Content Marketing Research 2017

Yesterday I led a session at MarketingProfs’ B2B Marketing Forum on how to build a thought-leadership program. Here’s what I know about “thought leadership”:

  • No one thinks they’re doing enough of it.
  • Almost everyone is intimidated by it.
  • Leaders and internal experts are hard to track down, and marketers often can’t produce the content on their own.

So what’s a marketing team to do? If you want to consistently create thought leadership, you need two things: a steady source of good ideas and a proven process.

Even though that sounds simple, we know that marketers struggle with gathering good ideas and turning them into content pieces. I was curious what exactly is holding most people back, so this summer we surveyed hundreds of marketers about their content strategy and execution.

Here’s what we found:

Most Marketers Are Using Content, but Many Don’t Have a Formal Strategy

  • 77% of respondents are doing some content marketing.
  • Of the organizations that are doing content marketing, 32% don’t have a formal strategy.

Most Content Ideas Come from Inside the Marketing Organization

In the past 12 months, which of the following has been the primary source for ideas on your organization’s blog?

  • Member/s of the marketing team: 40%
  • Subject-matter experts inside the organization: 28%
  • Senior executives or leadership: 21%
  • Freelance writers: 5%
  • Outsourced marketing agency: 3%
  • Subject-matter experts outside the organization: 4%

Marketers Need Fresh Ideas for Content, Beyond Their Own News

What of the following types of content have you published on your blog in the past 12 months?

  • Organization news or updates: 19%
  • How-to/tips and tricks: 15%
  • Thought leadership/big ideas: 15%
  • Use cases/case studies: 10%
  • Customer profiles: 10%
  • Original research/new data: 9%
  • Curated reports or roundups of industry news: 9%
  • Employee profile: 8%
  • Long-form overviews of everything you need to know about a certain topic: 7%

As I shared with the marketers I met in Boston this week, there’s a huge opportunity for better content marketing, fueled by the good ideas that live inside our own organizations. Improving your thought-leadership program doesn’t have to be stressful, but you do need to find new, creative ways to tap into those ideas.

Read our full report to get all of our research and advice for a better thought-leadership program.