Content marketing has been growing in popularity over the past five years. Many companies are engaged in it, whether text or video-based. But arguably, it is since 2013 that it has really picked up steam.
It is around that time that the sector reached a critical point in terms of quantity and frequency. But the biggest change is it is harder to stand out than ever before.
Yet while year-on-year more content marketing is being produced, questions remain over whether companies have the strategy right.
This question was pushed into the light by some recent research into content marketing usage in the B2B sector by eMarketer. It found companies believed content marketing could achieve a number of goals.
The top three aims for B2B content marketing were lead generation (58 per cent of respondents), customer engagement(55 per cent), and brand awareness(48 per cent).
B2B has usually been solid direct marketing or below the line territory. It is all about getting to the customer. Yet, the second two of these three rationales come across as more than a little brand focus.
Generating traffic or the awareness of the brand is fine, but what next? There has to be some other strategy even if it’s another subscriber to the email newsletter. Content marketing is at its best when it creates a relationship with the customer.
And another thing
The problem with brand awareness is that, unlike lead generation, it is hard to track. One reason why so many advertising agencies have managed remain in business is the difficulty in knowing how effective they are.
So the question is whether companies are going awareness because content marketing has failed with more direct aims, like sales, or they simply haven’t thought that far ahead in terms of strategy.
Lots of businesses producing quality content marketing is good for the sector. However, it has to be proved in terms of effectiveness. Otherwise, this upward trend is unlikely to last.