Content marketing always sounds like a long-term and unrealistic tool for marketers compared to the "instant success" of advertising or public relations. The idea that you should invest money in content only for it to seemingly pay off months from now seems ludicrous. Add onto that the difficulties with long-term attribution and content marketing becomes a scary activity to put resources into.

Fortunately, that isn't the reality. Content marketing is often a very lucrative and versatile activity for marketers of all shapes and sizes. Let's take a look at a few eye-opening statistics, shall we?

1 - 62% of customers say they can make a purchase decision based on online content alone

We've all bookmarked a product or added it to a wish-list and returned to it day after day, fantasizing about what we could do with it. Good (value-driven) content makes this possible. Content that clearly illustrates the endless possibilities of what it is like to own/use it are what influence purchase decisions.

Knowing what types of content your users are looking for should be driving what you ultimately create and serve them. This way you are not wasting your time or theirs.

Source: Blue corona

2 - Content marketing drives 3x the leads of paid search and advertising

Simply put, content lives longer. It sits on a shelf and is accessible long after its initial publish date. Content is also often sought out and requires users to opt-in and participate. Content provides much more information able to influence a buyer's purchase decision.

Ads often go unseen or ignored. Contain very little information. Expire after they are served, and generally only have a single message to drive purchase intent.

Source: CMI

3 - 70% of customers prefer learning of new products/services through content rather than ads

No one likes a pushy sales person or an aggressive advertisement. They want to discover and experience information at their own pace, on their own time, on the platforms that matter to them. Even better if the content comes from a trusted friend or influencer/KOL. Not to mention the points already listed above.

Source: MDG Advertising

4 - 47% of buyers viewed at least 3 pieces of content before contacting a sales rep

Content is not a one-and-done operation. A single blog, video, podcast, etc, will not likely drive purchase decisions immediately. People will search and discover more content to help confirm their assumptions or answer critical questions they may have.

This benefits businesses in a few ways - one is that it frees up sales reps and customer support staff to handle only the most critical cases. If people have searched for answers elsewhere and gotten the information they required, they won't tie up your staff.

It also gives your staff the opportunity to discuss things on a deeper level with the user. If the user has come prepared, your staff do not need to waste time going over basic introductions, possibly boring or pushing the customer away. And if the user has come this far and is this invested - it is a good sign pointing towards purchase intent.

Source: HubSpot

5 - Content marketing costs up to 41% less than paid search per lead

Good SEO is both a short and long-term investment that can save you a lot of money down the road. If you do not take the time to improve your SEO in key areas of interest, you will constantly spend money to keep up with competitors to appear at the top of search result pages.

Source: Oracle

6 - 61% of consumers made a purchase after reading recommendations on a blog

Influencers/KOLs are popular promotional options these days. Authentic influencers/KOLs can drive purchase decisions very effectively. Recommendations from a blog are generally viewed as being authentic, and often contain information users need to make a purchase decision.

What is the product quality like? Is it worth the price? Did it even work? Were there unexpected issues? Did you have an easy time returning DOA products? How fast does it ship?

Questions like these are easy to answer - but difficult to believe unless it comes from a trustworthy source.

Source: Social Media Today

7 - 68% of marketers report blogging is more effective today than 2 years ago

Blogging has found its groove over the years. Blog owners have developed sustainable, meaningful, authentic, and trustworthy brands and voices within their communities. Much of the spam has moved on to other mediums such as instagram or vlogs.

That said, it is imperative you do your research and determine what kind of blogging solution is appropriate for your brand. Whether you are looking to promote through someone else's blog - or simply create your own corporate blog, you need to understand who the audience is and what their expectations are regarding the content.

Source: Data Box

8 - The average conversion rate for a blog is 19%

To add to point #7, blog conversion rates are traditionally higher than advertising and other activities. This is driven by the points above, but also the opt-in factor where users want to consume the content in the first place and generally trust the source.

Source: Data Box

9 - Marketers see an average of 760% increase in revenue from customized, segmented email campaigns

Segmentation is often overlooked as a key consideration for content operations. "All our users like this" is often a fatal sentiment. Different users have different expectations. Properly segmenting customers via buyer profiles, personas, where they are currently in their customer journey, expectations, and more, is what will help your content be far more effective.

Source: Campaign Monitor

10 - 60% of B2B customers said mobile optimized content played a significant role in their purchase decision

Content optimization is also often overlooked. For whatever reason, people fail to realize that not all platforms, devices, and mediums are created the same. Content will not always display, serve, or otherwise be engaged with the same. You need to ensure the proper content is reaching the right people, via the right platform, the right way, at the right time.

Source: BCG

11 - 81% of companies report their blog as being critical to lead generation efforts in B2B

Information gathering, research, matter what you call it, it is a staple in B2B when looking for suppliers or customers. Providing information upfront that signals you are the ideal person to do business with is a no-brainer.

Source: Nurture

12 - Voice and Image searches will make up 50% of all searches by 2020

As technology changes, so too do the things we need to optimize.

Source: Campaign Live

13 - 69% of B2C marketers increased their use of social media in 2018 for content marketing

Free publishing and content discovery is an often underrated value proposition of social media platforms. Just don't forget to optimize properly.

Source: CMI

14 - In B2B - case studies accelerate and convert the most leads

In certain regions - such as China - case studies are essential to doing business. Without tangible proof of success, why should I do business with you? Providing real-world, verifiable problem/solution success stories is a surefire way to signal you are the right person with whom to do business.

It also goes a long way to provide insight into the kind of tangible value they would receive, your working process, and maybe even shed light on issues they were unaware of in their own business.

Source: Marketing Charts

PLAYNECT Content Marketing

At PLAYNECT we specialize in creating content that drives value for brands. Content for the sake of content is never a good idea - at best you will create indifferent users. Worst, you will create anti-fans.

We work closely with brands to determine what drives fandom and build communities of advocates rather than passive users. If you are looking to learn more about content marketing and how it could help your business grow, or you are ready to take a leap into the deep end - PLAYNECT is here to help.