How is content marketing managed as a process in other companies?
Reaching best practices is an attractive but long-term goal. Knowing how content marketing broadly functions in other companies can help you spot weak points in your organization right away.
To learn what an average content marketing team looks like and aims at, we surveyed more than 1200 marketers throughout 39 countries. Our goal was to create a comprehensive picture of today’s approach to content marketing from both an organizational and strategic perspective.
We hope that these most current facts and statistics can help you identify gaps in your content strategy, pinpoint your own content shortcomings and gather some ideas to test.
Bonus: We analyzed the requirements of more than 17,000 content marketing job descriptions posted in different countries to compile a list of the skills that are absolutely essential for a content marketing specialist.
In this round-up, we will discuss:
- Content Marketing Strategy
- Content Marketing Tactics and Metrics
- Content Marketing Goals and Budgets
- Content Marketing Team
- Content Marketing Technologies and Challenges
- Content Creation and Distribution
- Content Outsourcing
- Top Required Skills for a Content Marketer
- Top Required Soft Skills in the Content Marketing Industry
- Survey Methodology
- Key Takeaways of the Survey
***This research was conducted as a part of the Global State of Content Marketing Report 2019. The report is designed to help content marketers across the world gain a better understanding of the industry and draw more relevant conclusions for their strategies.***
Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing is not conceivable without a strategy. So, with the first part of our survey, we wanted to see how often marketers use content marketing and align their actions with a strategy. While our survey found that most companies use strategies, they don't all have confidence in whether it is making a difference.
In fact, while 77% of our survey respondents said that their company had a content marketing strategy, only 9% of those professionals evaluated their strategy as excellent. Moreover, 38% of our respondents described their strategy as average.
Content Marketing Tactics and Metrics
Measuring the impact of your work correctly allows you to adapt to the market, leverage results and, eventually, scale success. So, we dedicated the second part of this survey to identifying success metrics and efficient content marketing tactics marketers use.
We discovered that content is mostly measured through organic traffic (76%), leads (62%), sessions / pageviews (60%), and conversion rate (47%).
When it comes to improving content performance, marketers report that SEO (67%) and updating or repurposing existing content (51%) are the most effective methods. Surprisingly, only 11% of marketers consider making use of user-generated content to be a tactic worth using.
Content Marketing Goals and Budgets
Obviously, success metrics entirely depend on goals. So, in this part of the survey, we wanted to check what content marketing goals were set for 2019 by companies, how much teams spent on achieving them, and how optimistic their budget plans are for 2020.
We found out that marketers’ goals were to generate more quality leads (75%), attract more traffic to their website (71%), improve brand reputation (56%), and improve customer engagement and loyalty (45%). Only 17% of survey respondents expected to increase the number of transactions using content marketing.
We discovered that to achieve such significant goals, most companies spent up to $10,000 on content marketing in 2019. In the upcoming year, more than 62% of our respondents are going to increase their budgets to improve their content marketing success: 9% significantly, 23% medially and 30% slowly.
Content Marketing Team
Some may say that a content marketing strategy is only as good as the people implementing it, so we wanted to address the makeup of content marketing teams in the next part of the survey. In particular, we asked about the team count and what specialists make up the content marketing team.
Most survey respondents (78%) reported that the company where they worked had a small marketing team of between one and three people. This team usually included a writer (52%), a social media manager (36%), and an SEO specialist (34%). Among the most common ‘other’ responses, respondents stated that they have only one marketing specialist doing everything.
Content Marketing Technologies and Challenges
There are valuable research reports solely dedicated to content marketing challenges. In this part of the survey, we decided to focus on core challenges only and see how marketers overcome them with technology.
The biggest challenges reported included creating content that generates quality leads (54%), content that attracts more traffic (52%), and developing content that resonates with their target audience (45%).
To achieve these goals and overcome the challenges, 85% of those polled leveraged website analytics tools, SEO tools (73%), social media posting (67%), and email marketing software (57%). Remarkably, that only 9% of our survey respondents made use of an integrated content marketing platform to achieve their results.
Content Creation and Distribution
It is no surprise that content marketing primarily operates with content assets, but we wanted to know what content types contribute to overall goals and how marketers are distributing these different forms of content.
Only 28% of respondents stated they produce video content, and written content remains the most common form. The study showed that the prevailing content formats are blog posts (86%), emails (67%), case studies (42%), and success stories (36%). Only 19% of respondents produced original studies.
To distribute these products, marketers considered social media (94%) and emails (76%) to be the most effective channels.
78% of respondents stated that their content marketing team consists of only 1-3 specialists, requiring content creation to be outsourced at times. In this part of the survey, we wanted to see how often companies outsourced content production and exactly which services were outsourced.
It is worth mentioning that 60% of survey respondents did not outsource content creation at all. For those who did outsource, their needs were mostly for writing (53%). However, there was also a large need for visual content, specifically graphic design (34%), video design, and animation (32%).
Top Required Skills for a Content Marketer
Successful content marketing often requires having a very broad skill base. Depending on the employer’s brand, it can be anything from storytelling or analytics to basic design and even coding.
The SEMrush Academy team analyzed the requirements listed in more than 17,000 content marketing job descriptions posted on Monster and Indeed (two large job search sites) between April and September 2019 worldwide.
Top 10 Skills Required in the Content Marketing Industry
First, we wanted to find out what expertise and professional skills content marketing teams expect from candidates.
Having analyzed 17,000 job descriptions, we discovered that an effective content marketing candidate should possess a wide range of skills that include marketing (81%), social media (50%), and SEO (38%). Other necessary skills, which demonstrate a typical industry workflow, include research (37%) and editing (25%).
Some employers also mentioned a need for competency in specific programs and platforms, such as Adobe products (12%), Microsoft Office (4%), SEMrush (2%), and Drupal (1%).
Top Required Soft Skills in the Content Marketing Industry
Expertise is crucial, but frequently job offers are extended to those candidates who can best fit into the company culture. So, finally, we analyzed the soft skills required for a content marketing position.
Our research showed that the necessary soft skills for a great content marketing specialist are leadership (19%), respect for deadlines (16%), and written communication (8%).
We asked more than 1,200 people from 39 countries working in digital marketing agencies, nonprofits, and other organizations to tell us about the role of content marketing and content marketing strategies in their work.
The Key Takeaways of the Survey
Strategies are yet to be improved: In general, businesses understand how beneficial content marketing can be (91% of our marketing respondents use content marketing), but not all companies have the skills to implement it successfully. Only 9% are fully satisfied with their strategy, while 38% consider their strategy to be an average one.
Budgets are growing: The majority of companies invested up to $10,000 for content marketing in 2019; this may be due to the fact that the majority of our respondents are small and medium businesses. Nevertheless, in the upcoming year, more than 62% of our respondents intend to increase their content marketing budgets to scale their success.
Content teams are small, and some have to outsource: The vast majority of content marketers (78%) work in a team of 1-3 people, mostly formed by a writer (52%), SMM manager (36%), and SEO content manager (34%). Due to lack of resources, 40% of teams have to outsource content creation as a company’s needs for content marketing are growing.
Content marketing mainly focuses on organic traffic: The key metric to measure content success is organic traffic, 76% of our respondents say. Also, 67% stated that SEO is the most effective tactic they implemented in 2019. To help a piece of content rank better, marketers update existing content, which is considered to be the second most effective tactic (51%).
Marketers expect more quality leads from content: 75% of our respondents say generating more quality leads is marketers’ primary goal for content marketing, and it is also their main challenge according to 54%. In view of this, leads are considered to be the number two metric to measure content success - 62%.
Visual content is in demand: Creating videos and other visual content is one of the most efficient content marketing tactics, 37% of respondents say. Infographics are the third most popular type of content produced by marketers - 45%. However, creating visual content requires resources, and content teams either have a designer (30%) or outsource graphic design (34%) and video design (32%).
Blog posts remain the most popular content type: In spite of the fact that video is a trend in content marketing, a blog post remains the most important type of content produced by 86% of marketers. Here’s an interview with successful content marketers discussing which they prefer more — a blog post or a video.
Content is mostly distributed through social media: The vast majority of our respondents (94%) say they distribute content using social media. So, it is no surprise that social media marketing is the second most required skill in the content marketing industry, according to 50% of the job descriptions we analyzed. To distribute content, content teams usually have a social media manager, 36% of our respondents say.
We hope that content marketing professionals can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their work by analyzing industry data. If you are interested in more data-based insights to adjust your content strategy, check out our latest studies on the topic:
Or dive into the full State of Content Marketing Report 2019.
We are looking forward to hearing your thoughts about these findings. Do some of these statistics resonate with your content marketing work? Share what is most surprising to you in the comments below.