UGC can even be added to primary marketing materials across other media platforms like TV or print.
UGC campaigns can also make people feel like a valued part of your audience- like they are contributing. It’s a fun way for them to identify as brand ambassadors.
In the end, user generated content campaigns have plenty of potential benefits for your business and with so many possibilities, the sky really is the limit. It is important to keep any UGC campaigns in line with the tone and personality you expect for your brand.
Because when you do find that perfect UGC campaign idea, your business will reap the benefits.

3 Ways to Personalise Your Digital Marketing Content

When it comes to online marketing, the powers of personalisation on offer are unmatched by any other marketing medium out there. Key targeting tools in social media, search engines and even e-mails allow brands to pursue highly accurate personalisation.

And that’s a good thing, because it turns out consumers are four times more likely to respond to personalised offers than to generic marketing.

But what are these tools, and how can your brand go about using them?

Well, lucky for you, we’ve put together a list of some of the heavy hitters below!

1. Facebook Audiences

With over one billion users worldwide, Facebook is a platform that reaches a massive audience. Thankfully, among all those hundreds of millions, Mark Zuckerberg’s creation allows you to target the audience best suited to your brand or product.

Using Facebook’s promotional tools, you’re able to target based on a variety of metrics: age, location, gender and even what a person’s likes and interests are. This means that cosmetics brands  can target women with interests in beauty, toy companies can target parents with children and coffee shops can target local residents in the mornings.

Whatever your brand is about, Facebook allows you to target someone who might be interested. And since they own Instagram, those same targeting tools can be applied there.

Using those tools, you can create much more personalised pieces of social content targeting different audiences with different messaging.

2. Google Preferred YouTube Targeting

As a video content platform, YouTube offers a variety of targeting tools, including Google AdWords. However, one of the simplest is Google Preferred Targeting.

This targeting makes sure that a brand’s video content is displayed on the top 5% of YouTube content (in other words, its most popular and engaged channels) and offers targeting across 12 different categories: from Beauty & Fashion to Gaming.

You can then layer demographics (like age and gender) onto these categories to reach the people who are most interested in your brand. Or, if your brand could appeal to many categories, you can create a different piece of content for each one.

Streets ice-cream recently released  a string of videos targeting 50 different user groups, targeted to different segments on YouTube. In doing so, they found their most engaged audiences, with videos targeting popular culture hitting a lot of views, while videos targeting politics and beauty had much lower response rates.

By personalising their videos in content and targeting, they now have a much clearer idea of the audiences their product most appeals to, and they can continue to create personal messages for those consumers moving forward.

3. E-Mail Segmenting

While consumers are now moving more towards social platforms, direct e-mail is still an extremely effective way of reaching audiences and for many brands, the most effective. After all, 77% of digital marketers still consider it to be the primary way of talking to their consumers.

Keeping e-mail relevant is just a matter of adapting to the new more-targeted social market. Rather than sending broad, blanket e-mails to everyone who’s registered on your business’s site, you can tailor custom e-mails and use tools to segment your audience into groups.

So, if someone has bought an outdoor table from your furniture site, you can add them to a ‘backyard’ list, while someone who purchases a TV stand can be added to a ‘living room offers’ list.

This will allow you to tailor custom messaging for each segment, which means the content will have a much more personal feel to it. This should result in a better response rate than an e-mail full of generic offers.

So there you have it: by creating more personalised content, not only are your consumers more likely to engage with you, you just might discover something new about your brand, as well.

5 simple ways to improve your written content

Just like your hair and wardrobe, content can become stale and boring if it doesn’t get a healthy dose of attention every now and again. Giving your best performing content a spring clean will help extend its lifespan and can you save time and resources. Here are five ways give your content a “zhush” for 2017.

1. Republish content in different formats

According to SumoMe, the average visitor will only read 25% of an article, meaning that the majority of your written content is going unread and unnoticed.

With video expected to account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic this year, it may be time to reincarnate your written content and explore new formats.

Think of your written article as the beginning of a ‘content journey.’ For example, a long-form blog can be broken down into a panel conversation perfect for a webinar, and a webinar can then be turned into a podcast that can be promoted across your social channels.

Pick out key statistics from blogs and represent them using infographics. The same infographics can be animated for video content, or resized into ‘tiles’ suitable for Facebook and Instagram.

If you have pages and pages of thematic content, consider compiling these blogs into a downloadable asset like an e-book or whitepaper. Bundling series content will provide you with a useful asset that can be used for lead capture.

2. Update information

Updating your content is a simple and effective way of making it relevant again. For publishers, updating evergreen content is a key source of traffic.

“If we have a list of the Best Burgers in San Francisco, for instance, if we’re not updating that at least yearly and probably more often, we’re doing a terrible job,” said Ben Robinson, Thrillist’s chief creative director.

Updating statistics and adding new ideas to listicles will extend the shelf life of your content and allow you to re-share the article across social, perhaps targeting a new audience, without having to reinvent the wheel.

While you’re updating the information in your article, take the opportunity to hyperlink to newly published content on your blog. Adding key hyperlinks to the first quarter of the blog increases the chance of the audience clicking on a link. This will get readers clicking around your website and keep them on your page for longer.

3. Think about in-text images

In-text images are key to creating an engaging blog, with readers spending more time looking at relevant images than they do reading text on the page.

While you’re spring cleaning your blog, revise the images you’ve used. Are they too big? Images excessive of 70kb can affect the loading time of the post as well as the search engine ranking, increasing the risk of users clicking away from the page, so take the time to resize your images.

Update the image file names to improve the search engine ranking of your blog. Images with descriptive names like “sydney-business-leadership-conference” will rank better than default file names like “DSC0034.jpg.”

4. Take another look at headlines

If you’ve updated the content of the article and added new images, make sure you also revise the headline so it still reflects the new, revised articl

This will also prompt you to clean up other headlines. We’ve all had a “what was I thinking?” moment when it comes to re-reading some of our old writing, so take time to revise old headlines that might not seem as clever as they did at the time. Trial your headlines with tools like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer which scores your overall headline quality and rates its ability to result in social shares, increased traffic, and SEO value.

5. Improve SEO

There’s no point having great content if no-one can find it, so improve the discoverability of your articles with an SEO spring clean.

Update keywords
Rather than stuffing your blog post with key words, choose a few long-tail keywords and use them strategically. For example, ditch keywords like “business,” “leadership,” and  “small business,” for long-tail keywords like “small business leadership,” and “leadership in business.”

Be sure to include the keywords in the title, URL, the first two paragraphs of your article and the meta description.

Meta description

Give your meta descriptions some TLC by ensuring they’re reader friendly. The meta description should reflect the content of the article, include the long-tail keyword you’re trying to rank for.

By giving your written content a “zhush,” not only will you attract new readers, but you’ll save time doing so.

Don’t miss out on our next post – sign up to our newsletter now!


Want to stay ahead of the trends?

Get our really useful (non-annoying) emails