Almost three-quarters (73%) of marketers surveyed in late 2015 reported creating more content than in the previous year, reports Contently [download page] in a new study. With most content appearing to be created in-house, and with only a minority of respondents having multiple full-time employees committed to content marketing, time is now perceived to be the major barrier to creating effective content.
Indeed, 37% of the marketers surveyed – 31% of whom identified as B2B marketers, 18% as B2B, and the rest working across both industries – said that time is the biggest of 6 challenges listed to creating effective content. That’s up from 11% identifying content as their biggest challenge in last year’s survey, and is almost double the share (19%) who this year identified content strategy as their biggest challenge. That’s an interesting result given research showing that few B2C or B2B content marketers have a documented content strategy.
Also of note, budget emerged as one of the lesser challenges in the Contently study, cited by only 13% of respondents. That’s despite indications that content doesn’t occupy too sizable a share of the marketing budget for respondents: the largest share (41%) said that 0-10% of their budgets are devoted to content. Overall, two-thirds are allocating less than one-quarter of their budgets to content.
Whatever budgets there are, they don’t seem to be spent on freelancers. Three-quarters of respondents said that 25% or less of their content is being created by freelancers as opposed to in-house. That includes almost two-thirds who said that less than 10% of their content is created by freelancers.
That’s likely a contributor to time pressures, particularly as content can take time to create and publish. For example, while 55% of respondents say it typically takes less than a week to create, approve, and publish a piece of content, 1 in 5 take longer than 2 weeks on average. Of course, the amount of time it takes is somewhat dependent on the type of content being created: data contained in MarketingCharts’ B2B Digital Marketing Insights Report suggests that it takes B2B content marketers 4 times longer to produce an e-book than a blog post. Separate data cited in the report indicates that the most efficient marketers are those who focus on standardization and process, as well as paying attention to content efficiency as an accountable success metric.
As for metrics, the Contently survey finds that lead conversions and sales are the metric used the most to measure content success (for 32% of respondents), ahead of social shares and likes (19%), page views (16%) and unique visitors (11%). On average, lead generation was, not surprisingly, the most important metric identified from a separate list, followed by engagement rate and unique visitors.
In other results from the report:
- Email topped Facebook as the most effective organic distribution channel, while the opposite was true for paid channels;
- With regards to the frequency of evaluating effectiveness of content marketing and tweaking strategy accordingly, one-third said they do so monthly, with another third doing so at least weekly;
- Fewer than half (48%) are confident that their key content metrics are measuring business results.
About the Data: The survey was fielded online between November 24 and December 2, 2015, yielding 632 respondents.