A new study [download page] from Unisphere Research (sponsored by Skyword) suggests that tried-and-true content distribution vehicles such as company websites and email campaigns are seen as the most essential for content marketing, rated as either extremely important or important by 88% and 73% of survey respondents, respectively. Interestingly, 7 in 10 believe that it’s important to distribute content through public relations channels, while two-thirds concur with respect to using social media. The study also examines the most popular content areas and types of digital content.
Product-related content is currently seen as the most critical, rated extremely important or important by 77% of respondents. Best practices and thought leadership are next (each at 71%), followed by industry (57%) and corporate (56%) news. Audience lifestyle falls further down the list, cited by 46% of respondents. While that may have something to do with the nature of the respondents’ businesses, it’s an interesting result nonetheless, as the rankings suggest that brands are lending much more weight to content that discusses their products rather than that which may engage their audiences. That’s particularly notable given separate findings from the study that the primary objective of content marketing programs is to engage customers and prospects (68%) rather than to increase brand awareness (44%) or provide thought leadership (23%).
Also interesting: when it comes to the social media platforms with the highest levels of engagement, Facebook (55%) rules the roost, ahead of Twitter (45%), LinkedIn (39%) and branded blogs (31%). But despite those high marks for engagement, Facebook is perceived as the 4th most valuable social media initiative (58% rating it extremely valuable or valuable), behind branded blogs (64%), LinkedIn (60%) and Twitter (59%).
- Articles (82%) are the most commonly shared content on social pages, followed by video (60%), photos (54%) and press releases (54%).
- About half of respondents are creating original content for social media channels, with an additional 30% planning to or under development.
- A slight majority are posting 1-10 content marketing assets per month across social media channels and a plurality 46% are posting fresh, original content on a weekly basis.
- The most oft-cited challenge to improving branded content marketing is producing targeted, relevant content to engage audiences (66%), followed by producing enough content (53%).
- Marketers are most commonly gaining insight for targeted content marketing through surveys (50%), website/audience analytics (50%) and search analytics/keyword research (46%).
About the Data: The data is derived from a survey of 217 marketing professionals, conducted by Unisphere Research, a division of Information Today, Inc., sponsored by Skyword Inc.