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Content Marketing: Still a Priority, Still Misunderstood

A few years back, content marketing narrative was primarily concerned with increasing awareness. A trend was emerging around delivering great content along with a great service or product. Now, in 2017, the narrative is less “Start doing content marketing,” and more “Why is everyone doing blogs?”

This year, more than 90% of marketers are either increasing their content marketing budgets, or at least keeping them the same, according to a recent study by GetResponse and the Content Marketing Institute; which surveyed more than 2,500 marketers from mostly B2C and mixed B2B-B2C businesses around the world.

This is great news for content marketing evangelists (no more preaching at conferences). But the study also claims that marketers are still struggling to measure content marketing.

According to the study, just over 16% of marketers said they can measure the ROI of content assets. Almost 40% said those assets are sourced on an ad hoc basis.

The issue is that, while content marketing has been widely accepted as a necessary part of marketing today, businesses are still treating content as just another asset, with little regard to how this particular asset functions in the digital economy.

For example, the study points out that many marketers are automating content distribution now, but the most popular content distributed this way is blog posts (nearly 47%). While distribution technology has little bearing on the quality of these posts, the fact that blogs are so popular for automated distribution is indicative of an abundance of that type of content. And, as mentioned, the study found that much of the content that brands are distributing isn’t being properly measured for performance, and is being created on an as-needed basis.

Content takes time to truly perform, and has a much different role in the buyer journey than other types of marketing. Consumers read articles and watch videos before and after buying, so measuring content marketing performance by its influence on acquisitions, for example, can paint a falsely negative picture of how that content actually performed. Marketers need to ensure that their business understands the role content plays for their audience — and what metrics best quantify that — before simply queuing up that next blog.

Step one is done: Everyone knows content marketing is worth investing in. Now, marketers just need to get the content part right.

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