1. Introduction

At this point, when we are all witnessing the overall presence of digital marketing, we can no longer neglect the importance content marketing has. It has become a fundamental part of any digital marketing strategy. It is a pillar supporting all your efforts and attempts to position your brand on the market and achieve your business goals. No longer can a business be successful and establish a relationship with the target group without some type of content involved.

It all started back in the 1990s. The internet was just kicking off, there were fewer people online. In fact, it has been estimated that there were 100,000 websites in total in January of 1996, as opposed to 1.1 billion websites we have today (Source). This was the time when even Google was still an idea and it was not even possible to imagine writing a status update or chatting with your social media followers.

Image: http://www.internetlivestats.com/total-number-of-websites/

In his essay “Content is the King”, back in 1996, Bill Gates explains the role of content in the modern world, and how the internet is changing the way we create, publish, distribute, and consume content. He predicts that the internet as a medium, which was then something new and different, will revolutionize the way people get information and the way they communicate.

This was only an introduction to what was to happen in the subsequent years. As the internet spread all over the planet, so did the content as one of the ways to reach online users, to interact, attract, and sell. It started with websites presenting their business with a couple of web pages. This sort of static web presentation was then outdated, and the need to be more dynamic in communicating with the target group emerged. In the past, you could create a website and sit back, waiting for people to contact you. However, this approach is so obsolete nowadays, that in fact, it would produce zero results.

Today, it is expected from website owners to be active, to keep posting fresh information and to keep introducing new content. This is why a lot of websites have a blog. A blog is now a way to keep this dynamic approach, to be active and to make sure that new content is published regularly through this type of platform. Benefits of this approach are numerous, starting from gaining traffic, positioning for specific keywords to expanding reach through social media shares and obtaining new leads.

There is no doubt that the role of content has evolved over the years, but so have the content types and production processes. Written content has evolved with new styles taking over, but the usage of visual content is also gaining importance, especially in the last few years. The concept of storytelling was also introduced as a more elaborate content strategy.

The more content there is, the more important it is for the content to be extraordinary. It is as simple as that. There are so many websites online and so much content published each day, that it has become very difficult to make content that really stands out. To be successful at content marketing, you need to go beyond content creation and think about management and optimization as well. With sophisticated search engine and social media algorithms, as well as email spam filters, content distribution is also facing some challenges.

As the content has found its application in all parts of online marketing, developing a content marketing strategy has become an essential task and it is something that needs to be conducted very carefully with right goals in mind.

Content marketing statistics

The role of content has changed in recent years, so to understand this growing trend and how content affects online businesses in terms of decision making and strategy planning, take a look at the following content marketing statistics:

  • 2 million blog posts are written every day. (MarketingProfs)
  • 60% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority. (HubSpot)
  • 37% of marketers said visual marketing was the most important form of content for their business, second only to blogging (38%). (Social Media Examiner)
  • Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts. (HubSpot)
  • The length of the average blog post is up 19%…about 1050 words. Shorties are on the decline: the percentage of posts that are 500 words or less is half what is was two years ago. Big posts are on the rise: the percentage of posts that are 2000+ words long has doubled every year. (Orbit Media)
  • 41% of B2B marketers say their organization is clear on what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like; 59% are unclear or unsure. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • Most marketers attribute increase in success to content creation which includes higher quality and more efficient content creation. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • Email, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are top 4 channels used by B2B business for content marketing distribution. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • 83% of B2B marketers use email newsletters for content marketing. – Content Marketing Institute
  • Lead generation and brand awareness, in that order, are the two most important content marketing goals of most B2B marketers. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • B2B marketers cite website traffic, sales lead quality, and sales as the top 3 most important metrics. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • Most B2B marketers state producing engaging content is the biggest challenge they face (60%), followed by measuring content effectiveness (57%) and producing content consistently (57%). (Content Marketing Institute)
  • 72% of marketers say creating more engaging content is top priority for them. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • Marketers plan to increase their use of videos (73%), visuals (71%), blogging (66%), live video (39%), and podcasting (26%), in that order. (Social Media Examiner)
  • We are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65%. (BrainRules)
  • 76% of people use their Facebook feed to find interesting content. (HubSpot)
  • 615 million devices now use adblock. (PageFair)

These statistics should provide a picture of how marketers see content and how relevant it is in their business strategies. The main conclusions we can draw from these statistics are the following:

  • Companies that use content marketing have better results
  • Lead generation is the most important content marketing goal
  • Visual aspect boosts the performance of content
  • Video and visual content will gain even more importance
  • Email and social networks are the most important channels for content distribution
  • Longer posts usually perform better
  • Producing engaging content and producing content consistently are some of the most common challenges for marketers. Yet, these are the top priorities for most marketers because this is the road that brings success with content marketing strategy.