9 Stats That Will Make You Want to Invest in Content Marketing


Editor’s note: Because proving the value of content marketing continues to be necessary, Julia McCoy updated her 2016 post with some fresh stats and perspective. 

Content marketing has been moving at the speed of light in recent years.


Consumers are fed up with in-your-face advertising and sales tactics that feel cheap, slimy, or underhanded. Instead, they’re attracted to authenticity, transparency, and friendliness in a brand.

The advent of the internet and social media has a lot to do with this. These channels help consumers pick and choose exactly which brands they interact with. If people don’t want to see your ads, they’ll click away – it’s as simple as that.

Consumers are fed up w/ in-your-face advertising & sales tactics that feel slimy. @JuliaEMcCoy
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As such, marketers have discovered that they need to approach the consumer differently. We can’t serve up the same old ads anymore and expect results similar to 30 or 40 years ago. Instead, we must add value to consumers’ lives to make them want to give us the time of day.

Hence, the fundamentals behind content marketing – relationship-building, focusing on the customer versus the brand – were born in response.

This approach – oh boy, does it work.

For some excellent proof, let these nine statistics do the rest of the talking. They really do speak for themselves. Prepare to persuade.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: How to Explain Content Marketing to Anyone

1. Pit content marketing against paid search, and content marketing gets three times the leads per dollar spent.

Paid search has been touted as the be-all, end-all for cost-effectiveness. However, a recent study by Kapost (in collaboration with Eloqua) proves the opposite.

When the two are pitted against each other, content marketing has both lower up-front costs and deeper long-term benefits.

#Contentmarketing has lower up-front costs & deeper long-term benefits than paid search, says @JuliaEMcCoy.
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As time goes on, content marketing builds its own momentum – no extra dollars required. Meanwhile, paid search needs a continual cash flow to keep getting results.

2. Content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less.

That’s right. Content marketing is not only cheaper than outbound marketing; it also generates more leads.

#Contentmarketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing & generates 3x as many leads, says @demandmetric.
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Outbound marketing is the old way of doing business. Outbound marketing consists mainly of promotional messages that try to tell consumers how great a brand, product, or service is. These ads are served to consumers whether they want to see them or not. These ads are pushy, interruptive, and intrusive.

Turns out, people today generally don’t respond to this type of product-pushing. That’s because there are other ways to engage with brands – better ways (*cough* content marketing *cough*).

3. In 1984, a person saw an average 2,000 ads/day. By 2014, they saw around 5,000.

Two words: Ad. Overload.

How are people dealing with this overload, where they’re bombarded with ads daily?

Two more words: Ad blockers. More than 615 million devices now have ad-blocking software, according to PageFair 2017 Global Adblock Report.

615 million devices now use #adblock via new @PageFair report. Read more >>
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In the face of consumers pelted with ads day in and day out, content marketing swoops in like a breath of fresh air. It provides value for their lives, isn’t intrusive, and aims to be helpful above promotional (*insert praise-hands emoji here*).

4. Almost half of 18- to 49-year-old people get their news and information online – and those numbers are growing.

A 2016 Pew Research Center study shows that people are regularly turning away from TV as the main source of their news and information. Instead, they’re logging onto the internet.

Almost half of 18-49 year-old people get their news & information online. @pewresearch Read more >>
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If you’re like The Little Mermaid and want to be where the people are, your brand marketing needs to be online. The best way to go about it, the way that people overwhelmingly prefer? Content marketing.

Social media, blogs, and search engines – these places are where you’ll find users who want to get informed. These channels also happen to be where content marketing does most of its work (and works its magic).

5. Small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without.

A whopping 77% of internet users read blogs. Combine that stat with the fact that small businesses with blogs see more lead growth. Now you’re onto something.

Small businesses that blog get 126% more lead growth than small businesses that do not blog. @impactbnd
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Regular blogging is a go-to content marketing strategy for a reason – it works.

6.  After reading recommendations on a blog, 61% of U.S. online consumers made a purchase.

Content marketing builds trust in a way that no other method can match. Building trust over time means consumers pay attention and listen to your brand’s voice.

61% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog. @impactbnd @JuliaEMcCoy
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That is incredibly, ridiculously powerful. It’s subtly persuasive without being in your face. It’s built on transparency and a down-to-earth approach. It’s content marketing.

7. Content marketing rakes in conversion rates six times higher than other methods.

Traditional marketing is starting to look a little sad at this point, but let’s keep going. Content marketing, among all the other benefits, also drives higher conversions. In fact, it has six times the power of traditional marketing for converting people into leads and leads into customers.

#Contentmarketing rakes in conversion rates six times higher than other methods via @ABGEssentials.
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Content marketing may require more time, patience, and effort over the long haul, but the rewards are far greater.

8. The most effective SEO technique? Content creation.

Populating websites with blog content is how you end up with 434% more search engine-indexed pages than other business sites that don’t publish content.

Websites w/blog content have 434% more search engine-indexed pages than those that don’t publish. @TechClient
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The result of content creation: You have lots of little pathways sprinkled over the internet that lead back to your site. And, the more content you create around topics relevant to your audience, the better your chances of boosting traffic from search and nabbing conversions.

9. Businesses publishing 16-plus posts a month get almost 3.5 times more traffic than businesses publishing zero to four articles

Publishing 16+ blog posts a month brings 3.5x more traffic than publishing 0 to 4 articles via @HubSpot.
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You want leads? Guess what.

Does it need saying? Even if it doesn’t bear repeating, here you go. One more time for the people in the back: Content marketing, content creation, and blogging lead to leads. Lots of leads.

It takes an investment, but the returns are real.

Bottom line: Skilled, consistent content marketing works

Content marketing is the present and future of marketing. It’s efficient, compelling, and subtly persuasive. It also can be less expensive. Best of all, it works, as these nine statistics prove beyond a doubt.

Of course, like any strategy, content marketing requires skill, persistence, and consistency to work.

This is perhaps the No. 1 secret to getting results like those outlined. You have to work for it. But, oh, is it worth it.

Want more stats to support your content marketing strategy (or to inform potential improvements), check out CMI’s latest research. Subscribe today and be alerted when the 2018 B2C content marketing research is released later this year.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute


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This Week in Content Marketing: Mercedes Launches Revenue-Based Content Model


PNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher. If you enjoy our show, we would love it if you would rate it or post a review on iTunes.

In this week’s episode

This week, Robert ponders how we prepare for what’s next. We discuss the Brandwatch/BuzzSumo acquisition and Snapchat’s new location-based services. Mercedes launches its own “killing marketing” model for its integrated content brands, and one article format rises above them all. Our rants and raves include a new marketing model and transparency; then we close with an example of the week from Alcoa.

Download this week’s PNR: This Old Marketing podcast

Show details

  • (00:01): An advertising blast from the past: “Bubblicious has the ultimate flavor.”
  • (00:32): Robert muses on this week’s theme: How do we prepare for what’s next?   
  • (05:35): Welcome to Episode 205: Recorded live on October 15, 2017 (Running time: 1:15:25)
  • (11:00): Special offer for Content Marketing World video on demand – You may have missed the show, but don’t miss out on all the insights. Videos of 100+ sessions from Content Marketing World 2017 will be available for a limited time through our video on demand portal. Register for access and use the coupon code CMIFRIENDS100 to save $100.
  • (11:35): Content Marketing Master Classes – Our multi-city tour is returning for another round of in-depth content marketing training. Starting on November 6, we’ll be making stops in Boston; New York; Washington, D.C.; Seattle; San Francisco; Chicago; Atlanta; and Austin, Texas. Robert and I would love to see you there, so register today.

content-marketing-institute-master-class-schedule (1)

Content love from our sponsor: Ahrefs (13:38)

Ahrefs is a powerful SEO tool set that has many amazing tools for content marketers who’re looking to grow their traffic from Google. With Ahrefs tools you can easily find out what people are searching for in Google, so you can create content around the most popular search queries. You can also discover content that got the most shares or earned the most backlinks, so you can piggyback from it and get the same results. And finally, you can easily research your competitors and find out which content brings them the most traffic from Google. Here’s an exclusive opportunity for PNR podcast listeners: Any listener who tweets using #ThisOldMarketing between the dates of September 30 through October 28 will be entered into a drawing to win an annual Ahrefs account plus a signed copy of Joe and Robert’s new book, Killing Marketing. One randomly selected participant will be drawn each week; four winners in total.


The quick hits – Notable news and trends

  • (16:00): Brandwatch acquires content marketing platform BuzzSumo. (Source: TechCrunch)
  • (22:40): Snapchat will now show you more info about the cool places your friends are visiting. (Sources: Recode, Forbes)

The deep dive – Industry analysis

  • (38:37): Mercedes is marketing IQ Media’s looping content. (Source: W&V [German language site]) 

Content love from our show sponsor: SnapApp (51:40)

Today’s buying committees are diverse; Millennials are already taking their seats among Generation X and Baby Boomers at the buying table, making navigating the already complicated buying environment even harder, thanks to their different preferences. Though this shift might seem minor, it greatly impacts how marketing teams operate, sales teams engage, and how purchase decisions are ultimately made.

SnapApp and Heinz Marketing recently conducted research to answer the question: How do different generations like to buy? Their report, “The Millennials Are Here! How Generational Differences Impact B2B Buying Committees Today” looks at the differences between the rising Millennial buyer, their Generation X and Baby Boomer counterparts, and how B2B marketing and sales strategies can address the gaps between them. Read the report.


Rants and raves

  • (54:12): Robert’s rave: An article in Econsultancy features insights that could have come straight from a page in Killing Marketing. The author does a wonderful job of breaking down the details of the modern marketing model, and Robert wholly recommends it as a great read for all marketers.
  • (57:33): Joe’s rant-and-rave: The author of this article from The Ringer seems to think Silicon Valley’s tech industry has discovered a new marketing discipline – one that lies between traditional journalism and sponsored content. Though I find it annoying that the article stops short of calling the technique content marketing – and treats it as if it’s a brand-new invention – I really enjoyed reading the piece, for a few key reasons.

This Old Marketing example of the week

(1:09:25): Alcoa presents One Step Beyond: We’ve talked about the folks at Alcoa Aluminum in past PNR podcasts, and they even made a cameo appearance in our Content Marketing Workshop because they were the inventors of the term “Imagineering,” as well as the creators of the first aluminum beer can and the “pop-top.” But, as we are leading up to Halloween, Robert wanted to share the story of a TV show the company created and sponsored, called One Step Beyond. Debuting in 1959, the show presented “real” stories of the supernatural – such as people’s encounters with UFOs and legendary monsters like Bigfoot – with dramatizations of actual events. The show ran for two years and featured tons of guest stars, making it a fascinating This Old Marketing example of a company that created compelling sponsored content as a way to promote its brand.


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For a full list of PNR archives, go to the main This Old Marketing page.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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Facebook Live Screen Sharing, Facebook VR Updates, and New Facebook Ad Options


Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show with Michael Stelzner, we explore Facebook Live screen sharing and Facebook VR updates with Joel Comm, New Facebook ad […]

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– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle