It’s official: content marketing yields positive results.
That’s the conclusion from the leading SEO analytics platform provider, Semrush, which has recently completed its annual ‘State of Content Marketing’ report, bringing together insights from over 500,000 articles, 1,700 marketers and business owners in 34 different countries, and data from the content marketing job market.
This report is invaluable for any business leaders and marketers who want to implement a successful content marketing strategy, providing in-depth insight into what is working across the industry and which direction to take their content in 2023.
In this article, we’re taking a look at some of the key trends and what they mean for businesses and content marketers alike.
The results from Semrush’s survey found an overall improvement in results from content marketing, with 97% of businesses reporting that they have generated positive results - up from 91% in the previous year.
There has also been a rise in the number of businesses that are working to a defined strategy, with 66% reporting they have one, in comparison to 57% last year. 69% of those surveyed also stated that they were planning on increasing their content marketing budgets in 2023, which shows there is a real appetite in the market for this form of comms activity.
The five best-performing forms of content were video, short-form articles, success stories, long-form blog posts and case studies. Articles that had at least one embedded video saw 70% more organic traffic than those without.
Of everyone surveyed, only 3% said that their content marketing efforts had been unsuccessful, showing just how much of a benefit there is to using this form of marketing as part of your overall strategy.
How long is a piece of string? But seriously, how much you choose to spend on your content marketing is entirely dependent on your internal budgets, goals and capabilities. The Semrush report found that more than half of respondents spend at least $3,000 per month on content marketing. Those that stated they spend less than $1,000 correlated closely to having less successful results from their activity.
While content marketing can be seen as cheap in comparison to options like paid ads, the report does show that nearly 80% of very successful content marketers spend more than 10% of their total marketing budget on content. Around 48% of the businesses surveyed choose to outsource their content creation, with the most commonly outsourced services of graphic design (47%), video design or animation (43%), and copywriting (37%).
Many businesses nevertheless choose to host their content marketing in-house, and the report found that of those who have very successful campaigns, 66% have more than four specialists in their team, showing just how important it is to nurture and prioritise expert writers within your business.
Thankfully, so far the content marketing industry isn’t seeing a disproportionate impact from the potential upcoming recession, with 76% of respondents in the survey stating that the situation is not affecting their marketing efforts in this area. This can, of course, change pretty quickly, but is something that will be closely monitored throughout the year.
Semrush’s report highlighted that 80% of those who considered themselves very successful in content marketing in 2022 have outlined their content marketing strategies, as do 73% of content marketers who regard their efforts as successful. Having a clearly defined strategy can make a huge difference to the success of your campaigns as it gives you the insights you need to understand the type of content you want to create, your audience and their needs, as well as a basis for tracking the progress of your content marketing.
The more you can understand the audience’s needs, challenges and goals, the better you can target your content to answer their questions and provide insights relevant to them. Google’s recent helpful content update has put a huge focus on high-quality content that answers the needs of users, prioritising information that is user-friendly and has a human focus.
SEO remains a key factor for success, with companies that publish more content seeing much higher organic ranking results than those who post content less frequently. 55% of respondents to the survey noted this as a top tactic for their marketing plans.
Social media and community building are also a top priority for many businesses within their content marketing strategies, with a strong focus on improving content quality and audience research.
For those who want to focus on article writing as part of their content strategy, the report highlighted a variety of key areas to help improve overall rankings:
29% of blog posts in the high-performance group had H2s, H3s and H4s.
Articles with 3-4 lists do better across every set of metrics.
Articles with 7 or more images get the most backlinks, although they advise to use at least 3 in any article.
Completing regular content audits to refresh and update old articles can help them to rank higher in organic search.
The easier it is for someone to read your article, the better it will perform. 33.5% of high-performing blogs were fairly easy to read.
The optimal length of your blog post should be dependent on the needs of your audience and answering the specific questions that they have. Google will rank the article based on how ‘useful’ it is to the reader.
The most common way to calculate ROI from your content marketing campaign is by measuring the revenue that comes in from leads and conversions generated by content - this was the strategy of 67% of those surveyed.
64% of respondents track ROI through Google Analytics, though only just over half of businesses actually track it at all. Many understand the success of their content strategies through social media engagement (61%), organic traffic (52%), email marketing engagement (47%) and search rankings (41%).
We’re currently approaching what is forecast to be quite a challenging and complex year for many industries. While previous recessions may have seen a reduction in marketing spend, hindsight has shown that many of those who continued with their efforts had more positive results than others in their sector, so we are expecting to see less of an impact in the marketing industry as a whole.
With Semrush reporting that 97% of businesses are seeing some degree of success with their content marketing efforts, we are confident that 2023 will provide solid opportunities for others who want to explore this form of promotion and continue to scale their business.
For more insights, take a look at the full Semrush ‘State of Content Marketing’ report.
CopyHouse is an award-winning group of creatives who specialise in creating content for brands within the technology and FinTech industries. To find out more about what we do, take a look at our case studies.